With the Senior Bowl practices set to begin this week, here’s a heads up on some guys from each team to keep an eye on out there in Mobile. Check out these ix players from the North team, which will be coached by Vance Joseph and the Denver Broncos.
DT Harrison Phillips, 6’4, 295 lbs, Stanford
Phillips is an interesting prospects as he does have the size and quickness you would like from a penetrating defensive tackle. He’s coming off a tremendous senior season at Stanford with 103 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. Phillips is projected to be a solid run stuffer at the NFL level but he does struggle from time to time with double teams.
He’s not the prototypical under-tackle that rushes the passer and therefore he’s looking more like a mid-round pick. Still, his numbers are hard to ignore. He may be one of the more underrated talents in the draft with a high motor that someone will love.
LB Nick DeLuca, 6’3, 245 lbs, North Dakota State
He’s most certainly among the hottest small-school prospects this draft season. DeLuca has been as productive as can be in the FCS, coming he came back for a fifth season due to an injury-plagued 2016. A year prior, DeLuca started 15 games at middle linebacker (including playoffs), had 135 tackles (leading team by 54 tackles), 10 tackles for loss, three sacks, two interceptions, and six pass breakups, and two forced fumbles. He’s been a first-team MVFC linebacker multiple times and was the only FCS player to be nominated for the Butkus Award.
This past year, he returned to the player he was prior to his injury starting 13 of 15 games. DeLuca was an AP All-American, MVFC first-teamer, finished 12th in the Buck Buchanan Award voting. Despite missing a few games, he was second on the team in tackles at 74, had 10.5 tackles for loss, and 6.5 sacks. He was on a NDSU team that ranked first in total defense and second in scoring defense for the entire FCS. His draft stock will be interesting to watch.
QB Baker Mayfield, 6’1, 220 lbs, Oklahoma
He’s not a likely target for the Dallas Cowboys but he’s worth a look during the Senior Bowl. He’s just an exciting player to watch and is always passionate about playing quarterback. The Heisman winner is not getting the same hype that top names like Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen are, but he’s got a pretty large legion of fans. He completed 71% of his passes this season with 4,627 passing yards, 42 touchdowns, and only six interceptions.
Teams won’t love the fact that his arm isn’t the strongest but Mayfield does a great job of locating his receivers and throwing them open. Mayfield is really good with ball placement and his mobility is unquestioned. He will need to work on his feet while in the pocket and he’s a bit undersized, it’s going to be interesting to see which team values him highly in April.
OG/C Scott Quessenberry, 6’3, 310 lbs, UCLA
Quessenberry is among the better centers in this class of linemen that underwhelm for the most part. He’s got five years of experience coming back to UCLA for a fifth year to start at center for all 13 games. He’s a pretty decent athlete but could stand to improve his run-blocking skills. He did miss the entire 2015 season needing surgery on both shoulders. Quessenberry was an All-PAC-12 first-teamer in 2016 as well as being honorable mentions in 2014 and 2017.
Though he’s considered a better pass blocker, he was the starting center when Paul Perkins led the PAC-12 in rushing. Quessenberry will have questions about his power at the next level but he’s got plenty of experience in all three inside positions on the line along with great balance for a guy his size. He’s projected as high as a third-round pick but a team with needs may consider him early.
QB Josh Allen, 6’5, 233 lbs, Wyoming
Allen is a very interesting prospect because he’s probably the one quarterback that will determine how the position shakes out. He’s getting a lot of discussion about being a first-round pick but most scouting reports believe he’s a work in progress. In 2017, he completed 56% of his passes, threw for 1,812 yards, had 16 touchdown passes, and six interceptions.
He’s got games where you say this guy has everything it takes to become an elite NFL passer and then he’s got others that make you cringe with poor decision making. One team is really going to fall for Allen in the first round but they better have the teacher to develop him.
WR Cedrick Wilson, 6’3, 188 lbs, Boise State
Wilson was very productive in 2017 with 83 receptions, 1,511 receiving yards, and seven touchdowns. The Cowboys like players from Boise’s program and he strikes you as a guy they may value He’s had a few really big games last season including a 200-yarder against Virginia followed by 147 in receiving against Washington State. His father played seven years in the NFL and won Super Bowl XL as part of the Steelers.
Though his father’s career was less than stellar, he’s helping Wilson throughout the draft process. Wilson Jr. is a very good route runner, a good Senior Bowl could bring the right attention to Wilson as he’s projected as a mid-round pick.