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Senior Bowl quarterbacks fail to shine beneath spotlight

The biggest takeaway from Mobile is that all seven quarterbacks are who we thought they were.

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Practice Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Seven quarterbacks journeyed to Mobile, Alabama this past week to participate in the 2024 Senior Bowl with a chance to elevate their 2024 NFL Draft stock and only managed to maintain the status quo.

My general observation after watching all three days of practice, combined with some conversations with other onlookers in attendance is none of the seven managed to move the needle in a significant way.

Essentially, if you liked one or more of the quarterback prospects entering the week, you likely saw enough positives to confirm your previous biases. And if you disliked a prospect, then you were unlikely to see anything to move your opinion in a positive direction.

I had Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. atop my rankings entering the week. He appeared the most impressive to my eyes on Tuesday’s opening day of practice. Yet thereafter, I saw nothing that topped that initial performance. However, I spoke with another who felt that Oregon’s Bo Nix was the standout on the first day of that National team practice that included Penix. But in speaking with that same person after Thursday’s last practice, they also indicated that Nix did little to make a better impression.

If any quarterbacks did show progress during the week in Mobile, it was those who were a part of the American team including Spencer Rattler (South Carolina), Joe Milton (Tennessee), Michael Pratt (Tulane), and Carter Bradley (South Alabama). Their improvement was mostly because of how unimpressive they were collectively on the first day adjusting to a new environment and throwing to unknown receivers. All four passers fared better as the week unfolded but still likely had unanswered questions by its end.

For example, Rattler’s biggest question mark was likely concerns over the immaturity he showed during his two years at Oklahoma before transferring to South Carolina. Those concerns might have been resolved when he met privately with NFL teams throughout the week, but could not be addressed to any onlookers while on the practice field. Not to mention, the fact that Rattler measured in at 6’ tall and an eighth of an inch potentially added to the list of concerns. But then again, he was listed at 6’1” at South Carolina, so it’s not as if anybody was surprised by his smaller stature.

If anybody bolstered their stock in my eyes, it was Bradley, who I billed as undraftable in my preview earlier this week. Bradley performed better than I expected, holding his own alternating practice reps with more talented throwers. I’m willing to now say that Bradley is worthy of late-round consideration for an NFL team looking to take a flyer on a developmental backup.

Overall, the week featured both good and bad from all seven quarterbacks. But it was not enough in either category to raise or allay serious concerns. Perhaps the biggest winners of Senior Bowl week at quarterback were the top underclassmen who weren’t in Mobile to begin with. The stagnation shown at the Senior Bowl from the seven participants only increases the anticipation for Caleb Williams (Southern California), Drake Maye (North Carolina), Jayden Daniels (LSU), and J.J. McCarthy (Michigan) when they take the field to throw at the Scouting Combine in a month in Indianapolis.

It’s a definite possibility that the Atlanta Falcons might select one of these seven Senior Bowl quarterbacks when April’s draft rolls around. But if they do, it won’t be because the team was blown away by anything accomplished on the practice field this past week.