The 2021 Senior Bowl Game was played on Sunday afternoon in Mobile, Alabama, and the game took on significant extra meaning this time around for draft scouts and coaches alike.

Since there’s no NFL combine this year, the game meant even more to NFL prospects from around the country.

Let’s take a look at how some of the different prospects performed in the game and my overall analysis of the week.

Osi Odighizuwa–DL–UCLA– Osi’s name is definitely not easy to pronounce but I had the privilege of watching his brother, Owa, absolutely dominate against the Virginia Cavaliers several years ago. Good defensive linemen just runs in this family’s bloodlines. Osi had a really nice strip sack in the first quarter and blazed past Alabama’s Deonte Brown. 

Brown is over 360 pounds and a mammoth of a human being, but struggles when he is in space and lines up against quicker defenders.

He struggled a number of times in this game and for some odd reason, coaches had him run a screen pass. He needs to be utilized in pure run blocking situations where he can get his hands on the defender and use his strength/size to his advantage.

Desmond Fitzpatrick–WR–Louisville– He was praised by NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks after the game and the praise was well deserved. He’s had a really good week in Mobile. He’s looked very smooth in drills and that followed over to the game today.

Fitzpatrick had two of the nicest catches of the day. Check out this one where he extends his hands over the defensive backs’ helmet to catch the football:

What a beautiful display of natural hands by Fitzpatrick. He had 6 catches for 90 yards in the game on Saturday. It was a great finish to an excellent week for the Louisville product. He was definitely one of the best receivers out there and made himself some money. He also hauled in one catch where he showed off some toe drag swag. Check out this epic grab:


Amari Rodgers–WR–Clemson–if you’ve been following our Senior Bowl coverage all week, you are likely getting sick of seeing this guy’s name and with good reason. He’s been one of the best receivers in Mobile. He balled out on Saturday and showed the ability to not only catch the football but the ability to take physical and punishing hits across the middle. I love his speed, hands, and toughness. Check out this beautiful 15 yard TD catch through contact:

There’s not much else I need to say about Amari Rodgers. I think he’s going to be a superstar at the next level. It’s a really deep wide receiver class but he’s certainly one of my favorites. He had 4 catches for 23 yards and a touchdown on Saturday. I think he also had an impressive two-point conversion snag. I’m excited to follow his NFL career.

Michael Carter–RB–UNC– Michael Carter is one of my favorite running back prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft class and this week only strengthened that sentiment. If I was handing out MVP awards for the week, he would get my award for my favorite running back at the Senior Bowl. He’s blessed with a natural set of hands.

He’s incredibly slippery and great at avoiding tacklers in the open field. When you combine that with his speed and acceleration, it’s a thing of beauty to see. In the Senior Bowl, he had 10 total touches for 75 yards and one touchdown. His most impressive run came when he made two defenders miss in the backfield, then accelerated down the field for a 27 yard gain. Here is the run:

I love everything about Michael Carter. I can’t wait to watch him become a star satellite running back in the National Football League. His former teammate Javonte Williams might get more attention, but Carter is not a running back you want to overlook.

Demetric Felton–RB/WR–UCLA– Like any player in the 2021 NFL draft, Felton will need to be selected in the right system where the right coaches utilize his skill set properly. Felton excited me at the beginning of Senior Bowl week and he capped off the week stealing my heart. He runs some of the best routes of any running back in the 2021 NFL Draft class and he proved it all week.

Defensive backs struggled mightily to cover him due to his excellent agility and speed in the open field. In the game Saturday, he did what he’s been doing all week, making plays. Check out this beautiful catch and run from Sam Ehlinger:

He was named National Team WR of the Week by his teammates at the 2021 Senior Bowl. It’s a well-deserved honor for a running back who was virtually unstoppable all week in practice. If you need more evidence of Felton dominating as a receiver, look no further than this PFF stat. He’s been the second best running back in receiving yards in college football since 2019. Absolutely gross. Check out the graphic below:

In case you didn’t see his route running earlier in the week. Here’s a video of him shaking and baking Thomas Graham, Jr. of Oregon. Absolutely cooked on the stop n’ go.

I’m super excited to see who lands Felton and how they utilize his tantalizing skill set. He’s going to be really fun to watch in the National Football League. Not only is he going to be fun to watch as a pass catcher but I absolutely loved his end zone dance after he scored, the Michael Jackson “Thriller” dance. It was epic. I love Felton and everything about him.

John Bates–TE–Boise State– Bates’ hands were some of the most reliable of any player I watched during Senior Bowl week. The football rarely touched the ground when he was targeted. I really loved his hands and athleticism. He’s 6’6, 256 lbs. He should make for a really good red zone target in the NFL. ESPN’s Todd McShay said, “He’s a guy that you would love to target in the red zone.” His stats at Boise State were underwhelming but honestly it seems like he was likely a bit underutilized in college when watching him in practice this week. Time will tell with Bates but I do think he’s a nice under the radar tight end that somebody could grab on Day 2 or Day 3. He had a nice 13 yard catch in the Senior Bowl to cap off a very impressive week for him.

