Fresno State quarterback Jake Haener probably gave himself a draft boost after a big week in Mobile, Alabama.
The week reached its zenith Saturday, when he was named Senior Bowl Most Valuable Player after leading the National team to a 27-10 victory over Team American at Hancock Whitney Stadium.
Haener completed 12 of 19 for 139 yards and a touchdown.
“I just want to come out here and get a win,” Haener told the NFL Network, while holding his trophy with a bowl of Reese’s candy, the game sponsor. “Cap off a really good week. Just have a really good week and just get the win, and we found a way to win and it’s fun.”
Haener joins decent company among past MVP QBs at the Senior Bowl, including Justin Herbert of the Los Angeles Chargers, Daniel Jones of the New York Giants, Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys, San Diego Chargers great Phillip Rivers and Miami Dolphins Hall of Famer Dan Marino.
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) February 4, 2023
Jake Haener Jayden Reed for 25 yards
Slant route from the slot & showing off his speed across the field
Haener has been the best QB this week and Reed the best WR imo pic.twitter.com/tSH87Xs5vm
— RanDynasty (@ran_dynasty) February 4, 2023
Haener received plenty of praise from those who attended Senior Bowl practices.
He remained consistent in practice and it carried over to the game itself.
QB play has been poor this week, but Jake Haener has been the best. Highest floor of the group and can consistently get his eyes to the right spot.
Purdue TE Payne Durham has also had quite a week. pic.twitter.com/WS7oCmQnDq
— Cory (@realcorykinnan) February 3, 2023
BREAKING: Fresno State QB Jake Haener (@jakehaener10) has been voted National team’s QB Practice Player-of-Week by vote from his peers in National DB group.#TheDraftStartsInMOBILE️ pic.twitter.com/nH8oIQYDRC
— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) February 3, 2023
Reese’s Senior Bowl Executive Director Jim Nagy was impressed.
“If there were betting odds going into game for @seniorbowl MVP, one of favorites would’ve been Fresno State QB Jake Haener. Dude figures out ways to move his team. NFL scouts love his guts. Stood in & took huge hit on his 44-yard TD in 4Q,” Nagy wrote on Twitter.
It feels like every year a QB at the @seniorbowl sees his draft stock elevate. This year that was Jake Haener.
He showed consistent accuracy, mobility and creativity plus leadership.
He’s going to help an NFL team. https://t.co/F1E51yVnDu
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) February 5, 2023
Haener, listed at 6 feet 1 inch, understands that others are questioning his NFL potential, but that’s OK by him.
“Continue to prove those doubters wrong,” he said. “Love proving doubters wrong and I love the motivation. I love the passion it brings me. Just keep coming with it.”
Prior to the Senior Bowl, Pro Football Network projected Haener to be taken on the third day of the 2023 NFL draft.
His status could rise to that of a Day 2 pick with a strong NFL Combine and his Pro Day at Fresno State.
ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit thinks it doesn’t matter when Haener gets drafted.
“You looking for this year’s Brock Purdy?” Herbstreit tweeted, referencing the last pick in the 2022 draft who went on to lead the San Francisco 49ers to the NFC championship game. “My early offs would favor Jake and the grind that he’s been on as a college QB. No shock he delivered today when it mattered. Congrats Jake!”
Next up for Haener is the combine, which will be Feb. 27 in Indianapolis. He will be joined by Fresno State wide receiver Jalen Moreno-Cropper. The NFL draft is April 27-29 in Kansas City.