Kenny Pickett, Desmond Ridder Shine in 2022 Senior Bowl Win

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVFebruary 5, 2022

National Team quarterback Kenny Pickett of Pittsburgh (8) runs through drills during practice for the Senior Bowl NCAA college football game Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022, in Mobile, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
AP Photo/Butch Dill

The National Team beat the American Team 20-10 at the Senior Bowl on Saturday in Mobile, Alabama. But all eyes were on the quarterbacks ahead of this year's NFL draft.

Kenny Pickett showed off his upside for the National Team, finishing 6-of-6 for 89 yards and a touchdown in a winning effort.

NFL Network @nflnetwork

.<a href="https://twitter.com/kennypickett10?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@kennypickett10</a> finds <a href="https://twitter.com/ChristianW2017?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ChristianW2017</a> for a BIG gain!<a href="https://twitter.com/Pitt_FB?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Pitt_FB</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/NDSUfootball?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NDSUfootball</a> <br><br>πŸ“Ί: <a href="https://twitter.com/seniorbowl?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@seniorbowl</a> on NFL Network <a href="https://t.co/KpbJHe156J">pic.twitter.com/KpbJHe156J</a>

NFL Network @nflnetwork

The next play <a href="https://twitter.com/kennypickett10?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@kennypickett10</a> finds Abram Smith for SIX!<a href="https://twitter.com/Pitt_FB?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Pitt_FB</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/BUFootball?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BUFootball</a> <br><br>πŸ“Ί: <a href="https://twitter.com/seniorbowl?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@seniorbowl</a> on NFL Network <a href="https://t.co/I8tcGMFfX7">pic.twitter.com/I8tcGMFfX7</a>

Abram Smith (11 rushes for 48 yards, two receptions for 19 yards and a score), Jake Ferguson (three catches for 62 yards and a touchdown) and Trey McBride (two receptions for 12 yards and a score) each found the end zone for the National Team.

Malik Willis, meanwhile, flashed his dual-threat ability for the American Team, finishing 2-of-4 for 11 yards through the air to go along with 54 rushing yards.

NFL Network @nflnetwork

MALIK WILLIS WHAT?!<a href="https://twitter.com/LibertyFootball?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@LibertyFootball</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/malikwillis?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@malikwillis</a> <br><br>πŸ“Ί: <a href="https://twitter.com/seniorbowl?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@seniorbowl</a> on NFL Network <a href="https://t.co/w3cRCSyjuE">pic.twitter.com/w3cRCSyjuE</a>

NFL Network @nflnetwork

.<a href="https://twitter.com/malikwillis?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@malikwillis</a> joined <a href="https://twitter.com/TomPelissero?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TomPelissero</a> to talk about his performance today, what he wants to work on, and his love for chess. β™Ÿ<br><br>πŸ“Ί: <a href="https://twitter.com/seniorbowl?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@seniorbowl</a> on NFL Network <a href="https://t.co/FPIB3YM5iv">pic.twitter.com/FPIB3YM5iv</a>

There's no doubting that Willis has the athleticism and arm to turn heads. He has the upside to be special at the NFL level.

Luke Easterling @LukeEasterling

Malik Willis ain't getting out of the top 10.

Matt Miller @nfldraftscout

No hyperbole -- Malik Willis is the most elusive runner in this draft class.

But there will be a fight to be the top quarterback off the board, and Pickett is going to be in the running for that distinction. He's coming off a Heisman Trophy finalist campaign, and he reportedly wowed at least one team during the interview portion of the Senior Bowl week:

Dane Brugler @dpbrugler

Asked an NFL scout to power rank how the QBs did during team interviews at the Senior Bowl. His succinct response:<br><br>"Pickett. Gap. Everyone else."

Those two weren't the only players under center teams will be monitoring, of course.

Desmond Ridder had a very strong showing for the National Team, finishing 4-of-6 for 68 yards and a touchdown. He turned some heads with his play Saturday.

