Senior Bowl: Christian Watson Leads Five Winners From Mobile

by Pat Pryor
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Once again, the Reese’s Senior Bowl has put on an excellent product. From the week of practices to the game itself, this is one of the best pre-draft events of the offseason. This year was a collection of absolutely fantastic talent, and it showed. So who exactly upped their draft stock the most last week? Well, let’s take a look. 

1. Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State

Everyone in the NFL draft community has heard about Watson recently. However, his great Senior Bowl practices were nothing new to the Bison veteran. He’s got a large frame, standing at 6’4” with nearly 33 inch arms. Still, he very shifty and great in creating separation.

Watson can be physical but also possesses superb speed and acceleration. He can keep up with defensive backs while it looks like he’s out for a jog. He was only targeted twice on Saturday, but drew a PI and had a nice diving catch. There were several times in one on one’s that he just looked unstoppable. Watson can be a deep threat at the next level, open over the middle, or take an end around. He had by far the best week for a receiver, and definitely got his name out to GM’s. 

2. Travis Jones, DT, UConn

There are a lot of words that one could use to describe Travis Jones last week at the Senior Bowl. The one that stood out to me the most is relentless. Even when offensive linemen got off to a good start, Jones still pushed back with immense strength and found his way into the backfield.

If your quarterback holds onto the ball, Travis Jones will punish you for it. He also has the ability to finesse around blockers, and reaches with his 34 inch arms. In the game itself, he finished with three tackles and a sack, manhandling Dylan Parham back into Bailey Zappe. This Senior Bowl week alone, he may have bumped himself up into a day two pick, making himself a premium defensive tackle.

3. Boye Mafe, Edge, Minnesota

It’s no secret that the defensive lines dominated over practices in the game. Perhaps no one did better in both at the Senior Bow,l than Boye Mafe. Representing the National Team, he had two sacks, another tackle for loss, and an explosive strip sack on Sam Howell.

He has speed and explosiveness, and challenges any tackle he comes across. Mafe has great hand movement and power, and is very twitchy.  He’s extremely physical with some well polished moves. This is an incredibly deep edge class, and Mafe having a fantastic week will simply add to it. Will Mafe be just the third Golden Gopher to go day two or higher in 5 years? We’ll have to wait until the NFL Draft to find out, but this week certainly helps his case.

4. Perrion Winfrey, DT, Oklahoma

Of course the Senior Bowl MVP will make this list. Winfrey finished with two sacks, three tackles for loss and five total tackles. On his first sack, he used his 34 1/2 inch arms, the longest at the Senior Bowl to reach out and take down Sam Howell. His second was a quick play getting around Ed Ingram to blow up Bailey Zappe.

Winfrey is explosive and can always get into the backfield. Yet another player from a great group of defensive linemen at the Senior Bowl. It was tough to stand out amongst the talent, but Winfrey did.

5. Dameon Pierce, RB, Florida

Pierce was underutilized at Florida, with 106 attempts in 2020 just 100 in 2021. He saw the opportunity to prove himself at the Senior Bowl and took it. While he didn’t perform much in the game, with five rushes for 17 yards and one reception for five yards, he was great at practice.

He’s a tough runner who won’t go down after first contact. Pierce will barrel down hill with nice speed. One of his most notable highlights, is a pass blocking rep where he shows absolute physical dominance, getting the entire National Team hyped. In a deep running back draft, this past week has helped Pierce make a name for himself.

 

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