2016 Senior Bowl: Quarterbacks

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2016 Senior Bowl Quarterbacks

By Walt – @walterfootball
Jan. 25, 2016

The Senior Bowl tends to have a big impact on where players are drafted, given that NFL general managers are getting a close look at these prospects for the first time. This is especially magnified for quarterbacks. Philip Rivers, Joe Flacco and E.J. Manuel all enjoyed outstanding Senior Bowl performances in the past and had improved their draft stock as a result.

Unfortunately, three of the top four quarterback prospects in this year’s draft didn’t attend the event. Jared Goff and Paxton Lynch weren’t eligible, while Connor Cook chickened out, severely damaging his draft stock as a result. Carson Wentz, the outlier, started in this game. He was the best quarterback in practice throughout the week, but would that hold up during the game? Would another signal-caller emerge and possibly pass Cook?

I’m going to take a look at how each of the quarterbacks performed in the Senior Bowl and what each of their draft range is. This will be followed by a poll at the bottom of the article.

Brandon Allen, QB, Arkansas
Brandon Allen did not get off to a good start during the week. He was the second-shortest quarterbacks of the eight, measuring in at 6-1 1/2, 212. His hands were the smallest; his 8 1/2-inch paws were much tinier than those of Jacoby Brissett, who had the second-smallest hands (9 1/2 inches). Height and hand size happen to be important for most teams, and Allen failed in those regards.

Allen similarly struggled to start off the game. He overthrew an open target and then committed an Alex Smith-type pass, throwing way short of the first-down marker on third down. However, Allen shockingly got hot after that. He connected with Glenn Gronkowski when he climbed the pocket and hit the youngest Gronk with a perfect throw. He then hurled an impressive strike on a post.

Allen finished 7-of-10 for 106 yards. He was the best quarterback on Saturday, so he definitely helped his draft stock. Allen is still likely to be chosen on Day 3 because of his physical limitations, but he could end up being a steal.

2016 NFL Draft Projection: 4th-6th Round

Jacoby Brissett, QB, N.C. State
I have the fewest notes on Jacoby Brissett. He didn’t do anything great, but he didn’t struggle either. He was solid, engineering an 8-minute drive that concluded with a touchdown.

Brissett went 5-of-6 for 50 yards, and he also had a 4-yard scramble. Brissett looked poised in the pocket, which can’t be said for some of the quarterbacks at this event, as the defensive lines dominated this contest. Brissett has a shot to go on Day 2, but will probably be chosen in the fourth or fifth frame.

2016 NFL Draft Projection: 3rd-5th Round

Jake Coker, QB, Alabama
Jake Coker started for the South team, as there were numerous Alabama fans in the stands, per usual. Coker signed some autographs and stuff, but he and his supporters can’t possibly be pleased by this performance. He struggled in most regards. Some of his passes were off the mark, and his release was still very slow. He held on to the ball way too long in the pocket, struggling to process information. He took a sack and fumbled the ball as a result on one occasion.

Coker’s final numbers were 3-of-8 for only 23 yards, and his YPA (2.9) was the worst of the eight quarterbacks. Coker was as bad as those numbers say he was. He may have trouble getting drafted.

2016 NFL Draft Projection: 6th Round-UDFA

Jeff Driskel, QB, Louisiana Tech
Jeff Driskel made the throw that everyone is talking about. As the clock was running out, he fired the ball toward the end zone while falling back, and it was caught for the Hail Mary.

Driskel finished 8-of-9 for 108 yards and a touchdown, but if the Hail Mary is discounted, he was 7-of-8 for 79 yards. That’s not bad, and Driskel made some decent passes, but could’ve also been pick-sixed on his sole incompletion. The throw was inaccurate, but had it been on target, the defensive back would’ve snatched the wobbler and sprinted the other way.

A developmental prospect, Driskel could end up being drafted, but it won’t be until the final couple of rounds.

2016 NFL Draft Projection: 6th Round-UDFA

Kevin Hogan, QB, Stanford
Kevin Hogan didn’t get to do much during the Senior Bowl game, as he attempted the fewest passes (4) of the eight quarterbacks. Hogan had a mixed performance in his small sample size. He made a couple of nice plays; the first featured a rollout and impressive throw to connect with a receiver along the sideline. Hogan then made a nice touch pass over the linebacker down the middle of the field. However, Hogan’s drive was ruined when he held the ball too long, allowing Dadi Nicolas and Shawn Oakman to combine for the sack and forced fumble.

