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Mason's Mailbag: Wrapping up Senior Bowl week

Posted Jan 28, 2018

How much effect can a good or bad week have on draft stock? It depends on the player -- and on who's making the evaluation.

You can tweet questions to me with the hashtag #AskMase or use the submission form to your right (if you're viewing on a standard browser) or at the bottom of the page if you're on the mobile site.

Part of that depends on which quarterback they might add in free agency or via a trade. The offensive line could be tempting, and the best of the bunch, in my opinion, is Notre Dame's Quenton Nelson. Yes, he's a guard, and no guard has been taken in the top 10 picks since 2013, but he seems likely to change that, so to get him, you might not be able to move back very far.

Needs could pop up and change as the free-agent market develops. For example, if the Broncos lose inside linebackers Todd Davis and Corey Nelson in free agency, they could have a pressing need there that leads them to Georgia's Roquan Smith or Virginia Tech's Tremaine Edmunds. It's still early, and the Broncos' possibilities are more wide-open than they might seem on the surface.

Someday, but not immediately. Cappa had some moments where he was able to demonstrate his strength and power, but he also had some difficulties at times. He allowed a sack in Saturday's Senior Bowl game, and during one period of practice Thursday, he had to bear-hug UCF linebacker Shaquem Griffin to prevent him from getting a sack in a one-on-one drill. Cappa can be an effective starter in the NFL, but he will probably need a year of development.

Before he injured his hamstring during Tuesday's practice, he looked like he would end up being the best tight end in Mobile. Goedert showed fluidity and agility for his size, traits that were evident from his work at South Dakota State. However, without the extensive chance to work against higher-level competition that he would have had if he had not been injured, he will remain a bit of a projection heading into the draft.

It depends on the player and his situation. Sometimes, a good performance will help him. At the minimum, an outstanding week will cause some personnel evaluators to review the game footage to see why there was a discrepancy between what the player showed in practice and what he showed during recent seasons. For example, was the player who flourished in practice in a scheme that limited his effectiveness?

In my opinion, the Senior Bowl practices should have more weight than the Combine because the players are involved in actual football activities, rather than speed and timing drills. The Combine offers a chance for standardized measurements that determine whether each player meets a baseline for his position or role in the NFL. To me, those measurements can serve as tiebreakers between two players who end up in a tie on football/character evaluations. But that's all.

Do you think the NFL will go to an 18-game regular season?

If they do, I have an idea: three trimesters for the whole league. Play six games, then the whole league takes a bye week, six more games, another bye week, final six games and then the playoffs. It would eliminate the advantage that some teams get from a "good" or "bad" bye week, and no team would have the advantage of getting two weeks to plan for another team that only got one. Finally, the players would get another rest week which should help make 18 regular season games more palatable.

What are your thoughts?

-- Heath Perdue

An 18-game regular season is a pipe dream until possibly after a new collective bargaining agreement is negotiated. (The current CBA expires after the 2020 season.) Even after the new CBA begins, I think a 17-game regular season -- with all teams mandated to play a neutral-site game outside of the United States -- might come first.

Even if the schedule remains at 16 games or is expanded to 17 after a new CBA, a return to two bye weeks could be possible, especially if the number of overseas games increases and "Thursday Night Football" continues. The idea was tried in 1993 and deemed a failure after one season, in part because the byes were crammed together at midseason and left some weeks without enough compelling games to maintain fan interest. However, if the double bye returns, you could expect the byes to be spread out over a wider range of weeks -- i.e., some teams might receive their first bye as early as Week 3, or their second bye as late as Week 15.

For television reasons, don't hold your breath on the notion of every team getting a bye in the same week. It seems unlikely that the league or its broadcast partners will be palatable to the idea of the entire league going dark for two full weeks during the heart of the season.

The analysis, opinion and speculation in this story represents that of the author, gathered through research and reporting, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Denver Broncos organization.


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