The 2018 Senior Bowl has come and gone and what an eventful week it has been. A plethora of prospects have showcased their skills and adjusted their 2018 NFL Draft stocks, both positively and negatively.
The quarterbacks had themselves an interesting week, to say the least, with the Senior Bowl’s top passer gathering accusations for showing up late, sleepers boosting their stock exponentially, and an incredible fluctuation in the consensus QB rankings. After a week of informative practices and an exciting exhibition game, a ton has changed in terms of the quarterback landscape.
To recap, this is how I ranked each passer coming into the week:
- Baker Mayfield
- Josh Allen
- Luke Falk
- Kurt Benkert
- Mike White
- Brandon Silvers
- Kyle Lauletta
- Tanner Lee
Mobile’s most entertaining week started with shots at Baker Mayfield’s character. It was revealed that he would be arriving late and in turn, many accused him of bailing on the Senior Bowl.
This slander was proven wrong once we learned that his mother was hospitalized with a heart issue. He followed this up with electrifying practices that helped cement him as a top ten pick in this year’s class.
Another reason his stock stayed so high was that he erased any doubts anyone had concerning his personality. Mayfield personally interviewed with a large number of teams and many were blown away by his charisma. His teammates were also interviewed, with a common theme being revealed that Baker is a leader of men.
The Heisman winner did not end his week how he hoped, but the preceding events more than make up for his 3/7, 9 yards, and 0 touchdowns performance.
Furthermore, Josh Allen did not change the opinions of many, in fact, no matter what his impression was last week, it most likely reinforced your position on him, whether it was good or bad.
Allen was once again inconsistent throughout the practices, winning some days and losing others. His supporters repeatedly referenced the throws “nobody else” can make and pointed to his Aroldis Chapman-like repertoire. Unfortunately, a one-speed pitcher will get the socks knocked off the ball once in a while. The Wyoming by-product made it clear that he has no sense of touch, and that 100% velocity will be apparent on each and every throw.
His shakiness continued just about everywhere besides his athleticism, the most consistent part of his game. During the Senior Bowl, Allen posted a 9/13, 158 yards, and 2-0 TD-INT ratio stat line that in a game with virtually no meaning and no real defense, solidified his draft stock.
As of the time of me writing this piece, there are 87 days until the 2018 NFL Draft. 87 days out and you can book it: the Potato Bowl MVP will not fall past the sixth pick. Vanilla defenses and minimal pressure would warrant a scoff and a scold when analyzing most prospects, but his impressive Senior Bowl performance gave John Elway, John Dorsey, and any other front office specimen just what they need to justify picking him. Allen showed he can compete against the big boys, even if he does not quite belong.
Luke Falk did not participate in the Senior Bowl to attend the funeral of Tyler Hilinski. This was certainly a courageous act, but many around him did not find his actions surprising. You can doubt his talent all you want, but you can’t doubt his character. His actions and the interviews he did attend prove how great of a kid he is, and teams will value that.
Additionally, a great friend of Breaking Football, Mark Jarvis, recently crowned Kurt Benkert QB1. His first half against Miami is some of the best film you’ll see all year. He carried a lot of these qualities into Mobile, boosting his stock with more than adequate practice reps. He struggled in the game itself, though the rest of the week helped his stock significantly. In one of the deepest quarterback classes in recent memories, it’s hard to believe a team won’t fall in love with the Virginia slinger like Jarvis did.
Moreover, Mike White got himself drafted last week. His strong performance in the exhibition match was well complimented with multiple days of strong practices. Teams are starting to take notice. White consistently impressed me over the course of the week, making me proud for having an early fourth round grade on him.
He wasn’t perfect but his overall performance ranks in the better half of the Senior Bowl passers. White is another low-profile prospect that teams will go after to be a depth player, though they feel he can be a very capable starter if needed. Don’t be surprised if the Browns pick him late after selecting one day one and/or signing/trading for a big name guy.
We’ve seen a lot of prospects improving their stock last week, but one who certainly didn’t was Brandon Silvers. Besides the fact that he had 2 measly attempts during the game, Silvers also struggled during the practices. He seemed like the forgotten guy, the worst performer on a team staffed by the Texans, who already have their guy under center. He’s a small schooler who needed to wow in order to significantly help his stock, but it simply didn’t happen down in Mobile. If it went anywhere, his stock only went down as he was outclassed by most of his colleagues.
About a week ago, I foolishly ranked Kyle Lauletta as the seventh best passer down at the Senior Bowl. Boy, did he prove me wrong. Probably the best passer all week, Lauletta continuously helped his draft stock with impressive practice after impressive practice and though the game was meaningless, he exploded there as well.
Boasting a 67% completion percentage and coming two yards short of 200 put the rest of us on notice. In fact, many are touting him as a day two prospect, some going as far as placing him in their top five quarterbacks. You won’t see me going that far, but I for one was stunned with the Richmond kid’s performance.
Even in interviews, he looked and sounded the part; poised and collected, something one would not expect from a small school prospect going into the biggest week of his career. Lauletta boosted his stock more than any other passer in Mobile last week, potentially more than any other Senior Bowl participant. His stock skyrocketed and now it is time to see if he can sustain it.
Last, and most definitely least, we come across Tanner Lee. The Cornhusker quarterback was a late invite and played like someone who wasn’t supposed to be there. Not many things are guaranteed in life besides death, taxes and Tanner Lee turnovers. He is practically undraftable at this point and he didn’t do anything close to aiding his draft stock. It was almost humorous how poorly he performed and I understand how biased and one-sided this seems, but outside of the occasional dime, Lee disappointed at a rate more consistent than Josh Allen at any part of his game.
So, that’s a wrap for Senior Bowl week and all of its festivities. Many quarterbacks improved their stock, but some headed in the opposite direction. The late explosion of Kurt Benkert and Kyle Lauletta will be fun to watch as we progress towards the NFL Draft. Once again, it is rare that we see two (probable) top-ten selections at the same position appear at the Senior Bowl, and it was all that we had hoped for. See you next year, Mobile.