Despite COVID-19’s greatest efforts, the 71st Senior Bowl took place in Mobile, Alabama. The Senior Bowl is the unofficial kickoff to draft season. With the 2021 NFL Combine undergoing major reforms, the CFB season being reduced in many ways, as well as scouts being largely unable to attend games or interact with players over the past year, the Senior Bowl took even more precedence this year. Jim Nagy and the Reese’s Senior Bowl crew provided well thought out accommodations and the event went on as it has for the seven decades prior, which gave the scouting process a wonderful sense of normalcy.
There is plenty to take from the event in Mobile, 135 players participated throughout the week. With the NFL salary cap potentially reduced up to $25 million from last season as opposed to the expected $10 million growth that typically occurs in non-CBA years, this draft could have major implications, perhaps beyond what we’ve seen before in terms of rookies being asked to take on a major role next year.
The offensive and defensive line play dominated the Senior Bowl. There were certainly playmakers across the board, but I found myself encapsulated in the battles going on at the line of scrimmage. There were several players who stood out consistently. I’m not going to get into Quinn Meinerz, because at this point, you’ve already seen his highlights and heard of his legendary week. I will simply add that he’s a stud who has smooth feet, refined hand strikes and outstanding drive from his lower half. If you haven’t, a quick Google search will bring an assortment of clips and articles.
Let’s dive into some other Senior Bowl standouts that might be able to help the Baltimore Ravens in the 2021-22 season:
Creed Humphrey, C, Oklahoma University-
Humphrey only got better as the week moved on. He’s not an elite athlete in terms of speed or movement skill, but he’s a stalwart between the B-gaps who has extremely strong recovery skills. His vice grip hands and wrestling background seem to give him confidence in allowing interior rushers to work laterally, show their intention, then reset and wall them off. When attacked downhill, Humphrey has a strong anchor and good hand placement. While a natural center who was a three year starter at Oklahoma, Creed displayed some awesome reps at guard as well, showing his sturdy base and versatility.
Creed Humphrey putting Levi in jail on this one. Levi was slow off the snap and Creed clamped him. Nice drive to FINISH! pic.twitter.com/ZxqV74nnTo— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) January 27, 2021
Creed Humphrey BULLYING and DESTROYING folks... again at LG. His hand placement has been awesome. Chest strike after chest strike.— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) January 29, 2021
Patrick Jones had a tough week in one on ones. pic.twitter.com/IrTrfQb2d2
Creed Humphrey lining up at guard and still dominating.— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) January 29, 2021
Humphrey gets under the rushers outside arm, lifts his wrist and wins outside, while using his inside hand to attack the chest plate and drives. Good stuff!!! pic.twitter.com/sZVaTnydnt
Creed Humphrey with a quiet pass set and stuff. Better every day in Mobile... pic.twitter.com/rDonTXoevT— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) January 29, 2021
Fine I’ll draft Creed Humphrey in the first. pic.twitter.com/7xkfru3eMN— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) January 29, 2021
Per Pro Football focus, Humphrey didn’t allow a single sack in nearly 1,300 pass blocking snaps as a Sooner. He’s a technically sound pass protector who can stymie bull rushes regularly, plus is a people mover between the B-gaps. He isn’t a super mobile center, but can get the job done pulling. Humphrey is a lifelong center, who would bring snap consistency to a Ravens team that desperately needs it. While it’s early, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Humphrey go before the 27th pick in the draft, but it feels more likely that Humphrey goes in the 25-40 range of the draft. The Ravens could do much worse in the first round, although rookie centers tend to experience a bit of a learning curve. Humphrey will likely be off the board before the Ravens are slated to pick in the second round (58th overall).
David Moore Jr., C/G, Grambling St.
Moore was anointed the American Team’s offensive linemen of the week by the defensive linemen he faced throughout the week. He showed improved lateral quickness to accompany his devastating strike power and drive. He had a few of the “wow” plays of the week. His versatility is intriguing. He’s a bit shorter than the traditional guard, at only 6-foot-1, but uses his natural leverage well and is a bowling ball among pins working into the second level.
Grambling’s David Moore Jr. was named top OL on the American team in a vote from the DL group at practice player-of-the-week awards ceremony tonight at 2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl. #TheDraftStartsInMobile pic.twitter.com/eRPjX1SbWu— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) January 30, 2021
Senior Bowl: David Moore climbing off the OZ combo, tossing, and finishing a LB in 9-on-7 yesterday. pic.twitter.com/WuivQGDuct— Brandon Thorn (@BrandonThornNFL) January 27, 2021
LOTS to unpack— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) January 29, 2021
David Moore of @GSU_TIGERS with the BLOCK OF THE WEEK looking for work. Holy COW.@TAMU Kellen Mond with a SEED to @UAB_FB Austin Watkins who makes a big body catch.
