MOBILE, Ala. – Senior Bowl week ended with a bang, as the Cowboys-coached North team connected on a last-second touchdown to cap a 27-16 loss to Jacksonville's South squad.
Mississippi State's Dak Prescott, of the South team, was named the game's Most Outstanding Player, as he completed 7-of-10 passes for 61 yards and a touchdown. He guided the South team 80 yards in two minutes to end the first half, and his short touchdown pass to Southeast Missouri State's Paul McRoberts put the South up, 17-3.
The Cowboys' group got in on the action in the second half, as Cody Kessler guided the North team on a 15-play, 80-yard touchdown drive in the third quarter. Cowboys coach Jason Garrett provided some aggressive play-calling, as he opted to go for it on fourth down on two occasions, and he called for Kessler to try for a touchdown in an end-of-game situation at the end of the third quarter.
Kenyan Drake provided the final spark for the South team, as his short touchdown plunge late in the fourth quarter gave them a 27-10 lead. It was a losing effort, but the North team would have the final say. With five seconds remaining in the night, Jeff Driskel connected with Michigan State receiver Aaron Burbridge to provide the night's final score.
Having watched a week's worth of practices, Bryan Broaddus had 12 postgame thoughts about what he saw:
- It would have been nice for North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz to have received more help from his wide receivers during his stint in the first quarter. There were several passes that were on target, but -- similar to what we had seen from the practices this week -- the North group was inconsistent at best. If there is an area to Wentz's game that needs to be further explored, it is his second read and how quickly he can get to it. Other than that I thought he had a solid week overall.
- Eastern Kentucky defensive end Noah Spence had only one sack in the game, and surprisingly I thought he was going to have maybe one or two more. There were other plays where he was close with pressure but just not quite there to finish. What was interesting is that Jacksonville coach Gus Bradley and his coaches played him in a stand-up technique like an outside linebacker instead of his hand being on the ground. I have no problem with him up or down as long as he is rushing the passer.
- There were times where Boise State safety Darian Thompson S played cautiously, but through this week and into the game -- he looked like a different player. I had my questions about how well he could play in coverage, but the Cowboys coaches put him in several situations where he had to carry a receiver out of the slot and he had little trouble. The only blip he had in coverage was when he dropped a potential interception in the red zone, but overall he was solid.
- When you study Notre Dame DT Sheldon Day, you will see him line up at several different spots along the line for the Fighting Irish. He has a similar build to former Cowboys draft pick Ken Bishop, but Day has more quickness. I feel like Day's best position in the NFL is going to be as a three-technique, even though Rod Marinelli had him playing some defensive end and doing it with some success. His pressure was outstanding the entire game.
- Based off my film study, I had Louisiana Tech running back Kenneth Dixon in the third round. After the week of practice and the game, I think he needs to be more of a second round consideration. I love his running style and the violence in which he does it. There is explosiveness and power. His ability to keep his pads down and avoid contact is impressive. His spin move in the open field is a nice weapon.
- I don't know where I play Virginia Tech defensive end Dadi Nichols, but I have to say I need to find a spot for him. He doesn't have ideal weight, but all he did in this game was make plays. He was every bit the relentless pass rusher that Noah Spence was, and when he had to make a tackle he was right there to make it. What was really impressive is how well he chased plays. There were snaps where the ball was eight-to-10 yards downfield and he was hustling to make a play -- which was big time.
- If the Cowboys are looking for a replacement for Dwayne Harris, Minnesota receiver K.J. Maye might be that guy. Maye is as tough as they come as a blocker and plays just as well on special teams. He had two tackles on kickoffs and carried the ball on a reverse. I need to go back and study his tape to see if he can do anything as a punt and kickoff returner.
- If you would have asked me who I thought would have led their teams in tackles this game, without question my answer would have been Temple linebacker Tyler Matakevich and Missouri linebacker Kendrell Brothers. Both lack the ideal height, but like I thought both were all over the place. A team in this league is a going to draft two very good players.[embeddedad0]
- A player that I am going to go back and study when I get home is Southeast Missouri State receiver Paul McRoberts. He wasn't much during the practices this week, but when the lights came on, he did a really nice job of getting open and finishing plays. There were several routes where he went inside and showed toughness to gather the ball. It's worth me taking a look to see where he fits in this wide receiver mix.
- I liked what I saw from South Carolina tight end Jerrell Adams and Ohio State tight end Nick Vannett. They are built different, but throughout the game they had similar results when it came to getting down the field and making plays. They adjust to the ball easily and are able to finish plays. Vannett is likely to be used more as a true inline "Y" and blocker because of his size, but Adams is not afraid to stick his nose in there and block.
- It was nice to see Louisiana Tech quarterback Jeff Driskel finish the game the way he did with the touchdown pass to Michigan State receiver Aaron Burbridge. I was watching him visit with Cowboys offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, and you could tell by Linehan's reaction that he enjoyed working with him this week. Driskel might be a name to keep an eye on in the middle of this draft if the Cowboys choose not to go with a quarterback early.
- Thanks to all of you that followed along with us this week on DallasCowboys.com. We enjoyed providing the coverage through the stories, videos and The Draft Show -- it's been a lot of fun for us as well.