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What we learned from Senior Bowl: Carson Wentz passes test

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With only one quarter of playing time, and the first quarter at that, Carson Wentz didn't have much of a chance to figure in the outcome of the 2016 Reese's Senior Bowl, a 27-16 loss for Wentz's North squad. But more importantly for Wentz's draft standing, the North Dakota State quarterback played like he practiced all week: With the sharpness, accuracy, and the decisiveness NFL scouts hoped to see.

"From my perspective, I saw what I needed to see," NFL Media draft expert Mike Mayock said of Wentz. "Big arm, good location, got rid of the football."

Wentz (6-foot-6, 233 pounds) completed 6 of 10 passes for 50 yards, but was victimized by a pair of drops, one each by Ohio State's Braxton Miller and Cincinnati's Chris Moore. On his final pass of the game, Wentz connected with Ohio State tight end Nick Vannett for 29 yards down the middle of the field for his longest completion. A play later, he was sacked and stripped for a fumble by Baylor defensive end Shawn Oakman on his final play of action.

"I thought it went alright. Obviously, we didn't score any points, so that's always a bummer," Wentz told NFL Network. "... No matter if you're coming from the SEC or FCS, Division II, Division III, you've got to make a jump. The speed of the game is going to come that much faster. Obviously, this is just a step. It's going to be even faster than this (in the NFL)."

Wentz, one of the top quarterback prospects in the 2016 NFL Draft, will next get a chance to show scouts his skills at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis in a little more than three weeks.

Here are 10 other things we learned Saturday from the Senior Bowl:

2. Dak for MOP. Mississippi State's Dak Prescott earned Most Outstanding Player honors, completing 7 of 10 passes for 61 yards and a touchdown in his second-quarter action. His TD pass opened a 17-3 halftime lead for the South, and he added 13 rushing yards.

3. All the Gronks. Kansas State FB/TE Glenn Gronkowski had quite a cheering section on the sideline in Mobile. His older brothers, including New England Patriots star TE Rob Gronkowski, were there to support the youngest of the Gronks. Gronkowski finished with three catches for 37 yards.

4. Second-day grade. Mayock said he has a Rounds 2-3 grade on Utah State pass rusher Kyler Fackrell of the North squad. Fackrell beat Texas Tech left tackle Le'Raven Clark with an inside move in the first quarter to get a hit on Alabama QB Jake Coker just as he released a pass, forcing an incompletion.

5. Oakman shows up big. Oakman (6-8, 269 pounds) had a pair of sacks in the first half, both of Wentz, to put a positive finish one what was not considered an especially impressive week of Senior Bowl practices.

6. Loaded inside. Mayock believes 10 defensive tackles will have a first-round grade from at least one NFL team: Ole Miss' Robert Nkemdiche, Oregon's DeForest Buckner, Alabama's Jarran Reed and A'Shawn Robinson, Louisville's Sheldon Rankins, Louisiana Tech's Vernon Butler, Baylor's Andrew Billings, UCLA's Kenny Clark, Penn State's Austin Johnson and Ohio State's Adolphus Washington. Three of those participated in the Senior Bowl -- Reed, Rankings and Butler -- though Rankins was sidelined for the game by an injury.

Date: Saturday, Jan. 30
Time: 2:30 p.m. ET
TV: NFL Network


2016 Reese's Senior Bowl coverage:

Photos:

7. Hail Mary. Louisiana Tech QB Jeff Driskel provided a game-ending thrill, even though the game's outcome was no longer in doubt. Driskel threw a 29-yard touchdown pass off his back foot to Michigan State's Aaron Burbridge to give the North its final score on the last play of the game. Driskel completed 8 of 9 passes for a game-high 108 yards.

8. Martin projection. Notre Dame OL Nick Martin, the younger brother of Dallas Cowboys guard Zack Martin, projects as a second-round draft pick, according to Mayock. Both brothers participated in the Senior Bowl (Zack in 2014), though the older Martin was a first-round pick. Martin recovered Wentz's fumble on the sack by Oakman.

9. Sacks all around. Along with Oakman's two sacks, three other players recorded one each: Notre Dame's Sheldon Day, Louisiana Tech's Vernon Butler and Eastern Kentucky's Noah Spence. Virginia Tech's Dadi Nicolas and South Carolina State's Javon Hargrave combined for assists on another.

10. Making money. Mayock identified five South squad players who made money during the Senior Bowl week: Spence, whom Mayock called a "first-round talent," Rankins, Southeastern Louisiana DB Harlan Miller, Auburn DB Jonathan Jones and LSU LB Deion Jones. From the North squad, Mayock chose five defensive linemen: Butler, Washington, Temple's Matt Ioaniddis, Penn State's Carl Nassib and Illinois' Jihad Ward.

11. Band of Buckeyes. Mayock believes as many as seven or eight Ohio State players could be chosen in the top 50 picks of the draft. To which players was he referring? Mayock didn't list them, but the speculation can start here.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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