The Broncos could have their eyes a pair of Senior Bowl QB risers
Feb 4, 2024, 11:17 PM | Updated: 11:18 pm
Spencer Rattler didn’t necessarily expect to be widely considered a mid-to-late-round prospect when he agreed to be a part of a Netflix documentary, or when he starred at Oklahoma as a redshirt freshman in 2020, leading to him entering the following season as a Heisman Trophy favorite.
But there he was last week in Mobile, Ala. He was one of seven quarterbacks on hand — and in prominence, walked in as — at best — QB4. He looked even worse after a rough first day.
But one of the key tests since time immemorial is this: Do you get better? Do you incorporate teaching and quickly apply it to your game? Spencer Rattler did that.
Spencer Rattler, South Carolina: Rattler had the best performance of any quarterback in the actual Senior Bowl game Saturday. Ordinarily, this wouldn’t mean much. But Spencer Rattler built off his solid week. What’s more, he was intelligent, forthright and reflective when answering questions. His maturation is evident.
Michael Pratt, Tulane: He appears to be the best fit for the Broncos among quarterbacks unlikely to go in the first round, and spoke with team representatives on multiple occasions last week. Pratt could slide into the second round, but overall, it would be a surprise if he slips out of the draft’s second day.
Michael Penix Jr., Washington: He didn’t play in Saturday’s game, but generally did what he needed to do. He looked smooth operating from under center, made good decisions — and, specifically, quick ones. Given that the receivers spent most of the time struggling to break free of blanket coverage, Penix’s quick choices led to salvaging plays in a way that his Pacific Northwest rival, Oregon’s Bo Nix, often could not.
Joe Milton, Tennessee: One could point out the best and worst throws from a single practice and it’s possible they could have come from Milton, who on the field looks like a wider-variance second coming of Anthony Richardson but off it will make an impression with his leadership ability and high football I.Q., both of which were evident over the course of the week.
Carter Bradley, South Alabama: The seventh quarterback on hand in Mobile, I’m not sure he would have gotten an invitation had he not matriculated at the school whose stadium hosts the game. He has an unusual delivery — low elbow, almost sidearm on swing and screen passes, and over-the-top downfield. He might sneak into the seventh round.
Bo Nix, Oregon: Maybe “stock” down is harsh, but this was a chance for Nix to consolidate his position. By and large, he didn’t do that. Although he made some nice throws during a brief seven-on-seven red-zone period Thursday, he was too often hesitant in the pocket. But I wouldn’t give up on Nix’s prospects; his team’s coaching staff for the week made some unusual practice choices, like scrapping seven-on-seven work altogether for the first two days of practice. For a QB like Nix — who will lean on rhythm and timing — this robbed him of the chance to get on the same page with his pass-catchers.
Sam Hartman, Notre Dame: It’s all about the progression over the course of the week. And while Hartman looked solid and decisive Tuesday, the two days that followed were rough, with the control issues of Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn in the opening half of “Major League.” Hartman continued sailing passes in red-zone work Thursday, which didn’t make any hearts sing, nor did anyone feel groovy.
One doesn’t want to make too much of a single week that will probably represent a small percentage of the pre-draft evaluation. But Hartman’s on-field work appeared to decline over the course of the week. Missing a wide-open receiving target on one play during Saturday’s Senior Bowl game simply added to a week that probably at least knocked him out of the draft’s second day — and perhaps the entire draft altogether.