One of the annual traditions of the NFL Draft process takes place today, with college graduates coming together to play in the Senior Bowl. This event, which usually features a handful of first round picks and a large number of second and third round selections each year, is the central place for scouts to come together and interact with players in a football setting.
The players have been practicing all week, and this afternoon they’ll play the game. Here’s what you’ll need to know for today’s event!
Reese’s Senior Bowl 2017
Time: 2:30pm ET
Location: Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, Alabama
Television : NFL Network
Starting quarterbacks: Nate Peterman (North), Josh Dobbs (South)
Names to know
Haason Reddick, LB, Temple
This year’s Senior Bowl practices were lacking a dominant performance like Aaron Donald’s 2014, but the most impressive player on the field was probably Reddick. The 6’2” 237 player was effective shedding blockers, tackling in space, and dropping into coverage this week. That’s significant, because he was playing inside linebacker after spending his college career as an edge rusher.
Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington
If Reddick was the defensive MVP, Kupp was the favorite on the offensive side of the ball. The Senior Bowl practice environment tends to make the best route-runners shine, and Kupp routinely won his matchups in every drill of the week. His profile screams Wes Welker, but teams should keep in mind that he’ll enter the league at 24 years old, playing his rookie season at the same age that DeAndre Hopkins was about to begin year four of his career.
Nate Peterman, QB, Pitt
Peterman was the most successful quarterback out of this year’s pedestrian group of seniors. He played with good precision and pocket presence during practice, and earned some comparisons to Aaron Murray for it.
Chad Williams, WR, Grambling State
This small-school receiver had a nice week of practice, joining the roster as an injury replacement for one of the other receivers who begged out of this week. He had several good interactions with the South coaching staff and won a nice number of one-on-one matchups.
Taylor Moton, OT, Western Michigan
Antonio Garcia, OT, Troy
Will Holden, OT, Vanderbilt
Forrest Lamp, OG, Western Kentucky
In a year that hasn’t seen any highly-lauded offensive linemen from big-name schools (Alabama’s Cam Robinson perhaps being the exception), the Senior Bowl was a chance for the small-school guys to shine. Each of these names stood out for their technical prowess in drills during the week, and could potentially be first- or second-day selections in the NFL Draft. Lamp sprained his ankle and had to pull out of today’s game, but the other three are worth watching.
Obi Melifonwu, S, Connecticut
We have a healthy crop of safeties this year, and Melifonwu is the latest name to come in and surprise some scouts. First came his impressive measurements at the weigh-in, where he reported in at six-foot-four and 219 pounds. Then he stepped on the field and showed arguably as much ability in man coverage as most of the cornerbacks in practice. His rare combination of size and fluid hips will make him a coveted asset on draft weekend.