What To Expect From Three USF Bulls At The NFL Combine

The University of South Florida is going to be well-represented at the NFL Combine for another year. Former quarterback Quinton Flowers, wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and defensive tackle Deadrin Senat are taking part of the weeklong showcase, which features 300 top NFL prospects.

Flowers set 42 program records during his three years starting at USF, while Valdes-Scantling set the program’s season receiving yards record in 2017. Senat finished with 66 tackles last season, second to team captain Auggie Sanchez, and will participate in on-field workouts Sunday. Flowers and Valdes-Scantling will participate in on-field workouts on Saturday.

Strengths and Weaknesses

NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein analyzed the three Bulls and believed Senat will be the first USF player taken in the upcoming NFL Draft, going in the third or fourth round. Zierlein believes Valdes-Scantling will go as a seventh-round pick and Flowers will go as a seventh-rounder or free-agent signee as a running back most likely.

While it’s exciting to see a USF player drafted anytime, many are excited to see not only who Flowers will go to, but what position the Miami player will pursue. His 6’0” frame caused a lot of doubt for him to be a starting quarterback in college and NFL coaches will also look at whether his accuracy in the pocket will be enough to lead an NFL offense.

South Florida quarterback Quinton Flowers (9) runs downfield during the first half the Birmingham Bowl NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 23, 2017 in Birmingham, Ala. Photo: AP Photo/Albert Cesare.

Zierlein suggests Flowers’ inaccuracy on short and immediate throws, as well as, his release is too slow at times are weaknesses that will keep him out of the quarterback position in the NFL. However, he is talented with his running and footwork and his quick decision making helps him dominate defenses on the ground. In college he accumulated 41 career rushing touchdowns. Flowers takes care of the ball with a touchdown to interception ratio of slightly more than 3:1, per NFL.com. With that, Zierlein says:

“Flowers simply doesn’t show the consistency or accuracy needed as a passer to play that position in the NFL. While college quarterbacks have made the transition to wide receiver in the NFL, Flowers’ fortunes are likely to be at running back thanks to his sturdy build and running talent. He has the foot quickness to elude tacklers, adequate speed, and good finishing power. While that adjustment may take time, it’s his best shot at playing in the league.”

Flowers received a 5.0 grading.

When talking about talented running, Flowers isn’t the only Bull bringing fancy footwork and speed to the Combine. Valdes-Scantling brings size and speed to the field in Indianapolis. The 6’5”, 205-pound wide receiver helped his team win a state track title in high school before showing off his speed on the football field in college.

Photo: USF Athletics

Valdes-Scantling has a long stride and pushes off the line of scrimmage with good momentum, eventually outrunning cornerbacks. What he does lack is sharpness and is slow to redirect. The St. Petersburg native has great size, but he has small hands for his size and doesn’t utilize his size to gain position. Zierlein’s bottom line:

“Height, weight, speed prospect with intriguing deep ball capabilities as a big field stretcher. Valdes-Scantling is a work in progress who hasn’t learned how to create leverage within his linear routes and doesn’t have the ball skills he will need to win downfield. He’s probably not ready to help a team just yet, but his issues may be correctable so he’s worth a Day 3 selection as a stash-and-coach prospect.”

Valdes-Scantling received a 5.2 grade.

South Florida’s Deadrin Senat, left, and Auggie Sanchez, right, sack Syracuse’s Eric Dungey in the second quarter an NCAA college football game in Syracuse, N.Y., Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Nick Lisi)

On the opposite side of the ball, Senat is an active defender who plays with a sturdy, wide base. Earning USF’s Defensive MVP award, Senat saw a questionable start to the 2017 season after being ejected from two of USF’s first three games.

Senat’s thick frame muscled arms, and a barrel chest makes it hard to knock him off balance. His hands are another weapon, being violent and sudden during his hustle to tackle. While his frame is thick, he does lack length and that could hurt him in the NFL. His inability to flip around the edge of interior pass protection is another weakness the 6’0” DT exhibits. Regardless, Senat has a lot of strengths that NFL scouts are looking for. Zierlein says:

“His squatty frame will limit his scheme fit to 4-3 teams looking for a shade nose in all likelihood. Senat is strong and efficient with a big man’s game in a shorter man’s body. While he’s compact in frame, his arm length is decent and he has the hand quickness to win the initial battle to create a leveraged position. Senat’s postseason (including an impressive bowl performance) has a chance to really bolster his stock and push him up the board.”

Senat received a 5.5 grade.

When and what to watch

Friday: RB, OL, PK, ST

Saturday: QB, WR, TE

Sunday: DL, LB

Monday: DB

On Saturday watch for Valdes-Scantling to show his speed and size in the 40-yard dash and vertical jump. Last year, former USF wide receiver Rodney Adams had a 4.44 sec 40-yard dash and 29.5-inch vertical jump. Expect Valdes-Scantling to surpass Adams’ jump but be in the same range for the 40-yard dash.

Flowers will also work out on Saturday with Valdes-Scantling. He will work out with the other quarterbacks, watch for Flowers to mirror former USF running back Marlon Mack’s numbers. Last year Mack had a 4.5-second 40-yard dash and 125-inch broad jump. Flowers should be able to stay in that same range.

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Allison Leslie is a University of South Florida graduate with a bachelors degree in Mass Communications. She joined Genesis in 2016. With a passion for sports, Allison has interned with 620 WDAE, Pewter Report, Trifecta Team: St. Petersburg Bowl, Bullscast, and many other publications. Being a native to the Bay Area, she has followed and supported Tampa Bay teams her whole life.