Senior Bowl week is full of impressive performances and players elevating their stock, but the reality of what we do as analysts unfortunately means we have to look critically at the other side – those who disappointed. After absorbing a week of practices in Mobile, here are the 10 players who failed to impress during Senior Bowl week.
1. Trace McSorley, QB, Penn State
Entering the week, McSorley was easily the quarterback with the most to prove in Mobile, as his tape, size, arm talent and accuracy were all major question marks. His charisma, work ethic and smarts are all selling points, but McSorley showed during Senior Bowl practices that he doesn’t have the arm or accuracy to be an ideal NFL prospect. He consistently missed receivers high and wide all week, and doesn’t have the velocity to succeed when he’s late with the ball. Fun college player, not a starting NFL quarterback.
2. Jalen Jelks, EDGE, Oregon
Jelks looks like he should be good, with a big, long frame that was more filled out than I had originally anticipated. He was unable to make a ripple this week in practice however, offering no pass rush plan, limited burst and very little power off the edge.
What do you do with him at the next level? He’s got to play on the edge, but I don’t know if any of his traits are ideal enough to even consider him as a future starter. His teammate Justin Hollins was a lot better the week before at the Shrine Game, and will probably be drafted higher. The Combine will be huge for both players.
3. Corey Ballentine, CB, Washburn
The biggest thing for small school players to prove at the Senior Bowl is that their athletic and physical traits are on par with their Power 5 counterparts. So when Ballentine got torched deep by Ohio State WR Terry McLaurin several times during the first practice of the week, it immediately called into question his long speed.
Ballentine has good size and did make a few plays this week, but I saw him give up separation enough to be worried about his athleticism. The Combine is a chance to bounce back, but it could also be the nail in the coffin of his evaluation.
4. Jaylon Ferguson, EDGE, Louisiana Tech
In some draft media circles, Ferguson has received first-to-early second round praise, something I just can’t understand unless you’re purely looking at the box score. He’s a solid football player with excellent length, power and point-of-attack capabilities, but Ferguson just doesn’t have the ideal burst, bend and cornering skills of a high-level pass rusher off the edge.
There is definitely a path for Ferguson to sneak into the top 100 and be a solid rotational piece with inside/outside rush versatility at the NFL level, but the third round is where his value talk should begin, not the late first.
5. Amani Oruwariye, CB, Penn State
Oruwariye entered the week looking to solidify his status as the best cornerback in Mobile and a potential late first round pick, but all I continue to have are question marks. He’s highly inconsistent in his technique, too often failing to be physical with receivers and re-route them in press coverage. Athletically he’s fine, but I don’t see elite mirror-and-match capabilities, especially against quicker players.
N.C. State’s Jakobi Meyers lit him up on day 1, and Oruwariye’s struggles continued throughout the week. He was far from the worst cornerback here and did make some nice plays at times, but given the expectations of being a top 40 player in the class, I don’t think he helped himself.
6. Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
If this was supposed to be the first step in Jones’ ascension to locking in a Round 1 grade, it did not go as planned. The big Duke quarterback was far too slow in his decision-making from the pocket, often opting to safely check the ball down instead of threaten a tight window. I give him credit for knowing his limitations – his arm is pretty average – but eventually you have to show me you can make high degree of difficulty throws as a quarterback to succeed in the NFL. Jones didn’t do that on tape or in Mobile.
7. Kris Boyd, CB, Texas
After a rough season for Texas, Boyd really needed a strong Senior Bowl week to get back on the NFL’s radar as a potential top 100 pick. Instead he was a technical mess in addition to his athletic deficiencies, getting too aggressive in press and struggling to recover when separation was created.
Boyd is a physical corner who will hit, but I don’t think he’s going to test well, his physical traits aren’t desirable and his tape isn’t great. He might be able to stick as a depth zone corner in the NFL, but I think he’ll need to prove himself after being a day 3 pick in April.
8. Jaylen Smith, WR, Louisville
I’m just not sure how Smith even ended up in Mobile, after two lackluster seasons of tape in college, including an especially rough 2018 campaign. It was clear from day 1 that Smith didn’t belong with the rest of the receivers on the field, struggling to separate, taking too many steps in his releases and breaks and moving more like a tight end than a wide receiver. I don’t think we’ll see many draftable grades on Smith unless he shocks at the Combine.
9. Isaiah Johnson, CB, Houston
Johnson has the length and size that NFL teams have coveted in cornerbacks, but I just don’t think the movement skills are there. He’s a legitimately huge corner, which will allow him to contest windows others can’t, but he gives up a lot of separation with his lack of fluidity and closing burst on the ball. Deebo Samuel torched him on Thursday, and it wasn’t the only time Johnson was exposed. Is there a future at safety for him?
10. Will Grier, QB, WVU
I’ve never been very high on Grier, but I was entertaining the thought of him cracking my top 100 at points this season. At this point it would be hard to anticipate that happening, as Grier struggled with accuracy and mechanics all week, missing several throws on air each day. His arm talent just isn’t good enough to consider him an ideal developmental prospect, and his pocket presence was a big concern at WVU. I think he’s going to be a lot less coveted by the NFL than many believe.