Awesome play. pic.twitter.com/cceLvf0AVL
Everyone was enamored by this throw by #Alabama QB Mac Jones yesterday but I'm more impressed by the work up front.— Devin Jackson (@RealD_Jackson) January 28, 2021
Left side of the line, with LT Dan Moore Jr., LG Jack Anderson, and OC David Moore with great hand placement and protection for Jones on this play. pic.twitter.com/6bBRyeasO2
#GramblingState OL David Moore lined up at Center here, has an awesome rep against #USC DL Marlon Tuipulotu. Keeps his hands inside, stonewalls him, wins the rep.— Devin Jackson (@RealD_Jackson) January 27, 2021
One of my sleepers coming in already making plays. pic.twitter.com/EQyYSW38uL
Moore is the mauler that the Ravens are currently missing up front. He can drive off the ball, work to the second level, pass or take double teams well and looks for work in pass pro. He consistently keeps his hands low and inside. He moves incredibly well for his 350 pound frame, much more fluid than Deonte Brown (who has a similar but larger build) and showed great work into the second level all week. The versatility between center and guard would be a welcome sight. As a center, Moore would be an awesome counter against bull rush heavy 1-technique defenders.
Dillon Radunz, OT/OG, NDSU.
Radunz improved his stock as much as anyone in Mobile throughout the week. Proving lean as opposed to undersized, he emphatically erased concerns about size and competition level. His even keel stance, balance, flexibility and no-nonsense strikes silenced his opponents day after day.
Dillon Radunz locking Rashad Weaver up. Just textbook stance with power through his right leg, quick jabs to gain depth, vice grip and drive through the hips with back bend. pic.twitter.com/mamsBB4CJP— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) January 27, 2021
Gotta love to see the two higly touted FCS linemen Dillon Radunz (LG) and Soencer Brown (RT) opening up the run lane for Michael Carter! pic.twitter.com/0jtYe7M213— Lorenz (@lorenzz14) January 29, 2021
Dillon Radunz is so light on his feet and smooth. Keeps everything in front of him. Changes direction seamlessly. pic.twitter.com/32LAk1gFiJ— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) January 29, 2021
The former Bison showed incredible movement skill. He flew down the field on screens, pulled from guard alignments gracefully and rarely misstepped in pass protection. Radunz looked almost as if an NFL veteran snuck in to show the young bucks how it was done. His frame carries virtually no bad weight and he anchors extremely well considering his mobility. I would be utterly shocked to see Radunz slip out of the top 40 picks in April. He solidified that he was worth a first round pick throughout the week seamlessly integrating into each variation of drills and simulated games. Considering that NDSU only played one game this past fall, he was all the more impressive. If Radunz had been remotely overwhelmed in Mobile, it could’ve been chalked up to rust compounded by playing against higher level competition than he’s accustomed to. The fact that he performed so well he was ultimately named player of the week by his peers goes to show the level of talent that the 22-year-old possesses.
D’Ante Smith, OT, ECU
Smith is probably a dominant post defender on a basketball court. He has rapid and precise feet that shift his 6-foot-7, 290 pound frame in a hurry. He spent some time at guard in Mobile, but he’s a bit too long and thin there. He’s plenty violent in space as a tackle and plays through the whistle with finishing power. Smith appears to have great stamina, often outlasting rushers and putting them in the dirt. With his length, mobility and violence, he showed everything teams want in pass pro from an OT. His quick feet allow him to be aggressive early in reps, particularly when rushers try to beat him with speed rushes around the arc. He trusts his feet and length to recover if he does get beat, which wasn’t often throughout the week.
ECU’s D’Ante Smith has made some big time money this week. Those feet keep moving decisively, good knee bend, shewwwww pic.twitter.com/SZAdpsUx7m— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) January 28, 2021
ECU’s D’Ante Smith hasn’t lost a rep so far.— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) January 27, 2021
Great foot speed and rhythm. Good knee bend as he tosses Roche when he tries to speed club. Drives and resets then puts him in jail. Clamped. pic.twitter.com/731WsPRdgv
Howard Mudd is the best OL coach I’ve ever been around. He was always obsessed with how guys recover. This is an awesome rep by ECU’s D’Ante Smith! pic.twitter.com/5DBXTApMUv— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) January 27, 2021
Smith still needs some refinement in close quarters, but his violent finishing coupled with length and mobility are glorious. The 2021 tackle class is incredibly deep, and Smith could be available in the third round. Some label him a “project”, but he just needs to keep his eyes up in power run situations.
