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Scouting the Senior Bowl: North Team Offense

Could the Saints find their future quarterback at the 2017 Reese’s Senior Bowl?

NCAA Football: Pittsburgh at Clemson
Pittsburgh Panthers quarterback Nathan Peterman (4) looks on after passing the ball during the first half against the Clemson Tigers at Clemson Memorial Stadium. Pitt won 43-42. Credit: Joshua S. Kelly
Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

The 2017 Reese’s Senior Bowl kicks off in Mobile, AL next week and Canal Street Chronicles will be represented at every practice. The North Team will be coached by Chicago Bears head coach John Fox; here’s a watch list of the players his offensive staff will be working with.

NCAA Football: Outback Bowl-Florida vs Iowa
Iowa Hawkeyes quarterback C.J. Beathard (16) gestures from the field against the Florida Gators during the first quarter at Raymond James Stadium. Credit: Kim Klement
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterbacks and Tailbacks

  • C.J. Beathard, Iowa
  • Nathan Peterman, Pittsburgh
  • Sefo Liufau, Colorado

The best passer in attendance is Nathan Peterman, who thrived in new LSU offensive coordinator Matt Canada’s offense. Peterman has a good arm and seems like a very intelligent leader on the field. He put on a clinic in managing the clock at the end of tight games throughout his senior year, and is poised to rise quickly at the Senior Bowl. A great game to watch of Peterman’s is his stunning road win over the Clemson Tigers in which he threw for 308 yards and five touchdowns. I wouldn’t be shocked if the Saints are drawn to Peterman over the course of the week.

The other two North Team quarterbacks, C.J. Beathard and Sefo Liufau, have interesting traits but need to prove a lot in front of the scouting community. Beathard is risk-averse to a fault, and Liufau has missed time to injuries.

NCAA Football: Toledo at Western Michigan
Toledo Rockets tight end Michael Roberts (80) dives in for a touchdown during the first half against the Western Michigan Broncos at Waldo Stadium. Credit: Patrick Gorski
Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Tight Ends and Wideouts

  • Jeremy Sprinkle, Arkansas
  • Jonnu Smith, Florida International
  • Mike Roberts, Toledo

The North Team tight ends are less-hyped than the South Team unit, but they should still have a good week. Jeremy Sprinkle has questions to answer about his judgment and maturity after a shoplifting incident prior to the Belk Bowl, but his onfield talent is obvious. Hopefully that was a one-off mistake with him and he’ll impress scouts and coaches in interviews in Mobile.

Mike Roberts led the nation in touchdowns caught by a tight end with 16, maybe in part due to his ridiculous hand size (measured 11 5/8-inch wide at the Shrine Game weigh-ins). Roberts is a big target and can elevate his draft stock by competing well against top-level defenders.

NCAA Football: Orange Bowl-Michigan vs Florida State
Michigan Wolverines wide receiver Amara Darboh (82) catches a pass in front of Florida State Seminoles defensive back Tarvarus McFadden (4) during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium. Credit: Steve Mitchell
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
  • Amara Darboh, Michigan
  • Amba Etta-Tawo, Syracuse
  • Cooper Kupp, Eastern Washington
  • Jamari Staples, Louisville
  • Trent Taylor, Louisiana Tech
  • Zay Jones, East Carolina

Each of the North Team receivers is an interesting prospect in their own right. Amara Darboh is a seriously underrated wideout in this class who should be a steal for a team on the third day of the draft. Amba Etta-Tawo is a dynamic playmaker who erupted after transferring to Syracuse and playing in a Baylor Bears-style air raid offense.

Cooper Kupp is an ideal slot receiver for the NFL who uses his long arms to routinely make catches away from his body. Jamari Staples was a favorite target of Heisman Trophy-winner Lamar Jackson, using his great size (6-foot-4, 195-pounds) to bully defensive backs. Trent Taylor and Zay Jones caught a combined 491 passes over the last two years.

NCAA Football: West Virginia at Texas Tech
West Virginia Mountaineers offensive center Tyler Orlosky (65) prepares to block for quarterback Skyler Howard (3) in the game with the Texas Tech Red Raiders at Jones AT&T Stadium. West Virginia defeated Texas Tech 48-17. Credit: Michael C. Johnson
Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Offensive Line

  • C Kyle Fuller, Baylor
  • C Tyler Orlosky, West Virginia
  • G Dan Feeney, Indiana
  • G Dion Dawkins, Temple
  • G Dorian Johnson, Pittsburgh
  • G Jordan Morgan, Kutztown-Pennsylvania
  • T Adam Bisnowaty, Pittsburgh
  • T Julie’n Davenport, Bucknell-Pennsylvania
  • T Taylor Moton, Western Michigan
  • T Zach Banner, USC

I am stoked to see the North Team offensive line in action. Taylor Moton, Dan Feeney, and Dorian Johnson are some of the best offensive linemen in the draft and could each start for the Saints from day one at guard, though Moton is also a very good right tackle. Tyler Orlosky is maybe the best center in the draft and also someone to watch. Keep an eye on the two small-school standouts, Jordan Morgan and Julie’n Davenport.