The Reese’s Senior Bowl kicks off in Mobile, Alabama, where all the top seniors of college football will showcase their skills to NFL scouts. NFL head coaches, General Managers and many other talent evaluators will be in attendance to get a first glance of all the top seniors in the country. The Raiders newly acquired General Manager Mike Mayock is at the Senior Bowl, making evaluations on players to target, come draft day.
The Raiders coaching staff and Jon Gruden will be coaching the North Squad. It will give the Raiders staff an up-close look at players as we approach the 2019 NFL Draft. The Raiders have needs all over their defense, so this may give them a look at what kind of guys will fit the defensive scheme that Paul Guenther likes to run.
Players to Watch:
Zach Allen (DE) Boston College: Allen is a big body, who has a strong base in his lower half. He won’t bring much speed around the edge of the tackle when getting after quarterbacks, but his power rush is very explosive. He only sacked the quarterback 6.5 times last season, although he’s a monster at stuffing the run at the the line of scrimmage. Allen was selected to the 2018 All-ACC second-team. In 2017 Allen had a 100 tackle season which ranked second in tackles among FBS defensive lineman. His ability to sack the quarterback may develop down the road as he works on his first-step quickness.
Andy Isabella (WR) U Mass: Isabella has quick twitch ability that can make defenders miss in the open field. He is suited to play in the slot at the next level, as well as returning punts. His frame is slightly undersized at 5-10 195 pounds, but his speed will translate into the NFL. Questions of Isabella will be how his body will hold up after taking hits from NFL players. He finished his senior season with 1,698 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns. He was a finalist for the Biletnikoff award for the top receiver in the nation. Seeing Isabella play against better competition at the Senior Bowl will be something scouts desperately want to see how he can matchup against higher level talent.
Dexter Williams (RB) Notre Dame: Williams is hybrid back that runs downhill with speed and power. Williams is capable of getting low to bust through tackles and extend plays. He was a big part of Notre Dame’s offensive attack, getting them to the College Football Playoffs. Last season Williams found the end zone 13 times with a total of 1,128 all-purpose yards. Williams busted a 97-yard touchdown run against No. 24 Virginia Tech, which is the second-longest in Notre Dame history. He completed 100-yards rushing in four games this season for the Fighting Irish and had over 200-yards rushing once this season against FSU.
Rock Ya-Sin (DB) Temple: Ya-Sin is a cornerback that has blazing speed to track down wide receivers. He has some length to matchup against large bodies with his 6-2 195 pound frame, while also having the quickness to play nickel corner. Ya-Sin has natural tools to matchup with opposing teams, most importantly he uses his physicality to win 50/50 balls. His stock has shot up over the last year, as he spent his senior season at Temple after starting out at Presbyterian College over his first three seasons. He finished his senior year with 2 interceptions, 12 passes defended and 2 tackles for a loss. The 40-yard dash at the NFL combine may help the speedy defensive back move up draft boards.
Montez Sweat (DE) Mississippi St: After transferring to Mississippi St to start his junior season, Sweat burst onto the scene with 10.5 sacks. The following season he totaled 12.5 sacks as a senior. Sweat started his college career at Michigan St, where he only played one game over two seasons. His value as a defensive end will likely land him as a first round selection. Sweat has a combination of run stopping and pass rushing ability. Sweat is an enormous defensive lineman listed at 6-6 245 pounds, who has the length to block passes when he doesn’t get his hands on the quarterback. For a guy that’s 6-6 he has a quick get off, when the ball is snapped, as he showed with totaling 22.5 sacks at Mississippi St over 26 games.
Jaylon Ferguson (DE) Louisiana Tech: Ferguson is a power rusher that most teams just couldn’t stop this season. He sacked the quarterback 17.5 times in his senior year at Louisiana Tech. He lead the nation in sacks among all (C-USA) schools, earning him the defensive player of the year (C-USA). He’s now the all-time sacks leader in NCAA history with his 45 sacks, breaking Terrell Suggs NCAA record of 44 sacks. He’s 6-5 262 pounds and still can generate some slight bend. Ferguson’s college career was tremendous, although he did play at a smaller program. His draft value will have him around the middle to later part of the first round. If he test well at the Senior Bowl and the NFL combine, he may generate enough talk among scouts to see him go in the first half of the first round. You can never have enough pass rushers that have the ability to get to the quarterback, so his value may rise in the coming months.
The Reese’s Senior Bowl will have practice all week, with the game being played on Saturday at 11:30 PT.
(Top Photo courtesy of WKRG staff)
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