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MORSE: Senior Bowl Wrap Up, Deflategate Revelation and Joe Judge Returns

Mark Morse
Mark Morse on Twitter
February 9, 2022 at 5:00 am ET

MORSE: Senior Bowl Wrap Up, Deflategate Revelation and Joe Judge Returns(PHOTO: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports)
Posted: Feb 09, 2022 05:00
🕑 Read Time: 5 minutes

The Senior Bowl has concluded, the Super Bowl is Sunday, and Free Agency is on the horizon.  Free Agency starts March 16th, with the previous two days as what’s called “Legal Tampering”.  The NFL Draft Combine from Indianapolis is the first week of March.  Let’s wrap up the Senior Bowl with the 10 players I think helped themselves the most in Mobile.

I think this is a general consensus of who the top players were from various sources such as Pro Football Focus, Pro Football Network, and NFL Draft Scout.  We may have one or two players we disagree on.

  1. Dameon Pierce RB Florida – Pierce came into the week with a lot to prove.  He had a subpar season at Florida.  He ran for 574 yards on only 100 carries for 5.7 YPC and 13 TDs.  Why did he get so few carries?   Not his fault, Florida trailed a lot and had to pass.  Pierce is solid at 5’ 10” 215 lbs and runs hard, makes decisive cuts, and is tough to bring down.  His biggest assets are his pass blocking and receiving skills.  He had 19 catches for 216 yards and 11.4 YPC, 3 more TDs.  He was the only RB at the Senior Bowl that was able to stone LBs in pass rush drills.
  2. Christian Watson WR North Dakota St – You heard his name all week from various scouts. He was unstoppable and beat every cornerback.  He is a big receiver at 6’4″  211lbs,  Wingspan: 77 1/8″ Arm: 32 3/4″ Hand: 10″.   Speed is supposed to be sub 4.5, which will be confirmed at the combine.  He made a smart, heads-up play on a ball thrown low.  He went down and caught it, rolling on the ground.  The defender ran right by like they were playing college rules.  Watson got right up and gained another 20 yards downfield.  He also should have had a TD catch if the QB could get him the ball (the QBs were awful).  He came from FCS North Dakota St and had a lot to prove and he did that.
  3. Trevor Penning OT Northern Iowa – Overall the O-line play all week was terrible. Many of the big tackles got eaten up by the D Line and edge pass rushers got a lot of accolades for the number of pass rushers he put on the ground.  Penning is just plain old nasty on every rep.  As one scout put it, “He wants to start a fight on every play”.  There is one thing to play to the whistle, but Penning was going beyond on every rep.  Penning stands 6’7” 330 lbs and did get beat on some reps, but recovered and planted the edge rusher in the ground.  He made money this week and should go in the top 20.
  4. Malik Willis QB Liberty – This was a big week for Willis. He played up with the big boys after playing his career at Liberty University.  Willis is 6’ 1” 215 lbs and runs a 4.42 40.  He might be a better runningback than a thrower.  Well, that statement was disproved by Willis’s strong performance this week.  Willis played very well in the rain on Day 2 of practice.  His arm strength was terrific as he cut the ball through the wind and rain.  Pittsburgh Head Coach was all over Willis all week.  Anywhere Willis went, Tomlin was right behind him.  In the game, Wilis was just ok, but that one day of practice made the difference.  The remainder of the QBs were just average to me.
  5. Trey McBride TE Colorado St – He was uncoverable all week. However, this is a deep TE class and you can find a good NFL level TE in the 5th  I am looking at 4 TE’s going in the top 100.
  6. Tariq Castro-Fields CB Penn St – This was a plug from Pro Football Focus because Castro-Fields was getting accolades from coaches all week. No other CB was getting that kind of input from the coaches.   I had Castro-Fields as a late Day three player that would interest the Patriots.  He made some money and worked up into the 4th or 5th  Castro-Fields is 6’ 194 and runs a 4.43.  That’s good size and speed.  He has played at a high level (Big Ten) against good consistent talent.
  7. DeVonte Wyatt DT Georgia – He played great in the practices all week and was named a practice player of the week by his peers. He did not play in the game itself due to a slight injury.  The game MVP went to Perrion Winfrey DT Oklahoma.  He had a great game and a very good week of practice, nothing wrong with him, but DeVonte Wyatt was absolutely unstoppable.  I would love to see him added to the Patriots roster.
  8. Boye Mafe EDGE Minnesota – he had two sacks, one a strip-sack, and was outstanding all game. His week of practice was just as good.  At 6’4” 260 lbs, he runs a 4.57    He was quick all week with his pass rush.   Mafe could be a Patriots type of player.  This may also be the deepest position in the draft.
  9. Darrion Beavers LB Cincinnati – The knock on Beavers was that he couldn’t cover. Well, that was disproved this week.  Beavers stayed with both TEs and RBs.  At 6’4”, 252 he ran an estimated 4.78.  He appeared faster than his game tape showed.  Let’s see what he puts up for numbers at the combine.  He played the run great and has throughout his career but coverage was the issue.  Jermaine Johnson had a great week too but I think Beavers is the one that improved his draft position the most.
  10. Jalen Pitre S Baylor – Pitre was all over the field. He played both slot corner and Strong Safety at Baylor.  He will make a terrific Free Safety and something the Patriots need.  At 5’11” 196 lbs, he is not the biggest safety, but he can run with the WRs.   He is a hybrid DB, playing in the box and having the flexibility to play FS.  He showed these skills all week and was heads above all other safeties.

