While watching a recently produced episode of Washington’s “Commanders’ Log” (linked below), I began to think back about how, after last year’s draft, there seemed to be a lot of overlap between the players Washington selected and those who attended the Senior Bowl.
Then I actually went back and cross-referenced the two groups, and was blown away. Of Washington’s eight draft picks in 2022, six of them (bolded below) attended the Senior Bowl.
Two additional Senior Bowl attendees, Tariq Castro-Fields (CB) and John Ridgeway (DT) were picked up off waivers by Washington during the course of the season.
2022 Washington Draft Picks:
- Round 1 • Pick 16 • WR Jahan Dotson
- Round 2 • Pick 15 • DT Phidarian Mathis
- Round 3 • Pick 34 • RB Brian Robinson
- Round 4 • Pick 8 • SAF Percy Butler
- Round 5 • Pick 1 • QB Sam Howell
- Round 5 • Pick 6 • TE Cole Turner
- Round 7 • Pick 9 • G Chris Paul
- Round 7 • Pick 19 • CB Christian Holmes
Taken off waivers:
- Tariq Castro-Fields, Penn State (CB)
- John Ridgeway, Arkansas (DT)
The only non-Senior Bowl players drafted last year were Christian Holmes (who was a senior, but not invited to the Senior Bowl) and 4th-year junior Percy Butler.
That’s a pretty remarkable record. A staff of at least 11 scouts, including a Director of College Personnel, and virtually all of your top draft targets come from one college All-Star game? Why deploy all those resources for eight months, when you could send a skeleton crew to the Senior Bowl and call it a day?
Well, in 2023, Washington took an even closer look at Senior Bowl prospects, with several position coaches embedded in the staffs coaching the game. Those coaches included Washington’s Assistant Offensive Line Coach, Travelle Wharton, who coached the National Team’s offensive line, as well as Ryan Kerrigan, who coached the National Team’s defensive line, Jennifer King, who coached the National Team’s running backs, and assistant special teams coach, Ben Jacobs, coaching the National Team’s special teams’ unit.
On the assumption that Washington is likely to go heavily back to the Senior Bowl well again in 2023, perhaps with particular focus on those position groups where they had coaches embedded, let’s take a look at the players who comprised those units this year (N = National Team and A = American Team):
- Jake Andrews, Troy (N)
- McClendon Curtis, Tennessee-Chattanooga (N)
- Jaelyn Duncan, Maryland (N)
- Joey Fisher, Shepherd (N)
- Blake Freeland, BYU (N)
- Ryan Hayes, Michigan (N)
- Dawand Jones, Ohio State (N)
- Cody Mauch, North Dakota State (N)
- Olusegun Oluwatimi, Michigan (N)
- Jarrett Patterson, Notre Dame (N)
- Asim Richards, North Carolina (N)
- Steve Avila, TCU (A)
- Matthew Bergeron, Syracuse (A)
- Nick Broeker, Ole Miss (A)
- Emil Ekiyor Jr., Alabama (A)
- Richard Gouraige, Florida (A)
- Warren McClendon Jr, Georgia (A)
- Wanya Morris, Oklahoma (A)
- Nick Saldiveri, Old Dominion (A)
- John Michael Schmitz, Minnesota (A)
- Tyler Steen, Alabama (A)
- O’Cyrus Torrence, Florida (A)
- Darnell Wright, Tennessee (A)
- Adetomiwa Adebawore, Northwestern (N)
- Keeanu Benton, Wisconsin (N)
- Karl Brooks, Bowling Green (N)
- Jerrod Clark, Coastal Carolina (N)
- Yaya Diaby, Louisville (N)
- Isaiah Foskey, Notre Dame (N)
- KJ Henry, Clemson (N)
- Thomas Incoom, Central Michigan (N)
- Tyler Lacy, Oklahoma State (N)
- Lonnie Phelps Jr, Kansas (N)
- Nesta Jade Silvera, Arizona State (N)
- Keion White, Georgia Tech (N)
- DJ Dale, Alabama (A)
- Ali Gaye, LSU (A)
- Derick Hall, Auburn (A)
