Early Senior Bowl Thoughts

The Senior Bowl will be coming up in a few weeks. Let’s talk about a few players of interest.

QB Baker Mayfield will be the headliner. He won the Heisman Trophy and those guys rarely play in all-star games. Mayfield is smart to do this. He can win over some teams who will have doubts about his ability to function in a more pro-style offense. The coaches will also spend a lot of time with him and that could be good. They’ll see just how driven and competitive Mayfield is. Those are key qualities in a QB prospect.

M.J. Stewart is a gifted, versatile DB. He can play in the slot or outside, and he makes plays wherever he lines up. Stewart finished his career at North Carolina with 47 pass breakups, 11.5 TFLs and 6 sacks. He can do it all. As NFL teams play more against 3 and 4-WR sets, they need DBs who can move around and be productive. Stewart is that guy.

Maurice Hurst lists at 6-2, 282, making him an undersized DT. Guys like Aaron Donald and Geno Atkins have thrived in the NFL despite lacking ideal size. Hurst is the same kind of quick, disruptive DT as them. Donald is a freak and on his own level, but Hurst is similar in style. He had 25 TFLs over the last 2 years and 12.5 career sacks. Hurst is disruptive and productive. He’s also clutch. When Michigan was desperate at the end of their bowl game, he took over and got the ball back for the offense. They still lost, but Hurst did everything he could. Fun player to watch.

Jaylen Samuels is a unique player. The Senior Bowl lists him as a FB. Samuels ran for 404 yards, caught 76 passes and also returned kickoffs as a Senior. He’s only 5-11, 223 so that’s an odd build. He would need to get up to 240 pounds to be a true FB. I hope he goes to a team that has creative coaches. Samuels is a player, not a position.

ILB Rashaan Evans looks like the next stud Bama LB. He’s not in the same class as Reuben Foster, but Evans is outstanding.

Evans can play the run, rush the passer and make plays all over the field. Teams that blitz a lot will probably like him a lot.

Brian O’Neill moved from TE to OT and started 37 games there in his career. He played both RT and LT. Pitt even used him on some trick plays. He ran the ball 3 times for 39 yards and 2 TDs. Not bad for an OT. O’Neill has a thin, athletic build that some teams will love.

TE Mike Gesicki is an athletic pass-catcher. He lists at 6-6, 252. That’s an excellent frame for a TE. Gesicki is a former volleyball star and basketball player. He has terrific movement skills. Watch him run and you’ll see a giant WR, not a normal TE. The only real problem is blocking. Gesicki is not a good in-line blocker. He must get stronger and use better technique. He also needs to embrace blocking. Gesicki is another player that needs a creative coach. He can be a weapon for the right team. If you just line him up like an average TE, he’s not going to do anything special.

Here is the updated roster from the Senior Bowl.


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