Senior Bowl weigh-ins, one of the oddest parts of the NFL draft process, came and went on Tuesday morning—although much of the football world wasn’t there to see it thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The weigh-in results can offer different prospects different levels of benefits, and oftentimes they give evaluators some level of insight into a player’s overall work ethic and readiness to be a professional athlete. Football media may not have been there in-person to see the weigh-ins directly, but the 2021 Senior Bowl offered up the final results for each of the attending prospects and there are still plenty of reactions to be had. Who “won the weigh-in” in 2021?
Here are some numbers that would stand out on the back of a Panini player card.
Michigan WR Nico Collins
Why does Collins’ weigh-in matter? Because we haven’t seen Collins since the end of the 2019 college football season. To see him come in at a lean 215 pounds is a nice bonus for a big-bodied, down-the-field receiving threat—and the best may be yet to come. If Collins shows that, with some weight loss, he’s a little more fluid and dynamic, then who knows where the limit is on his draft stock. A big week in Mobile can inspire confidence that Collins’ conditions at Michigan were the biggest barrier to consistent production.
Boston College TE Hunter Long
Why does Long’s weigh-in matter? A tight end can be a quarterback’s best friend, especially when you get down into the red zone where things are more congested. And Long, at a legit 6-foot-5 with a massive 83-inch wingspan, will provide his quarterback with quite the catch radius in traffic. There’s some upward mobility in this year’s tight end rankings and Long, if he’s able to parlay the weigh-in into a big week of practice, may leave a lasting impression on someone so big that a team “has to have him.”
Oregon State EDGE Hamilcar Rashed Jr.
Why does Rashed Jr.’s weigh-in matter? Because at 254 pounds, he’s about 10-15 pounds heavier than anticipated (and nine pounds heavier than his listed weight on the Oregon State roster). Teams can get funny about weight and anchor and size on the edge of their defense and Rashed Jr. will have an easier time selling teams on his ability to play contain with the extra mass on his frame. Add in Rashed Jr.’s dynamic first step and you’ve got yourself a really nice foundation for a rush linebacker.
Syracuse CB Ifeatu Melifonwu
Why does Melifonwu’s weigh-in matter? Everyone loves big corners. Period. Melifonwu certainly qualifies as such and has the length that defensive coaches are going to drool over—you can cover a lot of distance at the catch point and contest a lot of throws through the frame of receivers with this kind of reach on your side. Melifonwu is a great athlete, we always knew that. But now we know he’s a freakishly big cornerback, too.
Florida State EDGE Janarius Robinson
Why does Robinson’s weigh-in matter? It is, top to bottom, the most prototypical weigh-in of any prospect in attendance at this year’s event. If you built a pass rusher in a laboratory, they’d come out looking like Robinson. The icing on the cake? Joe Marino did his formal evaluation of Robinson over the weekend and his tape is pretty good, too. The Seminoles defense was about as big of a disappointment as any unit in college football this past season but Robinson’s pro prospects appear no worse for wear, especially after checking in with a prototypical build.
Houston EDGE Payton Turner
Why does Turner’s weigh-in matter? You can apply everything said about Robinson and use it here, too. Turner has had some momentum in recent weeks; our friends over at Pro Football Focus currently rank him right on the fringe of their top-50 prospects for this year’s draft. Turner enjoyed a career year in 2020, logging five sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss in just five games played this fall. With the production and now the measurables falling into place, Turner feels like the kind of prospect that can make a leap.