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2021 Senior Bowl: Winners and losers from Saturday’s game

Who played the best during the Senior Bowl on Saturday?

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

The week of practices at the Senior Bowl culminated Saturday with the annual clash between the two squads down in Mobile, Ala. A number of players earned money for their strong weeks of practice, looking to cap off the week with a good final impression.

Most of the evaluations done on these players come from their practice performance, with the game serving as the icing on the cake. There were, however, players who either provided lasting impressions or created major questions based on how they played in the game.

Winners

  • Osa Odighizuwa (IDL, UCLA) - Odighizuwa was the most disruptive defensive tackle against the run in this game. On multiple plays, he easily disengaged from linemen to stop the ball at or near the line of scrimmage. At times, Odighizuwa appeared unblockable by the opposing offensive line. His early impact came on an almost strip-sack that was ruled an incomplete pass.
  • Michael Carter (RB, North Carolina) - Carter was impossible to tackle during this game. His best play came off multiple forced missed tackles as he slipped easily to the second level for a huge gain. On numerous carries, it took strenuous efforts to wrap him up. Carter also showed off his route running and impact out of the backfield.
  • Elerson Smith (DE, Northern Iowa) - Smith has a fantastic build to develop into a good pass rusher in the NFL, and we were reminded early why you shouldn’t overlook him despite being an FCS player. Smith was flagged for a very soft roughing the passer call, but leading up to that call he read a play-action pass perfectly to the point he planted Kellen Mond. Smith was also very fluid as a rusher, and not easily blocked by opposing tackles.
  • Benjamin St-Juste (CB, Minnesota) - As one of the few near lockdown corners on the day, St-Juste made multiple big pass break-ups. St-Juste was a menace the whole time he was on the field for opposing receivers, with super tight one on one coverage. The tall, long corner flashed what he can do in coverage.
  • Baron Browning (LB, Ohio State) - On two occasions, Browning made two strong tackles for loss in the run game. One coming early in the game was an effective job filling quickly and attacking downhill. The second came on a third and short play in the second quarter where he disrupted Larry Roundtree enough to slow down, allowing for his teammates to rally.
  • KJ Britt (LB, Auburn) - Britt was all over the field during this game, with a plethora of really good plays. He was a strong tackler on rushing plays and tipped a pass in the red zone that was almost intercepted.
  • Amari Rodgers (WR, Clemson) - Rodgers didn’t do much in the first half, but shined big time in the third quarter. Twice Rodgers caught touchdown passes in the red zone, flashing his ability to create separation out of the slot.
  • Demetric Felton (WR, UCLA) - Felton had an early touchdown reception that took advantage of a large cushion in off coverage. Felton also had other big receptions during the game, showing off his speed and route running. While Felton played running back at UCLA, he’ll likely be utilized as a moveable offensive weapon in the NFL.

Losers

  • Bryan Mills (CB, NC Central) - Mills was one of the darlings of the week, but had an up and down day on Saturday. The small schooler flashed good coverage on some plays, but there were too many mistakes that overshadowed his whole game. In the first quarter he was flagged for DPI, and then easily beat on a slant for a 15-yard pickup the following play. He later was easily beat on a 50/50 ball he covered really well on.
  • Drake Jackson (C, Kentucky) - A bad snap that botched a fourth-down play was the most noticeable error Jackson had in this game. Considering there are players who aren't naturally centers playing in this game, Jackson can’t be the guy messing up snaps. He also had a difficult time blocking on multiple plays.
  • James Hudson (OT, Cincinnati) - Hudson had a number of slopping pass blocking plays with really bad technique. On multiple occasions, Hudson was easily beat that led to pressures on the quarterbacks he was supposed to be protecting.
  • Jamie Newman (QB, Wake Forest/Georgia) - Newman did not do much to help his stock after sitting out the entire fall. His critical error was forcing a pass to a blanketed receiver that was eventually tipped and picked off. Newman was also mistake-prone while being pressured.