There are multiple All-Star games for college football players to showcase their skills in front of NFL teams as they getting ready for the draft in April. None is bigger than the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. This is where the best of the best seniors come to compete and represent their university one last time. Naturally, every big event like this during draft season means some prospects will help themselves while others hurt their draft stock. Here is my list from last week’s Senior Bowl:
1. Lonnie Johnson, CB, Kentucky
Johnson was one of the first players who jumped out to me during practices and he kept flashing his potential throughout the week. He is solid size and length at 5-foot-10 and 205 pounds. He showed solid fluidity in his hips to stay in the hip pocket of receivers on a variety of routes. He locked down some of the best receivers in Mobile and his game is well-suited for a press man scheme in the NFL.
2. Terry McLaurin, WR, Ohio State
McLaurin is a guy who struggled to put up consistent numbers as a receiver until this past season with top quarterback Dwayne Haskins slinging the ball. One thing that has never been questioned with McLaurin is his speed and athleticism. That was on full display in Mobile, especially in the 1-on-1 drills against defensive backs. I can’t recall a single rep during that period where he didn’t get excellent separation. He just always seemed to be super wide open all week. Any receiver who can show that he can get open that easily and consistently is going to skyrocket up draft boards.
3. Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State
When Sweat walked across the stage at weigh-ins before practices started I thought he looked too long and skinny to really be that effective as a pass rusher in the NFL. Boy did he prove me wrong! He’s always had an excellent first step at the snap and the ability to get after the passer with pure speed. My question with Sweat was always the power aspect. There were a couple reps where he flat out blew the opposing offensive lineman off the line and proceeded to pancake him to the ground. Including this one:
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) January 22, 2019
If Sweat can continue to show this kind of power, and even add more muscle and strength to his skinny frame, then NFL quarterbacks better start taking notice.
4. Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
Offseason events like the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine were made for guys like Lock to show off their exceptional talent. Lock has prototypical size, superb arm strength and solid accuracy. Where he struggles is making good decisions and throwing when under pressure. When you consider there is limited pass rush at these events that puts Lock in a great position to shine. And he did just that in Mobile. He showed he could rifle the ball all over the field on a line while showing the best consistency in accuracy among the quarterbacks in Mobile. While the tape shows a second rounder in my eyes, the offseason sets up well for Lock to impress and move into the first round of the draft come April.
5. Trevon Wesco, TE, West Virginia
While this is a very good and deep tight end draft class overall, the group in Mobile left a lot to be desired in my opinion. One person who did stand out among the position group, though, was Wesco. He has always been hailed as a good blocker in the run game and pass protection, but he was able to show off his route running ability and hands during practice sessions in Mobile. He will likely never be the sexy receiving threat that everyone wants nowadays, but Wesco is very tough and can do it all. He’s gonna be a sneaky good pick in the middle rounds.
Honorable Mentions: Corey Ballentine, CB, Washburn; Nasir Adderly, S, Delaware; Oshane Ximines, EDGE, Old Dominion; Garrett Bradburry, OL, North Carolina State; Deebo Samuel, WR, South Carolina; Penny Hart, WR, Georgia Southern