The unveiling of the Senior Bowl rosters yesterday highlighted the quality work done by Jim Nagy and his team of scouts over in Mobile, and with several spots still available don't be surprised to see some big-name graduate juniors join the squad when they officially declare.
The job done by Nagy and co. is impressive, but it did leave several seniors on the outside looking in that many expected to see in Mobile. I've highlighted the ten most surprising exclusions from the Senior Bowl invitation list, including several players that I agree did NOT deserve a spot in the all-star game.
1. DaMarkus Lodge, WR, Ole Miss
When I sat down and looked at the list of "snubs", Lodge was really the only senior prospect I was truly disappointed not to see invited to Mobile. I think he's one of the best wide receivers in the class without any major weaknesses, but apparently there are many high-ranking folks who disagree with me. I'll take my chances with Lodge, who will hopefully light up the Shrine Game if he accepts an invitation there.
2. Brett Rypien, QB, Boise State
It was apparent to me early on that the Senior Bowl was not going to have a spot for Rypien in the game, and I do not view this as the outrage many others do. I do think he's more talented than several of the quarterbacks in attendance, and will hopefully have the opportunity to prove his worth at the Shrine Game.
Don't ignore the possibility of Drew Lock declining the Senior Bowl, leaving one spot open (if Daniel Jones declares and accepts an invite for the other open spot). Rypien could get slotted in there as a result.
3. Stanley Morgan, WR, Nebraska
Morgan is a good route runner and technician who has produced at a high level in a situation that is far from great. Nevertheless, his lack of athletic upside and overall explosiveness may limit his value in the eyes of NFL teams, leading to his exclusion. I'm guessing he's one of the top call-ups if the position suffers a dropout or injury before Senior Bowl week.
4. Ugo Amadi, S, Oregon
Amadi isn't a big name because he plays on the west coast, but he has seven interceptions and 15 passes defensed over the past two years, playing in the slot and in deep coverage for Oregon. He seems like the type of versatile, explosive playmaker that NFL teams would be interested in seeing more of, but perhaps his lack of size and length relegated him to this list. I would have loved to see Amadi in Mobile, so hopefully he gets a call up if an opportunity opens up.
5. Isaiah Prince, OT, Ohio State
Prince has shown up in a lot of prominent tackle rankings as one of the top prospects at the position, but nothing could be further from the truth on tape. I thought he would end up in the game by default based on the hype he was getting in the media, but it appears the NFL and Senior Bowl officials do not share that optimism about Prince's game. Good call, Nagy and co.
6. Mitch Hyatt, OT, Clemson
I'm not sure why, but the national media has been trying to shove Hyatt down our throats as a legit prospect for years, to no avail. Hyatt is a day three prospect at best, who will need to make the move to the interior offensive line in order to stick in the NFL. Good to see the Senior Bowl invite more interesting prospects over the bigger name.
7. Michael Jackson, CB, Miami
Jackson's name was bandied about as a potential first round or at least top 50 pick before the season, but his inability to make splash plays or project as a ball hawk showed up most of the year. Jackson is simply too tight in the hips to excel in man coverage, which could encourage an eventual move to safety.
I thought Miami fans were gonna tar and feather me when I didn't include him in one of my latest big boards, so hopefully their vitriol is directed elsewhere for now.
8. Jaquan Johnson, S, Miami
One interception and one pass breakup. Those were Johnson's final numbers to finish the season at Miami, affirming my biggest concern about his game entering the 2018 campaign: a clear lack of ball skills and instincts on the back end.
Johnson is a physical player who supports the run well, but I think his role and upside are both limited at the NFL level. Surprising exclusion, but I understand why the decision was made.
9. Austin Bryant, EDGE, Clemson
Remember the 400 times we heard in-game announcers refer to the Clemson defensive line as four future first round picks? Yeah, well, the league and the Senior Bowl sure don't seem to agree, as Bryant didn't make the cut for the roster headed to Mobile. He was ok this year for Clemson, but his lack of athletic upside and ideal pass rush traits eventually led to Xavier Thomas eating into his snaps.
10. T.J. Edwards, LB, Wisconsin
I think I'm in favor of this omission, but Edwards seems like the kind of player the Senior Bowl would have asked for in the past. Edwards is tough, physical, hard-working and smart, but super limited athletically and far from a dominant player at the second level. There are only seven linebackers on the current roster, so don't rule out a late inclusion for Edwards down the road.
Ricky Walker, IDL, Virginia Tech
Daylon Mack, IDL, Texas A&M
Wyatt Ray, EDGE, Boston College
Kendall Joseph, LB, Clemson
Ben Burr-Kirven, LB, Washington
Dakota Allen, LB, Texas Tech
Garrett Brumfield, IOL, LSU
Ross Pierschbacher, IOL, Alabama
Lukas Denis, S, Boston College
Zach Gentry, TE, Michigan
Terry Godwin, WR, Georgia