Trey Smith of Tennessee and Alex Leatherwood of Alabama both had their early struggles. Leatherwood consistently struggled with strike placement, while Trey Smith continuously attempted to jump set 3/4i technique defenders. Leatherwood was beat around the arc by a litany of rushers, failing to gain depth in his sets to activate his length.
Leatherwood may be best suited to move inside as a guard with great length at the next level. Smith had an enlightening on the final day of practice in Mobile, where he shut down all opposition with strength and technique.
Trey Smith’s feet MUCH better on day three in his pass sets. Nice early punch to stop momentum, good rhythm in his steps and locks up. Rusher couldn’t lift his hand off of him. Great rep. pic.twitter.com/C2EVguibdc— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) January 29, 2021
Really nice job here by #Tennessee OG Trey Smith by getting to the second level and washing the LB out of the hole.— Devin Jackson (@RealD_Jackson) January 28, 2021
Also nice job by #Alabama LT Alex Leatherwood to cut off the backside DE on the scoop block.
Would like to see #ECU OL D'Ante Smith stay on block longer here. pic.twitter.com/6nJO50I6sQ
Trey Smith’s day three was MUCH needed after some struggles in pass sets early. Love the patience and strikes. Here, he uses a late inside strike to thwart the inside counter while riding the arc. Beautiful. pic.twitter.com/kOoBn9hgK0— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) January 29, 2021
Rounding out the offensive linemen standouts, TAMU OT Dan Moore Jr. and Cincinnati OT James Hudson both had substantial positive reps throughout the week. Moore’s footwork isn’t clean yet and Hudson is still a work in progress as a recent defensive line convert, but the developmental traits were apparent with both.
James Hudson III with the aggressive finish. Bends at the knee, gets low, attacks the chest plate, drives and puts a grown man in the turf. Good stuff. pic.twitter.com/fLDKsWVJuO— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) January 28, 2021
#Cincinnati OT James Hudson III (6-4, 302) has flashed some serious potential. His athleticism stands out as well. Springy initial steps out of his pass sets.— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) January 28, 2021
Former defensive lineman while at Michigan, who could be a nice project for zone blocking scheme teams. pic.twitter.com/uwh40qEexP
James Hudson is clearly very raw, but my goodness he’s got some fast feet and powerful hands pic.twitter.com/a3BOJ642HQ— Cory (@realcorykinnan) January 29, 2021
Incredible throw and catch Big Mac Jones ==> Tre Mczkitty, but watch TAMU LT Dan Moore Jr.’s grip strength.— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) January 29, 2021
William Bradley King tries to lift the outside hand to separate... UH UH. Moore has him in a vice grip. pic.twitter.com/24Z1i5YWjD
Someone that has practiced really well this week is #TAMU LT Dan Moore Jr. lined up at left tackle on this play, watch this scoop block and finish on Payton Turner in this 9 on 7 drill.— Devin Jackson (@RealD_Jackson) January 28, 2021
He’s quietly put together a solid week this far at the #SeniorBowl. pic.twitter.com/Ia51doKy1K
The injury to All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley showed both how important depth is, while also highlighting the Ravens need to add talent this offseason. The Ravens rotated right tackles throughout the second half of the season, while shuffling the center and right guard positions as well. Snap issues reared their heads in two of the Ravens key losses this season (New England and Buffalo), which must urgently become a non-issue.
With Orlando Brown Jr. tweeting his desire to play left tackle, the reported interest that the Ravens are getting for the Pro Bowl blocker could be a dual edged sword. Considering Penei Sewell, Rashawn Slater, Christian Darrisaw, Teven Jenkins, Samuel Cosmi, Jalen Mayfield, Liam Eichenberg and Jackson Carman, the 2021 tackle class is the deepest in recent history. Whether or not the depth will drive down the potential return in an Orlando Brown trade is yet to be determined.
If the Ravens are able to acquire a 2021 first round pick and a mid round pick, then they could certainly make lemonade of a tough situation. With Brown due for a big pay day, that can could potentially be kicked far down the road. The Ravens will gain cap flexibility to be spent at another position if they acquire a top pick, then find a competent right tackle in the draft. While few draft picks are sure things, this class has tackles in all shapes, sizes and scheme fits. The Ravens have a successful track record at finding talented tackles all throughout the draft. It will be interesting to see how the right tackle position pans out over the next few months.
