Senior Bowl Winners: Offense

TEMPE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 23: Quarterback Justin Herbert #10 of the Oregon Ducks warms up before the college football game against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium on September 23, 2017 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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Well, sadly the week has come to an end and we now have to wait until 2021 for the next Senior Bowl. As I mentioned in my last article, this was my second time attending the event and it was even better than the first. I want to take a quick moment to thank Jim Nagy, the Executive Director of the Senior Bowl for organizing such an incredible event. The Senior Bowl is an amazing opportunity for seniors and early graduates to showcase their talent to the NFL. Many of the players thrived in their opportunity, here are my standouts from the week.

Quarterback: Justin Herbert, Oregon

The quarterback play at the Senior Bowl was interesting to say the least. There were two players that were clearly a tier above everyone else, those players being Jordan Love and Justin Herbert. No quarterback was perfect, but Herbert might have done enough to secure himself a spot in the top 10 come draft time. Herbert didn’t have a ton of chances to show off his arm, but this one throw is one of my favorites from the whole week.

This is very much a dangerous throw, but Herbert placed the ball in a perfect spot and it was one of the few times he really got to show off his arm.

On this throw Herbert displays his ability to throw a touch pass. He places the ball perfectly for the tight end, here is another view.

Here is another great throw from Herbert, he puts the pall on the receivers back shoulder in a perfect spot.

Here is another view.

Wide Receiver: KJ Hill, Ohio State

KJ Hill put on a show at the Senior Bowl. Ohio State fans will tell you this is nothing new and he has been doing this for years at Ohio State, but either way it was impressive to watch. First off he had the catch of the week which got the attention of everyone in the building.

Not only was he making flashy catches, his footwork was amazing. In this next clip watch Hill’s feet as he releases from the line of scrimmage. Every step has a purpose, and he gets the db to open his hips towards the sideline, right as he does that KJ plants his outside foot and has an easy release inside.

In this next clip you can see KJ Hill do the same release off the line of scrimmage, the db has a decent recovery but as he gets back into position KJ spins him around again.

Here is another view:

Wide Receiver: Van Jefferson, Florida

After the first day of practice at the Senior Bowl everyone was talking about KJ Hill and Van Jefferson, that did not change throughout the week. Like KJ Hill, Van Jefferson was very fluid in his route running. He was able to create plenty of separation as he cut in and out of his breaks. In this clip Van Jefferson chops his feet at the line of scrimmage, the db overextends his base and Jefferson releases to the outside. He sells the go route then sinks his hips, chops his feet and cuts inside becoming wide open.

This next clip was one of my favorites from the week. Here Van is explosive with every step, he gets the db to shift over every time he takes a step. As he takes the second step the db jumps inside and Jefferson releases outside creating tons of separation for the wide-open touchdown.

Wide Receiver: Denzel Mims, Baylor

By now you may be thinking “wow another receiver? Did you watch anything else?” The answer is yes, I did but these receivers are all very worthy of recognition. KJ Hill might have had the catch of the week, but Denzel Mims made sure there was a close second and third.

Denzel was physical at the line of scrimmage all week, often making the first contact with the db. On this rep Denzel makes first contact, releases to the outside and stacks the corner. The stack is so important, it blocks out the corner and allows the quarterback to drop the ball over the receivers’ shoulder.

I loved Denzel’s physicality at the Senior Bowl. In the last rep you saw how he made first contact with the db, in this next rep you will see just how effective initial contact can be. Mims packed enough punch to get this db of balance, allowing for an easy release and catch.

Offensive Tackle: Josh Jones, Houston

Josh Jones was a player that was gaining a lot of hype coming into the Senior Bowl week and he did not disappoint. Here Jones does a great job with his footwork keeping a square base and shutting down Syracuse edge rusher, Alton Robinson.

Here Josh Jones is able to get to the second level, take on another talented player in Wisconsin’s Zack Baun and completely take him out of the play.

This was my favorite rep from Josh Jones this week. Here Jones is lined up against North Carolina’s Jason Strowbridge (who had a phenomenal week), Strowbridge attempts to counter inside against Jones, Jones then just uses his pure strength and drives him to the ground.

 

Offensive Tackle: Ben Bartch, Saint John’s

Ben Bartch was one of my favorite players this week. They played Bartch at guard and tackle, however I feel that his best work was at tackle.  Coming from a division 3 school in Saint Cloud, Minnesota the biggest question for Bartch was, can he hold up against bigger competition…he did. In this clip Bartch is up against Alabama edge rusher Terell Lewis. Bartch is explosive out of his stance and does a great job sliding to always stay in front of Lewis.

Lewis wasn’t the only SEC player he had success against, here is against Florida’s Jabari Zuniga. Again, Bartch is explosive out of his stance, he doesn’t establish his hands right away but once he does, he gets his anchor and locks Zuniga up.

This clip pretty much speaks for itself, Bartch is able to get up to the next level and wash Penn State’s Cam Brown out of the play.

Sadly, his week ended in injury, and I wish Bartch a speedy recovery.

Interior Offensive Line: Lloyd Cushenberry, LSU

Cushenberry might have been the most dominant offensive lineman at the Senior Bowl. Cushenberry was lined up against Javon Kinlaw most of the week and it was incredible to watch. Kinlaw was near impossible for anyone to stop, but Cushenberry was one of the few to actually win a rep against Kinlaw. Here Cushenberry does a phenomenal job of getting his hands inside Kinlaw’s pads and establishing an anchor.

Here is another example of how good Cushenberry is with his hand placement (the tweet is part of a thread so I can’t separate it but enjoy the clip of Javon Kinlaw).

The Senior bowl was an absolute blast and I encourage everyone to attend. Jim Nagy has done a brilliant job of making the event accessible to anyone, whether you’re just a causal fan or trying to break into the football world. Be on the lookout for my next article highlighting the Senior Bowl winners on the defensive side.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
  • Joshua Kelly, RB, UCLA
  • Collin Johnson, WR, Texas
  • James Proche, WR, SMU
  • Damien Lewis, IOL, LSU

 

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