NFL Network @nflnetwork

.<a href="https://twitter.com/desmondridder?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@desmondridder</a> finds <a href="https://twitter.com/mcbtrey?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@mcbtrey</a> for the National Team TD!<a href="https://twitter.com/CSUFootball?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CSUFootball</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/GoBearcatsFB?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@GoBearcatsFB</a> <br><br>πŸ“Ί: <a href="https://twitter.com/seniorbowl?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@seniorbowl</a> on NFL Network <a href="https://t.co/JqSK9IMt6e">pic.twitter.com/JqSK9IMt6e</a>

NFL Network @nflnetwork

.<a href="https://twitter.com/desmondridder?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@desmondridder</a> rolls out and finds <a href="https://twitter.com/jqfergy11?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@jqfergy11</a> who rumbles for the TD!<a href="https://twitter.com/GoBearcatsFB?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@GoBearcatsFB</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/BadgerFootball?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BadgerFootball</a> <br><br>πŸ“Ί: <a href="https://twitter.com/seniorbowl?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@seniorbowl</a> on NFL Network <a href="https://t.co/8Wpkmt5BrO">pic.twitter.com/8Wpkmt5BrO</a>


That's a nice throw by Desmond Ridder to Romeo Doubs. Playaction touch pass on the money. Ridder is best as a QB when he's on the move.

Mina Kimes @minakimes

Desmond Ridder has made some nice touch throws today πŸ‘€πŸ‘€πŸ‘€

Brent Sobleski @brentsobleski

Desmond Ridder has quietly put together the best effort among the QBs in this contest. At least, he's made the most impressive throws, though they've been limited.

And Sam Howell posted solid numbers (6-of-9 for 67 yards) during his time running the American Team, scoring the team's lone touchdown.

NFL Network @nflnetwork

.<a href="https://twitter.com/Sam7Howell?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Sam7Howell</a> runs it in for the TD! <a href="https://twitter.com/UNCFootball?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@UNCFootball</a> <br><br>The American Team is on the board.<br><br>πŸ“Ί: <a href="https://twitter.com/seniorbowl?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@seniorbowl</a> on NFL Network <a href="https://t.co/W9p0Pv26HU">pic.twitter.com/W9p0Pv26HU</a>

But the real star of the show throughout the week may have been Oklahoma defensive tackle Perrion Winfrey, who arguably raised his stock more than any other player in Mobile with a strong week of practices and a solid performance Saturday.

Todd McShay @McShay13

It’s hard to have a better Senior Bowl week than the one turned in by Oklahoma DT Perrion Winfrey.

Dane Brugler @dpbrugler

There were multiple options for which DT "won" the week at the Senior Bowl. <br><br>Travis Jones bullied everyone. Devonte Wyatt was tough to block. But I had to go with Perrion Winfrey - he was too dominant. And he's continuing that momentum in today's game. <a href="https://t.co/slRqSTCUUb">https://t.co/slRqSTCUUb</a>

Matt Miller @nfldraftscout

Perrion Winfrey has dominated all week long.

Jim Nagy @JimNagy_SB

Senior Bowl sideline takeaway: Oklahoma DL Perrion Winfrey lovessss football.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TheDraftStartsInMOBILE?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TheDraftStartsInMOBILE</a>ℒ️

He was one of several players who made a strong impression in the game itself:

Chase Goodbread @ChaseGoodbread

.<a href="https://twitter.com/BCFootball?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BCFootball</a>'s Zion Johnson dominating up front, no surprise. Has played two quarters (2nd, 4th) and his team has ripped some big runs up the middle with him in the game, not so much without. Just sprung Arizona State's Rachaad White for 18 on their last drive. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SeniorBowl?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SeniorBowl</a> 2022

Joe Marino @TheJoeMarino

Wyoming LB Chad Muma is everywhere. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NFLDraft?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NFLDraft</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SeniorBowl?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SeniorBowl</a>

Joe Marino @TheJoeMarino

Wisconsin TE Jake Ferguson is just sound across the board in every area.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NFLDraft?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NFLDraft</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SeniorBowl?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SeniorBowl</a>

Chase Goodbread @ChaseGoodbread

Final: National team 20, American team 10.<br><br>Pickett: 6 for 6, 89 yards, TD<br>Willis: 2 for 4, 11 yards (54 rushing)<br>Jake Ferguson: 3 catches, 62 yards, TD<br>Boye Mafe: 2 sacks, 3 TFL, FF<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SeniorBowl?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SeniorBowl</a> 2022

But it was clear that players like Winfrey and Willis in particular maximized their opportunity in Mobile and likely bumped themselves up draft boards with strong weeks.

Up next on the NFL draft circuit will be the NFL Scouting Combine, which begins March 1.