BRONCOS

How did the Senior Bowl passers stack up on Day 1?

Jan 31, 2024, 1:02 AM | Updated: 1:33 am

MOBILE, Ala. — From points above Senior Bowl practice — in a luxury suite high atop Hancock Whitney Stadium — Broncos officials watched the draft prospects go through their paces.

They watched every position. But for many on hand,  quarterback was the focus. And to the surprise of few, the quarterbacks on the National team who led off Tuesday’s work — Michael Penix Jr., Bo Nix and Sam Hartman — led the way, even though they weren’t as consistent as one might have hoped.

Curiously, the National team did not have a seven-on-seven period. This could have led to some timing issues for the quarterbacks as they tried to become familiar with their receivers. We know in retrospect about the impact of a lack of seven-on-seven work on the 2022 Broncos.

1. MICHAEL PENIX JR., WASHINGTON

Penix didn’t operate often under pressure, which is one valid critique of his prospects, along with the concerns about knee and shoulder injuries that accumulated in recent years. But he was accurate on short and intermediate passes, and operated comfortably under center, executing play-action concepts
smoothly. His ball placement in particular was often top-shelf, setting his pass-catchers up for yardage after the reception.

2. BO NIX, OREGON

The Oregon product’s decision-making was mostly good, but his placement was off compared to that of Penix, who was far more precise in his performance during the day. The story of the Senior Bowl is often day-to-day development, and as a result, it will be fascinating to see if Nix can progress from a first day that wasn’t awful, but also didn’t cement first-round status or evoke bold comparisons, either.

3. SAM HARTMAN, NOTRE DAME

Hartman appears comfortable under duress and capable of keeping an offense on schedule. He also smoothly stepped up and out of pressure. His arm talent doesn’t match that of Penix and Nix, which limits the range he has and how much of the field opposing secondaries — and particularly safeties — must cover.

3A. MICHAEL PRATT, TULANE

Among the seven quarterbacks at the Senior Bowl, Pratt is not the best at any one attribute. But he is pretty good at just about everything — including down the sideline, as one of his final passes of the day saw him loft a 30-yard pass down the left flank.

5. CARTER BRADLEY, SOUTH ALABAMA

I knew the least about Bradley, who is making a level jump from the Sun Belt Conference to an environment with a quintet of Power 5 passers and another in Pratt who guided a Tulane program that spent most of the last two years in the top 25 and boasted a bowl win over USC to close the 2022 season. Bradley has a fascinating delivery — over the top on deeper passes and with a low elbow on short ones.

6. JOE MILTON, TENNESSEE

“Bazooka Joe” was as advertised. He possesses a howitzer of an arm. But his touch and off-speed ability was lacking compared to the other quarterbacks on hand.

7. SPENCER RATTLER, SOUTH CAROLINA

Although he did well at going through his progressions for most of the day, Rattler closed practice with a bad interception on which he didn’t see the cornerback coming.

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How did the Senior Bowl passers stack up on Day 1?