Alabama TE OJ Howard - Photo by: Courtland Richards
PewterReport.com was in Mobile, Ala. all week this week to give you wall-to-wall coverage of the 2017 Reese’s Senior Bowl.
With all three practices in the books, and all that’s left is for the game to be played, here were my top five offensive performers from each position.
After speaking with both Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter and general manager Jason Licht at the Senior Bowl, we know that a handful of the positions on these lists are not only options but priorities for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2017 NFL Draft.
1. NATE PETERMAN, PITTSBURGH
Peterman was clearly the best of the six quarterback who were at the Senior Bowl – even though that’s not saying much.
He ran with what you would label the first team all week, and was the only quarterback who showed he could push the ball beyond 20-25 yards (though he wasn’t consistently sharp with it). The Bucs may be looking for another backup QB if Mike Glennon leaves in free agency as expected, and Peterman is an option.
Projected Round: 3-4
2. DAVIS WEBB, CAL
Webb, though also inaccurate throughout the week, would be my second choice for quarterbacks. I went into the week with Tennessee’s Josh Dobbs as my No. 2 quarterback, but you’ll read below why I dropped him.
Webb had some good zips on throws, but, again, the NFL touch and accuracy just wasn’t there. Not many of these guys challenged the field at all.
Projected Round: 6
3. JOSH DOBBS, TENNESSEE
I was a Josh Dobbs fan after the 2014 season, and was really excited about him going into 2015. But about midway through that season, Dobbs’ efficiency began to drop. I’m not sure if it was because he was being asked to do so much (he was everything to that offense) or what. He continued to be inconsistent in 2016.
Dobbs, as I expected, made a handful of really nice plays this week. However, he also had a lot of mistakes. If I’m a team that needs QB depth in a running offense, I’m still for drafting Dobbs late because I think his ceiling is higher than his stock right now.
4. ANTONIO PIPKIN, TIFFIN
Pipkin had some buzz going into the week because his game tape was interesting. His mechanics weren’t great, but he had some really nice throws at times. He took off running too much, though, and that’s not what scouts wanted to see.
This week, he did have those handful of nice throws, but the ones around them were not even draftable. His delivery is really slow, and there’s hardly any zip on his passes. He does have that nice touch, but you have to make the standard throws to get to the touch throws. I don’t think Pipkin can in the NFL.
Projected Round: UDFA
5. SEFO LIUFAU, COLORADO
Liufau had a hot start to his year at Colorado, leading his team to a Top 10 ranking, but he got exposed quite a bit at the end of the season. He didn’t really stand out at all this week as a guy a team would consider drafting.
Toledo RB Kareem Hunt – Photo by: Courtland Richards
1. KAREEM HUNT, TOLEDO
Hunt was my top senior running back going into the week, and he ended the week at that same spot.
Hunt can really do it all. He showed great burst on plays with open space, and I thought he executed well as a receiver, too. He had a few touchdowns catching out of the backfield and even had a nice one-handed grab. I think he’s the total package.
Projected Round: 2-3
2. JAMAAL WILLIAMS, BYU
Williams was my No. 2 back going into the week, and, like Hunt, he exits in the same spot he came in – but that’s not a bad thing. I think Williams is also a potential full-time starting running back in the NFL, but his feet aren’t as quick as you’d like running through the hole at the line of scrimmage. He quite the athlete for his size. I think he’ll have a nice career.
3. MATT DAYES, USC
After Hunt and Williams, all I was looking for were guys who could make those splash plays. There was a few times this week where I watched a running back burst through a gap and get 15-20 yards down the field and ask, “who was that?”
Most of the time, it was Hayes. Though I don’t think he’s the No. 3 ranked back form this group, I think he had the third best week, and he also excelled in pass protection.
Projected Round: 6-7
4. COREY CLEMENT, WISCONSIN
Clement looked explosive this week, but not as much as Williams, Hunt or Hayes.
I still like him more than most. I think Clement runs hard, I think he runs with passion, and if I can get a guy with good athleticism and that mentality, I’ll take him in the later rounds
Projected Round: 4-5
5. DE’VEON SMITH, MICHIGAN
I hate to label Smith as a JAG (just another guy), but he sort of is.
