Former Georgia Tech All-American guard Shaquille Mason made an impression at the Senior Bowl this past week.
Mason, a late invitee to the pre-draft showcase, caught the attention of at least three NFL draft analysts. Among the reviews for Mason:
From Optimum Scouting: Georgia Tech offensive guard Shaq Mason was a standout performer, sinking his lower half and winning the leverage battle at the point of attack. Mason has an excellent first step as a zone blocker and takes proper angles to cutoff his opponent.
From NFL Network’s Mike Mayock: “I think he might be a center in the NFL, but he competed his tail off on Wednesday and Thursday and I thought he showed everyone something. He learned quickly and adjusted on the fly."
From cbssports.com: “On the inside, the standout Wednesday was Georgia Tech's Mason. After starring in the Yellow Jackets' run-heavy triple-option offense, scouts were eager to see how Mason would handle pass protection. He turned heads with his performance. While shorter than ideal at just 6-1 5/8, 310 pounds, Mason has very good lateral agility and balance, helping him mirror the South's most disruptive interior pass rushers. Because of his short frame, quickness and strength, Mason could project best to center at the next level.”
From SI.com’s Chris Burke, who named Mason to his All-Senior Bowl team: “(LSU La’el) Collins, Mason and (Duke’s Laken) Tomlinson were rocks all week, with Collins reassuring any teams looking to draft him that he could fit as a left tackle. Mason, Tomlinson and (Hobart's Ali) Marpet are guard-only prospects, though all three could wind up as top-100 picks -- Tomlinson or Mason maybe even top-50."
The accuracy of the last observation is uncertain, but, if true, it would be an astounding jump up the draft board by Mason. The fact that he was on the waiting list for the Senior Bowl, and evidently passed up by the Shrine Game, speaks a little bit to the lukewarm status of his draft stock, at least prior to the Senior Bowl. Time will tell how Mason's prospects change after this past week, but it evidently did nothing but help. Smart move by Mason and agent Ryan Rubin to pass up the Medal of Honor Bowl in hopes of getting into the Senior Bowl.
Mason is still waiting for an invitation to the NFL draft combine. His performance at the Senior Bowl would figure to aid his candidacy.