Senior Bowl practices officially wrapped up on Thursday with the game set to kick off today on NFL Network at 2:30 P.M ET.
Plenty of NFL-hopefuls took the field this week to showcase their skills and prepare for a rigorous evaluation by NFL scouts, general managers, and coaches. During the week many Senior Bowl participants referred to the event as a “week long job interview.”
Over the past few days we highlighted the defensive and offensive line play of several players including two defensive tackles who met with the Jaguars earlier in the week. Now, with the practices wrapped up some of the the skill players we have not yet written about including quarterbacks and wide receivers will be put under the microscope.
With zero real contact, evaluating running backs during a practice is oftentimes difficult, however players such as Florida’s Lamical Perine and UCLA’s Joshua Kelly had solid showing during the week. Wide receiver Van Jefferson was another MVP of the week and — highlighted earlier in the week — the trend continued to the end of practices on Thursday.
With that said, here are the best skill players exiting Senior Bowl week:
1. Antonio Gandy-Golden, Liberty
Gandy-Golden is a specimen of a receiver standing at 6-3, 222 lbs., the Liberty product had a solid final practice in Mobile. While he did have some issues getting open as he is not the most fluid receiver, his redzone ability was on full display on Wednesday. Having the ability to contort his body to make circus catches in the end zone should not be dismissed. There were at least a few “wow” plays from the receiver to make the list this go-around.
During his two years at Liberty University, Gandy-Golden had 150 receptions for 2,433 yards, and 20 touchdowns.
Two high-level Jaguars scouts got an up-close-and-personal view of one of the most impressive receptions of the day from Gandy-Golden on Wednesday.
WR Antonio Gandy-Golden is having himself a day at practice. Went to school at Liberty. Was hard to get a clear shot but great catch in back corner of the end zone. pic.twitter.com/iUOcoOowtL— Demetrius Harvey (@Demetrius82) January 23, 2020
2. Collin Johnson, WR, Texas
Johnson entered the week with very little to prove, but perhaps boosted his stock throughout practices, especially on Tuesday and Wednesday. While he is clearly physically gifted at 6-5, 221 lbs., Johnson plays a lot more nimble than anticipated. A fantastic route-runner for his size, the Texas product illustrated to scouts why he is worthy of being listed among the best in this year’s stacked receiver class.
One of the more talked about receiver prospects in the country the past two years, Johnson wasn’t able to stay fully healthy at Texas but impressed with 188 receptions for 2,624 yards and 15 touchdowns over the past four years.
3. Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
Perhaps the best receiver of the bunch this week, Mims put on a clinic at Senior Bowl practices, routinely make acrobatic catches and showing why at 6-2, 206 lbs., he is one of the best 50-50 ball catchers in Mobile. The Jaguars could use someone like Mims, especially in a more vertical, fast-paced offense which will be deployed by offensive coordinator Jay Gruden during the 2020 season.
Over his career Mims hauled in 186 passes for 2,925 yards, and 28 touchdowns in four years at Baylor including 66 receptions for 1,020 yards, and 12 touchdowns in 2019 alone.
The arm bar by Denzel Mims to hold Troy Pride Jr. away from the catchpoint was one of the most advanced WR techniques we’ve seen in Mobile this week pic.twitter.com/7brMzdZDiQ— Brad Kelly (@BradKelly17) January 23, 2020
4. K.J. Hill, WR, Ohio State
Widely known for making circus-like receptions throughout his career in Columbus, Hill certainly did not disappoint during the final days of Senior Bowl week and throughout practice on Thursday. Standing at 6-0, 197 lbs., Hill is more of a slight build similar to Jefferson, but stands out because of his ability to make quickness look easy on the gridiron.
In 50 games at Columbus, Hill accounted for 201 receptions for 2,332 yards, and 20 touchdowns.
Perhaps most impressive about Hill was his ability to separate from the slot position, routinely leaving the cornerbacks defending him in the dust as he masterfully executed route after route in Mobile. The former Buckeye undoubtedly improved his draft stock this week with some comparing his rise to his former teammate, now Washington Redskins’ receiver Terry McLaurin, who like Hill, had an impressive Senior Bowl showing in 2019.
K.J. Hill is putting your favorite NFL team on notice pic.twitter.com/cf0TygPbxw— Barstool OSU (@BarstoolOSU) January 23, 2020
5. Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
Understandably, Herbert drew a lot of questions entering the week regarding whether or not he could be depended on as a top-15 selection in this year’s upcoming draft. Those questions can very likely be put to rest as the 6-6, 227 lb., quarterback separated himself as the best, and most polished quarterback in Mobile.
Very rarely was Herbert off target this week as he put his receivers in the best position he could. A very talented quarterback with a big-time arm, it would be a shock if he were still on the board when the Jaguars select at 20.
At Oregon, Herbert completed 827 out of 1,293 passes for 10,541 yards, 95 touchdowns, and 23 interceptions in four seasons (43 games).
Herbert had never taken a snap under center before this week and while there were some inconsistencies in his footwork, the now-former Oregon quarterback looked natural.