He does everything that you would ask of the running back position at an average to above average level, but he’s not elite or even great at one area of his game. He’s a solid running back, but that title isn’t going to get him drafted too high in a league that thinks running backs are a dime a dozen.
Texas A&M WR Josh Reynolds – Photo by: Courtland Richards
1. JOSH REYNOLDS, TEXAS A&M
You’re going to read all kinds of articles this week that praise wide receivers Cooper Kupp, Tay Jones or Ryan Switzer as the most impressive receivers.
The man who held that title is Josh Reynolds. Reynolds showed off every skill you’d want to see from a No. 2 wide receiver in the NFL. He has strong, reliable hands and he works through contact well. He doesn’t have the best separation, but he does run good routes and consistently puts himself in situations to be thrown and catch the ball. His stock should’ve went way up after this week.
2. ZAY JONES, ECU
Zay Jones was lower on my radar going into the week, but I couldn’t help but notice him every day at practice.
He had a few nasty double moves that left cornerbacks and safeties helpless during red zone drills, and also made quite a few nice catches through contact. He leaves Mobile as my No. 2 receiver on the week.
3. COOPER KUPP, EWU
Kupp had a good week this week – a better week than Ryan Switzer.
Kupp showed nice footwork throughout camp, but what separated him from Switzer, in my opinion, was that he did a better job with balls in the air, high pointing catches and catching through contact. The NFL circles seemed to really love Kupp after this week. My love for him wasn’t that high, but it’s higher than Switzer.
Projected Round: 3
4. RYAN SWITZER, UNC
Now I have to clear up all that negative talk about on Switzer.
I thought he had a good week. I thought the wide receivers, though not ideal in size and athleticism overall, performed well as a group. Switzer was one of the guys who stood out with separation. I like him, but I’m worried about the whole being 5-foot-8 thing. He’s really small and has a real short catch radius. His production will be niche.
Projected Round: 5
5. CHAD WILLIAMS, GRAMBLING
I’ll admit, I didn’t watch a single game of Chad Williams going into this week.
Williams was a late addition to the Senior Bowl, but he made every bit of his opportunity. On the first day, Williams had back-to-back-to-back catches during the one-on-ones, including one where he blew by cornerback Damontae Kazee for a touchdown. He seemed very natural as a receiver, and I’m intrigued by him. He earned this fifth spot over Michigan’s Amarah Darboh, who I had at about the same level during this week.
1. O.J. HOWARD, ALABAMA
The draft class’ No. 1 tight end came in as the top tight end and left at that same spot.
O.J. Howard showed the NFL world in person that he could do it all. He’s a huge mismatch in the middle of the field, and he’s a willing, strong blocker. All he did was boost his stock this week.
After talking to certain people close to the Buccaneers, the interest for O.J. Howard in Tampa is high.
Projected Round: 1
2. EVAN ENGRAM, OLE MISS
There were concerns about Evan Engram coming into the Senior Bowl, whether it be his smaller size or inability to block.
I think he settled most of those worries. His size was pretty true to what people thought (smaller than most NFL tight ends), but he performed through it, as he did all year at Ole Miss. He’s not the blocker Howard is, but he was the second best pass-catching tight end.
3. GERALD EVERETT, SOUTH ALABAMA
Gerald Everett had some nice production in college, and he’s one of those former basketball guys that broadcasters love to talk about.
I’m worried about his hand size (only 8.25 inches), but I can’t totally discount production due to that if I see him overcome it over and over. He makes up for it like Josh Reynolds does. He’s a good athlete for the position.
Toledo TE Michael Roberts – Photo by: Courtland Richards
4. MICHAEL ROBERTS, TOLEDO
Roberts played at the West-West Shrine Game last week, and because he was such a standout, the Senior Bowl committee decided to call him up when other players either declined their invite or were injured.
Roberts did OK. He didn’t stand out nearly as much as he did last week. He struggle in pass protection and when holding onto the ball. But, he did show nice flashes of plays for a guy with that kind of size. He’s still worth investing in late.
5. JEREMY SPRINKLE, ARKANSAS
From what I heard from around NFL circles, Sprinkle came into the Senior Bowl as the No. 3 tight end behind Howard and Evans. However, I didn’t see what I wanted to see from Sprinkle.
