The Senior Bowl tends to have a big impact on where players are drafted, given that NFL general managers are getting a close look at these prospects for the first time. This is especially magnified for quarterbacks. Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz, Joe Flacco and E.J. Manuel all enjoyed outstanding Senior Bowl performances in the past and had improved their draft stock as a result.
Unfortunately, none of the top four quarterback prospects in this year's draft didn't attend the event. DeShone Kizer, Mitch Trubisky and Pat Mahomes all weren't eligible. Deshaun Watson was because he had already graduated, but opted to sit out. Team sources told Charlie Campbell that they were highly disappointed. Watson had a terrific chance to show that he can play in a pro-style offense. Dak Prescott needed to do this last year, and he made some believers by thriving in Mobile. Watson could've done the same thing, but blew his opportunity.
There are still interesting quarterbacks worth discussing, so I'm going to take a look at how each of the signal-callers performed in the Senior Bowl and what each of their draft range is. This will be followed by a poll at the bottom of the article.
C.J. Beathard, QB, Iowa
C.J. Beathard had a nice start to the Senior Bowl. He fumbled the shotgun snap, but picked up the ball and scrambled for a first down with a gain of 12 on a third-and-7. Beathard then launched a touchdown to East Carolina wide receiver Zay Jones, who had a stellar afternoon in Mobile. Unfortunately for the two, a face mask penalty negated the score.
Things regressed for Beathard after that, unfortunately. The drive ended when Beathard fumbled on a screen attempt, though that was more on offensive tackle Zach Banner getting beaten easily. On the next possession, Beathard threw a pass late over the middle, and he was fortunate that it wasn't intercepted. Beathard then fired behind Cooper Kupp, though the Eastern Washington receiver managed to haul in a one-handed catch.
Beathard's afternoon concluded with two sacks, both of which occurred because he held on to the ball too long. The second sack resulted in a fumble. To be fair, his tackles struggled - Adam Bisnowaty was easily baten by Jordan Willis - but Beathard needs to improve his pocket awareness and ball security.
Beathard finished just 1-of-2 for four yards, numbers that could've been better had the penalty not been called. He appears to be a late-round pick.
2017 NFL Draft Projection: 6th Round-UDFA
Josh Dobbs, QB, Tennessee
Josh Dobbs' stat line - 12-of-15, 104 yards, one interception - is a bit misleading. Many of his attempts were of the short variety, while an incompletion of his was too high for Evan Engram. Dobbs, however, threw a great pass later, a strike on slant to Taywan Taylor.
It needs to be noted that Dobbs' interception shouldn't be held against him. The pick occurred because Dobbs was hit as he released the ball, which caused the pick.
Dobbs greatly benefited from O.J. Howard's presence, as the Alabama tight end dominated. Still, Dobbs was solid. He's an intelligent quarterback, but needs to improve his consistency with his accuracy. He should be chosen in the middle rounds.
2017 NFL Draft Projection: 4th-6th Round
Sefo Liufau, QB, Colorado
I have zero notes on Sefo Liufau. He didn't throw a single pass at the Senior Bowl. He's not much of a draftable prospect.
2017 NFL Draft Projection: 7th Round-UDFA
Nathan Peterman, QB, Pittsburgh
Nathan Peterman generated some buzz during the week as being the top quarterback at the Senior Bowl. There's been some speculation that Peterman could be chosen on Day 2 of the 2017 NFL Draft. Peterman didn't exactly live up to that praise in the Senior Bowl game, but he did enough positive things to perhaps have teams intrigued enough to pull the trigger in the third round.
Peterman threw mostly short passes during his initial possession, which would explain why his YPA was just 6.7. He then took more chances downfield, firing a nice third-down conversion to Zay Jones. Peterman followed that up by scrambling for a first down, but then messed up; he had Jones open in the end zone, but led him a bit too far. Jones, as a consequence, could only get one foot inbounds.
Peterman went into a bit of a funk after that, throwing behind his receivers on a couple of occasions, one of which was just a short toss. Peterman also lost a fumble while getting sacked.
However, Peterman made up for it on the final offensive drive for the North. Peterman overthrew Jones for a potential touchdown, but then hit him in the end zone with a strike for what may have been the game-winning score. The North had to go for two, but Peterman was forced to throw the ball up for grabs because he was under heavy pressure.
Peterman finished 16-of-23 for 153 yards and a touchdown. It wasn't a great showing, but it was decent enough for him to be chosen at the end of Day 2 of the 2017 NFL Draft. I have the Rams taking Peterman in the fourth round of my current 2017 NFL Mock Draft. He looks like he'll be a solid backup quarterback in the pros.
2017 NFL Draft Projection: 3rd-4th Round
Antonio Pipkin, QB, Tiffin
Antonio Pipkin had a rough afternoon at the Senior Bowl. He threw only four passes, yet two of them were intercepted. He stared down his receiver both times, and the second pick occurred because Pipkin recklessly launched a pass into double coverage. Pipkin also took a sack because he held on to the ball too long.
Pipkin finished 2-of-4 for 17 yards and the two interceptions. He was the worst of the six quarterbacks at the Senior Bowl, despite Sefo Liufau failing to attempt a single pass. Pipkin is not draftable.
2017 NFL Draft Projection: UDFA
Davis Webb, QB, California
Davis Webb was definitely the best quarterback at the Senior Bowl, and he rightfully earned MVP honors for leading the South to victory.
Webb opened with a nice slant to Fred Ross to convert a first down. He then hung in the pocket well to locate an open receiver near the sideline. Webb followed that up with an accurate slant to Evan Engram, which was completed despite heavy pressure. Webb concluded his initial drive by launching a deep pass that was right on the money to Josh Reynolds, for what turned out to be a 39-yard touchdown.
Webb's only blemish during the afternoon was when he failed to connect with Reynolds, who was open downfield for what would've been a gain of 20-25 yards. However, Webb made up for it by firing a strong, accurate throw to Fred Ross. Webb did a great job of standing in the pocket and locating the best option to throw to.
It's possible that Webb (11-of-16, 165 yards, one touchdown) could be chosen in the second round; he's currently fifth in our 2017 NFL Draft Quarterback Prospect Rankings. Webb has a stronger arm than his predecessor at Cal, Jared Goff, who somehow went No. 1 overall in the 2016 NFL Draft. However, Webb also suffers from the same issues Goff experienced (and the Rams inexpliably ignored). Webb played in a Looney Tunes offense at Cal and was never under center. Thus, he's raw, but with his talent, he could conceivably turn out to be a decent NFL starter down the road if he's helped by some great coaching.