The Senior Bowl is always a huge week for any NFL Draft prospect. It is especially important for those small-school players to prove they can hang with the big boys. For Lenoir-Rhyne defensive back Kyle Dugger and Saint John’s offensive tackle Ben Bartch, the week became a huge success and a huge boost to their draft potential. So how did they do this week, and what is their draft stock outlook coming out of Mobile?
One of the best parts about the Senior Bowl is the incredible ability of executive director Jim Nagy and his crew to find those diamonds in the rough from not just the FCS, but Division II and Division III. Lenoir-Rhyne is Division II, while Saint John’s plays in Division III.
Dugger totaled 237 tackles in 42 games at Lenoir-Rhyne. He also added 36 passes defended and ten interceptions. He measured at 6 feet and 217 pounds during weigh-ins in Mobile. Bartch came in at 6’5, 308 pounds.
Dugger had a fantastic week in Mobile, being able to showcase his skills all across the field, both on defense and special teams, proving he belongs with the big boys. Bartch also more than held his own, handling the other big guys well before an injury during Thursday’s practice cut his week short. Fortunately, he seems to be okay going forward, heading into the Scouting Combine.
Dugger showed this week that he has the ability to start his career as a nickel cornerback and can possibly work his way into a safety position, though he has great long-term potential at nickel.
Bartch has ability across the line and was playing some tackle during the week. It will be interesting to see how he actually fits into the NFL mold and which position teams will feel is the best for him, if he will stay outside at tackle or kick inside to guard.
Dugger was also used as a punt returner throughout the week and during the game, giving NFL teams plenty of chances to view him in that regard and he had some good returns during the game.
Some draft boards have Dugger just inside their top-100. This week may have moved Dugger into top-75 territory and early third-round consideration. Who knows, if he blows up the Combine perhaps he can sneak into the second round.
Bartch may also have some late Day 2 potential after showing his impressive level of competition during his work in Mobile. He had a lot of love from draft analysts and people who focus on offensive line play. He looks like he’s going to be a good one.
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