The college football Senior Bowl is both an opportunity to honor college footballs' top seniors and provide them with a platform to perform in front of numerous NFL scouts and coaches.
While many players jump at the opportunity to participate, often times many of the top prospects will opt out for fear of damaging their draft status.
Here are four players though who may have benefited from participating.
Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd had an opportunity to put himself ahead of the competition by participating in the Senior Bowl this week. With two of the draft’s top wide receiver prospects, Justin Blackmon and Alshon Jeffrey, unable to participate due to being juniors, and Baylor’s Kendall Wright out with an injury, this would have been a great chance for Floyd to show his stuff and get a head start.
A big-bodied receiver, Floyd is not the type of player who is going to run away with astounding numbers at the NFL combine, therefore an opportunity for scouts to see him practice for a week and play in the game may have served him well.
In Floyd’s defense, being ranked no. 2 isn’t a bad spot to be, so why jeopardize it?
Nebraska cornerback Alfonzo Dennard did participate in Senior Bowl practices, but withdrew from the game with an apparent hip flexor injury.
The announcement of the injury came after a rough week of practices by Dennard, in which was knocked by a number of scouts and experts. Dennard’s draft stock took a hard hit, as he was beat time and time again by receivers.
Perhaps the injury is legit and effecting Dennard’s play, or perhaps the injury was an excuse to get out and not further damage his stock.
If it is the latter though, not playing in the game may hurt Dennard more than playing would have, as it may have been one last opportunity of the week for him to show what he is capable of.
Clemson’s Andre Branch was slated to participate in the Senior Bowl, but withdrew at the last minute with a groin injury.
Although Branch could convert to linebacker, he is listed as a defensive end prospect and is currently rated right around fourth or fifth. The Senior Bowl would have been an opportunity for Branch to not only go right up against his competition, in top rated defensive end Quinton Coples, but also get a head start on Nick Perry and Whitney Mercilus, who are both juniors.
Stanford strong safety Delano Howell declined a Senior Bowl invite and perhaps it was because he is still healing up from injuries that affected him all season long. Howell did have a hand injury that caused him to miss three games this season.
Depsite the injury, Howell had a solid senior year finished with 52 tackles, but he is still only rated as the #14 strong safety prospect. A good showing at the Senior Bowl may have given Howell the opportunity to jump a few spots.