The 2017 Senior Bowl
For the first time since 1993, the Cleveland Browns’ coaching staff is manning the sideline during the Senior Bowl. I hope this is to the advantage of the franchise, as more time up close and personal is an important thing prior to the NFL draft. I would like to think that Hue Jackson and company know what they are doing, but let’s take a deeper look.
Several media members have been upset at the Cleveland Browns’ mentality as to how they are running Senior Bowl practices. Instead of the traditional “live” participation where it’s man against man each play – the coaches are instructing the guys on the correct techniques and working on individual drills. Granted, this is only going on for a week – but the Browns will find out which players will accept coaching and which want to do their own thing. I would like to believe that the Browns could potentially have an advantage here during the draft, where they find out a few extra details about potential draft selections.
There is a stereotype that playmakers have usually come from collegiate Juniors (and redshirt Sophomores), thus the Senior Bowl is here to primarily display lineman and middle of the round selections. With a few exceptions, I subscribe to this thinking – the Browns will likely take a pair of non-Seniors in the first round. Therefore, they should utilize this time in Mobile to determine who makes sense in rounds three through six.
Seeing as to what the Browns need, I would be content with several members of the Senior Bowl joining the team next fall. Ryan Switzer and Cooper Kupp have been impressive in practice, but I cannot see them as franchise wide receivers. Meanwhile, the quarterbacks appear to be prospects at this point; where they could possibly become respectable veterans at some point in their career.
Pass catchers have really jumped out to me. Outside of the aforementioned duo, O.J. Howard, Josh Reynolds, and Evan Engram each had their moments as well. I would more than welcome the Browns saddling up with these athletes in the second to fourth rounds. I understand Hue Jackson loves quarterbacks (and why not), so if he does not take a signal caller early in April’s draft – he could opt for a Josh Dobbs or Davis Webb later in the process.
Conclusion: The key about this week is to determine what to look for in athletes as well as translating this into the scouting combine and senior pro days. The Browns need tremendous athletes who are hungry for football and have a tremendous desire for the sport. I’m sick and tired of misses during the draft for one reason or another – it is finally time to get it right this April.