Last week was Senior Bowl week, so that means it is officially NFL Draft season! Obviously, this one week of practice cannot rewrite history or replace what we have seen on film throughout a player’s college career. This is just another set of data for us to use in our draft process. I also do not put a lot of stock in the actual Senior Bowl game, as a lot of players opt not to play in the game after putting in a good week of practice. I watched the game, but the practices are the most important part of the week.
After watching all three days of Senior Bowl practice (and the game), here are my Stock Stock down players for the week. Obviously, not all players who will be drafted in April were at the Senior Bowl, but these players may need to perform well at their Pro Days and/or the NFL Combine to help their draft stocks bounce back.
Bo Nix, Oregon
Overall, all of the quarterbacks had their struggles last week, but Nix has a chance to be a first-round pick in the draft this year, so this was a big week for him. I am not sure if it was. I had high expectations coming into Senior Bowl week for him and Michael Penix Jr., but I was not impressed by either quarterback in practice last week. I thought Nix’s first day of practice was his worst of the week, and then he slowly got a little better each day; when the lights came on for the game, he played well in his two series of work. In the Senior Bowl itself, Nix completed four of five passes for 21 yards and a touchdown, so he showcased his leadership and decision-making skills during the game. I am not going to move down to the second round of the draft yet because, with the right team, he could still be a great pro. However, instead of showcasing his skills and potentially moving up into the top 10 of the draft, he will now be a mid-to-late first-round pick in the NFL draft.
Michael Penix Jr, Washington
Some of the scouts I have been hearing and reading recently believe Penix will be a second-round pick at this point. His stock is mostly depressed because of medical concerns with two shoulder issues and two knee injuries during his college career, so the NFL Combine will tell us a lot more about Penix than this week at the Senior Bowl did. There are some scouts who say there are work ethic concerns with Penix as well, but that is hard to believe with how well he worked his way back from his injuries, so time will tell on that one. I think during the week, Penix showed that he can make all the throws in a clean pocket, but if you get him off his spot and make him move in the pocket, then he is not as accurate and makes poor decisions on where to throw. I am also not a fan of his throwing motion, and a lot of teams might not like that as well and may try to change it at the next level. Overall, I just wanted to see more from him during the week of practices at Mobile and at the end of the week I just did not see a first-round quarterback when I was watching him.
Sam Hartman, Notre Dame
Hartman came into Senior Bowl week as the oldest player in Mobile at 24 years old; he will turn 25 in July. He struggled during his quarterback reps throughout the week. He does well on timing plays with short and intermediate routes, but he really struggles with his accuracy on deep routes. He did play in the Senior Bowl game, but it did not go well for him as he completed just seven of 25 passes for 69 yards and an interception. He did add 27 rushing yards, so he can scramble and make off-script plays at times. Overall, it was not the week Hartman was looking to have, and he will likely be a day-three pick at the NFL Draft in April.
Devontez Walker, North Carolina
It was a rough week for Walker. He came into Senior Bowl week as one of the top receivers in this year’s draft class, but that did not translate to the practice field. He did not run good, crisp routes, and he had too many drops during the week of practice. He did play in the game itself, but he continued to struggle there as he dropped two more passes from Nix on the first two drives of the game. Walker ended the game with six targets, but no catches. A promising week that could have helped him land in the first round of the draft ended with a lot of questions. He will probably be a mid-to-late second-round pick unless he improves his stock during the NFL Combine or his Pro Day.
Johnny Wilson, Florida State
This was a big week for Wilson to showcase his ability and stand out in a loaded wide receiver draft class, but unfortunately, between him getting injured during the week and some spotty play before the injury, I do not believe he helped his draft stock last week. He battled through injuries his entire college career at Florida State, so I am sure scouts wanted to see him make it through the entire week of practice without any injury concerns, but that did not happen. Now we will have to wait until the NFL Combine to see how his medicals check out; hopefully, he will perform well there and on his Pro Day because he has a ton of talent when he is healthy. I can see him going in the late second or early third round in this year’s NFL Draft if his medicals come back clean at the Combine.