The 2020 Senior Bowl presented an opportunity for many Pac-12 players to help their draft stock. In what would be a 34-17 victory for the North team over the South team in Mobile, Alabama, some players were able to take advantage of their opportunity while others struggled.
Pac-12 players that played in the Senior Bowl:
Arizona State: RB Eno Benjamin, WR Brandon Aiyuk
California: S Ashtyn Davis, LB Evan Weaver
Colorado: QB Steven Montez, LB Davion Taylor
Oregon: QB Justin Herbert, OL Calvin Throckmorton
UCLA: RB Joshua Kelley
USC: WR Michael Pittman Jr.
Utah: DE Bradlee Anae, LB Francis Bernard, DB Terrell Burgess, DT Leki Fotu
Washington: C Nick Harris
Washington State: QB Anthony Gordon
Justin Herbert Leads Way for Pac-12
Justin Herbert started for the South team coached by Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor. Herbert went 9-of-12 for 83 yards and threw a touchdown on the game’s opening possession. He also added 22 yards on the ground. Herbert won MVP honors for his performance. Showing poise throughout the first quarter, Herbert was able to put on a performance that should help his case for being a top pick in the first round of April’s NFL Draft.
Many expect the Bengals to select LSU quarterback Joe Burrow with the first pick of the NFL Draft. However, Herbert and Burrow have similar games, and both can be threats running the football. If Herbert can add to his Senior Bowl performance with a great NFL Combine and Pro Day, he could be picked within the top five-seven picks. The Dolphins, Chargers, and Panthers (picks five, six, and seven) are all expected to strongly consider drafting a quarterback. Herbert separated himself from Jordan Love, another projected first-round pick and starter for the North team, in the Senior Bowl.
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Joshua Kelley and Anthony Gordon Also Impress on Offense in Senior Bowl
UCLA running back Joshua Kelley and Washington State quarterback Anthony Gordon were the standout Pac-12 offensive players for the North team. Kelley had 15 carries for 105 yards, and Anthony Gordon had two touchdown passes in the third quarter. When Gordon went in, the game was tied at 10, but after the third quarter, the North was leading 31-10. Gordon could build off his senior bowl performance to possibly be a Day 2 pick at the NFL Draft.
Joshua Kelley was able to show that he can be physical inside, but can be explosive in space. He also could make a case for being a Day 2 or early Day 3 draft pick if he builds off his performance in the Senior Bowl.
Bradlee Anae Steals the Show on Defense in Senior Bowl
Utah defensive end Bradlee Anae had a huge day at the Senior Bowl for the North team. He recorded three sacks on the day, and wreaked havoc against the South offensive line. Anae was the best defensive player on the field in Mobile and made his case to be a Day 2 pick at the draft.
Steven Montez, Calvin Throckmorton Have Uneven Performances in Senior Bowl
Colorado quarterback Steven Montez entered the game to start the second half and had a very uneven performance. Montez finished 3-of-8 for 22 yards and an interception. He took a sack on a 3rd-and-1 as he scrambled back and made a five-yard loss into a 15-yard loss on the sack.
However, Montez and fellow South quarterback Jalen Hurts did not get the protection from their offensive line to be fairly evaluated based on their performances. Calvin Throckmorton, an offensive lineman for Oregon, played for a big portion of the game and had trouble blocking Bradlee Anae on the few occasions they were matched up against each other. None of the tackles for the South fared well against Anae, but Throckmorton’s stock did not go up based on his performance.
Pac-12 Had Some of the Best Performances at 2020 Senior Bowl
The Pac-12 had a positive 2020 Senior Bowl. Justin Herbert, arguably the premier player in the conference this past season, was able to win MVP. Bradlee Anae made a great impression nationally. There is talent in the Pac-12, and future recruits can see that players that play on the west coast in the Pac-12 can be successful.