Over the last week, I have been in Mobile leading up to the 2020 Senior Bowl. Here, we dissect one player at each position that improved their draft stock.
QB: Justin Herbert, Oregon
As impressive of a talent as he is, Herbert came into Mobile with questions to answer. Throughout the process, critics have questioned his ability to lead his counterparts. This week, Herbert passed that test to an exceptionally high degree. He has been vocal, and the chemistry his teammates have seemed to gravitate towards his presence. Athletically, Herbert had a phenomenal showing. He exhibited precise ball placement and top-level arm talent in front of NFL front office members.
RB: Joshua Kelly, UCLA
Kelly has shined in practice these past few days. Coming in, I wanted to examine how much burst he had in his movements, and I was impressed. He has exceptional stop-start ability, while also showcasing an elusive nature between the tackles. Kelly has potential as a receiver and could turn into a potential three-down back down the road.
WR: KJ Hill, Ohio State
KJ Hill will rise up draft boards significantly after this week. In practice, he showcased exceptional hip snap on his routes and was able to get in and out of his breaks with ease. He attacks blind spots efficiently and is able to create separation based off variation in his attack plan. Going forward, I could see a Terry McLaurin-like future for him. If a team took him in the third round, he could contribute instantly.
TE: Adam Trautman, Dayton
This starts the trend of smaller players who impressed this week, as Adam Trautman had a phenomenal showing. As a receiver, he showcased his athleticism and reliable hands. Where he impressed the most was his ability as a blocker. After the snap, he came out of his hips, had a compact strike, and drove through the whistle. He is aggressive in that area and will improve his draft stock as a multidimensional tight end.
OT: Ben Bartch, St Johns
Coming into this week, the question was whether Bartch could adjust to top level, Power 5 competition. That being said, Bartch showed he belongs in Mobile with the elite talent. In one-on-one drills, he showed refinement in all areas of play. Bartch showed polish in ability to set directly to the skill set of his target. He has not given a soft corner to speed, and has gotten to his set points to anchor down against power. Regarding play strength, Bartch held up against the best.
IOL: Lloyd Cushenberry, LSU
I was already a fan of Lloyd Cushenberry, and he reinstated my fandom this week. He has a thick frame that allows him to anchor down down against power rushes. When he does anchor, the ability for him to sink his hips and dig into his feet is showcased. In terms of posture, he is teaching tape. Cushenberry comes off the ball with exceptional bend and balance, which allows him to leverage oncoming defenders. Cushenberry is slowly pushing himself into first round consideration and will be a starting center for years to come.
Edge: Bradlee Anae, Utah
Bradlee Anae has been a technician this week off the edge. He showed improved strength to set a hard corner. As a pass rusher, his vast arsenal of hand moves and counters created a lot of wins in the one-on-one drills. There is subtlety to his game, as he will often attempt to make an offensive tackle prematurely flash his hands and give a soft shoulder in order to create space. Anae should be an instant contributor to an NFL roster, despite a lower ceiling.
DT: Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina
This is unsurprising, but Kinlaw showcased why he is going to be a top 15 pick. Physically, he imposed with his frame; particularly his lower-half. He is explosive off the ball and created significant knock backs quite often. Off the field, he had an incredible presence in his time with the media.
ILB: Malik Harrison, Ohio State
Coming in, I wanted to see Harrison cover opposing running backs in drills and team scrimmages. He looked fluid and earned an interception on the last day of practices. Being a player of his stature, it’s impressive to see the development of his skill set in Mobile. Harrison is going to be a steal for a team on Day 2 of the draft.
CB: Darnay Holmes, UCLA
In Mobile, Holmes was physical at the line of scrimmage. He showcased top level mirror and match capabilities. He is a fluid and technical defensive back who should be a top 100 pick in April. He impressed during interviews, and should be an interesting name to keep an eye on.
Safety: Kyle Dugger, Lenoir-Rhyne
Dugger is an athlete by nature, and that was seen throughout his week of practice. While some will view him as a linebacker, I’m convinced he should remain in the secondary. He is athletic and has exceptional ball skills. He plays with range, and can cover ground in a hurry. Dugger is another example of a small school player who has shown he can thrive in a competitive environment such as this one.
Photo Credit- Daily Herald