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Senior Bowl Wrap Up: Stock up/stock down for the skill position groups

Who helped themselves this week in practice?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 01 Sugar Bowl - Georgia v Baylor Photo by John Korduner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With the conclusion of Thursday’s practice, the 2020 Senior Bowl practices have ended for the year as the 100+ prospects in attendance prepare for the game this Saturday. While there hasn’t been a Terry McLaurin type performance this year, there has been plenty of big time performers this week who have really improved their stock. Others... have really hurt themselves by participating this week as well. In today’s final practice write-up of the week, I look at which skill position players helped their stock with a big week and which players potentially hurt theirs with a well below average week.

Stock Up

Denzel Mims, Wide Receiver, Baylor

No player has helped themselves more this week than Baylor receiver Denzel Mims. On film, he showcased great hands and an acrobat like ability to make insane catches all over the field. The biggest questions about him though were how consistent was he, how was his route running, and can he be physical enough for the next level. Well he answered all those questions and then some. He has looked crisp with his routes all week and has bullied corners in blocking drills and in his routes on his way to an absolutely dominant week in Mobile. Anybody who had questions with his film should look back after this week as he really improved his stock in Mobile.

KJ Hill, Wide Receiver, Ohio State

Quietly productive in his career at Ohio State, Hill came into this week as a bit of an unknown. Much like his former teammate last year in Terry McLaurin, Hill was a very advanced route runner in college and that translated over to the practice field in Mobile. Where he really improved his stock however was the other traits that he brought to the table. He was able to win off the line of scrimmage and showcased excellent hands throughout the week. There still may be some questions about Hill’s long speed and overall athleticism but he showed the whole world this week that he is a very polished and technical player ready for the NFL.

Troy Pride Jr, Cornerback, Notre Dame

Switching to the other side of the ball, Pride Jr was by far and away the best cornerback in Mobile this year. The former track star showed that he was more than just an athlete with excellent technique, ball skills, and footwork on display the entire week. Outside of a few poor reps every now and then, he was a big time play maker throughout the week. I even interviewed him after one of the practices and was blown away by how smart and detailed he was in his technique as well. He may have been a bit overlooked coming into this week but that should change after how good he looked throughout the practices in Mobile.

Brycen Hopkins, Tight End, Purdue

While he was a fairly high profile guy coming into the week, Hopkins has certainly helped his stock with a strong week of practices. With the declarations of other tight ends such as Thad Moss and Cole Kmet, he has flown a bit under the radar in recent weeks. He put that to rest though this week as he showcased great athleticism and soft hands throughout the week. He dominated linebackers in one on one drills and made life difficult for them on every rep. For an NFL that is falling more in love with receiving tight ends every year, Hopkins sure helped his stock in Mobile.

Justin Herbert, Quarterback, Oregon/Jordan Love, Quarterback, Utah State

The two biggest names coming down to Mobile this year were Herbert and Love. While I don’t think either had excellent weeks of practice, both did enough to help themselves with the entire football world watching. Herbert did struggle a bit with his feet and three step drops but showcased good accuracy and precision all week with his live arm. Love struggled early in the week with accuracy and placement, but got better each day and, like Herbert, showcased his NFL talent in live action. Neither fully answered the major questions about their games but they did help themselves by coming down to Mobile.

Other player who helped themselves with strong weeks

  • Wide Receivers Colin Johnson (Texas), Van Jefferson (Florida), and Jauan Jennings (Tennessee)
  • Running Backs Joshua Kelly (UCLA) and LaMical Perine (Florida)
  • Tight Ends Stephen Sullivan (LSU) and Adam Trautman (Dayton)
  • Cornerbacks Dane Jackson (Pitt), Darnay Holmes (UCLA), and Kindle Vildor (Georgia Southern)
  • Safeties Kyle Dugger (Lenoir-Rhyne), Jeremy Chinn (Southern Illinois), and Alohi Gilman (Notre Dame)

Stock Down

Essag Bassey, Cornerback, Wake Forest

The biggest disappointment among defensive backs this week has to be Bassey. A player who had some positive hype before the 2019 season, his stock has taken a bit of a dive ever since. He basically submitted his status as a late day three/UDFA guy after a rough week in Mobile. Coming in at just 5’9” 191 pounds, he needed a big week on the practice field to really show he can play in the NFL. That didn’t really happen as he was constantly beat at all three levels by just about every receiver he faced down here. It was a rough week for Bassey and it’ll be a hard sell for teams to take him come draft time.

Anthony Gordon, Quarterback, Washington State

Gordon was gaining steam as a popular day two quarterback before a rough week in Mobile. A one year starter at Washington State, Gordon struggled mightily in all facets as he didn’t look anything like the quarterback that was seen on film last season. He was fairly inaccurate most of the week and his footwork was an absolute mess on most of his throws. The biggest concern however seemed to be his arm as he looked like he was struggling to push the ball past 15 yards at times. While this doesn’t show up too much on film, his arm looked very weak live and could be cause for concern at the next level. He may have been a day two guy coming into the week but he is more likely going to end up as a day three player like his predecessor in Garner Minshew.

Michael Pittman Jr, Wide Receiver, USC

Pittman came into this week with a lot of buzz as he finished off a very productive final season at USC. The expectation was that he would come in and dominate the Senior Bowl with his great combination of size and fluidity. The results were... less than great. He didn’t have a poor week but didn’t really stand out in ways many expected. He had a few good reps here and there but overall lacked consistency all week. He had a few drops, some really poor reps, and looked soft at times facing press and blocking in the drills. He may not have necessarily hurt his stock but the buzz will likely cool off after a mediocre week in Mobile.

Other players who hurt their stock this week

Quarterbacks Jalen Hurts (Oklahoma) and Steven Montez (Colorado)

Wide Receivers Kalija Lipscomb (Vanderbilt), Austin Mack (Ohio State), and Quartney Davis (Texas A&M)

Linebacker Evan Weaver (Cal)

Cornerbacks Lamar Jackson (Nebraska) and Reggie Robinson (Tulsa)