2021 Senior Bowl overcomes challenges in time of pandemic

National 27, American 24

Michael Hanich, Sports Analysis
Posted 2/1/21

 Photos by Ted Melton, To see more visit: Actionsportspix.smugmug.com

MOBILE, Ala. - This year’s Senior Bowl event was unique for two reasons. There was a ton of excitement for Senior …

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2021 Senior Bowl overcomes challenges in time of pandemic

National 27, American 24

Posted

 Photos by Ted Melton, To see more visit: Actionsportspix.smugmug.com

MOBILE, Ala. - This year’s Senior Bowl event was unique for two reasons. There was a ton of excitement for Senior Bowl week in Mobile being moved from Ladd-Peebles Stadium to Hancock Whitney Stadium, the new home of the South Alabama Jaguars football team. Unfortunately, the impact of COVID-19 left a serious impression on the 2020 College Football season and Senior Bowl week. It was, however, not too much of a negative impact to cancel the event or alter it tremendously like the 2021 NFL Scouting Combine.

The three practices brought left many impressions of the players on the American and National squad to NFL scouts and coaches as well as media personalities. Several players stood out in one or all three of the practice days for the Senior Bowl. One of the top competitors of the entire week was Davey O’Brien Award winner and Heisman Trophy finalist in former Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Mac Jones. All week long, Jones was extremely accurate in his passes and pass selections. His throwing mechanics looked great and continued to mentally dismantle defensive coverage schemes before his throws. He made the wide receivers better every single time he threw the ball.

Other players in the week include former Washington Huskies cornerback Keith Taylor, former Wake Forest Demon Deacon defensive end and potential first-round pick in Carlos Basham Jr., and former Blount Leopards quarterback and Florida Gators flex receiver Kadarius Toney. These are players among some more that boost their NFL Draft stock due to their consistent playmaking abilities in the practice days. They also raised their stock based on their attributes that define them the most.

In the 2021 Senior Bowl game, there was expected to be a tough defensive battle as there were more elite defensive players than on the offensive side of the ball. By halftime, the American team, led by former Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Kellen Mond  who was only able to account for 70 total yards on offense and six first downs. Former South Alabama Jaguar Riley Cole led both defenses in total tackles with four total tackles. This was a great homecoming event for him as he played his last collegiate season in Hancock Whitney Stadium.

In the third quarter, Mond became more consistent in his pass selections and playmaking abilities. Mond finished the game by passing for 173 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions on 13 completions (out of 25 passing attempts). He was named MVP of the game despite the National Team winning 27-24.

Riley Cole finished with six total tackles, one tackle for loss, and one pass breakup. Former Louisville Cardinals wide receiver Dez Fitzpatrick led all receivers in the game in receptions (6) and yards (90) as he was named Offensive Player of the Game. Former Tulane Green Wave defensive end led both defenses in total tackles accounted for (7) as he was named defensive player of the game.

This was the best opportunity for these Senior Bowl participants to showcase their talent on the field as there will not be athletic testing in the 2021 NFL Scouting Combine nor will there be an in-person evaluation of team Pro Days.