Liberty quarterback Malik Willis helped himself at the Senior Bowl practices, but in the Senior Bowl game, he only completed 2-of-4 passes for 11 yards. However, Willis did damage with his feet, registering 54 yards on the ground on four attempts. While he had some impressive runs, Willis did have field vision issues as a passer. On one play when he scrambled, Willis did not see that he had wide receiver Jalen Tolbert wide open deep downfield. Willis has a great skill set, but he needs development in his field vision, mechanics and touch passing.
Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett had a solid showing in the Senior Bowl game completing 6-of-6 passes for 89 yards with a touchdown. Pickett led his scoring drive, finding a wide open tight end down the seam for a chunk gain and then threw a check down to Baylor running back Abram Smith which was turned into a 20-yard touchdown. Pickett did not electrify at the Senior Bowl, but he was solid enough to remain a projected first-rounder.
North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell had an underwhelming game as a passer, but showed his toughness and willing to run. On Howell’s first possession, Boye Mafe had a blind-side strip sack to force a force a punt. Howell bounced back to lead a two-minute drive, using his mobility to escape a sack, run for a first down on another play, and complete some short passes. However, the drive was killed when Howell held onto the ball too long and was strip-sacked by Jake Luketa after he used speed to run past Darian Kinnard. In the third quarter, Howell used his legs on a read option for a short touchdown run. Howell completed 6-of-9 passes for 67 yards while running for 29 yards on five carries with a touchdown.
Howell did not do enough in Mobile to move the needle. He could get late first-round consideration and could easily end up being a second-round pick.
Western Kentucky edge rusher DeAngelo Malone had an impressive Senior Bowl game on Saturday. Malone flattened Iowa State tight end Charlie Kolar with a bull rush and got to the quarterback for a sack. In the second half, Malone bull rushed Northern Iowa left tackle Trevor Penning into the quarterback for a near sack. Considering Malone is not a massive defender, it has been really superb to see the developed strength in the ability to bull through big blockers. Malone put together one more nice tape from the Senior Bowl game.
Oklahoma defensive tackle Perrion Winfrey had an excellent week of practice and he finished it with two sacks in the Senior Bowl game. It started slow with a penalty for jumping offsides, but Winfrey bounced back to work off blocks and make plays in the backfield. Winfrey showed his excellent speed to close the pocket with functional size and strength to get off blocks. While team sources say that Winfrey lacks instincts, there is no doubt that he has some interior pass rush ability and that was evident in 2021 when he had five sacks in his final season for Oklahoma.
Minnesota defensive end Boye Mafe was the other defensive lineman who really impressed in the Senior Bowl game. In the first half, Mafe had a blind-side strip-sack to force a punt. Mafe then added a second sack at the end of the third quarter darting past the left tackle to get a near strip-sack. Mafe is fast and should test well in the lead up to the draft. He could be a player who rises in the remaining parts of the process.
Florida running back Dameon Pierce (5-16) finished off his strong week with some hard runs in the Senior Bowl game. While Pierce did not get a lot of carries, he ran through tacklers and showed his power to finish off runs by falling through defenders. Pierce had a great week of practice to make himself some serious money in Mobile.