Vikings

SENIOR BOWL: Weigh-In Winners, Day 1 Standouts and Vikings Interviewees

Photo Credit: Vasha Hunt (USA Today Sports)

CHECK OUT THE REST OF THE ZONE COVERAGE DRAFT GUIDE:

TOP 100 PLAYER PROFILES
RANKING THE VIKINGS NEEDS
EXPLORING VIKINGS DRAFT TRENDS
A HISTORY OF RICK SPIELMAN’S DRAFT TRADES
VIKINGS TARGETS
LUKE INMAN’S MOCK DRAFTS
SENIOR BOWL CENTRAL
FEATURES FROM OUR STAFF

THE WEIGH-IN

It was a “rise-and-grind” kind of day on Day 1 down in Mobile, Ala., with the early birds getting the worm. The Senior Bowl kicked off with early-morning 7 a.m. weigh-ins featuring a few players on both sides generating buzz over their physical stature. 

I mentioned Alabama edge rusher Terrell Lewis as a potential Vikings target because of his raw size and length, which was on full display on Tuesday morning. Lewis solidified what we saw on tape as one of the most physically gifted defensive ends in the class with a freaky 83-½ inch wingspan on top of his 6’5”, 258-pound frame. At practice, Lewis showed off a tremendous get-off and burst in combination with his size and length, giving him some of the highest upside of any player here. 

Injuries are the only major red flag for Lewis, who was buried on a loaded Crimson Tide rotation after tearing his ACL and fighting for playing time to close out his collegiate career. If the medicals clear out for teams, someone will likely draft a first-round talent late on Day 2.

On the offensive side of the ball, two linemen stood out in a big way during the underwear olympics — both of whom came into the weeklong event as unknowns. South Carolina State’s Alex Taylor and Division III’s Ben Bartch from St. John’s both turned heads. Bartch looked every bit the part of a future NFL trenchman with the prototypical size to hold his own despite fighting the D3 label. 

Meanwhile, Taylor stole the show from a dimension standpoint with 36 1/8 arms and a gaudy 88-inch wingspan. Pop that on his 6’8”, 308-pound body and Taylor instantly becomes the man to watch as a potential riser with a good week of practice. 

DAY ONE STANDOUTS

If you want a theme of Day 1, it was the Senior Bowl talent going chalk as the players and position groups with the most hype lived up to the billing. Entering the week, the wideouts weren’t just the talk of the town but the cream of the draft class too, and they didn’t disappoint. 

Texas boys Collin Johnson and Devin Duvernay both flashed on the field in two completely different ways. Johnson won with sheer size and length as the nearly 6’6”, 221-pounder went up and over defensive backs to pluck the ball away. Teammate Duvernay, who was more productive for the Longhorns, look the part of a Deebo Samuel or Percy Harvin as a tough, hard-nosed ball carrier who played the bully role, never shying away from contact.

Ohio State’s K.J. Hill got the most cheers from the stands, racking up big play after big play with a majority of vertical routes at the intermediate and deep levels of the field. 

However, if you made me pick just one wideout that impressed the most just one practice in, it was Florida’s Van Jefferson. With some of the cleanest route-running of anyone, Jefferson put his defenders in the spin cycle during the always entertaining one-on-one portion of practice. 

With his crisp cuts and strong hands, Jefferson looked the most pro-ready if you’re drafting today in a group that contained other high-profile, talented wideouts that made splash plays of their own like Michael Pittman Jr., Denzel Mims and Quartney Davis. 

All in all, it’s clear even after just one day that this group is by far the deepest, not just here in Mobile, but in the draft class as a whole. 

QUARTERBACK COMPETITION

When I said the day went chalk, I meant it. Justin Herbert was the prized possession heading into the week with top-10 buzz and lived up to the hype with the best performance of any signal-caller. Herbert showed off a big arm that scouts have been drooling over his entire career that rifled throws through some tough wind conditions with plenty of zip. 

Like any great quarterback, Herbert gave his playmakers a chance, throwing a smooth, catchable ball deep downfield and connecting on numerous splash plays to Jefferson, Johnson and late addition Ohio State’s Austin Mack. 