Offensive line aside, there were standouts across the board at other positions. Starting with the edge defenders and interior defensive linemen:
William Bradley-King, edge, Baylor
WBK can do it all. He has a long arm bull rush, he can cross chop into a rip, convert speed to power, two hand swipe, club and arm over. His toolbox is full. He can beat pass blockers in a variety of ways, while playing with gap integrity against the run. A red star player for me, WBK turned heads at the Senior Bowl after a quiet first (and only) year at Baylor by way of Arkansas St.
William Bradley King (99) Paddy Fisher (30) and Riley Cole blow up this lead.— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) January 29, 2021
King gets combo down blocked, attacks a full man, gets skinny and established himself back inside.
Cole follows the down block’s outside hip, stuns the FB.
Fisher replaces Cole quickly and STRIKES! pic.twitter.com/eHPxpIS9R2
#Baylor EDGE William Bradley-King is someone else who really shined in the American Defensive Line Group. Does a nice speed to power move to bull rush Alex Leatherwood and knock him over. Really nice rep from him here. pic.twitter.com/2z1puT7Qx0— Devin Jackson (@RealD_Jackson) January 29, 2021
Stab/club/rip by William Bradley-King. Gets the blocker off-balanced/leaning forward off the stab. Follows up with a club to the outside arm! #seniorbowl #nfldraft— DLineVids (@dlinevids1) January 27, 2021
via @ravens4dummies pic.twitter.com/oXJhwmNL8w
William Bradley King III is a MY GUY. Explosive! Stays low here and gets under the tackles arms to lift them off, resquares inside. I’m comfortable taking him in the second round. pic.twitter.com/y9Yr023r9Z— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) January 27, 2021
WBK generated buzz throughout the week and consistently showed up against the run as well as when rushing the passer. He’s polished and developed. The only question is whether he possesses the dominant athleticism to beat up on high caliber linemen. He marries hand usage, IQ, consistency and versatility. He’s spent time standing up as well as with his hand in the dirt. King feels like a high floor player who can be an early contributor, while looking to shape his body and flirt with dominance by the end of his rookie contact.
Rashad Weaver, edge, Pittsburgh
Weaver loves to spin. Almost too much. The All-American has length, explosiveness and advanced hands that give blockers problems.
Rashad Weaver with the hesi club ==> arm over. Weaver has had a great week. pic.twitter.com/h2M8lpXidT— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) January 29, 2021
Rashad Weaver (DL17) makes this play defensively. Takes on both LG and LT keeping Chazz Surratt clean. pic.twitter.com/Yc6DfD4WF1— Cory (@realcorykinnan) January 28, 2021
Weaver can get caught off balance because he rushes with explosion and leaves his torso open at times. Dillon Radunz was able to stall and reject a few of Weaver’s rushes with patience and even sets. Weaver’s game is explosion off the line and finesse to work around rushers. If he makes strides with a long arm bull rush and is able to disrupt patient pass setters from their spot, then counter the finesse when they reset, the sky is the limit. He wins now, but he could be unstoppable if his bull rush continues to improves.
Cameron Sample, IDL/edge, Tulane
You can stick Sample anywhere across the defensive front and he will win. He wins with physicality, pneumatic get off and lateral quickness. Sample’s snap anticipation and get off are fun to watch! Seldom is he not the first linemen out of their stance and working upfield. He has size to man interior gaps, length to attack the perimeter and is simply a problem.
Cam Sample with get off, lateral explosiveness... clubs and runs right by Jackson. Churning out wins in Mobile. pic.twitter.com/WpmUlxsrF7— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) January 29, 2021
There are people that have Trey Smith as the best guard in the class. Cam Sample took him apart all week. pic.twitter.com/pHTWMcdoCd— Chris Kouffman (@ckparrot) January 29, 2021
Cam Sample has had a great week. Consistent wins as a pass rusher. Flashing a lot of mobility that this class lacks at DT pic.twitter.com/jXzQLpQPuj— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) January 29, 2021
The “tweener” label gets thrown around when evaluators examine Sample. I don’t see a tweener, I see a versatile mismatch maker. Sample can hold the edge, slip blocks and assert himself into a gap, or line up inside and beat interior linemen one on one. Find the slowest offensive linemen out of their stance and put Sample over them. He will beat them to the punch more often than not.
Quincy Roche, edge, Miami
It’s quite difficult to poke holes in Roche’s game. That’s the highest compliment a prospect can be given. Roche fits into the stand up linebacker in terms of size (6-foot-3, 243 pounds) with solid length (32 inch arms, 80 inch wingspan). He has experience there, and is as polished of a technician as they come. He also has great speed to run the arc, with good flexibility to corner and “run the hoop,” attacking quarterbacks from six-o’clock when blockers try to wash them around the outside. Roche uses timely and precise stabs with his long arm when speed rushing, often displacing blockers enough to propel from the stab and win the corner. There’s no wasted motion in Roche’s rushes, every movement has intent and purpose. Sparsely does he fail to figure out the Rubik’s cube that unlocks his path to the quarterback.
