Michigan triple-threat senior Denard Robinson is a risky prospect.
The Senior Bowl is played to showcase the talent of select seniors before they enter the NFL draft. But this year, there are a few players that teams should be hesitant to take a chance on.
Both the North and South teams have rosters with big names on both sides of the ball, and the actual game should be highly competitive. But the fact of the matter is that one team is going to win and potentially make players on the losing side look bad.
Playing with an entire new set of players and coaches is not easy for a college senior, but many have already been successful at practice. Others, on the other hand, have struggled.
Let’s take a glance at some players who might not play so well at the Senior Bowl and will result in NFL teams drafting them lower than originally expected.
E.J. Manuel, Quarterback, Florida State
E.J. Manuel picked a good time to have his best season as a collegiate quarterback. He set new career highs in completions, attempts, passing yards, touchdowns and passer rating.
Manuel finished in the top 20 in the country with nearly 3,400 yards through the air and a 156 passer rating—which was higher than Heisman Trophy-winner Johnny Manziel. Although Manuel has very good accuracy, practice at the Senior Ball has brought out some flaws—whether they are minor inconsistencies or things to look for in the future.
Here’s what ESPN’s Kevin Weidl had to say after a South team practice:
They all threw the ball well, though Florida State’s E.J. Manuel had the least touch of the three quarterbacks. He didn’t have the touch you need on red zone throws and, on occasion, the ball sailed on him.
Manuel did struggle with accuracy during the season in the red zone. He only completed 58 percent of 45 attempts, although he did throw 15 red zone touchdowns.
Denard Robinson, Quarterback/Wide Receiver, Michigan
There’s no doubt that Denard Robinson was the talk of the nation the past three seasons or so with his dual-threat abilities. Robinson almost always seemed to fool defenses whether it be through the air or on the ground.
The problem with Robinson’s draft stock, however, is that it’s plummeting. This is mainly due to the fact that he had his worst year as a collegiate quarterback, and he isn’t regarded as a quarterback that could make it in the NFL. He’s been working on becoming a wide receiver, and that decision is expected to get him drafted.
ESPN’s Todd McShay and Steve Muench say that Robinson hasn’t been that smooth at receiver in practice for the North team:
The transition for Michigan WR/QB Denard Robinson hasn’t been as easy as he hoped. For example, he had a false start today.
Moving forward it’s important as to who is coaching him and with whom he is playing. If he goes back to Ann Arbor, Mich., and focuses on running a fast 40, that’s not going to work. He needs to focus on running routes and catching the football. That’s just one piece of the puzzle.
It’s certainly a long road ahead for the former Wolverine standout.
Landry Jones, Quarterback, Oklahoma
Landry Jones has been very consistent the last three seasons, leading the Oklahoma Sooners to plenty of victories. He regularly completes around 65 percent of his passes and throws for well over 4,000 yards.
This past season, Jones threw for 4,267 yards—the second-most in the country—to go along with 30 touchdowns and a 144.6 passer rating. Jones is definitely not going to be one of the first quarterbacks taken in the NFL draft but eventually will get his name called.
Despite Jones’ success over the years, ESPN’s crew of Senior Bowl analysts question his comfort:
Oklahoma’s Landry Jones had a tough day. He was a little out of sorts with LSU WR Russell Shephard, who practiced for the first time Wednesday. There was some miscommunication between Jones and his receivers. The problems started early and snowballed during the day. He made some bad decisions and forced some throws. He just never looked comfortable Wednesday.
Jones’ inability to work with new receivers should work against him when it comes to NFL teams taking a look at him.