With the Senior Bowl now over, we can take a look back on the week's practices and game in Mobile, Ala. and see who helped themselves the most.
Right now, you could safely say that all five players from UMass and Boston College benefited from participating. However, if you were to choose two that pushed themselves further ahead than anyone, it would be UMass wide receiver Andy Isabella and BC offensive guard Chris Lindstrom.
That is not to say that safety Will Harris, defensive end Zach Allen, and tight end Tommy Sweeney from BC did not also do well. They did. Harris was active in the back end during the game, and continues to show that he can be a forceful hitter. Allen found his way into the backfield a few times and is one of the top edge prospects in the class. Sweeney proved he can both block and catch at a high level.
But for Isabella and Lindstrom, those two seemed to silence their doubters — or, in some cases, validate their believers — more than anyone.
Let's start with Isabella, who came into the week having to answer for his size as a 5-foot-10, 190-pounder. Also, the fact that Isabella, despite being a Biletnikoff Award finalist, came from UMass and not, say, an SEC school, added a layer of bias against him.
Over the course of the week, there were some mixed reviews of Isabella in practice, but the Mayfield, Ohio native saved his best for last. During the game, he showed off the speed, route-running, and surprising power for his size that hallmarked his college career. He caught seven passes for 74 yards, both game-highs, and added an end-around for 14 yards.
On his touchdown, Isabella caught a quick screen to the left from Duke's Daniel Jones, followed his blocks well, and slipped a tackle downfield to scoot into the end zone for a 19-yard score.
These were all plays that Isabella made routinely at UMass, and they again translated to a high level of competition.
We don't know where Isabella will be drafted. What we do know is that every time Isabella is supposed to be bottled up, he still produces. For now, that makes him worth drafting for any team that really needs receiver help.
As for Lindstrom, the Dudley native and Shepherd Hill alum really made a case for himself as one of the top guards in this class. All week and during the game, Lindstrom showed why he was placed on multiple All-American teams this season.
Now, unlike Isabella, the 6-4, 310-pound Lindstrom did not have anyone questioning his size over the course of the week. Really, by the time the game was over, there was not much to question at all when it came to Lindstrom's ability.
Lindstrom was able to handle all types of defenders. Whether he was going up against players who would try to beat him with quickness, technique, or pure strength, Lindstrom was up to the task. If Lindstrom made a false step, he seemed to always recover.
During the game, it became obvious that his strengths went beyond just being able to block the man in front of him. Lindstrom always shined at Boston College when asked to get to the second level and block linebackers, as well.
That was the case again Saturday, as Lindstrom found himself getting downfield and knocking down targets there. As far as offensive linemen were concerned, Lindstrom ended up having about as good a week as anyone.
Again, we are not sure what round Lindstrom will get picked. However, if a certain scout or general manager was unsure about him coming into this past week, we'd have to believe that's no longer the case now. Lindstrom simply performed too well to be on the fence about at this point.