Despite some late dropouts, the Senior Bowl provided some polarizing receiver prospects, including All-American and All-Conference performers. However, throughout the week of practice some receivers who were late additions actually began to assert themselves among the top players in Mobile.
Most Impressive: Penn State wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton stole the show among the Senior Bowl receivers. With an impressive display of footwork and route nuance, Hamilton got open at will against the cornerback group. Hamilton thrived with his releases, continually creating separation at the line of scrimmage. He forced multiple cornerbacks into speed turns right off the line, an example of his ability to win right away.
At the break point, Hamilton was smooth and fast. He regularly got open in the short and intermediate with this ability, and no cornerbacks could touch him all week. The main knock against Hamilton is he suffered from a few drops, continuing a trend we saw with him during the Shrine week practices. With his hands measuring at only 9 ¼ inches, this is unlikely to change, but with his footwork and hip mobility Hamilton will be able to consistently create separation at the next level.
DaeSean Hamilton continues his assault on the #SeniorBowl Cornerbacks
Stutter release double move with headgear flashing to QB forces DB into a speed turn then creates a ton of separation pic.twitter.com/dFyRfJT5XR
— Brad Kelly (@BradKelly17) January 24, 2018
Most Surprising: Byron Pringle out of Kansas State came out and proved his worth during Senior Bowl week. Pringle, like Hamilton, continually won routes at the break point. Pringle did a good job of winning with his headgear, and has an Adam Thielen-like ability to sink his hips. This worked to his advantage by being deceptive and quick at the break point and being able to detach himself from tight coverage.
Pringle came into the week without high expectations because of his lack of production at Kansas State, but he suffered through three quarterbacks this season, none of which had any consistency. The main knock on Pringle this week was occasionally he failed to threaten the cornerbacks’ leverage which got him contacted on some of his breaks. Despite this, Pringle was a pleasant surprise this week compared to his expectations, and he definitely improved his draft stock with his showing.
Most Under Appreciated: Justin Watson out of Penn surprised folks this week with his ability to make some ridiculous catches. Watson made two downfield one handed grabs as well as some full extension ones over defensive backs. His ball skills are already above average, but he needs more consistency in his route running.
Luckily, Watson is an intelligent, high character kid who should absorb coaching at the next level. Watson’s frame (6’2 ⅝, 213 pounds, 9 ¾ inch hands, and a 6’6 ⅛ wingspan) is impressive and combined with the play making ability he showed in Mobile, he will almost assuredly get drafted on day 3.
Most Disappointing: Jaleel Scott from New Mexico State came into the week with a prime opportunity to improve his draft stock. Scott is a long 6’5” and has excellent body control, which makes him a dynamic red zone threat. However, Scott failed to flash anything more than that this week, and lost on too many 50/50 balls than you’d expect for a player of his size. Scott’s potential is still there at the next level, but with promising expectations coming into the week, he may have hurt his draft stock with his performance.
Failed to move the needle:
James Washington was lauded for his week in Mobile because of his ability to win deep, but I saw a player who struggled mightily at times. Washington’s breaks aren’t a strength, and when asked to win short and in the intermediate can get clamped up because of this.
Michael Gallup had a few nice reps on multiple different routes, flashing the potential that has some scouts excited. However, too often he failed to attack the catch point and lacked the route nuance to avoid contact throughout his routes, making his week wildly inconsistent.
Cedrick Wilson had some flashes, and is so smooth at the break point and in his releases that he occasionally can burn defensive backs. However, his slight frame really struggles when he’s contacted, and he got rode off the path too many times this week.
Marcell Ateman and Allen Lazard had similar weeks, leaving a ton to be desired on the first two days of practice. Both were much better on day 3 and showed what makes them red zone threats at the next level, but their lack of consistency is concerning.
DJ Chark, similar to Washington, had some nice catches down the field but lost too often close to the line of scrimmage. Chark is such a fluid runner that his potential with his frame and athleticism is higher than Wahsington’s, but Chark’s ball skills left a lot to be desired throughout the practices.
Tre’Quan Smith showed that he could become a nice possession receiver at the next level, but too often he seemed slower than the opposing cornerbacks. This will limit Smith’s potential because he doesn’t have the most intimidating physical profile.
Braxton Berrios had some issues working with these Senior Bowl quarterbacks because of a lack of chemistry and inconsistent accuracy. Berrios’ lack of length hurt him, as throws that others would have hauled in he failed to make. He projects to the next level with his ceiling being Cole Beasley, but he needs to do a better job diagnosing zone coverages to consistently get open.
J’Mon Moore suffered through way too many drops this week. Moore can be a flashy player, but struggles at the catch point and winning 50/50 balls. For a player with his athleticism and size, his potential is unlimited, but he underwhelmed this week.