I have to give a shout-out to Jordan Stout P Penn State.  I had him as a player to watch and he didn’t disappoint in the game.  He averaged 49.5 per punt in the game with 2 punts inside the 20.  Also, the conditions weren’t great with 20 MPH winds and a game wind chill of 32 degrees (very cold for Mobile).  Stout played at Penn St and he is ideal for playing in the NE.  He also kicks off and had a kickoff that traveled 85 yards through the goalposts and into the tunnel by several yards.

Next week I will have a new Mock Draft post-Senior Bowl and I will be using the rankings of Patriots-type Plyers generated by poster Bacon Grundle Candy.  This is a fun exercise as BGC has these players ranked by what round they should be picked.

EXTRA MORSELS:

– Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio’s book Playmakers has two interesting points we all suspected about Deflategate.  One, that Try Vincent was the disinformation leak from the NFL Office that told ESPN’s Chris Mortenson that 11 of 12 footballs were 2lbs under-inflated.   With a credible source such as the assistant commissioner, Mortenson went with the story.  The second point is that NFL Counsel Jeff Pash ordered the destruction of ball testing data accumulated data from the 2015 season because closely replicated the numbers taken at halftime of the Patriots playoff game the season before.  That data, if made public would have exonerated the Patriots and Tom Brady.  I believe it’s time for the Patriots and Bob Kraft to demand their draft choices to be returned and any fines are returned.  This is beautiful seeing that it’s the week of the Super Bowl when it comes up, the week of the most media attention.  This also the same week the Deflategate story broke and Tom Brady gad to answer all those questions at the Super Bowl.

– The addition of Joe Judge to the coaching staff is a welcomed signing.  The title will be Offensive Assistant with various undefined duties.  I hope this does not preclude the Patriots from bringing back Bill O’Brien as Offensive Coordinator.  Chris Gaspar is reporting that the Judge hiring will mean no Offensive Coordinator and those duties spread amongst the offensive coaches.    I for one was not pleased with Cam Achord’s leadership of Special Teams and was hoping Judge would return to coach ST’s.

About Mark Morse

Merrimack Valley native and lifelong fan of the New England Patriots. My earliest memories of the Patriots were attending as a child with my dad, the off-season practice at Phillips Academy. I was at the Patriots game at Harvard Stadium in 1970 where Bob “Harpo” Gladieux was called out of the stands by the stadium announcer over the PA to play in the game. Analyzing the draft since ESPN first started to televise it in 1980 and former writer for the Lowell Sun Newspaper.


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