The Senior Bowl took place on Saturday afternoon under a perfect “Chamber-of-Commerce” blue sky at Hancock-Whitney Stadium on the campus of the University of South Alabama.
It was largely a one-sided affair, as the National Team shot down the American Team by a final score of 27-10, with Fresno State quarterback Jake Haener winning the game’s MVP honors after playing most of the game for the National Team due to injuries to the other two QBs. He finished 12-of-19 for 139 yards and a passing touchdown.
The National Team on a whole fared much better, scoring two offensive touchdowns and four field goals on their offensive drives, while the American Team could only muster three points on offense (their touchdown was on a pick-six by Virginia defensive back Anthony Johnson.)
Both MAC representatives had themselves a good day, putting in reps for the overpowered National Team. We went over their Senior Bowl practice performances earlier this week, and you can read how that went at this handy link.
We’ll be looking specifically at their in-game performances below:
Karl Brooks, IDL/EDGE, Bowling Green
Brooks picked up the start at interior defensive tackle for the National Team, showing how much trust he picked up over the week after starting the week almost exclusively at the edge. He played mostly on first and second downs, with reps at various positions, including the nose tackle, 3/5 techs and the edge.
Brooks was disruptive, even when he wasn’t penetrating the backfield. There were many plays where he pushed forward and forced his assignments to hold him up; Brooks wasn’t pushed backwards fairly often.
When he did break out of holds, he penetrated the backfield successfully fairly often, getting into Clayton Tune’s face twice in the second quarter. Their first encounter had Brooks bowl over the tackle and force Tune out of the pocket for a tough completion on a rollout, but the second encounter showed why Brooks is valued at the pro level.
From the interior, Brooks is able to get through the cross blocks, engaging (and immediately disengaging) with the guard before getting after the tackle and throwing his aside with a nice rip move. From there, it’s an open field, and Brooks does not overrun the play, boxing in Tune before bringing him down on the scramble from behind, showing impressively quick feet for someone who came in at 303 lbs.
His run blocking was also decent, showing potential at the nose position in the third quarter, pulling down Kentucky running back Chris Rodriguez Jr. for a one-yard gain on what could have been a medium run despite being engaged with the center.
Brooks, who came into the Senior Bowl as a prospect who could go late Day 2 or early Day 3 in the NFL Draft, has seemingly locked himself into Day 2 with an ascendant performance in Mobile.
If you could declare a draft stock winner coming out of the Senior Bowl, Brooks would likely be on your list, as he was near the top of the daily charts in performance and capped it off with a fantastic game session.
Thomas Incoom, EDGE, Central Michigan
Incoom was clearly valued when the team was in passing downs, and saw a lot of work on third down and other situational plays. This is a slight downgrade from starting status during practice, but he is a prospect who still has a lot of development ahead of him at the pro level, so some ups-and-downs are expected.
In the first half, Incoom struggled to get past double teams regardless of placement, and got pushed out of several plays in one-on-one, but it wasn’t all bad. He showed great side-to-side range and angle of pursuit on several plays, finding himself in the area of several tackles-for-loss and a potential turnover.
The second half was much better, with Incoom consistently getting pressure in one-on-one action on the edges, gradually getting more and more penetration as the fourth quarter wore on. He had a nice assist tackle on Tyjae Spears to ensure he went down, and finally hit paydirt on an early-down pass rep deep in the American red zone, sacking Tyson Bagent late in the game.
It was a pure speed rush on Oklahoma tackle Wanya Morris from the word go, stickig the hand out and bending to get around a slow block, then taking advantage of the collapsing pocket to get bagent from behind for a seven-yard loss. It was a nice recovery from a previous rep, where Incoom had been flattened by Morris.
Incoom was seen as a Top 100 player coming in, and he’ll likely still be around there thanks to a good week in practice. He showed lots of improvement over the week, and there’s a lot of potential, but there are limitations which will need to be worked on once he gets on a roster.