The Senior Bowl takes place midday Saturday in Mobile, Alabama and showcases senior football players from across the country, as they’re split into two teams coached by NFL coaching staffs. Team South is coached by Bill O’Brien from the Houston Texans, and Team North is coached by Vance Joseph from the Denver Broncos.
The game is marketed as a traditional mainstay in the college football world, but it’s really just a chance for NFL scouts and coaches to get a feel for how these senior football players can play against stiffer competition. Some of the marquee players at the Senior Bowl include quarterback Baker Mayfield, wideout James Washington, and linebacker Shaquem Griffin.
The Pacific Northwest is making its contribution this year for Team North, and the following players will be looking to further their names in front of NFL scouts.
Luke Falk, Washington State University, QB
There’s not as much mainstream excitement for Falk but so far in practice, he’s impressed. He’s supposedly met with scouts from the Chicago Bears and the New York Jets already, and has been noted by Todd McShay as being one of the more consistent quarterbacks this week at football practices.
This has been great news but not totally unexpected. Scouts have been watching his career unfold at WSU, as he’s destroyed school records and has consistently been a passing leader in the PAC-12. Towards the end of last year, it was rumored by Eric Galko that the New England Patriots had set their draft sights on the Cougar star as well.
Right now he’s projected somewhere around the 2nd to 4th rounds of the NFL draft. I think he’s going to go on the earlier side of that spectrum, since there’s too much to ignore about his abilities. He has the frame at 6’4”, and has experience dealing with frenetic head coaches. Falk has also dealt with being pulled out of games and playing tough PAC-12 secondaries, all while posting about 15,000 yards passing and 119 passing touchdowns.
Most critics suggest that he doesn’t have a “deep arm,” but that’s just an empty platitude up against a stout, concrete resume.
The biggest thing I’d look out for would be if Falk gets a chance to throw to wideout James Washington from Oklahoma State. The receiver is a top pick in the upcoming draft, so it’d be exciting to see Falk getting a touchdown pass to another top prospect.
Tyrell Crosby, University of Oregon, LT
The PAC-12 Morris Trophy winner is probably too good for this game. Crosby has been making the most of his time at the Senior Bowl by establishing himself as a top 5 offensive lineman in the nation, where even Pro Football Focus has him ranked as a 1st round NFL draft pick.
And that trophy he snagged? The Morris Trophy is an award for best lineman in the PAC-12 for the year, where one lineman from each side of the ball is selected for the award. The trophy is selected by other players in the conference, which means that the all players in the PAC-12 think Crosby is a truly impenetrable force. He’s the first Oregon offensive lineman since Adam Snyder took the Morris Trophy home in 2004.
Depending on which side Crosby plays on this weekend, since he’s so versatile, he’ll be able to go up against standout defensive ends from Team South including Marcus Davenport of University of Texas-San Antonio and Da’Shawn Hand of the University of Alabama.
It’d be great to see Crosby out in the open field on Saturday, helping break open a run. He’s known for his hustle by blocking downfield. He won’t allow a single hit this Saturday
Cole Madison, Washington State University, T
Madison is another offensive lineman participating in the Senior Bowl, but isn’t considered to be quite as illustrious as Crosby. The WSU lineman was named to the 2nd offensive unit for the All-PAC-12 Conference Football team, so the kid has talent. He also had to fight for a spot on the roster so he’s no slouch.
He’s considered to be a late round prospect, so there are questions as to his viability as a potential NFL player. The quarterback he’s sworn to protect, Luke Falk, was sacked a ton this year. Madison has a lot riding this week, so every inch he gains during practice and the game on Saturday can determine his future for the NFL.
Negatives aside, expect Madison to make it work. He’s shown versatility in practice already, and may be playing on the interior line. The WSU offense is an Air Raid offense, but it doesn’t mean that Madison’s been standing around all year. He understands where his spots are in the passing offense, and whenever Mike Leach does decide to run the ball, Madison is able to stick his man for the duration of the play.
He’ll definitely get a chance to prove his worth, and if he can prove himself on Saturday against elite talent, Madison will buy his ticket to the NFL.
The game should pit the talents of these players from the northwest against some of the best that America has to offer. Most critics might have it out for a cupcake PAC-12, but you should expect heads to turn as these three players duke it out for Team North in Alabama on Saturday.