Senior Bowl Preview: Final Chance To Shine For Notre Dame Standouts
After a week of practice the Reese’s Senior Bowl game is finally upon us. Three former Notre Dame players will don the golden helmet for the final time in their football careers.
Here’s a final preview of the game and what’s at stake for the Irish standouts.
Game Time: 2:30 PM (ET)
TV: NFL Network
Chase Claypool, Wide Receiver
The 2020 draft class is loaded at wide receiver, and despite a brilliant senior season Claypool struggled to gain recognition as a top pass catcher in the draft. Coming into the week his draft stock ranged anywhere from the late third round to rounds five or six.
Claypool took full advantage of his first postseason opportunity to make a strong draft statement, with multiple draft analysts ranking him as one of the top pass catchers throughout the week of practice. The former Irish star used his size and ball skills to impress analysts and scouts, and his athleticism gained notice as well.
Finishing the week off with a strong performance in the game will be icing on the cake for Claypool and will only enhance his stock. He thrived in matchups in practice against North defensive backs, but now he gets a chance to matchup for the first time against the South corners. Both Dane Jackson (Pitt) and AJ Green (Oklahoma State) have good length and will present Claypool with a good test.
Jalen Elliott, Safety
Elliott flew under the radar all week, at least until the end of practices when he was voted by the offensive players as the top defensive back they faced. Being voted by your opponents as their most difficult matchup is certainly an honor for the former Irish captain.
More important is impressing scouts, and it sounds like Elliott made an impact in that regard as well. Elliott was excellent in coverage as a junior (2018), but he was inconsistent as a senior (2019). At times Elliott lost his technique and would lose in coverage, but when he played sound football it athleticism took over, and that’s when he shined.
According to reports that’s the version of Elliott we saw at the Senior Bowl. His technique was sound, which meant his athleticism played up, which meant he was locked onto North tight ends and receivers all week. In today’s game he’ll get a chance to continue that trend, and he’ll also get a chance to make plays in the run game. Capping off a successful week of practice with a strong performance in the game would send him into the next three months leading up to the draft with some positive momentum.
Troy Pride Jr., Cornerback
Barring a total collapse in the game, the former Irish cornerback likely made himself a lot of money this week. It’s assumed that Pride will dominate at the NFL Scouting Combine next month, and the speed every expects to see at the combine shined on the football field this week in practices.
Pride had a quality senior season, with his strong cover ability often overshadowed by his struggles playing the football. According to reports, during the practices he thrived in coverage and when it came to making plays on the football. Pride was noted as a standout by at least one major analyst after each day of practice. I read “best cornerback at the Senior Bowl” in report after report from the week of practice.
Pride gets one last chance to make an impact, and he’ll be matched up against a number of talented pass catchers that he’ll be facing for the first time. Former Florida wideout Van Jefferson and former Texas standouts Devin Duvernay and Collin Johnson were noted as standouts throughout the week. Pride finishing the week off on a strong note against those wideouts will help him continue rising up draft boards.
Alohi Gilman, Safety
According to reports the former Irish captain got off to a strong start before a hamstring injury during the first practice knocked him out for the week. Gilman will not play in today’s game.