Kenny Yeboah–TE–Ole Miss–Yeboah is oozing with a lot of jaw-dropping  potential. He’s super athletic and has excellent hands. Once again, he’s another guy that wasn’t a high level producer in college but could turn out to be more productive in the National Football League. He’s got the size, leaping ability, and hands that make him an incredibly intriguing prospect that is dripping with upside. He hauled in two catches for 27 yards and a touchdown in the game Saturday. Yeboah hauled in one of the more impressive TD grabs of the game when he skied for this ball at the goal line:

I see a lot of potential in Kenny Yeboah. Catches like that one make me a believer. I’m very interested and excited to watch his NFL career blossom at the next level. So many teams in the NFL utilize two and three tight end sets, somebody will find a spot for this guy.

Jamie Newman–QB–Wake Forest– There’s nobody that killed his draft stock more this week than former Wake Forest QB Jamie Newman. There’s a wise old saying that stupid people should remain quiet, instead of opening their mouth and removing all doubt. The mystery surrounding Newman’s talent really helped him honestly. Scouts were uncertain as to whether or not he was any good. Let’s just say after this week, he removed all doubt.

Before the Senior Bowl week, he was likely a 3rd-4th round pick. After it, I think it’s safe to say he’ll go undrafted. He was awful this week. There’s no dancing around it. Like Todd McShay has said, Newman struggles to see the middle of the football field. He loves throwing the football outside of the numbers, but his vision across the middle is absolutely atrocious.

He completed 10 passes in the Senior Bowl Saturday. He also took five sacks and took a beating. He held onto the football too long and when pressure did get to him, he had some fumbles. He had his best day on Day 1 of Senior Bowl practice but got progressively worse as the week went along.

Newman is the classic case of an NFL prospect who should be allowed to go through the evaluation process, get graded, and then if he doesn’t receive the grade he wants, then he should be allowed to go back to school. The NFL needs to fix this immediately.

He’s likely to go undrafted at this point and I definitely don’t feel nearly as good about Newman as I did at the beginning of the week. He spins a beautiful ball but his ability to process information in the middle of the football field is absolutely abysmal. I don’t know who gave him the advice to enter the 2021 NFL Draft–but he clearly got some bad advice from someone.

He threw a touchdown pass in the Senior Bowl to Trevon Grimes of Florida, but it was more of an adjustment by Grimes than it was a beautiful ball by Newman.

My advice to a team is if you want Newman, allow him to go undrafted and bring him into a camp as an UDFA. You’re going to need to wait 3-4 years to see if he develops. Will teams be willing to wait 3 years on a player they didn’t even draft? I doubt it. He needs time and lots of it. Even then, I’m not so sure his vision in the middle of the field is correctable.

He made a massive, massive mistake by leaving college football and not allowing himself the time to develop for another season or two. The NCAA gave every player an extra year this year due to COVID-19. If he would’ve sucked it up and played this year, he could’ve had two more years of development at the college level. I’ll always wonder what he could have been if he would have developed more in college. I don’t want to say his football career is finished but his future looks incredibly bleak.

Earlier in the week I was seduced by his highlight tape. He does spin an absolutely gorgeous football but his game has a ton of holes. His pocket awareness is awful and he really struggles to sense/feel pressure. He can’t see the middle of the field at all and that’s a HUGE problem at any level of quarterbacking. We’ll see how his career ends up but he likely won’t even get a shot in the XFL. He was probably the second worst quarterback I saw during Senior Bowl week, but that’s not saying much because Feleipe Franks was there.

Kellen Mond–QB–Texas A & M– Kellen Mond won MVP honors of the 2021 Senior Bowl. You’ve got to give him props where his props are due. He completed 13 of 25 passes for 173 yards, while tossing two touchdowns and no interceptions. Sure, it’s a nice story, but it doesn’t tell you the whole story of how wildly inconsistent Mond was during Senior Bowl practices this week. I’ve read that some people have said he could possibly develop into a Dak Prescott type prospect years down the road.

What can I say but I disagree with that take and disagree with it strongly. Dak seemed to be a much more consistent thrower of the football coming out of Mississippi State. He was also a far more dynamic runner than Mond is entering the NFL. Some teams might be able to try and develop Mond into a better passer a few years down the road. I just don’t think it’d be a wise decision because I don’t think there’s a good chance he pans out in the NFL. Maybe if you wanted to bulk him up and possibly try him out at different positions in camp, like tight end. Projecting prospects to the next level is all a roll of the dice. What can I say I’m not willing to bet on Kellen Mond. Sure, he had a great game on Saturday, but it was one great game. After watching him in drills this week and practices, I want no part of that guy being on my NFL roster. If he’s lucky, he’ll get a shot in the XFL.

