While it is the practice that has the bigger impact, game time represents an opportunity for players to showcase to a large watching audience what they can do. In that regard, this Senior Bowl saw some players stand out for good reasons, and others bad.
The game itself was largely decided up front. Where the North team really won the line of scrimmage, with their defense especially impressive. Let’s take a look at some of the key performances.
North — Performances of Note
Carl Davis, DT: +4.2
Breakdown: Coming off a good week of practice, Davis continued his strong end to the year to help build his draft momentum. He’s not the best when you get two bodies on him, with him often unable to anchor and pushed back, but he has a knack for getting upfield, destroying cutback and playside lines on outside zone runs while really having his way with Shaquille Mason when left one-on-one.
Signature Play: Gets upfield on the block of Dillon Day with 3.50 to go in Q1, getting a big tackle for a loss in the process.
T.J. Clemmings, OT: -6.0
Breakdown: By all accounts this week hasn’t gone well for Clemmings. Touted by some as having the skillset to succeed on the left side of the line, he only showed that for all his physical prowess he remains raw with a long way to go on his developmental journey. Flipping between left and right tackle didn’t help, but too often he had too much trouble with speed off the edge. While he got beat for five hurries, there was also a hit on a play nullified by penalty and four other occasions he was beat only for the QB to get rid of the ball quickly.
Signature Stat: Including the Shrine game, only Cameron Clemmons allowed more pressure from the offensive tackle spot.
Tyler Varga, HB: +3.4
Breakdown: A nice cameo from Varga who showed the kind of versatility running routes out of the backfield, makes plays rushing the ball and lead blocking to catch the attention over some more illustrious backs. Didn’t need an awful lot of help from his blocking to fully maximize the yardage he got.
Signature Play: His second touchdown run was a real nice one. With 1.53 to go in the game, he aims off left guard but cuts to avoid a tackle, bursts through the right B gap before cutting inside defenders to get to the end zone.
South — Performances of Note
Markus Golden, DE: +2.6
Breakdown: All season long has demonstrated an ability to generate pressure without selling out in the run game, and the Senior Bowl was no different. Made T.J. Clemmings look anything but a first-round pick, with too much speed to the edge. Helped his stock in this game.
Signature Stat: Finished sixth of all 4-3 defensive ends in the Power 5 with 46 combined sacks, hits and hurries during the regular season.
Shaquille Mason, RG: -5.9
Breakdown: Taken from the comfort of Georgia Tech’s triple-option-based attack, Mason produced the kind of display that ensures any team picking him up will likely not be expecting an immediate contribution. He was quiet initially but it all went wrong in the fourth quarter with a horrible drive that saw him lose his battle on nearly every passing play, culminating with him giving up five hurries.
Signature Stat: Only pass blocked on 246 occasions during the 2014 NCAA season.
Geneo Grissom, LB: +0.7
Breakdown: Grissom looked out of place as a conventional linebacker, struggling to find his place in zone and not having the kind of closing speed to make plays when given an angle on a receiver out of the backfield. But he looked a lot more comfortable with his hand down and had a good sequence of plays against T.J. Clemmings who couldn’t stop him turning the corner.
Signature Plays: Watch the last three offensive plays of the third quarter as he gets the better of Clemmings on all of them.
PFF Game Ball
There were some nice efforts from the running backs and no performance stood out to any degree that it overshadowed the rest, but Carl Davis gets the nod for his efforts.
Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled