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2009 Senior Bowl: A quick look back

So much has been going on since the Senior Bowl that I almost didn't have a chance to throw up a recap from the Senior Bowl.  It wasn't the prettiest game at times, but a few things jumped out at me that I wanted to discuss, and open up for discussion.  Given some of the 49ers needs this will focus on a few specific players that caught my eye for one reason or another.

Pat White
White had himself a decent little game, sufficient enough to garner Game MVP honors and most of the buzz from the game.  A look at his numbers for the game: 4/10 for 95 yards, 1 TD and 31 rushing yards.  Not exactly spectacular, but some interesting numbers to work with.  I'll get to the wildcat stuff in a moment.  First, the passing game.  Of his 95 yards, 31 came on a screen pass.  However, 39 yards came on a rather sweet pass to Mike Wallace for a touchdown.  It was great touch and although Wallace had to turn around to get it, I thought the accuracy was solid.

The passing game, though, takes a back seat to his potential in the wildcat, which of course was all the rage this season.  White's ability in the rushing game is not doubted.  He can move and as briandean pointed out, he's a great athlete.  I can see the argument that he's like Percy Harvin without the #1 price tag, but I wonder if he really can fit into that role.  Obviously anything's possible, but it might have been nice to see him get some time in at wide receiver as well.  If he's going to be a wildcat runner, he's going to need an additional role.

As a 49ers fan, I still remain convinced that Michael Robinson could do wonders in a wildcat role, if used properly.  I'll argue until I'm blue in the face that if the 49ers would use him in that role AND let him throw the ball once every great while, it'll keep defenses a little more honest.  Wouldn't the wildcat be more effective if there was a legitimate threat to pass?  When the 49ers used Robinson or Gore in that role this past season, they never even seemed to look to pass.  That's just my little soap box moment.

Graham Harrell
Man was he awful.  Harrell was underthrowing guys left and right.  He made one good throw the entire game in going 4/13 for 40 yards.  I could be wrong, but I don't even think it had to do with moving under the center for snaps.  As Mayock kept pointing out (and he did it A LOT), he never seemed to really drive his throws.  Even on his completions, receivers had to drop to the ground, thus negating any YAC.  They did make a good point about how awful Colt Brennan looked in last year's Senior Bowl and he ended up having a very solid training camp with the Redskins, so maybe he'll turn it around.  However, he definitely cost himself a nice chunk of change Saturday.

Cedric Peerman
Peerman was the one running back who truly impressed me.  He only carried the ball five times, but he was really bulldozing his way for extra yards.  It's about a small a sample size as you're going to get, but I'm certainly intrigued.  Of course I don't know if he brings something sufficiently different from Gore, but that doesn't necessarily kill his chances as a #2 running back.

B.J. Raji
Folks have been clamoring for the big nose tackle from Boston College.  Shortly before kickoff, Mayock was talking about the big prospects, and in discussing Raji he threw out a comment that is ALWAYS a red flag in my book.  He said that Raji has huge potential, but his problem has been consistency.  That leaves me concerned when we're talking about such an important position in the 3-4.  And sure enough, he just about disappeared during the Senior Bowl.  He apparently had a good week in practice, so maybe it was just a bit of a letdown.  Of course they did say he struggled against Cal's own Alex Mack, so maybe it's not just a letdown performance.

Either way, it's definitely something worth keeping an eye on.  I certainly want top-level talent, but if a guy busts his butt every single play but is slightly less talented, maybe it's a safer play than the super star who doesn't bring it every play.

Juaquin Iglesias
Iglesias put up very solid numbers, even though he seemed quiet most of the night.  Iglesias finished with 6 receptions for 90 yards.  My favorite catch of his was a 9 yard reception from Nathan Brown.  It was a short little quick pass and Iglesias fought for 8 of those 9 yards, dragging defenders down to the South 1 yard line.  Not a huge play, but something you like to see from receivers.  Given his size (6'0, 204lb) I don't see the 49ers grabbing him (I think a big bodied receiver is more important for this draft), but it was interesting nonetheless.

Odds and Ends
Best Arm: Rhett Bomar - Bomar had big troubles at Oklahoma and has accuracy issues, but it appears like he can make all the NFL throws you need.  I know there are people that take issue with him, but I think there's something there.

Best tackles: Rey Maualuga - Maualuga helped force a fumble early in the game and had a big hit on a screen play late.  The screen play was impressive because he never bit when the field opened up and forced his way around an offensive lineman to make the tackle on the running back at the line of scrimmage.

Best sacks: Robert Ayers - He just demolished Nathan Brown in the third quarter, and followed that up with a sack and strip of Rhett Bomar in the fourth quarter in the end zone.  Ayers was a beast and definitely helped himself.

Best quotes/moments of the day
1. “You know what I'm gonna say.  If that football was a javelin, he’d be dead."  Mike Mayock about Mike Thomas after Thomas reached above his head to field a punt on the fly.  Did people really expect that comment?

2. "You can't teach 6'5."  The members of the booth discussing Patrick Turner, a WR from USC.  Turner wasn't super productive, this season, but of course the height comes into play.  I have to say I'm intrigued by a guy like Turner or Ramses Barden (6'6) as a red zone threat.  Turner didn't have huge numbers, but he did raise his TD total of 3 his junior season to 10 this season.  Not too shabby.

3. Mike Tice picking his nose before kickoff.  No real reason for this other than it being highly amusing and really fitting for the guy.  He just looks like a nose-picker.