- Dylan Horton, TCU (A)
- Isaiah McGuire, Missouri (A)
- Zacch Pickens, South Carolina (A)
- Jalen Redmond, Oklahoma (A)
- Tavius Robinson, Ole Miss (A)
- Byron Young, Alabama (A)
- Byron Young, Tennessee (A)
- Cameron Young, Mississippi State (A)
- Chase Brown, Illinois (N)
- Evan Hull, Northwestern (N)
- Roschon Johnson, Texas (N)
- Camerun Peoples, App State (N)
- Eric Gray, Oklahoma (A)
- Kenny McIntosh, Georgia (A)
- Chris Rodrigues Jr., Kentucky (A)
- Tyjae Spears, Tulane (A)
- Robert Soderholm, LS, Virginia Military Institute (N)
- Chad Ryland, K, Maryland (N)
- Bryce Baringer, P, Michigan State (N)
- Alex Ward, LS, UCF (A)
- Jack Podlesny, K, Georgia (A)
- Adam Korsak, P, Rutgers (A)
Players bolded above are those with whom Washington has held top 30 visits. Interestingly, nearly all of those were offensive linemen on the American Team, who Wharton presumably didn’t get to see as thoroughly as the National Team crew. It’s curious to me that they lined up Chase Brown again when King had presumably seen quite a bit of him in the week leading up to the game. Perhaps they really like him. If so, I can see why,
Washington hosted at least these 24 prospects on Top 30 visits, source confirmed.— Sam Fortier (@Sam4TR) April 20, 2023
All of these visits had already been reported, but I thought it’d be useful to verify and consolidate ‘em. pic.twitter.com/cpBlr7FKVx
The other players who have both had top 30 visits and attended the Senior Bowl include:
- Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee (A)
- Demarvion Overshown, LB, Texas (N)
- Dorian Williams, LB, Tulane (A)
- Jartavius/Quan Martin, CB, Illinois (N)
Among the other “top 30” visits (there were actually only 23), several other players are almost certainly first round picks, even though they did not attend the Senior Bowl, including:
- Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State
- Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois
- Brian Branch, DB, Alabama
- Myles Murphy, DE, Clemson
I fully expect that, by the end of next weekend, several of the names above will be Washington Commanders, if the recent past is any predictor. I’ll make sure to revisit this topic in the weeks after the draft to see how accurate that assessment was.
What are your thoughts on mining heavily from the Senior Bowl in the draft? Please share them below.
For those curious, here is the 2021 draft (Senior Bowl attendees bolded):
- Round 1, pick 19 – Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky
- Round 2, pick 51 – Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
- Round 3, pick 74 – Benjamin St-Juste, CB, Minnesota
- Round 3, pick 82 – Dyami Brown, WR, North Carolina
- Round 4, pick 124 – John Bates, TE, Boise State
- Round 5, pick 163 – Darrick Forrest, S, Cincinnati
- Round 6, pick 225 (from PHI) – Camaron Cheeseman, LS, Michigan
- Round 7, pick 240 (From SF through PHI) – William Bradley-King, DE, Baylor
- Round 7, pick 246 – Shaka Toney, DE, Penn State
- Round 7, pick 258 (from KC through MIA) – Dax Milne, WR, BYU
So 50% of the 2021 draft came from the Senior Bowl.
Here are the 2022 figures leaguewide. Washington and Arizona were the two teams that selected most heavily from the Senior Bowl roster last year.
What do you think about drafting heavily from the Senior Bowl rosters?
This poll is closed
It seems like a good idea to me.
Why scout for months on end if you can find nearly all your talent at the Senior Bowl?
I’d like to see a bit more diversified portfolio.