Senior Bowl Buzz - Thursday Evening

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Tony Pauline

Draft Analyst Writer

The final day of padded practice at the Senior Bowl is complete, and the crowd at the Renaissance Hotel where the players are staying has thinned significantly. Yet there’s still plenty of buzz swirling around Mobile, as scouts and coaches prepare for their return trips home and the Senior Bowl prepares to kick off the game.

- Georgia linebacker D’Andre Walker pulled out of the Senior Bowl due to an injury. I’ve learned the issue is with his groin, and the injury could keep him from working out at the combine.

- One junior not in attendance but often mentioned by scouts in a positive light is safety Taylor Rapp of Washington. Scouts love his size, physicality and ability to force the action. I haven’t heard any first-round grades on Rapp at this point, but he should fit into the early selections of Round 2.

- The chatter around Rapp’s teammate, Ben Burr-Kirven, could not be any more different. Scouts are incensed that Burr-Kirven turned down an invitation to the Senior Bowl, and many have openly said the linebacker is getting bad advice from those representing him. There is speculation that the decision not to attend the Senior Bowl by Burr-Kirven and his team is based on inflated draft grades floating around the internet. Scouts here believe he’s a fourth or fifth-round talent.

Editors note:  Here is the statement from Jim Nagy of the Senior Bowl:

A certain respected draftnik has reported LB Ben Burr-Kirven declined a Senior Bowl invite because he had an inflated opinion of his draft stock. That is false. We liked Burr-Kirven but he was never invited. He’s competitive and would never shy away from a challenge.

- One prospect getting higher grades is Khalen Saunders of Western Illinois. The small-school tackle is receiving comparisons in size and style to P.J. Hall, the former Sam Houston State product selected by the Oakland Raiders during the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

- With the week of practices finally over, the big winner on the boards of most scouts is New Mexico State linebacker Terrill Hanks. Scouts love his athleticism and ability to play all three downs. The player whose draft stock took the biggest hit? Quarterback Drew Lock of Missouri. As one team said, “I can’t believe how poor Lock’s game is now.” The reference to “now” is in comparison to one year ago, when several teams graded Lock as a potential top-15 choice.
LISTEN TO THE DRAFT ANALYSTS PODCAST AS CHRIS & TONY BREAK DOWN THURSDAY'S NORTH PRACTICE!!

LISTEN TO THE DRAFT ANALYSTS PODCAST AS CHRIS & TONY BREAK DOWN THURSDAY'S SOUTH PRACTICE!!