Jordan Love displayed the smooth throwing motion and natural arm talent that has garnered first-round hype, while also showing the inconsistencies in his technique and footwork, looking the part of a raw project on the first day of practice. 

Last was Jalen Hurts, who didn’t wow in any one area but didn’t do much to hurt his stock at the same time. I’ll always argue these guys have the toughest job during all-star games trying to grow a quick rapport with guys they just met 48 hours ago, all while being highly scrutinized by coaches and media alike. 

Still, though, Hurts has a chance to turn some heads and change the notion on his limited ceiling with a good week, but he will need to start letting loose and pulling the trigger soon before his Day 2 draft projection becomes cemented. 

WILD CARDS

Trey Pride Jr., Cornerback, Notre Dame

I’d be lying if I told you that the Notre Dame cornerback was on my radar heading in, but how quickly things can change. 

Despite facing an absolutely stacked receiver group, Pride took care of business on multiple 1-on-1 reps, winning by far the most of his peers with physical press at the line of scrimmage, quick hips and change of direction, as well as an outstanding feel for the ball in the air. In a class of defensive backs who are up in the air, Pride is already on pace to boost his stock significantly and solidify himself as one of the better cover corners of the group despite his lack of major attention heading in. 

Ben Bredeson, OG, Michigan 

I heard some chatter about Bredson in a few circles flying into the Mobile but nothing to get excited about. After one day of practice, I can tell you he looks like one of the more polished and complete interior players. 

He may never wow you with any one dominant trait. However, Bredeson won rep after rep against some top-tier competition with clean feet and a better anchor than I gave him credit for. Typically these 1-on-1 drills in the trenches heavily favor the defense since — unlike a real game — offensive linemen have no help in either direction, making Bredeson’s win count on the day that much more impressive. 

Jason Strowbridge, DL, North Carolina 

I couldn’t tell you a damn thing about Strowbridge before today. But between the morning weigh-in, where he turned heads, and into the afternoon practice, where he straight-up bullied some dudes, I am now highly intrigued with the Tar Heels’ defensive lineman. 

At 6’4” and nearly 270 pounds, Strowbridge won Tuesday with a lot of brute strength and a bull rush that wouldn’t quit. While his position says defensive end, I saw the potential to pack on even more strength in the NFL and become a run-stopping defensive tackle at either the three- or five-technique. 

With a limited ceiling, he’s still likely nothing more than a fifth-round pick. However, Strowbridge looks the part of an NFL lineman with the positional versatility to play inside or outside under the right coaching. 

VIKINGS INTERVIEWS

With an obvious focus on improving their offensive line, I tracked down as many at the position as I could find during media day to find out if the Vikings specifically performed a formal interview or requested one for the week. Of the dozen or so I was able to talk to, here are the offensive linemen who confirmed interest from Minnesota’s front office. 

  • Matt Peart, OT, UConn
  • Jonathan Taylor, OT, South Carolina State 
  • Logan Stenberg, OG, Kentucky 
  • Josh Jones, OT, Houston
  • Nick Harris, IOL, Washington

CHECK OUT THE REST OF THE ZONE COVERAGE DRAFT GUIDE:

TOP 100 PLAYER PROFILES
RANKING THE VIKINGS NEEDS
EXPLORING VIKINGS DRAFT TRENDS
A HISTORY OF RICK SPIELMAN’S DRAFT TRADES
VIKINGS TARGETS
LUKE INMAN’S MOCK DRAFTS
SENIOR BOWL CENTRAL
FEATURES FROM OUR STAFF

Vikings
Rivers’ Retirement Could Help the Vikings Land Watson
By Preet Shah - Jan 25, 2021
Tiny Nick’s Gambling Picks: 1/24
By Nick Hamaty - Jan 24, 2021

Tiny Nick’s Gambling Picks: 1/23

Photo Credit: Vasha Hunt (USA Today Sports)

Locks NCAA Basketball – Maryland @ Minnesota -5.5 (-110):  Who’s more dominant, the 1972 Dolphins, the Jordan Bulls, or these Gophers at home this season? Okay, it’s […]

Continue Reading