Benjamin St.-Juste–DB–Minnesota–St. Juste had one of the best games of any defensive back in the Senior Bowl. I was very impressed with him, especially during live game action on Saturday. He’s got some incredibly long arms and he knows how to use those to his advantage when blanketing opposing wide receivers. He had a strong finish to his Senior Bowl week and I’ll be very interested to follow him through the rest of the evaluation process as he continues his NFL journey.

Ifeatu Melifonwu–DB–Syracuse–Melifonwu really impressed me on Day 3 and I have in my notes that he made a really nice pass breakup on Fitzpatrick–the wide receiver from Louisville. The PBU was during the Senior Bowl on Saturday. He also made several plays throughout the week and demonstrated why he was named Second Team All-ACC in the 2020 college football season.

Check out this play from the drills during Senior Bowl week, where he completely locks down a tight end:

He’s 6’3, 212 lbs. and has some freakishly long arms. There were some incredibly big, physical corners at the Senior Bowl and he’s a guy that could pose a lot of matchup problems for wide receivers and tight ends in the NFL. I’ll be interested to see how his career progresses. His size and his physicality will take him a long way. He posted big time numbers in his 2020 campaign, so I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see him become a starting corner in the NFL.

Elerson Smith–LB–Northern Iowa–Smith was one of the better small school prospects all week at the Senior Bowl. He absolutely dominated the game on Saturday. I starred his name because he was flying all over the football field. I’m not sure if anybody can block this guy. He’s got a non-stop motor and he bends to the edge with ease. He’s lightning quick to get in the backfield and is highly, highly disruptive whenever he’s back there. I like players like this guy that make plays all the time. Somebody needs to find a spot for him as a pass-rushing specialist in the NFL. The kid is crazy talented and he really showed out on Saturday in the game.

Quinn Meinerz–OL–Wisconsin-Whitewater–His name deserves to be mentioned in the space because he was one of the biggest FREAKS of the Senior Bowl week. He absolutely destroyed most of the defensive linemen he went up against this week in drills. He didn’t play in the game on Saturday but he was unquestionably one of the best players I watched, regardless of position. He even destroyed two defensive tackles on one play. Check that play out here:

He looks like he’s from a different planet, honestly. The legend of Meinerz will only continue to grow after the Senior Bowl week. He’s 6’3, 325 lbs. has an INSANE workout routine. Did I mention the guy can dunk? What?!! Yes, the dude can DUNK at 325 lbs.

I’m not sure where he will be drafted but honestly, if I’m drafting, I take this guy in the first round. He’s an absolute SAVAGE. He’s lifting all of these crazy heavy objects and moving up these steps. The kid looks like the next Quenton Nelson. If he doesn’t get selected in the first round I’d be pretty surprised. Some people were just born to play their position. Meinerz seems like one such person. He is a freak of nature. Good luck to anyone who goes up against him.

K.J. Britt–LB–Auburn–K.J. Britt was playing like a man on fire in the Senior Bowl on Saturday. He simply could not be stopped. He had a really nice pass breakup on one play and a really nice tackle for loss in the game. Here is the clip of the TFL if you wanted to see it.

Notice how quickly Britt flows into the backfield and blows up the play. Incredible instincts. He’s one of the best linebackers in the 2021 Draft class. He was voted by his teammates as the best LB at the Senior Bowl. He certainly played like it on Saturday. Keep your eyes for Mr. Britt in the NFL. The guy will be a problem for opposing offenses, wherever he ends up.

Jabril Cox–LB–LSU– Cox made some really athletic plays in the Senior Bowl and looked amazing all week. His pass coverage skills were some of the best of any LB in Mobile. Check out this clip where he defends ULL RB Elijah Mitchell.

Cox will be a problem in the NFL and with coverage skills like that, you can expect him to stay in the NFL for an incredibly long time. Look for him to be a star in the league.

Keith Taylor, Jr.–DB–Washington–Keith Taylor had some really nice coverage on a play defending Clemson’s Cornell Powell in this game.

Cornell Powell is one of my favorite receiver prospects at the Senior Bowl so when you lock him up, you’re doing something right. It was a beautiful job of transitioning to turning and running with the wide receiver and staying right in his hip pocket, before making the breakup in the back of the end zone. Defensive back play at the Senior Bowl was a bit inconsistent but Taylor, Jr. impressed me with his play on Saturday, for sure.

Shi Smith–WR–South Carolina–he had three catches for 57 yards on Saturday in the game. One of those catches was when he had to dive to the ground to make the grab. Impressive.

