For years now, Senior Bowl week in Mobile, Alabama, has become one of the more significant stepping stones in the NFL Draft process for draft prospects to help elevate their draft stock ahead of the NFL Draft Combine and pro day workouts.
As it pertains to two former Hawkeyes — Alaric Jackson and Chauncey Golston — a Senior Bowl invite was extended to each of them and the good news is that they didn’t squander the opportunity.
Although the Senior Bowl game itself isn’t where a lot of the buzz gets generated throughout the week, it’s certainly more than just insignificant exercise. For Golston, the game only served as a positive boost to what had already been a great week for him leading up to it.
For Golston, the week started off with him garnering a fair amount of attention on social media and throughout the realm of NFL Draft discussion due to his measurables; more notably his 11-inch hands and arm length of 36 inches.
The buzz around Golston only continued after really showcasing his power, length and elite level quickness in one-on-ones and team drills.
With that said, the oddity of the week for Golston was his usage being restricted to solely a defensive tackle alignment, which is strange considering his 268-pound build and college playing experience being almost entirely off the edge.
However, that can sometimes just be the nature of these showcase games during the draft process — a trial period if you will. It’s entirely possible that the coaches were just curious to see what Golston’s potential imitations are while they were able to work with him in-person.
Golston’s defensive tackle designation continued into the game itself on Sunday, as he saw plenty of snaps exclusively inside and in that role, Golston really shined.
Janarius Robinson assisting off the edge (36” arms ) but my man Chauncey Golston with some electric hand work to stack and shed and plug the gap. Get used to that name. pic.twitter.com/viBeOYdGaJ— + x (@HawaiiBrownsHui) January 31, 2021
Throughout the game, Golston flashed his power on several occasions in the form of bull rushes, arm overs and rip moves and made life very difficult for the National Team’s right and left guards. This happened to catch the attention of the National Team’s coaches as well as, straight out of halftime, adjustments were made on their offensive line to shade their pass protection Golston’s way, which ended up hurting him in the form of sack and tackle for loss production down the stretch.
Nice push from Iowa DL Chauncey Golston against Nebraska OL Brendan Jaimes! pic.twitter.com/zkgb5ObXI1— (@RespectDaBeard1) January 30, 2021
Regardless, his presence and impact on the game was certainly noticed and that should only bode well for him moving forward.
For Jackson, he did not participate in the Senior Bowl game but did flash at times throughout the week in team drills and in one-on-ones.
Alaric Jackson had an up and down week, but I thought he was decent on Thursday. Nice job of redirecting Hubert on this rep pic.twitter.com/LZL9RaPkI9— Billy M (@BillyM_91) January 29, 2021
One-on-ones were an important first impression for Jackson to make, as a lot of the concerns with his game revolve around his foot speed and ability to stay in front of more agile pass rushers. This weakness showed up at times throughout the week for Jackson, but the overall takeaway is that there were far more positive reps than bad ones. That said, he didn’t do enough throughout the week to dismay the non-believers.
William Bradley-King is having a quietly strong week at the Senior Bowl. Beats Alaric Jackson easily here with the swipe-dip. Love his hands. Transferred from Arkansas State to Baylor this season. pic.twitter.com/7hzbU9jSc1— Bobby Football (@Rob__Paul) January 29, 2021
Much like Golston, Jackson found himself in unfamiliar alignments throughout the week, as he got work at both tackle spots as well as both guard spots with mixed results at each position.
Based on the limited video NFL Network aired as well as notes from those attendance, Jackson’s power shined throughout the week and although he had some rough-looking reps, for the most part, his foot speed and lower body quickness didn’t show to be a dire issue for him, which is certainly a positive takeaway, especially for a player who is still getting used to his newfound slimmer frame.
Moving forward, the combine and pro day workouts will be important for both Golston and Jackson. More so Jackson, as a lot of eyes will be on his combine performance, especially in the agility drills.
For Golston, a great Senior Bowl week paired with an eye-catching combine or pro day performance could mean great things for the former Iowa standout, as it’s entirely possible for him to elevate his draft stock into high-end second round territory if everything goes to exceedingly well. This is especially the case with a position like 4-3 defensive end where a lot of buzz gets generated in the final couple months of the draft process.