The Senior Bowl is this weekend and it is a great opportunity to see some draft prospects all on an even playing field. From 1-on-1 drills to the game itself it’s our first real opportunity to get an unbiased look at some of the draft prospects.
First up is the offense.
North Team: Jordan Love (Utah State)
I find it hard to believe the Bears won’t be drafting a quarterback in this year’s draft. The only question is how early in the draft will they pull the trigger? If they opt to use one of their second-round picks on the position Utah State’s Love is the type of high risk, high reward player to take a shot on.
Love had a huge 2018 season which put him on the draft radar. That season he threw for 3,567 yards and 32 touchdowns while only throwing six interceptions. He showed everything you want from a quarterback prospect with a strong arm, good accuracy and touch, and good athleticism.
He failed to live up to expectations in 2019 after losing Darwin Thompson and current Bear Dax Raymond to the NFL. His yards, yards per attempt, completion percentage, and touchdowns all fell while his interceptions went up.
Now that he is in the senior bowl with NFL caliber talent around him it will be interesting to see if he looks like the 2018 version or 2019.
If he looks like the 2018 version, Love is most likely going to get drafted before the Bears are officially on the clock. That being said, if there is one guy for whom the Bears could trade up, it’s Love.
South Team: Steven Montez (Colorado)
If they decide to wait until day three to address the position, Colorado’s Montez could be the guy they target.
Montez is a project and shouldn’t be counted on to start right away and would most likely be best suited to sit for a few years. He has good athleticism and velocity which make him an intriguing day three pick. He also shows good short and intermediate accuracy although his ball placement gets questionable the further downfield he’s asked to operate.
Montez may never turn into anything in the NFL, but he’s the kind of low-risk late-round prospect that could make more sense for the Bears than a second-round quarterback.
North Team: JaMycal Hasty (Oregon)
The Bears most likely won’t be drafting a running back this year after spending two picks at the position last season. Montgomery is going to be the bell cow going forward. So if they do draft someone, look for them to target someone to take over for Tarik Cohen down the road.
Hasty is an undersized back at only 5-foot-8 and around 200 pounds. He doesn’t have exceptional top-end speed but his suddenness and change of direction ability make him a threat when he has the ball in his hands.
He’s never been a high volume guy with only 386 rushing attempts in four seasons. He has proven to be a reliable receiver out of the backfield with 76 receptions over the last three seasons.
South Team: Antonio Gibson (Memphis)
If the Bears decide to draft a running back, someone like Gibson would be an ideal target. Gibson is an athletic freak who has the versatility to line up as a running back or wide receiver while also being a dynamic kick returner.
Gibson came out of nowhere as a senior this season. He only had six total receptions before this season but exploding onto the scene this year with 38 receptions for 735 yards, 33 rushes for 369 yards, 23 kick returns for 645 yards and 13 total touchdowns.
He is a true do everything player and when you watch him it’s impossible to not see a young Cordarrelle Patterson. Gibson is similar in size at 6-foot-2 and 221 pounds and has the athleticism as well.
Bears should cut Cordarrelle Patterson (save 4.75 Mil) and draft the younger version of him in Memphis' WR/RB/KR Antonio Gibson
39 rec 735 yards (19.3 ypr) 8 TDs
33 att 369 yards (11.2 ypc) 4 TDs
23 KR 645 yards (28 ypr) 1TD
6'2 221 pounds and can do things like this pic.twitter.com/1eXzKTYr6C
— Stephen Letizia (@StephenLetizia) January 16, 2020
North Team: Antonio Gandy-Golden (Liberty)
The senior bowl is a great opportunity for small school prospects to show they belong. Gandy-Golden joined Liberty their first year playing in Division I after previously playing in the FCS.
Gandy-Golden put up some pretty impressive state in two seasons with 150 receptions, 2433 yards and 20 touchdowns. While Liberty is now playing in the FBS, as an independent Liberty did not play a very tough schedule and most of his production came against bad teams.
The senior bowl will help us understand those huge numbers better. Is he a legit talent? Or was he beating up on small schools?
South Team: Jauan Jennings (Tennessee)
Jennings looks the part of an NFL wide receiver at 6-foot-3 and 208 pounds. He started as a true freshman for the Volunteers, rounding out his college career with his best statistical season as a senior with 59 receptions for 969 yards and eight touchdowns.
Jennings is a physical possession wide receiver similar in style to Allen Robinson. He’s not a burner but has enough athleticism to keep defenses honest. His physicality and ability to beat press-man coverage should stand out in 1-on-1 drills in Mobile.
North Team: Brycen Hopkins (Purdue)
It is no secret the Bears need to upgrade their tight end position. Ryan Pace’s attempts to address the position in recent years have all fallen short. This is a loaded free agent class and I could certainly see the Bears addressing the position there.
There isn’t a first-round tight end in this class, but with the depth at the position, the Bears should be able to get a contributor.
Hopkins is a consensus top one or two tight end in this class. While I have not finalized my rankings he would currently be very high on my list if not number one. His route running and sure hands give him a pretty high floor as a pass catcher and should allow him to shine in Senior Bowl practices. I do not have questions about his athleticism but a good combine showing could cement his status as the top tight end in the class.
At the senior bowl, he had a disappointing weigh-in at only 6-foot-3 and 241 pounds. He looks much bigger on tape but some deficiencies as a blocker make more sense now.
BONUS: Another tight end to watch on the North Team is Dayton’s Adam Trautman. He could have the highest ceiling at the position and a bump in competition at the Senior Bowl is a perfect opportunity to lay to rest concerns about the level of competition he played against.
South Team: Josiah Deguara (Cincinnati)
Also Harrison Bryant FAU, Jared Pinkney (Vanderbilt)
This is a loaded Senior Bowl at the tight end position. It was nearly impossible to pick only two guys from the group. So.. I didn’t.
Josiah Deguara, Harrison Bryant, and Jared Pinkney are all grouped together in most tight end rankings. This is a perfect opportunity for one of them to separate from the pack and cement themselves as a top-5 tight end in this class.
I will be watching this position group very closely and you better believe Ryan Pace and company will as well. It would not surprise me if the Bears double-dip at the tight end position in this year’s draft.
North Team: Alex Taylor (South Carolina State)
The Bears have an immediate hole to fill at right guard. That doesn’t mean they won’t try and get a young tackle in the building to take over for Charles Leno or Bobby Massie down the road.
Taylor is a project but has the size and athleticism that could make him a top tier tackle in the NFL one day. He was a big winner at the weigh-in measuring over 6-foot-8 with the longest arms at the event at 36 ⅛ inches. He still has room on his frame to add some weight.
Taylor is the kind of high-risk high-reward prospect that is worth the gamble early on Day 3.
South Team: Logan Stenberg (Kentucky)
If you are more interested in a prospect who can fill the hole at right guard right away then Sternberg is one of the guys to watch.
Sternberg isn’t going to be confused with an elite athlete although he does have enough functional athleticism to compete and combined with his great size he has the potential to be a Pro-Bowl guard in the NFL.
Stenberg has a strong lower half and heavy hands. That combined with a nasty streak makes pancake blocks a regular occurrence when watching him. It’s tough for guards to stand out in 1-on-1 drills but where he will stand out is in the game itself.