Senior Bowl Recap: Quarterbacks & Running backs

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I’ve had a week to decompress from my 2017 Senior Bowl experience and let my thoughts marinade. It was my second consecutive trip to Mobile and most memorable trip yet. This year I focused on making every minute count while still taking the time to socialize with as many great football minds as possible.

Talking football one on one with former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim Miller was one of the highlights of the week. I did my best to make my own player evaluations based on the body of work from watching all of the practices. It’s a learning process but at the end of the day it’s all about the experience. However for the Seniors invited, it’s a week long job interview and a golden opportunity to improve their draft stock. Without further ado here are the quarterbacks and running backs that impressed me the most this past week.  It’s safe to say they made some serious money this past week and improved their NFL draft stock in the eyes of coaches, scouts, and NFL front offices.

Quarterback

Nate Peterman stood out in Mobile. (247sports.com)

Nate Peterman stood out in Mobile. (247sports.com)

Nate Peterman- University of Pittsburgh (North Team)

The bar was set high last year at quarterback with a deep rookie class that was top-loaded with guys like Carson Wentz, Jared Goff, and former Senior Bowl MVP Dak Prescott.  Unfortunately there was no such QB talent on par this year in Mobile. The most consistent quarterback all week was hands down Nate Peterman from Pitt. Peterman was dialed in all week and very sharp in the short-intermediate passing game. More impressive to me was how good he interviewed on Media Night. Peterman stressed that he’s good leader, competitor, and ready for the transition to the NFL. He backed it up on the field Saturday leading the North Team to what should have been the go-ahead touchdown to Zay Jones while finishing 16-of-23 for 153 passing yards. Truth be told he’s a good developmental project for a team that is willing to be patient with him.

Davis Webb- University of California (South Team)

Davis Webb struggled early in the week at South Team practices but showed enough flashes to garner the attention of everyone watching. Make no mistake he looks the part standing 6-foot-4 while tipping the scales in Mobile at 229 pounds. Webb displayed an NFL-ready arm but struggled with accuracy issues which was the norm for signal callers this year in Mobile.

He ran hot and cold all week but seemed to save his best performance for Thursday’s practice and then carried it over with a great performance on Saturday to garner the Senior Bowl MVP award. Webb finished 11-of-16 for 165 yards with picture perfect touchdown pass to Josh Reynolds. Webb displays nice zip on his passes and specializes in throwing the deep ball into tight windows. If you’re looking for an upside developmental project at quarterback Webb is the guy you want to target. I could definitely see Webb creeping into Day 2 conversation with so many quarterback needy teams in the NFL.

Running back

Toledo Rockets Kareem Hunt

Glenn Andrews – USA TODAY Sports

Kareem Hunt- University of Toledo (North Team)

To me the biggest money maker of the week in Mobile outside of O.J. Howard was Toledo running back Kareem Hunt. All week long Hunt showcased his all-around outstanding skill-set that projects him to someday be a feature back in the NFL. Hunt displayed great balance along with some slippery moves in practice beating Michigan star corner Jourdan Lewis to the edge on a swing pass. Kareem has the resume to back up his performance in Mobile.  According to Profootballfocus.com Hunt led the nation with 100 forced missed tackles on runs and receptions in 2016. As I quickly observed firsthand on the hoof Hunt has some serious wiggle to his game. It helps that he dropped some weight and tipped the scales at 208 pounds in Mobile. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing since according to my sources it was all in his upper body and additional weight he could afford to lose.

Hunt told me that he expects to run a sub 4.5 40-yard dash which would further increase his draft stock. If he builds on his strong performance at the NFL combine I wouldn’t be shocked if he was the third running back to hear his named called at the podium after the clear cut top-tier duet of Leonard Fournette and Dalvin Cook. The way I see it Hunt checks all the boxes and offers the rare combination of power and speed that makes NFL coaches and scouts salivate.

Jamaal Williams- Brigham Young University (South Team)

Depending on who you ask some coaches and scouts would argue that Jamaal Williams was the best running back in Mobile. He was certainly impressive running hard downhill whenever he touched the football in practice. His physicality inspired one of my favorite tweets of Senior Bowl week. It sums up his style as a player, classic upright North/South bruiser.

Jamaal Williams isn’t a burner by any means and hopefully teams don’t undervalue him after his official 40-yard dash time is recorded at the NFL combine. Williams is a grinder and always keeps his legs churning in the pile looking for extra yards. He finished his collegiate career as BYU’s all-time leading rusher in addition to owning the single-game rushing record (286 yards) versus Toledo. For a bigger back he has surprisingly good balance and great vision. Williams profiles more as a short-yardage or goal-line running back than a 3-down workhorse at the next level. Regardless he deserves to be included in the second-tier of running back discussion after the household names of Fournette and Cook. Williams definitely has some sleeper appeal in a very deep rookie running back class.

I will have more to come later profiling the rest of the skill position players that stood out in Mobile.

Be sure to check out our Fakepigskin.com Angle of Pursuit podcast on iTunes or Stitcher talking NFL Draft, Senior Bowl, and player interviews.

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