Why Is The Senior Bowl So Important

Why Is The Senior Bowl So Important
Reading Time: 4 minutes.

Many people believe the Senior Bowl is nothing more than an All-Star showcase. But there is a reason why scouts from all 32 NFL teams descend on Mobile, Alabama every year to watch the Senior Bowl.

It is one of the best platforms for potential prospects to showcase their abilities in front of an abundance of professional scouts and coaches.

What is the Senior Bowl?

Image Credit: Big Blue View

The Senior Bowl is a College Football All-Star game, held in Mobile, Alabama, consisting of the top NFL prospects who have completed their full college eligibility.

Players are chosen and invited to the game by the Senior Bowl committee. Selected players are divided into two teams, American and National, coached by current NFL coaching staffs that alternate year by year.

In the week leading up to the game, the coaching staff host full padded practices for the players, which are attended by NFL personnel and scouts.

The Senior Bowl prides itself on being the bridge between College and the NFL draft. In previous years, it was the first time that the athletes involved would receive payment for playing in the game. However, with NIL now in place, this is no longer the case.

The game is conducted under Pro Bowl rules where blitzing more than four is prohibited, and blocks below the waist are banned to limit injuries. And for pass catchers who are looking to impress scouts, this is the first time they have to establish both feet inbounds to secure the ball.

The Senior Bowl is more than an All-Star game

We know that All-Star games have no real meaning. Being selected in the roster is an achievement for players, however, the games themselves are just watered-down, slower versions of the game.

The Senior Bowl is different, however.

Despite being classed as an All-Star game, the kids playing still have everything to prove. They still have coaches and scouts to impress. The game still has a high intensity, the pads still pop, and quarterbacks take hits.

For those playing this is the final time they can put good plays on film before the NFL draft and the last time coaches will see players in full pads. They can’t afford to coast or play a lesser game.

Why the Senior Bowl is important

The importance of the Senior Bowl comes in the week leading up to the game. Sure, the game itself is fun and competitive. But during the week-long practice, coaches and scouts can get ‘hands-on” with prospects. Talk to them, manipulate the practice scenarios, and evaluate them up close.

One-on-one drills often draw the most attention at practices. Scouts and coaches flock to these drills and for good reason.

As the Senior Bowl invites players from all over the country, the one-on-one drills can pit an All-American SEC offensive tackle versus a non-power-5 edge rusher. This could potentially be the first time the edge rusher competes against a player of that level.

The same applies to wide receivers and cornerbacks.

Image Credit: Big Blue View

Coaches are also able to set the practice scenario. They can put an under-sized cornerback against a tall, powerful wide receiver running a ‘go’ route to see how the corner handles it. Or have a slot receiver face press coverage from a physical cornerback.

Another area of football that coaches and scouts get to evaluate is a player’s football intelligence.

The Senior Bowl represents the first time that NFL coaches can speak to these college players. They also have a new playbook to learn in just one week. Albeit a very small and thinned-out playbook, it has pro-level terminology and for many players, a whole new system. Especially those used to a typically collegiate spread offence.

Coaches can also see how players respond to direct criticism and coaching. Especially since players may have a slight ego going from the big man on campus to the new rookie on the roster. If they prove they are coachable, they will be remembered fondly by coaches and staff come draft time.


None of these examples will completely make or break a prospect. A rough week from a top-10 prospect won’t drop him to the second round. But, a good showing from a fourth or fifth-rounder can boost their grade. Particularly if the player makes a good connection with some of the coaches present in Mobile.

Coaches getting hands-on with players, getting them out of their comfort zone, and getting a chance to see how they think and play cannot be understated. A player leaving a lasting impression on a coaching staff can make all the difference come April.

All this highlights just how much more than an All-Star game the Senior Bowl is. The fact that players rarely ever decline an invite to play in the game also speaks volumes for its importance. Expect plenty of players to elevate their draft stock while others damage theirs on February 4th.

This article was written by our new writer Ross Love. Thanks to Ross for contributing this article and you can catch more of his work here in the future.

Feature Image Credit: USA Today

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