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Is the Senior Bowl "Riser" a Myth?

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Everyone loves lists. They want to read who the “made money” at the Senior Bowl. But, what if the “Senior Bowl Risers” are a myth? Let’s examine.

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NCAA Football: Senior Bowl-South Practice Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports

First, here's who was voted the 2017 top practice player of the week by position.

QUARTERBACK: Davis Webb, Cal

RUNNING BACK: Jamaal Williams, BYU

WIDE RECEIVER: Cooper Kupp, Eastern Washington

OFFENSIVE LINE: Dion Dawkins, Temple

DEFENSIVE LINE: Dalvin Tomlinston, Alabama

LINEBACKER: Haasan Reddick, Temple

DEFENSIVE BACK: Rasul Douglas, West Virginia

SPECIALIST: Jake Elliott, Memphis

Additionally, OJ Howard was voted "Practice Player of the Week", which is essentially the MVP for the three days of practices. Cal quarterback, Davis Webb was named the game’s MVP.

Toledo running back, Kareem Hunt was named the North’s Most Outstanding Player, and Kansas State DE, Jordan Willis was named the Most Outstanding Player for the South team.

So, all these guys belong in the first round, right? Not so fast....

While 87 Senior Bowl participants were drafted in 2016, only four were drafted in the first round.

Carson Wentz, Sheldon Rankings, Joshua Garnett, and Victor Butler were the only four players from the 2016 Senior Bowl to get drafted in round one. Thirteen were drafted in round two, followed by sixteen in the third round, eighteen in the fourth, seventeen in the fifth, thirteen in the sixth, and six in the seventh round.

So, where did all the 2016 Senior Bowl "Risers" get drafted?

While many analysts published their risers, I have chosen to single out PFF's 2016 Risers

Of coarse, they correctly identified Carson Wentz and Sheldon Rankins, but lets look at the other eight.

Braxton Miller was every analysts darling at last years Senior Bowl. Some analysts even mocked him in the back end of the round one. It wasn't until the 85th pick that the Texans took him.

PFF thought Noah Spence's impressive Senior Bowl week could propel him into the draft's top-ten overall. They were not alone, as USA Today's Jon Ledyard called him a better on-the-field prospect than Vic Beasley. Of coarse, Spence had off-the-field concerns that caused him to slide until the 39th pick.

Carl Nassib had a dominant senior season at Penn State, but there were still concerns about his athleticism. PFF felt those concerns had been squashed, they wrote "especially in one-on-ones where he dominated over the course of three days." Unfortunately, the NFL didn't agree, and Nassib wasn't drafted until the top of third round (#65).

In my analysis of Sheldon Day, I criticized him for his "pear-shaped" physique, and short arms. However, PFF included him in their top-ten risers and explained "While undersized, Day proved difficult to block all week, whether taking on guards in a 3-technique defensive tackle role or even kicked outside to more of a true defensive end position. His ability to win on the edge against left tackles only helped his stock, as he showed he can do more than just create havoc on the interior." In the end, the 6'1, 193 pound Day was picked just outside the top-100, at #103.

Christian Westerman was Mike Mayocks' #3 guard, and one of PFF's top-10 risers. However, the Bengals did not select him until the fifth round (pick 161).

Jerell Adams scored really well in PFF's charting during his senior season, then followed that by a solid week at the Senior Bowl and appeared to reinforce his position after he ran a 4.64-second 40, to lead all TEs at the NFL Combine. Strangely, Adams didn't get picked until the sixth round (#184).

Lastly, a pair of cornerbacks, Maurice Canady and Jonathan Jones made the list. Canady's 6'2 frame and Jones sub 5'10 frame are on opposite ends of the spectrum, but each was said to have made life difficult for Senior Bowl receivers. Canady wasn't drafted until the sixth round (# 209), while Jones went undrafted.

That is two 1st rounders, one 2nd, two 3rds, one 4th, one 5th, two 6ths, and one undrafted free agent.

Additionally, Jason Spriggs was named offensive lineman of the week, but barely cracked the top-50 (#48). Kenneth Dixon was named running back of the week (4th round, pk 134) and Harlan Miller was voted the defensive back of the week but wasn't selected until the sixth round.

All this was NOT meant to take a jab at PFF, as after the Senior Bowl, Mike Mayock said Reggie Ragland was a "top-ten pick all day long" (drafted 41st).

Instead it mean to point out that the Senior Bowl is only one small piece of the draft process and an excellent week here neither guarantees a player will be picked in the top-fifty, nor that they will find NFL success.

So, here I will list a few that are being hyped as Senior Bowl risers, that I predict will STILL fall outside of the top-100

1. Nathan Peterman, QB, Pittsburgh - most analysts top QB for the week

2. Tanoh Kpassagnon, DE, Villanova - just a hunch. Singled out by Gettleman.

3. Damontae Kazee, CB, San Diego State - Mayock's Player who competed at highest level.

4. Eddie Vanderdoes, DT, UCLA - Vanderdoes dominated anyone who tried to block him??

5. Alex Anzalone, LB, Florida - still, a huge injury risk

6. Kareem Hunt, RB, Toledo - hardest one for me. For me Rd3 , but depth at RB could push him into Rd4

7. Jamaal Williams, RB, BYU - voted (practice) RB of the week

8. Cam Sutton (Tennessee) - praised as a riser, but he really is a slider

9. Ben Gedeon, LB, Michigan - tied with Reddick with a game-leading nine tackles.

10. Josh Reynolds, WR, Texas A&M - led all receivers with six receptions for 96 yards

11. Lorenzo Jerome, S, St. Francis - had two interceptions and a forced fumble during the game.

Myth or no myth...Who are MY risers from the 2017 Senior Bowl?

1. OJ Howard, TE, Alabama

2. Obi Melifonwu, S, Connecticut

3. Hasson Reddick, LB, Temple

4. Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington

5. Davis Webb, QB, Cal

6. Jordan Willis, DE/OLB, Kansas State

7. Zay Jones, WR, East Carolina

8. Taylor Moton, RT, Western Michigan

9. Montravius Adams, DT, Auburn

10. Tyus Bowser, OLB, Houston