Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter
Last week, several prospects raised their profile with good performance in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl and East-West Shrine Game. This weekend, an even higher-profile collection of top prospects were in action at the Senior Bowl.
The South team won comfortably, but which individual prospects stood out, and who should the Jets be playing close attention to throughout the rest of the draft process?
The big story all week was the battle between top quarterback prospects Baker Mayfield from Oklahoma, and Josh Allen from Wyoming. Mayfield started the week the strong, but Allen made up ground as the week went on. In the game itself, Mayfield didn't play much, but Allen played well, throwing two touchdown passes and impressing with his touch, accuracy, and ability to make plays with his legs. Both could be considerations with the sixth pick - if they last that long.
Three quarterbacks on the North team - Richmond's Kyle Lauletta, Western Kentucky's Mike White, and Kurt Benkert from Virginia - are all late-round prospects who had good moments to boost their stock. Lauletta, who threw three touchdown passes and walked away with the MVP award, was particularly impressive. These three will be closely scrutinized at the scouting combine, and if they outshine any of the current top five, perhaps they will get themselves in the mix to be a high pick. If not, they could be good developmental options if the Jets address their need for a starter prior to the draft.
There were a number of good performances at running back, but easily the best performance came from the nation's leading rusher Rashaad Penny, who accounted for 137 yards from scrimmage, including a 73-yard touchdown catch. After Kareem Hunt, the 2017 Rookie of the Year, was so impressive in last year's Senior Bowl, but lasted until the third round in the draft, teams will be considering Penny as a potential high-value option.
Several pass catchers made an impact, led by LSU's DJ Chark, who had five catches for 160 yards, including a long touchdown. While top prospect James Washington was shut out, Colorado State's Michael Gallup - another potential first rounder - showcased his all-round skills with 60 yards on three catches.
On the offensive line, UTEP's Will Hernandez is a player who drew rave reviews all week due to his nastiness. He backed that up in the game with a dominant performance up front, which included a good block on the move. That's important because his ability to block on the move has seen as a potential weakness. With the upgrades needed on the offensive line, a player like Hernandez would bring some good youth and potential to the mix.
On defense, UTSA's Marcus Davenport has seen his stock rise to the point where some are talking about him as a possible top-10 pick. He had an uneven week of practice, but was excellent in the game with an early sack and a few more pressures, including one that led to an interception. He also scored a touchdown on a fumble return.
Could he be in play with the sixth pick if the Jets have already addressed the quarterback position?
Oklahoma's Ogbonnia Okoronkwo also created constant pressure off the edge. On the inside, Stanford's Harrison Phillips was impressive, along with Poona Ford from Texas, who received a late invite after impressing at the Shrine Game last week.
At linebacker, SC State's Darius Leonard had a productive game against the run with 14 tackles, while Mike McCray from Michigan was good in coverage with two pass break-ups. Either one could be selected in the mid-rounds. The Jets need some depth at inside linebacker but whether or not they need a starter will depend if they are able to re-sign Demario Davis.
Although both offenses had success passing the ball - the teams combined for 678 yards and seven touchdowns through the air - there were still some good performances in the secondary. Two of the most impressive cornerbacks in practice all week were MJ Stewart from North Carolina and Boston College's Isaac Yiadom, and neither of those gave up any first downs in the game.
However, the defensive back that helped himself the most was South Alabama safety Jeremy Reaves who had an interception, a fourth down run stop, and a couple more pass break-ups. He also made a tackle on special teams.
A team like the Jets has so many needs that they will show interest in all of the top performers from this week. There will probably be candidates from this game for each of the Jets' selections, including the sixth overall pick.