There's been no shortage of top quarterback prospects to participate at the Senior Bowl in recent years. Carson Wentz, Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield all performed at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile to compete and prove they were worthy of top-1o draft picks.
While the Senior Bowl is always an important stop in the pre-draft process to assist in finalizing draft assessments and forecasting what prospects will be at the next level, the film resumes are complete. With that said, a first-round status entering the week should match up with a first-round caliber performance during the practices and game, especially for quarterbacks.
Observing the Senior Bowl passers over the last four years, Wentz, Allen and Mayfield left little doubt they where worthy of their billing. But what about this year's group? Let's examine what this week revealed.
Drew Lock, Missouri
Lock was the top-rated Senior Bowl QB entering Mobile and he departs as the clear-cut best QB prospect among the group. He immediately started his impressive performance by "winning" the opening press conference on Monday afternoon. Examining his demeanor approaching the podium, I had my doubts about his personality, but by the end, I was sold.
Throughout the week of practice, Lock was in command and deliberate about everything he did. He was intentional about his mechanics, footwork and working progressions. His attention to detail to carrying out play fakes and working through drills with urgency was obvious. His arm talent was easy to identify and he moves well for his size.
While his stat line of the game won't wow you (9-of-14, 57 yards), he deserved a better fate. NC State WR Jakobi Meyers didn't extend well enough for a third-down pass that Lock dropped over top of the linebackers resulting in a stalled drive and Ohio State's Terry McLaurin couldn't dig out a throw over the middle for a touchdown that was placed precisely where it had to be.
While his game tape reveals some concerning reps in terms of how he handles pressure, Lock is an NFL teams best shot at a franchise guy from this group. I'd bet he is a top-15 pick.
Trace McSorley, Penn State
McSorely had an up and down week, much like his PSU career. While there are occasional flashes that will pull you in and start to believe there is some promise to his upside, the low points always mount and leave too much doubt that he has the tools to find success in the NFL.
Crabbs' tweet sums about the concerns with McSorely. When things must speed up and the details matter, McSorley misses the mark. I didn't think McSorely was worth a draft pick entering the week and that hasn't changed.
Ryan Finley, NC State
Finley is who he is. His overall traits are ordinary and his ceiling is limited. Do I believe he can have an unheralded career as a backup? Sure. But how exciting is that? I am not a proponent of drafting a quarterback to be a backup so his valuation for me is low. He didn't do anything this week to move the needle.
Daniel Jones, Duke
Senior Bowl MVP Daniel Jones, that is. Jones entered the week routinely mocked by draft analysts in the top-15. Despite an "MVP" performance, I bet that changes in the next round of mocks.
Jones struggled in practice. Falling victim to several interceptions, Jones had a difficult time working through his progressions and the lack of zip on his passes was evident. By the end of the week, it felt like he was pressing. There were a lot of parallels between what we saw from Jones during the week of Senior Bowl practice and that of Easton Stick last week at Shrine Game.
As evidenced by his MVP Honors, Jones had some success in the game. His dual-threat ability was on display on his touchdown run while he also completed 8-of-11 passes for 115 yards and a touchdown. But the stats don't tell the story.
Jones feasted on schemed throws and roll out passes that condensed the field and simplified what was on his plate. His longest completion came on a flea-flicker, while he hit check downs and flat passes primarily with his other tosses. When tasked with surveying the field and going beyond his first option, the lack of comfort was again evident.
From people I have spoken to, I understand the NFL likes Jones. He draws rave reviews regarding his intangibles and being David Cutcliffe's understudy helps. With that said, I don't see a first-round quarterback. We know what one of those looks like and Jones misses the mark. He hurt his chances this week.
Tyree Jackson, Buffalo
I like to use the word tantalizing to describe prospects and I don't think there has been a prospect more worthy of the adjective than Jackson. His tools and raw ability are obvious and his performance in the game encapsulated his strengths and weaknesses.
Jackson stepped on the field and launched a football 60-yards down the the field, hooking up with Gary Jennings for a long completion. Later in the drive, he again connected with Jennings for 10-yard touchdown pass where Jackson hammered the football into a tight window for the score. It was an exciting series.
Then the adventure continued with an errant throw resulting in an interception and multiple instances where Jackson had trouble finding his feet and pivoting on roll outs. A 6-foot-7 quarterback, finding consistency with his mechanics is challenging. His massive frame requires a widely set base and the space to set it is often not available given the context of playing football. His mechanical inconsistencies leads to high-variance in the results of his throws. It also doesn't help that he isn't a clean or quick processor.
Jackson certainly didn't affirm he was worthy of a high pick based on how he fared in Mobile, but I don't think he hurt himself either. His draft stock will ultimately be settled by which teams believe they can develop him. Jackson promises to be a fun case study.
Gardner Minshew, Washington State
Minshew is an interesting player to say the least. For a guy who comes from a Mike Leach air raid system, he doesn't operate with any sort of consistency in terms of rhythm and timing. After a decent week of practice, those concerns were exposed in the game.
Completing just 1-of-8 passes for four yards in the game, Minshew didn't locate targets quickly enough or show enough arm strength to drive the football where it needed to be.
Minshew is a late Day 3/priority UDFA target with modest upside.
Will Grier, West Virginia
I spoke to an NFL scout about Grier this week and his quick reply: "he does nothing for me." While harsh, I understand where he is coming from.
When things are clean around him - no pressure/receivers get to their spots - Grier can dice up secondaries when he is in rhythm and he flashes the ability to his spot throws down the field. With that said, his accuracy is spotty, lacks arm strength and he comes off the rails under pressure with way too many reckless moments.
Where should he be valued with such a modest skill set with glaring holes? Grier didn't help himself this week and his concerns remain stronger than ever.
Jarrett Stidham, Auburn
I was hopeful that the Senior Bowl would be a good showcase for Stidham. He didn't have a great final year at Auburn and that system is just funky in terms of what it asks QBs to do.
There are some likable traits with Stidham. His mechanics are clean which results in good ball placement. For the most part, that was on display in practice and at times in the game despite a game-low five passing attempts. He was also sacked twice in seven drop backs.
Whatever you believed Stidham was entering the week should not be changed based on his performance in Mobile. The disappointing part is that he didn't do anything to elevate himself after a below-average season at Auburn in what was an important opportunity for him to do so.