He was athletic, yes, but I thought he really struggled to separate. If he wasn’t running in a straight line, it was tough for him to get space to make catches. I wasn’t a fan of his this week.
1. FORREST LAMP, OT, WKU
Lamp was the best offensive lineman on the field for the one day he was able to participate before being injured.
He’ll probably play guard in the NFL, but he really does have that Zack Martin kind of versatility NFL teams will love to draft.
Projected Round: 1-2
2. TAYLOR MOTON, OT, WESTERN MICHIGAN
Taylor Moton was listed at guard when he accepted his invitation to the Senior Bowl back in November. However, this week he played at tackle and played it extremely well.
CBS Sports currently has Moton as their No. 5 ranked offensive tackle in the class, but I think he’s the No. 3 or even No. 2 guy after this week. He was a stud.
Projected Round 2
3. DAN FEENEY, OG, INDIANA
If it weren’t for Lamp, Feeney would have been the best interior offensive lineman this week.
Feeney is so reliable. He can take on different kinds of assignments whether it’s going up against big run stoppers or fast, flashy pass rushers. I think he’s a complete guard.
Projected Round: 2
4. ETHAN POCIC, OG-C, LSU
Buccaneer fans know Pocic’s name because I’ve proposed him as a possible selection for Tampa Bay if the team were to use a top 60 pick on an offensive lineman. I still would tell you I don’t think they’re going to do that, but Pocic remains a good top 60 pick, regardless.
What was so impressive to me about Pocic was how he recovered after being beat off the snap. There were a few times where the quicker, more explosive Montravious Adams or Jaleel Johnson would beat him off the snap with a good swim or rip move, but Pocic would calmly recover and get right back in front of him before they could reach the quarterback. That was impressive.
5. ANTONIO GARCIA, OT, TROY
Though Garcia struggled a bit more than I thought he would this week, he still has a lot of solid tape.
He has a strong upper body, but was just beaten with certain moves when he wasn’t about to get his arms under the pads of his assignments. I think he was caught off guard by how fast some of these pass rushers really were. He’ll be fine, though.
Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: [email protected]
I was impressed by what I saw, but it’s really hard to make comparisons when so many guys are not there. I love OJ Howard, but I wish I could have seen David Njoku, Bucky Hodges, and Jordan Leggett too. I know the rules and I know agents will point to Jake Butt and warn against the risk of injury. But, like Howard, it would be nice to see the players play the game. JMO.
Hunt in round 2 to 3? The man crush is strong on this one Trevor!
Nice job Trevor. I too thought O.J. Howard and Scott’s cousin Josh Reynolds stood out and looked the part. It will be interesting to see how these prospects fare at the Combine.
To get a pass catcher in round 1 and Poic in round 2 would be a good draft. The pass catcher can be either a WR or TE. I would of course love to get O.J. Howard but who knows what will be available at 19. Will the Bucs trade down if no one they love is available at 19, I hope so.
The Senior Bowl is more about how well the players practiced during the week leading up to the game. For those who don’t follow the running commentary or videos the analysis provided by Mayock and company are the only source for a players evaluation. The game gives very marginal insight into the players potential with a few exceptions Kupp, Zaye Jones, and Reddick. I watch it as I will watch the “Underwear Olympics,” but the real red meat is how the player performed during his college career.
The more I see OJH I really like him, if he runs 4.6 or 4.7 their are SO may ways to use him with Cam B. If Zay Jones can be drafted in third Rd. that would be GREAT.
Also liked the player from Grambling. Chad Williams he may play with a chip on his shoulder.
Well this is what I took from watching the senior bowl practices and game, I really liked Zay Jones he was almost unstoppable at wide out of not for a holding call to bring back his 40 yd td he would have been best wide out in the game. I also like Davis Webb a lot too he played extremely well in game having nice velocity and touch on ball esp. on deep ball for td, I have also seen him play in college vs Asu in person and he threw for 500 yds so yeah I like him. Non of the O line really impressed esp the tackles as they were beat to much for my liking in the o line vs d line drills, Lamp is talked about as the best but he was smoked playing guard in one on one drills so we will see how he transitions there from tackle. I like the corner Kazee from San Diego St the most has great ball skills and great feet better than top corner Tra devious White from LSU in my opinion
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