Hogan finished 3-of-4 for 41 yards. This performance was a microcosm of Hogan’s issues, which is his inconsistency. A smart quarterback, Hogan plays great at times, but then will look like a completely different person the next week. Despite this problem, Hogan will probably be a mid-round selection.

2016 NFL Draft Projection: 4th-6th Round

Cody Kessler, QB, USC
Cody Kessler had the worst completion percentage of the North quarterbacks, going 4-of-10 for 45 yards. He sustained a drop, but had an open receiver to move the chains on a third down, but completely overthrew him.

Kessler was probably the worst of the quarterback prospects at the Senior Bowl. He might get drafted super late, but I wouldn’t bet on it if I were him. He’s just too limited.

2016 NFL Draft Projection: 7th Round/UDFA

Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State
Dak Prescott was named MVP of the Senior Bowl. He went 7-of-10 for 61 yards and a touchdown to go along with 13 rushing yards on three scrambles.

Prescott made a number of solid throws to move the chains in the quarter in which he was on the field. He made just one mistake when he stared down a receiver and was nearly picked by Darian Thompson as a result. Prescott, however, was solid otherwise.

It sounds like Prescott will be a mid-round selection. He has a lot of work to do to improve as a passer, but a team like the Jets or 49ers could take a chance on him.

2016 NFL Draft Projection: 3rd-5th Round

Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State
Carson Wentz was all anyone wanted to talk about heading into this game, and rightfully so. Wentz enjoyed a terrific week of practice at the Senior Bowl, so it was interesting to see if it would translate to this game.

Wentz’s performance wasn’t what everyone expected. He disappointed a bit, but only because expectations were so high to begin with. Wentz didn’t play poorly though, by any means.

Wentz finished 6-of-10 for 50 yards, scrambling twice for eight additional yards. Wentz should’ve completed eight of his passes, but his receivers hurt him with a couple of drops. Another incompletion was the result of a miscommunication with Braxton Miller. Pressure also affected Wentz; the South defensive line was roaring all afternoon, and none of the North quarterbacks didn’t have much time to throw. Some may note that Wentz was too eager to scramble, abandoning his second progression, but the circumstances weren’t anywhere close to ideal.

Wentz’s best pass of the afternoon was a 29-yarder to tight end Nick Vannett. Wentz impressively moved the safety with his eyes and then hit Vannett with a perfect strike down the seam. Unfortunately, he was strip-sacked by Shawn Oakman later on the drive.

There’s no doubt that Wentz cemented himself as a first-round pick. He’s very likely to be chosen in the top 15. In fact, I have him slotted at No. 2 in my 2016 NFL Mock Draft. The Browns like him a lot, though they’re fans of Jared Goff as well.

2016 NFL Draft Projection: Top-15 Pick

2016 Senior Bowl Home
2016 Senior Bowl Recap
2016 Senior Bowl Quarterbacks Report
2016 Senior Bowl NFL Mock Draft
2016 Senior Bowl: Friday's Rumor Mill
2016 Senior Bowl Stock Report
2016 Senior Bowl Thursday's South Team Prospect Meetings
2016 Senior Bowl Thursday's North Team Prospect Meetings
2016 Senior Bowl Thursday's South Practice Report
2016 Senior Bowl Thursday's North Practice Report
2016 Senior Bowl: Thursday's Rumor Mill
2016 Senior Bowl: Reggie Ragland Interview
2016 Senior Bowl: Braxton Miller Interview
2016 Senior Bowl Wednesday's South Practice Report
2016 Senior Bowl Wednesday's North Practice Report
2016 Senior Bowl Wednesday's Prospect Meetings
2016 Senior Bowl: Wednesday's Rumor Mill
2016 Senior Bowl: Carson Wentz Interview
2016 Senior Bowl: Noah Spence Interview
2016 Senior Bowl Tuesday's Practice Report
2016 Senior Bowl Tuesday's Prospect Meetings
2016 Senior Bowl: Tuesday's Rumor Mill
2016 Senior Bowl Weigh-In: Quarterbacks
2016 Senior Bowl Weigh-In: Running Backs
2016 Senior Bowl Weigh-In: Wide Receivers
2016 Senior Bowl Weigh-In: Tight Ends
2016 Senior Bowl Weigh-In: Offensive Linemen
2016 Senior Bowl Weigh-In: Defensive Linemen
2016 Senior Bowl Weigh-In: Linebackers
2016 Senior Bowl Weigh-In: Defensive Backs
2016 Senior Bowl: Monday's Rumor Mill

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