Senior Bowl 2021 Recap: Rising & Falling NFL Draft Prospects: “The NFL Draft starts in Mobile!"
The Senior Bowl is a yearly event hosted in Mobile, Alabama that showcases premier senior athletes across the college football landscape. For most, it is a last-ditch effort to raise draft stock and create/fill cognitive biases in NFL front offices (see: Jones, Daniel).
With this college football season unlike any other and a recent cancellation of the 2021 NFL Scouting Combine, the Senior Bowl was as important as ever for NFL hopefuls looking to leave an impression ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Here we are looking at whose (offensive) performances in-game and throughout the week of highly scrutinized practices were impressive enough to note for this year’s NFL Draft.
Senior Bowl 2021 Recap
National 27, American 24
The score at the end of the game is largely meaningless, but at least points were scored!
- QB Kellen Mond: 13/25, 173 Yards, 2 TD, 0 INT | 2 rushes, 11 yards
- QB Feleipe Franks: 9/16, 122 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
- RB Michael Carter: 8 rushes, 60 yards, 1 TD | 2 receptions, 15 yards
- WR Dez Fitzpatrick: 6 catches, 90 yards
- WR Shi Smith: 3 receptions, 57 yards
- WR Amari Rodgers: 4 receptions, 21 yards, 1 TD
- TE Kenny Yeboah: 2 receptions, 27 yards 1 TD
Nico Collins, WR, Michigan
Nico Collins was seemingly the forgotten man of the 2021 WR class until this past week. He produced throughout his true sophomore and junior seasons but decided to sit out in 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns.
An incredible showing throughout Senior Bowl week from the former Michigan WR has dazzled scouts and internet analysts (such as myself) alike. Although Collins is a year removed from playing at game speed, he looked like he had not lost a step when matched up with anyone.
A GORGEOUS release by Michigan WR Nico Collins and a beautiful finish on the catch. pic.twitter.com/PdeJ66uBiH
— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) January 27, 2021
Collins, unfortunately, did not participate in the actual Senior Bowl, but he made a stark enough impression leading up to the game. His blend of size, speed, and ball skills are what NFL front offices dream up when formulating the perfect WR.
He is a definite riser into Day 2 of the draft with some whispers of the first round, which are quite unlikely given the depth of this class. Look for Nico Collins to make an impact on Sundays soon enough.
Amari Rodgers, WR, Clemson
The four-year Clemson wideout enjoyed a major breakout in 2020. Amari Rodgers took on an expanded role in the Tigers’ offense with Justyn Ross sidelined due to health complications.
Every route Amari Rodgers runs is violent. Violent upper body, violent feet, and violent hips. That’s how you see him explode out of this release once he gets the DB to lean just slightly with the harsh outside step. Day 2 talent.
— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) January 27, 2021
Rodgers finally cracked 1,000 receiving yards and acted as the focal point of the offense, leading the team in receptions. Although he might not have been the most efficient WR, Rodgers displayed plenty this past week to prove that his volume was well-deserved.
Rodgers was a bright, shining star in Mobile, and he showcased it in practice and during gametime, when he led his offense in receptions (4) and scored a nice TD between defenders in the end-zone. I am a fan of his for the ridiculous fact that he tore his ACL prior to the 2019 season and still played!
Amari Rodgers’ surface #’s seem mediocre but there are legitimate reasons to his “late” breakout
2018: Behind SR Hunter Renfrow on depth chart as Higgins/Ross ball
2019: Tore ACL in offszn yet played! (inconsistently)
he will be a productive pro, don’t sleep 😴 pic.twitter.com/zMFlfLfrqs
— Kev Mahserejian (@RotoSurgeon) January 28, 2021
Michael Carter, RB, North Carolina
Michael Carter would be a lot more popular if it were not for his UNC backfield mate Javonte Williams. Carter was a senior relative to Williams’ junior status and significantly smaller, thus leaving him out of favor when in a discussion.
However, Carter is plenty talented and has the college production to boot. He plays a shiftier style than Williams and has much crisper, fluid routes. There is a lot to like about both, but the Senior Bowl was rightfully Carter’s time to shine.
Carter was the most productive RB in the Senior Bowl and arguably had the best game of anyone. He flashed brilliance throughout the week in practice and definitely increased his draft stock as a result.
Carter will not translate to a workhorse RB in the NFL, but with 82 receptions and 656 receiving yards through four years in college, there is definitely a role for him in a future pro backfield.
.@TarHeelFootball RB Michael Carter was not going down that easy 💪
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) January 30, 2021
Honorable Mention: Shi Smith, WR, South Carolina; D’Wayne Eskridge, WR, Western Michigan
Ian Book, QB, Notre Dame
Ian Book did himself no favors this past week. He could not outplay Texas’ Sam Ehlinger or Florida’s Feleipe Franks and just crumbled under any pressure into tucking and running.
Book does not have the arm or awareness to make it as an NFL QB, and that was on full display throughout Senior Bowl week. His in-game stat line of 5/11, 48 yards, 0 TD, and 1 INT with 4 rushes for 18 yards is aptly reflective of his performance throughout the week.
Jamie Newman, QB, Georgia
This is quite unfortunate for Newman, who has not played since 2019. Newman’s actual Senior Bowl performance was not terrible; he ended the day with 10/14 passing with 118 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT.
His size (6-foot-4, 230 pounds) is desirable, but Newman continually made questionable, interceptable throws over the last two days of practice. Though maybe he just ran bad, that left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.
Newman is still worth drafting given his size and arm strength, but he needs a lot of work.
Fantasy Football Outlook
Typical fantasy football drafters are not going to be swayed for anything regarding immediate redrafts. The prospects that have wholly proved themselves typically are not eligible given that they declared as juniors.
For dynasty league purposes, the Senior Bowl is a great indicator of late-round value for anyone who really pays attention and wants that extra edge on guys who will be around in later rounds of startup/rookie drafts.
Obviously, we do not discount their performances throughout their college careers. Their college careers are still the best true indicators of how they will translate to the NFL level. This is just an extra boost for some. Definitely pay attention to the risers throughout the week to see where they land come draft time.
Done reading ‘Senior Bowl 2021 Recap: Rising & Falling NFL Draft Prospects?’
Now that you’ve read our Senior Bowl 2021 Recap and seen Rising and Falling NFL Draft Prospects, stay tuned after the 2021 NFL Draft for more coverage on these players’ impact on betting lines, odds, and tips for their eventual NFL teams.
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