2021 Senior Bowl: Two Mountain West Players Showcase Skills
Time to showcase their skills.
The Senior Bowl is normally a big deal but in this NFL Draft cycle, it is even more important than normal. There were no non-conference games for Mountain West players to prove themselves against Power 5 teams, games were missed, and most importantly, there was basically zero in-person scouting done for games or practices.
This week’s full of practices were huge for everyone involved, even the blue chip players. From the Mountain West, there were two participants in Boise State tight end John Bates and San Diego State defensive back Darren Hall.
— Mountain West Wire (@MWCwire) January 26, 2021
Hall was spotted playing great coverage this week in one on one drills and showed off his skills all week long.
San Diego State CB Darren Hall had a couple of nice reps in 1v1s
Might have to keep an eye on him going forward👀 pic.twitter.com/TtW5PkZETO
— Kyle Fahey (@KyleFaheyNFL) January 26, 2021
Nothing is for sure when it comes to the NFL Draft, but when players who earn an invite to the Senior Bowl, they typically are drafted. That is, unless, they have an awful week and Hall is not showing too many weaknesses. He did get burned on one play by South Dakota State wide receiver Cade Johnson. Yet, it was just one play and nothing overly concerned, plus Johnson is expected to be a surprise from the draft coming from tan FCS school.
The other Mountain West player is tight end Bates out of Boise State and he has been getting recognized this week when he was catching some passes from Notre Dame’s Ian Book.
“He’s a big target,” said ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay. “[He had] thirty-four catches in 19 games the past two years. He’s not a speed guy but he’s got a great catch radius and he’s a guy that you would love to target in the red zone.”
As ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said, Bates' size and catch radius make him an attractive option in the redzone.
— Jay Tust (@KTVBSportsGuy) January 28, 2021
It is not just McShay who was going all-in on Bates but according to Mile High Huddle, the athletic Bates was impressive to everyone.
Bates had scouts and analysts audibly ‘oohing’ and ‘awing’ in every single practice with his impressive catches, and route-running ability. With shades of Tampa Bay’s Cameron Brate and Philadelphia’s Zach Ertz to his game, Bates was a dynamic red-zone monster the entire week.
Bates routinely bailed out his QBs on poor throws, lifting the offense out of what should have been incompletions or interceptions. He uses his explosive tree-trunks of legs to jump into the air and pull down contested and 50/50 balls in mid-air.
GAME DAY DETAILS
Date: Saturday, Jan. 30
Location: Hancock Whitney Stadium; Mobile, Alabama
Time: 2:30 p.m. ET.
TV: NFL Network