The Senior Bowl was played and officially began the race to the draft, after next week Super Bowl we are going to see the combine, pro days, scheduled visits and at the end, draft picks...with a Pro Bowl and Free Agency right in the middle of that.
Watching the Senior Bowl, I saw these five things:
1) No Defensive Back impressed me
The performance of the defensive backs in this game didn't impress me at all, and with some "big" names like Patrick Chung or William Moore, they should have done more. Most of the plays where the DBs got some action were mistakes by the QBs.
I should mention that CB Alphonso Smith was fine, but nothing he did on the field will make him get drafted before Malcolm Jenkins or Vontae Davis. Let's wait until the combine.
2) Non-Pro College
One of the things I have noticed in the past couple of the years is the lack of pro-style QBs at College level, and that doesn't affect them only.
Also, the centers seem like they don't know how to hand the ball to the QB under the center (and in past years Center have moved to Guards in pro-level) and that was showed all week long during practices.
In the game, QBs like Rhett Bomar or Graham Harrell miss a lot of sure passes because their lack of reading the game, handling the pressure, etc...
Pat White helped himself in the game after a week-long talks about his unimpressive practices but didn't show a pro-style game. That won't affect him very much if the team that picks him wants to run a kind-of Wildcat offense with him.
3) USC Dominated
There were moments of the game where you can saw four Southern Cal helmets on the field. No matter what year it is, USC will always have a strong presence in the draft with top prospects.
Patrick Turner looked good on offense. He is a big receiver with great abilities, so keep an eye on him.
Fili Moala, Clay Matthews, Brian Cushing, and Rey Maualuga will go in the first three (or even two) rounds of the draft; and Kyle Moore before the sixth round.
4) HBs Stock Market
If there is a place where a halfback raises his stock for the draft, it is the Senior Bowl.
Last year we saw Matt Forte grabbing the MVP of the game. Three months later, he was selected in the second round by the Bears and then become one of the top RBs in the league.
This year I saw Andre Brown, Jeremiah Johnson, and Cedric Peerman with solid performances. Maybe they won't be selected ahead of Chris Wells, Knowshon Moreno, and LeSean McCoy, but they will be solid middle-round picks and will be nice surprises for the 2009 season.
But aside from them, there was a player who impressed me more and I think he raise his stock a lot: Quinn Johnson from LSU.
Any team looking for a lead blocking FB and short yardage back need to put this guy on their draft board, but be aware, because he could go early in the third round.
5) More variety of plays needed
Blitzes aren't allowed; neither are more than two WRs on one side nor a 3-4 scheme. You need to really test the players, I think some O-linemen were very comfortable blocking just one guy or the LBs with simple play reading without any offensive shifts.
Also there were players that are projected to be in a 3-4 scheme and the Senior Bowl didn't help to raise their stock in that area.
Players like Brian Cushing or Larry English as OLBs in that scheme, or B.J. Raji as NT will need to wait a little more to start raising their draft value.
They need to challenge more the players, or what is the point of the whole game?