2009 Senior Bowl
Post game Report
The 2009 Under Armor Senior Bowl, held in Mobile, Alabama, promised to be one of the better games in Senior Bowl history and as it turned out, the South would steal the show and end up winning this one, 35-18.The South was lead to victory by a surprise player, but perhaps someone who was not so much of a surprise after having a strong week of practice, West Virginia quarterback Pat White. White helped to lead the south to victory under the strength of his arm and his solid play. But he was just one of the many stars that helped to make the South victorious in this game.
Here is a list of players who helped their cause in this past Saturday’s game:
West Virginia QB Pat White: White helped improve his case to be a quarterback, but he still lacks several of the key elements needed to be a successful quarterback in the NFL (such as size and accuracy). If anything, White’s performance made it harder to place him in a possible position at receiver in the NFL. He did throw a nice 39 yard touchdown pass, but only completed 4 of 10 passes overall and looked tiny behind center at just 6’ 0” 190 pounds.
Liberty running back (RB) Rashad Jennings looked good early and should get a look by NFL scouts. He doesn’t have much wiggle, but has nice size (6’ 1” 234 lbs) and a good burst. He rushed 9 times for 41 yards and a 4.6 yards per carry average.
LSU running back Quinn Johnson (6’ 0” 251 lbs), converted to full back in this game and was a pleasant surprise for the South team. For a big guy he showed nice hands coming out of the backfield catching 3 passes for 27 yards.
Alabama QB John Parker Wilson, quarterback for the South at times, was consistent, but not spectacular. He was still named offensive player of the game. He started out hot, but tailed off a little in the second half, he ended up completing 7 of 13 passes for 56 yards.
LSU offensive guard (OG) Herman Johnson played right offensive tackle during the game and while he looked tentative at times, he might have helped his cause for an offensive tackle position in the NFL. Yes he got beat a couple times and he still plays way to soft for a man that weighed in at 6’ 7” 382 pounds, but making the switch from left guard to right tackle with only a couple days of practice is difficult.
Iowa’s defensive lineman (DL) Mitch King looked good early and just makes play after play, but might not get drafted much higher than the fourth round due to his size (6’ 1 ½” and 275 lbs). He might be able to bulk up a little and play End, or lose some weight and play outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. He is a legitimate NFL talent, he just needs to find a position.
NC State’s RB Andre Brown (6’ 0” 224 lbs) had a pretty good game and could get a look as a fourth or fifth round (selection) in the 2009 NFL Draft. He doesn’t have top end speed, but really runs hard, breaks tackles and is elusive.
Quarterback (QB) Rhett Bomar, who played at tiny Sam Houston State (6’ 2” 224 lbs) looked decent and made some spectacular throws early in the game. He completed 6 of 11 passes for 75 yards, but in the 2nd half he got happy feet and was sacked twice, which really hurt his team. He has an NFL caliber arm, but his pocket presence is suspect. He has potential, but no, he is not this year’s version of Joe Flacco.
Clemson’s QB Cullen Harper was both hot and cold and he really needed a good game after such a bad season. He helped his stock a little with a solid week of practice.
Oregon running back Jeremiah Johnson (5’ 8” 198 lbs) looked good scoring a receiving touchdown against the South. He finished with 3 rushes for 22 yards and an impressive 7.3 yards per carry average. He also caught 2 passes for 26 yards with one catch being the TD.
One of the most consistent defensive backs on the field that night was the South’s cornerback (CB) Alphonso Smith (Wake Forest). He didn’t make any mistakes but didn’t have a lot of balls thrown to his side, however he made a nice break on the ball and almost intercepted a pass.
RB Kory Sheets (5’ 11” 203 lbs) from Purdue looked very good running the ball back on kickoffs. He definitely has a future as a kick return specialist in the NFL. He had one kick return for 61 yards and also looked solid carrying the ball 7 times for 32 yards.
