The Importance of the Senior Bowl

01/18/2018
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The Senior Bowl is right around the corner. This is a big event for teams like the Bills who have stockpiled draft picks and have many holes to fill on their roster. With this being the first offseason of the Brandon Beane & Sean McDermott regime in place, we don’t really know what to expect out of them. So, for fun, we took a look at what prospects from the Senior Bowl have been drafted to either the Buffalo Bills or the Carolina Panthers since 2013 to see if we can get a feel for how important the weekend will be for Bills scouts. This list only features players taken in the draft and not undrafted free agent signings.

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Jan 1, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback EJ Manuel (3) attempts a pass against the New York Jets in the 3rd quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

2013

The 2013 Senior Bowl was a big one for the Bills. This was Buddy Nix’s final draft as the GM of the Bills, and Buddy and his staff liked what they saw in Mobile. Four of the Bills’ 8 picks were Senior Bowl attendees: QB EJ Manuel out of Florida State (Round 1, pick 16), the speedy Olympic track star WR Marquise Goodwin from Texas (Round 3, pick 78), Duke Williams, safety from Nevada (Round 4, pick 105), and Dustin Hopkins, kicker from Florida State (Round 6, pick 177). None of these players remains on the current Bills roster.

For the Panthers, they only walked away with two prospects that attended the 2013 Senior Bowl: Kawann Short, DT from Purdue (Round 2, pick 44) and Kenjon Barner, RB from Oregon (Round 6, pick 182). Only Short is still on the team and is a key contributor on their defense as well as Pro Football Focus’ 3rd highest graded DT in 2017.

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Oct 18, 2015; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills tackle Seantrel Henderson (66) against the Cincinnati Bengals at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

2014

In 2014, the Bills only took two prospects from the Senior Bowl in Doug Whaley’s first solo draft as GM, selecting Cyril Richardson, the big guard from Baylor (Round 5, pick 153) and Seantrel Henderson, an OT out of Miami (Round 7, pick 237). Even though Henderson has struggled with health issues, he has remained on the Bills’ roster since being drafted.

The Panthers didn’t take any prospects that were in the Senior Bowl for their draft in 2014.

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Oct 30, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers offensive tackle Daryl Williams (60) and guard Trai Turner (70) protect quarterback Cam Newton (1) in the second quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

2015

This was the only season out of the years we took a look at in which the Panthers drafted more Senior Bowl attendees than the Bills. The Bills took Dezmin Lewis (Round 7, pick 234), who was on the team up until he was cut prior to the start of the 2017 season.

The Panthers drafted two Senior Bowl attendees in 2015, Daryl Williams (Round 4, pick 102) who is still a starter in Carolina and was Pro Football Focus’ 3rd highest graded tackle in the NFL in 2017. Cameron Artis-Payne was also selected (Round 5, pick 174). Both players are still on the Panthers’ roster.

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Dec 17, 2017; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers cornerback James Bradberry (24) forces Green Bay Packers wide receiver Geronimo Allison (81) to fumble late in the fourth quarter to seal the game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

2016

The Bills must have been pretty impressed during the 2016 Senior Bowl because they spent three picks on participants, including trading up for Reggie Ragland (Round 2, pick 41), Adolphus Washington (Round 3, pick 80), and Jonathan Williams (Round 5, pick 156). Only Washington remains on the Bills’ roster, as Ragland was traded to the Chiefs and Williams was cut this past training camp.

The Panthers walked away impressed with the talent from the 2016 Senior Bowl. They used their first two draft picks on attendees, the first of whom was Vernon Butler, the DT out of Louisiana Tech and their first-round pick (Round 1, pick 31). They also grabbed James Bradberry, a CB from Samford (Round 2, Pick 62). Both players are still on the active roster.

Nov 26, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Buffalo Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White (27) intercepts a pass from Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) (not pictured) during the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

2017

Sean McDermott’s first season with the Bills and Doug Whaley and staff’s last draft with the Bills saw the front office quite bullish on the prospects who attended the Senior Bowl. The team’s first three picks, and four out of six, were all Senior Bowl attendees. Tre’Davious White, the lockdown CB from LSU (Round 1, pick 27), the record-breaking WR out of East Carolina, Zay Jones (Round 2, pick 37), offensive lineman Dion Dawkins out of Temple (Round 2, pick 63), and Pitt developmental QB Nathan Peterman (Round 5, pick 171). All of the players made it to the active roster in 2017, and Tre’Davious White and Dion Dawkins had immediate positive impacts on the field.

The Panthers found three to draft during the Senior Bowl this year. They took Taylor Moton the OT from Western Michigan (Round 2, pick 64), a DE from Texas A&M, Daeshon Hall (Round 3, pick 77), and Corn Elder, a CB from Miami (Round 5, pick 152). All three made the 2017 Panthers active roster.

So, is there any connection that can be made to the Bills or Brandon Beane in regards to the stock they put into the Senior Bowl? Probably not from this data, but overall it shows that it’s worth paying attention to who is attending and if they can increase their value to NFL teams over the weekend.

The crew at Cover 1 will have you covered with a ton of content with members of the team attending the Senior Bowl in Mobile this year. Make sure you are following everyone at Cover 1 to stay updated on everything from this year’s Senior Bowl.

 

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