Four representatives of the Pitt football team traveled to Mobile, Alabama, to take part in the Senior Bowl at Hancock Whitney Stadium on Saturday, and each was on the field for the majority of the game, giving NFL scouts a long look at what they could bring to the table.
The group included Pitt defensive ends Patrick Jones II and Rashad Weaver, Pitt safety Damar Hamlin, and Pitt center Jimmy Morrissey, and all four performed well. But Jones and Hamlin set themselves apart with splash plays that made scouts in attendance take notice, and they helped the National team earn a 27-24 victory over the American team in the event.
Jones, who was coming off a quiet week of practices with the National team, came into the game with something to prove, as he had been overshadowed by Weaver and manhandled by Wisconsin - Whitewater lineman Quinn Meinerz in a drill earlier in the week. And on Saturday, he delivered, taking part in a three-man sack of Wake Forest quarterback Jamie Newman in the second quarter and then coming up with a solo sack of Newman before halftime.
As for Hamlin, he turned heads in Senior Bowl practices during the week and came into the game with momentum on his side. And after getting off to a quiet start, the Pittsburgh native came up with a heads-up play in the fourth quarter of the all-star event, picking off a Newman pass that was tipped by Washington cornerback Keith Taylor with a diving catch.
And while Jones and Hamlin made the Senior Bowl highlight reel, their teammates were in the trenches putting on solid performances of their own. Morrissey, who arrived in Mobile late after accepting a last-minute invitation, showed off his versatility, playing both guard and center in the game. Prior to Morrissey taking the field, which first occurred in the second quarter, the American team was kept off the board. But the team went on to score 24 points, and the Pitt alum was on the field for each of the team's three scoring plays and each of the subsequent successful two-point conversions.
Morrissey, who was the lone Pitt player on the American team, faced off on several occasions with Weaver, who played both tackle and end on the National defensive line. The result each time was a stalemate, and Weaver’s greatest successes came against Alabama lineman Deonte Brown. Brown, who checks in at 6’4”, 350 pounds, got shoved all over the field by Weaver, who stands at 6’5”, 270 pounds, all day — and in one case, right into his quarterback.
In addition, Weaver came up with a tackle for a loss and a stop on a fourth-down run to force a turnover on downs in the first half of the game. So although he didn't leave Mobile having made the kind of eye-catching plays that make the rounds online, Weaver was impactful in the Senior Bowl and held his own against some of the best offensive linemen in the nation.
As for which Pitt alums helped their cause the most in Mobile, that remains to be seen. While mostly quiet on Saturday, Weaver impressed in practices by all accounts, and Jones will likely benefit from the added exposure his sack of Newman should gain him. Meanwhile, Hamlin put on a solid showing from the time of his arrival until the time of his departure, and Morrissey showed up ready to play on short notice and performed well all day.
At the very least, it seems Weaver and Jones have solidified their status as early-round draft picks, and Hamlin could see a bump in his stock moving forward. But perhaps the most pressing question will be how much draft buzz Morrissey, who had the most to gain in Mobile, sees after a solid individual performance on the American team's offensive line.