Each year there are dozens of prospects who boost their stock for the NFL Draft during the Senior Bowl week and that can equate to millions of dollars on Draft Day. Keep in mind this list isn’t necessarily the top prospects at the event, but rather the players who made the biggest leap up draft boards.
Let’s count down who helped themselves the most at the 2019 Senior Bowl.
10. Stephen Sullivan, TE, L.S.U.
A converted wide receiver, Sullivan is hoping to follow in the footsteps of Darren Waller. So far, so good. Sullivan looks the part at 6-5 and 245 pounds with vines for arms and big hands. Despite only recording 12 receptions for 130 yards and 0 touchdowns as a senior Sullivan showcased outstanding pass catching potential in Mobile. In a tight end corps that included a couple of possible Top 100 picks, Sullivan consistently made plays and stood out. Sullivan is a project and won’t come off the board until Day 3 but is going to look awfully intriguing compared to the other options available at the position in that range.
9. Van Jefferson, WR, Florida
Last year Terry McLaurin shot up draft boards on the heels of a terrific Senior Bowl performance and there are some parallels with Jefferson. Even though he isn’t as fast as McLaurin they are both skillful technicians and superb route runners who also offer considerable value on special teams. The polish makes perfect sense when you consider his father is Shawn Jefferson, who played wide receiver in the NFL for more than a decade and now coaches the position. Jefferson won’t be drafted as early as McLaurin was but don’t be surprised if he is ultimately selected ahead of some wideouts with much higher profiles.
8. Neville Gallimore, DT, Oklahoma
It was frustrating to watch Gallimore in college because he was mostly utilized as a run stuffer and rarely allowed to use his freakish blend of athleticism, speed and power to penetrate. That started to change as a senior but his true pass rush potential began to get unlocked in Mobile. The week was a great start to the pre-draft process for Gallimore, who is also expected to test extremely well in workouts. Gallimore made a very strong case for himself as one of the top prospects in the next tier of defensive tackles after Auburn’s Derrick Brown and South Carolina’s Javon Kinlaw.
7. Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame
Claypool started by acing the eyeball test at the weigh-in and never looked back. Not only did Claypool put that imposing size to good use throughout the week but he also showed nuance as a route runner and consistency tracked as one of the fastest players on the field at every practice. Not to mention Claypool is also an elite special teams prospect. Claypool has been getting lost in the shuffle of this extraordinarily deep wideout class but showed in Mobile why he’s a Day 2 talent and a better pro prospect than former teammate and third round pick Miles Boykin.
6. Jason Strowbridge, DE, North Carolina
Of all the players in this year’s game Strowbridge might have changed the perception of himself the most. Instead of a big defensive end / defensive tackle ‘tweener who was more of a base end or five-technique we saw a svelte, athletic edge with some legitimate pass rush juice. Expectations need to be kept in check because Strowbridge is still more of a power than speed type, but it’s not a stretch to say he had best week of practices of any defensive end in Mobile. At the vert least Strowbridge certainly looks like a far more fascinating prospect than he did a week ago.
5. Kyle Dugger, S, Lenoir-Rhyne
The small school prospect everyone had been buzzing about all season lived up to the hype in Mobile. At one point there was talk of Dugger possibly seeing some reps at outside linebacker but that wasn’t necessary as he looked plenty comfortable on the back end. An explosive athlete with excellent size and speed, Dugger had no trouble matching up with all of the talented pass catchers at wide receiver and tight end. Dugger was already considered a likely Day 2 pick but after such a strong Senior Bowl week could be one of the initial 3-4 safeties selected.
4. Jeremy Chinn, S, Southern Illinois
Checking in at a statuesque 6-3 1/8 and 219 pounds, Chinn saw action at safety as well as both inside and outside cornerback in Mobile. Guys that size should not be able to run with NFL-caliber pass catchers, yet somehow Chinn is built like a linebacker but runs like a cornerback. That impressive skill set even led Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy to compare Chinn to none other than Kam Chancellor. When all is said and done Chinn will probably get a one or two round grade bump from this performance, perhaps into Day 2.
3. Troy Pride, Jr., CB, Notre Dame
With Travon Diggs of Alabama, Kristian Fulton of L.S.U., Damon Arnette of Ohio St. and Jeff Gladney of T.C.U. not in Mobile there was a huge opportunity for the cornerbacks in town to showcase themselves against a stellar group of wide receivers. Pride might have been the biggest beneficiary, proving to be the clear-cut top cover guy in attendance. Pride displayed the elite speed everyone expected but also alleviated some concerns about his physicality and playmaking ability. Considered a fringe Top 100 value coming into the week, Pride may now be firmly in Day 2.
2. Adam Trautman, TE, Dayton
Coming into the week Trautman was regarded as one of the top senior tight end prospects in this class and a possible Top 100 pick. Coming out he may sit atop those positional rankings and come off the board in the Top 50 overall. Trautman got the job done as a pass catcher and blocker all week along and quieted the concerns about level of competition. The 2020 NFL Draft features a relatively lackluster crop of talent at the tight end position, but Trautman made a lot of fans in Mobile and got plenty of attention from scouts all week long.
1. Ben Bartch, OT, St. John’s (MN)
Not to brag but I was driving the Bartch bandwagon back in mid-October and the small school blocker more than validated my evaluation with his performance at the Senior Bowl. It wasn’t a perfect week for the converted tight end but Bartch more than held his own against some of the countries best pass rushers, including SEC standouts like Terrell Lewis of Alabama and Jabari Zuniga of Florida. At worst Bartch now looks like an early Day 3 pick with an outside chance of even sneaking into Round 3. That is truly rarified air for a Division 3 prospect.