Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen was the star of the 2018 Senior Bowl during the week of practice and he had a strong game to cap off the week. In the early going on a few plays, Allen used his mobility to avoid sacks and run for positive yards, but otherwise he struggled to move the ball with only 14 yards receiving at halftime. Allen turned things around in the second half, however, showing the form he had during the week of practice. Allen threw a touchdown in the third quarter, lofting in a beautiful pass to his tight end to drop in the score leading his receiver open in the back of the end zone. Allen continued to move the ball with a 31-yard bullet to Michael Gallup to beat good coverage. He then lofted in pretty touch pass to Notre Dame tight end Durham Smythe for his second score. Allen ended up completing 9-of-13 passes for 158 yards with two touchdowns.
Teams care very little about how the players perform in the actual Senior Bowl, as the practice performances is what they are there to see. Allen's Senior Bowl week went extremely well. He showed his big skill set with improvements made each day during practice. Allen looks likely to be a top-10 pick in 2018 NFL Draft.
Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield barely played with only two possessions in the first quarter. On his first play, Mayfield was under center and he executed a bootleg for a short completion. Mayfield was sacked and had a pass dropped. He was 3-of-7 for nine yards. This game will be completely irrelevant for Mayfield's draft grade and where he goes in the draft.
While other quarterbacks got much more attention, the signal-caller who had the biggest performance in the Senior Bowl game was Richmond's Kyle Lauletta, or the "Spider" as one general manager friend of mine calls him.
In the third quarter, LSU wide receiver D.J. Chark got wide open on a deep post for Lauletta, and the Spider threw a perfect pass for Chark to run down the field with a 75-yard touchdown. Shortly later, Lauletta had a superb play breaking two tackles in the backfield to avoid a sack. He set up another score with a long completion down the field and then finished the drive by throwing a bullet into a tight window. Lauletta then fired a frozen rope on a slant to beat good coverage for another score. He completed 8-of-12 for 198 yards with three touchdowns. He was the MVP, leading the South to a 45-18 victory. Lauletta had a quality Senior Bowl to give him third-day consideration for the 2018 NFL Draft.
Western Kentucky quarterback Mike White started the game hot to give the South a big lead that Lauletta added upon. White threw some accurate short passes with timing and precision. White completed 8-of-11 passes for 128 yards and a touchdown. Team sources have told me they graded White as a very late-rounder or undrafted free agent, and his Senior Bowl performance should help him to get selected.
LSU wide receiver D.J. Chark was the leading receiver with five receptions for 160 yards and a touchdown. White threw a quick slant for a touchdown in the first quarter and then followed it up by throwing a perfect deep ball dropping in the pass to Chark for a gain of 63 yards. In the third quarter, Chark got wide open running a deep post for a 75-yard touchdown from Kyle Lauletta. Chark has good length, ball skills and some quickness. His Senior Bowl week should help him to be a mid-rounder that also contributes on special teams.
San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny was the leading rusher in the Senior Bowl. Penny broke off a 34-yard run in the first quarter, as he had a huge hole to get to the secondary untouched before a safety tracked him down. Penny then leaked out of the backfield and turned upfield. Virginia quarterback Kurt Benkert threw a perfect pass to lead Penny downfield. Penny exploded down the sideline for a 73-yard touchdown. Penny ended up running for 64 yards on nine carries with his one 73-yard touchdown reception. Penny could be a nice mid-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Texas-San Antonio defensive end Marcus Davenport has had a mixed week showing his good physical talent while also illustrating that he is a work in progress for the NFL. Davenport pushed Pitt offensive tackle Brian O'Neill back with a powerful rush to get upfield and then shoved O'Neill aside to get a sack of Baker Mayfield. On the next series, Davenport was able to use his length and height to block a pass for an incompletion. Later in the first half, Davenport forced Josh Allen to step up into the pocket and run into two LSU defensive tackles for a sack. Ole Miss outside linebacker Marquis Haynes then blew by the Army left tackle to get a strip-sack that was scooped up by Davenoport and returned for a short touchdown. Davenport has to improve his technique and work on more pass rushing moves, but he has a first-round skill set and verified that in Mobile.
Haynes showed that he is a designated pass rusher for the NFL at the Senior Bowl. He doesn't have the size or strength to hold in the run game as a three-down starter, but he is fast off the edge with functional strength to get off blocks in the pass rush. Haynes could be a day-three pick that ends up providing a nice bang for the buck in his role.
South Carolina State linebacker Darius Leonard finished his quality week with a strong performance in the Senior Bowl game. In limited time, he totaled 14 tackles as he was all over the field for the South squad. The Senior Bowl game illustrated that Leonard is a tough run defender with good instincts. Leonard didn't get a ton of headlines for his play at Mobile, but he was very good in every session to show that he could handle the improved level of competition. In the run game, Leonard was sideline-to-sideline and stuffing runs in the tackle box. Even more important for Leonard's draft stock, he showed the ability to cover tailbacks and tight ends in the passing game. That illustrates that Leonard has three-down starting potential for the NFL and is worthy of going as high as the second round in the 2018 NFL Draft.
UTEP guard Will Hernandez is a load at the point of attack. While he doesn't have great speed or athleticism, the 340-pound Hernandez is a powerful run blocker that gets movement at the point of attack. That could be seen during the Senior Bowl game as well with Hernandez being very physical at the point of attack. He had a nice play, pulling around to the right side from left guard to hit a linebacker that sprung Arizona State running back Kalen Ballage for a gain of 16. Hernandez isn't a great fit for a zone blocking scheme but he fits perfectly in a man blocking scheme. He might fit best as a right guard in the NFL.