Miami Hurricane Quincy Roche has been pumping out wins in one on ones. Here with the club ==> rip. Good leverage. Nice to see him win inside. pic.twitter.com/T6dn07FQWJ— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) January 28, 2021
Levi Onwuzurike, IDL, Washington
Injuries to other linemen gave Onwuzurike an opportunity to showcase himself working overtime. The former Husky responded by making play after play with some epic battles against Quinn Meinerz and Creed Humphrey. He has devastating power in his hands and plays with sturdy leverage. When he gets linemen off balance, it’s over. Onwuzurike wouldn’t be a surprising late first round selection and should be a lock to be one of the top 64 picks.
Levi Onwuzurike went to WAR with Creed Humphrey and Quinn Meinerz yesterday. Epic battles. pic.twitter.com/azbhNUykR3— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) January 27, 2021
Jordan Smith, edge, UAB
Smith has prodigal length and wild quickness considering his six-foot-six frame. Not many players with his size can ghost tackles cleanly to win the corner. I can’t recall seeing a player with his frame win with speed to the edge so frequently. He can swim inside or swipe and cross face. Using his length sacrificially, Smith will extend an arm and use his massive wingspan to lunge inside to wrestle down quarterbacks. He’s awesome in pursuit with raw speed. He could convert speed to power more, but while he’s a work in progress, Smith has tools that can’t be taught.
UAB’s Jordan Smith with a VICIOUS ghost on Dan Moore. Sack. pic.twitter.com/cnZdyb7nsB— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) January 28, 2021
UAB EDGE Jordan Smith is able to beat James Hudson off the edge pic.twitter.com/O0Y7SVVgBx— Billy M (@BillyM_91) January 30, 2021
Really slick Stab-Slap-Rip move here from @UAB_FB pass rusher Jordan Smith against Alex Leatherwood.— Fran Duffy (@EaglesXOs) January 27, 2021
Smith came in at 6’6 255 yesterday with and 83’’ wing span. Like blocking a pterodactyl off the edge when he gets going. #WinAsOne pic.twitter.com/cFQOS6I5H4
Daelin Hayes, edge, Notre Dame
Hayes is the proverbial bull in a China shop, yet can levitate on cross chops. He also looked fluid in coverage against tight ends at times, which further displays his freakiness at 261 pounds. He can run through a brick wall as a bull rusher if his momentum is unchecked. It seems that Hayes is still finding his place and what frame to carry, which makes him moldable. Showing strong reactionary rushes, he can make himself skinny and has an innate feel for the timing of punches, avoiding them and countering. Hayes might best project as a SAM linebacker who can do a little bit of everything with some development. He will abuse tight ends who stay in to pass protect, while providing strength at the point of attack and working to expand his pass rush plan.
Daelin Hayes just bulrushes Spencer Brown into doing a backflip. Brown struggling with leverage at 6’8 pic.twitter.com/3RiOFe3ajI— Mike Spencer Hrynyshyn (@MikeH_Draft) January 27, 2021
Daelin Hayes strip sack. Ball should come out pic.twitter.com/KkDf05tPJr— Billy M (@BillyM_91) January 27, 2021
As you can see, there were tons of viable, talented interior players on both sides of the ball.
While I wanted to focus on the trenches, the Senior Bowl also featured intriguing playmakers at the skill positions. Two pairs stood out, one on each side of the ball. Clemson Tigers Amari Rodgers and Cornell Powell gave defensive backs problems all week, while UCF Knights Aaron Robinson and Richie Grant were arguably the two strongest defensive backs. Oklahoma’s Tre Brown also had a standout week. Receivers Nico Collins and Sage Surratt showed size and movement skills that could help Baltimore in their everlasting search for a true “X” receiver. I’ll be going into greater detail on receivers and safeties in the weeks to come.
The Ravens offensive and defensive lines have the most holes to fill this offseason. It’s easy to forget how many transactions occur during free agency, sometimes shifting “needs” or alleviating them altogether. However, with the potential uncertainty regarding Matt Judon, Yannick Ngakoue, Tyus Bowser, Pernell McPhee, Derek Wolfe and Orlando Brown Jr., compounded with subpar play from the Ravens interior offensive line, makeovers are imminent in the trenches on both sides of the ball.