At the end of every Senior Bowl there is always a list of players who helped themselves financially on the field. Here is our list of prospects who make up the 2018 Senior Bowl Money Makers:
Baker Mayfield QB Oklahoma – Throughout the week at the Senior Bowl there was a constant buzz revolving around the quarterback position, among those players being Oklahoma’s Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield. Overlooking his lack of height, Mayfield did exactly what he needed to do in Mobile to show scouts his ability to operate under center, work the three and five-step drops, and sling the ball down the field with solid velocity. He will never be known as a guy with a howitzer for an arm, however with the right offensive coordinator who understands how to build an offense around a mobile quarterback, he can be successful. Much like the Seattle Seahawks tinkering with their offense to fit Russell Wilson, I would expect the same strategy/blueprint for the team that drafts Mayfield. If there's one impression I took away from Mobile, it is that Baker Mayfield looks the part of a first round quarterback.
B.J. Hill & Justin Jones DT N.C. State – During the 1-on-1 portion of drills this week there was a constant theme – Wolfpack defensive linemen abusing the offensive linemen they got matched up with. The rise of B.J. Hill and Justin Jones of N.C. State will be one of the biggest stories to take away from the Senior Bowl, as each did their part to impress scouts with their ability to collapse the pocket and make life difficult for the offensive line. Hill fits the mold of a Linval Joseph-esque one-technique inside whose sheer size and strength give him a complete package as a run defender and pocket-collapsing bull rusher. Jones fits the mold of an up-the-field three-technique who flashed a terrific combination of get-off acceleration and strength to get underneath the guard’s shoulder pads and walk him back into the backfield.
Will Hernandez OG UTEP – Each year there is one offensive lineman who stands out at the Senior Bowl as the premier line prospect. This year it was UTEP offensive guard Will Hernandez. One of the largest players in attendance, Hernandez was a mauler up front all week as he showed exceptional strength in both pass and run blocking. Hernandez looked the part of a legitimate rookie starter for a team next season, and figures to be drafted among the Top 50 picks in April.
Kyzir White LB West Virginia – The younger brother of current Chicago Bears wide receiver Kevin White, Kyzir White had an impressive week of practices, flashing sideline-to-sideline range and impressive feet and hips when working in coverage. He aced the 1-on-1’s against tight ends and running backs, and established himself as one of the top senior safeties in the draft.
Harrison Phillips DT Stanford – The big, burly defensive tackle from Stanford did not waste time trying to impress scouts. Our headline player from Tuesday’s practices, Phillips was a one-man wrecking crew this week as he chewed up smaller guards and centers in 1-on-1’s. Pending a strong combine, he has what it takes to play early for a team next year.
Isaac Yiadom CB Boston College – Among the cornerbacks who flashed big-time abilities this week was Boston College’s Isaac Yiadom. A smooth, quick footed corner with the speed to man up with the faster receivers vertically, Yiadom had a number of big time pass breakups, flashing excellent man-to-man coverage skills. As a true cover corner with good height and length (6’0, 185 lbs), he is a player that many scouting departments will be going back and watching more of this spring.
Brian O’Neill OT Pittsburgh – One of the other offensive linemen who stood out in a major way was Pittsburgh’s Brian O’Neill. At 6’6, 298 lbs, he is well-built and has an ideal frame for a prototypical tackle prospect. He played very well at right tackle in Mobile, and regardless of whether he stays there or moves to the left side, O’Neill did enough to establish himself as one of the cleaner offensive line prospects in this year’s draft.
Nathan Shepherd DT Fort Hays State – Among the small-schooler’s who benefitted most from this week was Nathan Shepherd, a strong and explosive defensive tackle from Fort Hays State. Shepherd tore through opposing centers all week in 1-on-1’s and reminded me of the type of performance that Cedric Thornton had in Mobile in 2011 when he was coming out of Central Arkansas. While Thornton mistakenly went undrafted, he has carved out a seven-year career with 48 career games started. At 6’3, 310 lbs, Shepherd has the size to collapse the pocket inside as well as the anchor to defend the run. I’d expect his name to rise as we head towards the Combine.
Shaquem Griffin LB UCF – Arguably the best story of this week’s Senior Bowl is Central Florida linebacker Shaquem Griffin. One of the defensive leaders of the Golden Knights’ undefeated season in 2017, Griffin is most well-known for only having one hand (he was born without a left hand). Griffin excelled in pass rush drills, flashing speed, quickness, and the type of get-off to get home in the NFL. However, it is going to take an “outside-the-box”-type of thinking General Manager to sign off on drafting a player that is certain to have schematic limitations. Yet, for all of the questions that Griffin arrived in Mobile with, I left the Senior Bowl with the impression that a team will absolutely give his athleticism a shot. This is absolutely a story worth watching as we inch closer to draft day.
Alex Cappa OT Humboldt State - Leaving Mobile as "one of the nastiest" offensive lineman in the draft, as one scout put it to me, Humboldt State's Alex Cappa is a strong, feisty blocker who pummels defenders with controlled explosion. He is still a bit raw technically and fundamentally, which is what you expect from small school players, however Cappa is the type of player that offensive line coaches will be falling in love with as they learn more about during the scouting process.
James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State
Colby Gossett, OG, Appalachian State
Isaiah Wynn, OG, Georgia
Poona Ford, DT, Texas
Akrum Wadley, RB, Iowa
M.J. Stewart, CB, North Carolina
Kallen Ballage, RB Arizona State