With the college football all-star games over and senior prospects getting ready for the 2011 NFL Draft, the opportunities to impress are diminishing with each passing day. However, on ESPN this Sunday, Jake Locker, Ryan Mallett, Andy Dalton and others are participating in the All-Star Football Challenge, a gauntlet of skills challenges that gives each a chance to impress. It doesn't mean a ton, but it does make good TV.
The quarterbacks are running through the same kinds of drills we'd see at the Pro Bowl, hitting moving targets with at various distances from the line of scimmage, with point totals varying for each. Ryan Mallett impressed from the start, showing off his strong arm right away while hitting targets strafing the field at 10, 20 and 30 yard distances. Mallett picked up 170 points in the accuracy drill, far-and-away the best score. Mallett followed up with a strong performance the second time around for a total of 340 points, good enough for the win.
Jake Locker, on the other hand, was inconsistent in the throwing drill, picking up 120 in the first round. Locker threw low at the 10-yard target, missed the 30-yard and had trouble throwing accurately. Of course, the announcers took the time to mention accuracy was the biggest issue as Locker was struggling. He came back strong in the second round, nailing the short target multiple times, hitting the medium-range target and throwing better as a whole -- picking up 140 points for a total of 260, good for second place.
The All-Star Challenge is, simply, just for fun, with seniors having a good time and showing off. With everything they do, however, comes scrutiny, as scouts are picking apart all the prospects ahead of the draft. Does it weight heavily? Of course not, the NFL combine will carry more weight in the eyes of many.