Posted by Matt Olson

Senior Bowl Day 1 Recap

July 7, 2023

There was a lot of action at the Senior Bowl yesterday, with a lot of standout players. If we had to pick a “standout of the day”, we’d have to go with Florida WR Van Jefferson. According to all reports, he looked like a man among boys and consistently separated from his defender. Jefferson measured in at 6’1, 197 lbs. He had a fair, but modest college career:
  2016 (Redshirt Freshman): 12 games, 49 catches, 543 yards, 3 touchdowns
  2017: 10 games, 42 catches, 456 yards, 1 touchdown
  2018: 11 games, 35 catches, 503 yards, 6 touchdowns
  2019: 12 games, 49 catches, 657 yards, 6 touchdowns

He spent 2015-2017 at Ole Miss and 2018-2019 at Florida. His stats don’t jump off the page, but anyone that starts this many games in the SEC should have your attention. Here’s what the experts are saying:

  • “Florida WR Van Jefferson is one of the biggest dogs I’ve seen on tape at that position. His routes/releases are top notch and he competes hard for each catch. Gave Derek Stingley work and that kid can GO. He’s not the fastest and may not go until day 3, but I’ll take him.” – Lance Zierlien,
  • “He is very skilled at accelerating into the breakpoint, forcing the cornerback to react, which allows Jefferson to snap off his route in the opposite direction. Although he is very thin-muscled and doesn’t have the play strength to consistently win crowded catch points, Jefferson doesn’t have to worry about that when he consistently separates.” – Dane Brugler, The Athletic
  • “Looked like a pro among college all-stars” – Matt Waldman
  • “Van Jefferson will separate in the intermediate for 8 years in the NFL. Natural, fluid route runner who has an understanding on how to beat man and zone coverages.” – Brad Kelly, Cover 1
  • “Jefferson is smooth. I’m impressed by his route running so far. Footwork is fluid and he can easily change direction without losing speed.” – Turron Davenport, ESPN NFL Nation
  • “Looks good in every drill. He may not test off the charts but he’s going to get open in the NFL.” – Greg Tompsett, Cover 1

Watch for Jefferson to start rising up draft boards and Rookie Mock Drafts. Now onto what they are saying about the rest of the prospects on Senior Bowl Day 1:

Justin Herbert (Oregon):
Bryan Perez – Love and Herbert in particular pass the eye test, but we have a LONG way to go to saying either is a “guy.” My super premature analysis of this QB class remains the same: Blah.
Omar Kelly – Okay. Justin Herbert got an arm. Can flick his wrist and throw it 40 yards without stepping into the throw.

Jordan Love (Utah State):
Bryan Perez – Love and Herbert in particular pass the eye test, but we have a LONG way to go to saying either is a “guy.” My super premature analysis of this QB class remains the same: Blah. Jordan Love is cooking so far in one on ones

Turron Davenport – Jordan Love is cooking so far in one on ones. A couple of well placed deep passes to Antonio Gandy-Golden and Michael Pittman Jr. Here’s a deep out-breaking route he delivered to KJ Hill. >

Matt Miller – Jordan Love was really impressive though. He made some jaw dropping throws.

Shea Patterson (Michigan):
Matt Miller – I try to find a silver lining about every player, but I have nothing today for Shea Patterson. He struggled with accuracy and had no zip to power through wind when throwing into it. I don’t think he’s draftable

Stephen Montez (Colorado):
RosterWatch – All the talk will rightfully be about Justin Herbert and Jordan Love, but the Colorado QB Stephen Montez is actually good

Eno Benjamin (Arizona State):
RosterWatch – Eno Benjamin needs to add 10 pounds if he wants to be a player of the Devin Singletary mold in the #NFL. The fact is he looks too small at 195.

Ke’Shawn Vaughn (Vanderbilt) and Joshua Kelley (UCLA):
RosterWatch – Great starts for Ke’Shawn Vaughn and Joshua Kelley. Takes away some of the sting in dynasty at the RB position from Chuba Hubbard and Travis Etienne returning to school.

KJ Hill (Ohio State):
Brad Kelly – KJ Hill is a true route salesman. He’s able to drop his hips and decelerate in an instant and create an easy throwing window.

Trevor Sikkema – I am here to announce that Day 1 of the 2020 Senior Bowl has been renamed to “KJ Hill Day” >

Antonio Gandy-Golden (Liberty):
Brad Kelly – Winning at the top of the route with physicality >

Michael Pittman (USC):
Brad Kelly – Michael Pittman Jr. with a forearm pull to beat contact and then separating with some juice >

RosterWatch – We should probably talk about the WRs and when we do, we have trouble starting the conversation with anyone but Michael Pittman Jr.

Collin Johnson (Texas):
Dane Brugler – Johnson did a nice job of collecting his feet to cleanly stick and separate, introducing deception into his route plan. With his length and route prowess, cornerbacks know they are in for a challenge.

Quartney Davis (Texas A&M):
Brad Kelly – Here’s what makes Texas A&M WR Quartney Davis so intriguing – the quick feet, explosiveness and change of direction. “Toolsy” prospect. >

Adam Trautman (Dayton):
RosterWatch – Get to know the name Adam Trautman, TE Dayton. Best small school TE since Dallas Goedert.

Dane Brugler – Trautman isn’t overly sudden, but he is very smooth at the top of his routes, holding defenders just enough to give the quarterback a workable passing window. He showed why he is considered a top-75 prospect in this class. 

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