Both DT Robert Ayers (Tennessee) and DT Peria Jerry (Ole Miss) looked outstanding on defense for the South team. Especially Ayers, who currently is the fastest rising NFL Draft prospect in the nation. Ayers is quick as a cat and has supreme size at 6’ 3” 273 pounds. He finished the game with 3 tackles, 1 tackle for loss and 2 sacks. Ayers looks like a perfect fit as an end in a 3-4 defense.
WR Patrick Turner really turned some heads at the practices leading up to the Senior Bowl and at the game itself. He really is sharp in and out of his cuts for a huge receiver (6’ 5” 221 lbs). He finished with 3 catches for 30 yards. It’s a mystery why he wasn’t more dominating during his career at USC.
RB Cedric Peerman (5’ 9” 210 lbs) from Virginia was the best looking running back on the field. Short, squat and powerful, he runs with reckless abandon. He finished with 5 carries for 34 yards and an impressive 6.8 yards per carry average.
Linebacker (LB) Marcus Freeman is slowly, quietly creeping up the draft boards. He isn’t flashy, but he is solid (6’ 0” 230 lbs) and does everything well. He was the game’s leading tackler with 8 total tackles.
A pair of corners that I really like are San Jose States’ Coye Francies (6’ 0” 179 lbs) and "Sleeper" pick Ellis Lankster (5’ 9” 191 lbs) from West Virginia. Francies is supposed to be good and he was, he finished the game with 5 tackles and 1 pass break up which saved a touchdown. Lankster came out of nowhere to have an excellent game; he finished the game with 5 tackles, 1 tackle for loss and an interception.
Penn States’ WR Derrick Williams (5’ 11” 197 lbs) displayed his versatility. He finished the game with 197 all purpose yards. 5 yards rushing, 19 receiving, 89 kick-off return yards and 11 punt return yards.
The interior of the offensive linemen was hard to evaluate, but I think a few of those trench warriors caught my eye. Alex Mack from California is the best looking center/guard that I have seen come out of college in quite some time. Mack, Oregons’ Max Unger and Louisville’s’ Eric Wood (6’ 4” 304 lbs), all rotated between guard and center. Wood and Mack are special, Mack should be gone by the end of the first round and Wood and Unger should be drafted soon after, but I am not so sure if Unger’s best position is at tackle, that’s where he played as a sophomore and he looked fantastic. Unger (6’ 5” 299 lbs) just doesn’t have the anchoring ability to hold up against an NFL bull rush.
The South’s offensive line didn’t give up a single sack and the North’s gave up 4 sacks and 7 tackles for loss. So in general, the offensive line play of LT Michael Oher, RT Herman Johnson, G/C Eric Wood, G/C Jonathan Luigs and G Tyronne Green held up very well.
Last but not least was sleeper WR Mike Wallace (6’ 0” 189 lbs) from Mississippi. He showed a good burst and nice hands catching a deep 39 yard pass for a Touchdown. He finished with 2 catches for 41 yards and 1 TD.
The following players lost some ground in the 2009 NFL Draft playing in the Senior Bowl:
Even though he was the game’s leading receiver catching 6 passes for 90 yards, Oklahoma’s WR Juaquin Iglesias didn’t look that good continuing his streak of mediocre play dating back to the BCS Championship game. He could have been more productive but he doesn't have a good sense of where he is on the field at times and he just doesn't seem to be able to make the big play.
Quarterback Graham Harrell had a rough outing and couldn’t throw the ball well or connect with his receivers. His arm strength looks extremely suspect, he just doesn’t look like the same quarterback that threw for over 5,000 yards and 45 touchdowns last year (2008) at Texas Tech.
Oklahoma offensive tackle Phil Loadholdt looked stiff and didn’t move his feet well during the game. He definitely has NFL size at 6’ 8” 343 pounds and he might have a chance at right tackle, but needs some serious work on his footwork.
Except for his touchdown pass to Johnson, Central Arkansas quarterback Nate Brown looked less than spectacular raising questions as to if he would even be drafted or not. He seemed to aim his balls and even though his stats were decent, I don’t think he has an NFL delivery.
Missouri safety William Moore played pretty much uninspired football and then left the game with an ankle injury. His stock definitely dropped after the game.