The 2017 Reese’s Senior Bowl resulted in a 16-15 final score in favor of the South squad. However, the final score is not as important as the NFL Draft prospects that shined in Saturday’s annual showcase.
Nonetheless, Saturday offered an opportunity for these draft prospects to prove themselves to NFL scouts, fans, executives and media members in live competition.
Chicago Bears head coach John Fox coached the North team, while Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson led the South team.
Many of these players already made names for themselves with a full week of productive practices in Mobile, Ala. The annual Senior Bowl features a week of practice that accumulates in a game between two rosters of NFL Draft prospects from across the NCAA.
Which North and South players grew their draft stock in the 2017 Senior Bowl? Here are some prospects that shined via various NFL Draft experts.
Quarterback Davis Webb, Cal
Dak Prescott, last year’s Senior Bowl MVP, went on to great success as a rookie in the NFL.
This year, Davis Webb earned the Senior Bowl MVP honor. Webb completed 11 of 16 passes for 165 yards and a touchdown in Saturday’s game. He also threw a 39-yard touchdown toss to Texas A&M receiver Josh Reynolds.
Webb also missed some throws, but he showed the physical tools that NFL teams want. The Cal quarterback led three scoring drives for the South, according to NJ.com.
Bleacher Report’s Brent Sobleski does not expect Webb to replicate Prescott’s success in the NFL, but he does not want to overlook Saturday’s performance either. Sobleski wrote that Webb’s performance gives him an edge over other quarterbacks in the draft.
Running back Kareem Hunt, Toledo
Running back Kareem Hunt helped his NFL Draft status as he won the North’s Most Oustanding Player award.
The Toledo running back finished the Senior Bowl with 118 rushings yards on 15 carries.
More importantly, Sobleski writes that Hunt looked in better shape at the Senior Bowl than he was at Toledo. Hunt weighed 208 pounds at the Senior Bowl, but he is listed at 225 pounds on the school’s website.
Hence, he looked explosive and got a few nice runs in Saturday’s contest.
Receiver Zay Jones, East Carolina
Receiver Zay Jones finished the Senior Bowl with six catches for 68 yards, but that does not include two touchdown catches that were reversed for penalties.
Sobleski wrote that the productive collegiate receiver proved himself against top-flight talents at the Senior Bowl. The East Carolina product set NCAA records with 158 receptions this season and his 399 career catches are an FBS record.
Further, the Sun Sentinal’s Omar Kelly also listed Jones as an NFL Draft prospect that helped himself in Saturday’s game. Jones has great body control and he has more burst out of his breaks than Kelly expected.
Kelly writes that Jones has the long and athletic frame needed to catch the football at its’ highest point.
NFL Network’sDaniel Jeremiah also said Jones and Temple linebacker Haason Reddick might have helped themselves more than anybody else in the Senior Bowl.
Defensive back Lorenzo Jerome, St. Francis
Lorenzo Jerome built on last week’s MVP and two interceptions performance in the NFLPA Bowl with another two interceptions in the Senior Bowl.
The St. Francis product had two interceptions fall directly into his hands. Jerome also added a forced fumble for the North squad.
Sobleski called him a ballhawk. Thus, Jerome earned NFL Draft attention for the second week in a row.
Running back Donnel Pumphrey, SDSU
San Diego State’s Donnel Pumphrey should also impress NFL teams despite his lack of size, according to Sobleski.
Pumphrey only weighed 169 pounds at the Senior Bowl, but he is the Division I all-time leader in rushing yards. He carried the ball 1,059 times for 6,405 yards at San Diego State.
Sobleski wrote that Pumphrey showed his toughness during the game and practice.
Further, NFL.com’s Chase Goodbread was impressed with Pumphrey’s return skills. The San Diego State product did not return kicks in college, but he did return them in the Senior Bowl.
On Saturday, he broke a 24-yard punt return. He finished the day with four returns for 44 yards.
It remains to be seen if an NFL team will draft Pumphrey or any of these players in April’s draft.
Either way, Davis Webb, Kareem Hunt, Zay Jones, Lorenzo Jerome and Donnel Pumphrey all improved their NFL draft status at the 2017 Senior Bowl on Saturday.
[Featured Image by Brynn Anderson/AP Images]