He was one of the more impressive looking slot receivers during the 2021 Senior Bowl week practices as well. Check out this acrobatic grab:

He made a number of explosive plays throughout the week and I really liked watching him play all week. Check out how speedy and explosive he is across the middle after this 32 yard catch:

Good luck guarding him in the NFL. I thought he did a lot during the Senior Bowl practices and the game to boost his NFL draft stock. He’s going to be fun to watch. It’s a deep wide receiver class, but I really love watching Shi Smith play.

Ben Mason–FB–Michigan–It’s always fun to watch a player who just loves to get out there and do their job, regardless of the glory it may get them. Former Michigan FB Ben Mason is one such player. This guy is an absolute monster when it comes to blocking. It’s going to be fun to see what NFL running back gets to run behind this guy.

Check out this epic block he puts on a defender on a running play in the Senior Bowl:

What an animal!!

The question is, however, did he actually block the right guy?

Regardless, Mason is a high quality fullback prospect.

Other players who played well in the Senior Bowl worth mentioning: 

Adetokunbo Ogundeji–DL–Notre Dame– He had a nice sack on Jamie Newman. Solid week for the talented Notre Dame DL.

Josh Palmer–WR–Tennessee– He had a nice touchdown catch on a slant pass, when he was covered by Keith Taylor, Jr. Palmer had a very impressive week of practice. He had 2 catches for 27 yards and one touchdown on Saturday. He was one of the more impressive wide receivers in Mobile in a very deep group.

Cam Sample–DL–Tulane–Cam Sample was very active along the defensive line all week and offensive linemen had lots of problems blocking him. He had a nice sack in the Senior Bowl and drew praise from lots of people covering the Senior Bowl, including NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks.

senior bowl winners and losers
Sample (C). Photo via Reese’s Senior Bowl

Quintin Morris–TE–Bowling Green–Morris showed off his athleticism in this play across the middle, hurdling over a defender. I honestly don’t recommend players do the hurdle that much, but it sure was impressive watching him do it as a tight end. Check out the play:

Did I also mention that Morris was second on the American Team in receiving yards in the Senior Bowl? He had 3 catches for 52 yards. I didn’t get to watch him very much before Saturday, but the guy was impressive.

Frank Darby–WR–Arizona State–Darby had another good performance–finishing off a very good week for him at the Senior Bowl. He only had one catch for 22 yards, but boy was it a beauty. It was an underthrown ball by Franks, but Darby still manages to come back to the ball and make a nice adjustment. Here it is:

Grant Stuard–LB–Houston–Stuard was all over the place whenever I watched him in drills and team settings this week. He can cover really well in pass coverage, he can hit, and his energy just flat out never ends. I love his energy and something tells me not to doubt this guy. He seems like an incredibly mentally tough person who will never give up. He’s fearless and I just love the way he plays the game. Check out this hit on a punt return:

Janarius Robinson–DL–FSU–he had a couple sacks in this game. He didn’t post up great numbers for FSU in the 2020 season but that team was in disarray. We’ll just have to see how some of these FSU players do in the NFL because their team was absolutely awful this year on a number of levels. Clearly, they are not the FSU they used to be and haven’t been for several years. Robinson did play well in this game and his performance was noteworthy.

Daelin Hayes–DL–Notre Dame–Hayes had a really good week this week and had a sack in the game Saturday. He made an impressive play when he bent the edge and sacked Jamie Newman.

Bryan Mills–DB–NC Central–After getting a defensive pass interference penalty, Mills made up with it with a really nice PBU on ASU’s Frank Darby. Here’s the play below.

Other players who disappointed me in the Senior Bowl

Ian Book–QB–Notre Dame–Book had a really good week of practice, throwing decisive dimes all over the place during the week. Then he got to the game on Saturday and he looked like a deer in headlights. He was holding onto the football entirely too long during the game. That and he was relying upon his legs entirely too much. I don’t mind if you run and you’re a dual-threat quarterback, but at some point you’re going to need to move the football through the air. Like his Notre Dame coaches have said, Book needs to learn to just let it rip back there. He was playing too cautiously in the Senior Bowl. If he plays like he did in the game in the NFL, he’ll be a backup at best. Overall, he had an excellent week. He just needs to continue to focus playing more like he did in practice and carry that over in the games.

DJ Daniel–DB–Georgia–I don’t have much to say about Daniel but he deserves to be ripped to the high heavens for how far off he was playing Demetric Felton inside the 10 yard line. I understand you have to respect Felton’s speed, but he literally gave him about 10 yards of cushion. Ok–let’s give the guy space–so then he can juke me out on the way to the end zone. He needed to close off the air space and get right up on Felton. A player like the UCLA product operates best in space and out in the open. Why would you ever give him that kind of cushion? Awful coverage. If you do that to Tyreek Hill in the NFL he will burn you alive so many times you might as well show up with your ointment in hand.

That’s it for now. Thanks very much for reading my Senior Bowl column!