2021 Senior Bowl Prospects To Watch: Offense


(image credit: Caleb Jones / UT Athletics)

Written by: Joseph Yun

Twitter: 2Yoon2ZeroBlitz


The offseason draft circuit’s most prestigious event starts this week in Mobile. It’s even more important for the over one hundred prospects this year as the annual Scouting Combine has been greatly affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Senior Bowl provides an outlet for these prospects to show off their talent in front of all 32 front offices across the league in one place. Which offensive stars will boost or see their stock fall in the greatest on-field interview setting one can think of?


American


QB


Kellen Mond - Texas A&M


Kyle Trask - Florida


Jamie Newman - Wake Forest


- An interesting mix of proven yet inconsistent talents make up the quarterback room for the American team. Trask is the most likely to be the highest drafted of the group thanks to a stellar 2020 season for the Gators. Newman has the potential to be developed into a starter but how much is the layoff rust real? He hasn’t taken a live snap since 2019. Mond has improved under the tutelage of Jimbo Fisher in 2020 after a rocky beginning in his system. This group will feature a lot of athleticism and throwing on the run. Trask will be out to prove that the last two games of his Florida tenure were flukes. He’s consistently rated somewhere between QB5 and 7. With a good week, Newman can play himself into the top eight QB conversation. Mond will seek a top-ten rating himself.


RB


Kylin Hill - Mississippi State


Elijah Mitchell - Louisiana-Lafayette


Larry Rountree III - Missouri


- Hill is the obviously exciting name of the bunch. He proved that he could catch the ball out of the backfield in Mike Leach’s offense that prefers such things. He’s firmly ensconced in the top five running back rankings despite his brief 2020 cameo. Mitchell is the under the radar small school prospect to watch here. LR3 is a pleasant Day 3 surprise waiting to happen after a great career in Columbia. Can an RB join Hill in the race to be drafted higher than their original projections?


WR


Marquez Stevenson - Houston


Shi Smith - South Carolina


Kadarius Toney - Florida


Austin Watkins, Jr - UAB


Amari Rodgers - Clemson


Josh Palmer - Tennessee


- Can Palmer get it’s not him, it’s the godawful QB situation at Tennessee bump while in Mobile? Lots of big-time talent in the receiver room so it will be tough to get all of them quality reps. Watch for Watkins as the breakout candidate. Rodgers and Toney are the headliners of the group but look for Shi Smith (who opted out early) to surprise some folks. Stevenson will open the eyes of many with his dynamism in both the pass and return game. He won’t be Aiyuk but can be really good in the right system. Houston hasn’t been as good as in years past but Stevenson was still a key asset for them. Toney gets all the love (rightly so) but look for Trevon Grimes to make an impact as well.


TE


Noah Gray - Duke


Tre McKitty - Georgia / Florida State


- Intriguing prospects who didn’t star for their offenses. McKitty transferred to Georgia from Florida State and didn’t feature for the Dawgs much. Gray will get some work at fullback according to Mr. Nagy. McKitty needs a big week to offset the lack of tape at Georgia. He’s a solid receiving weapon when called upon. Kylen Granson could be a sleeper in the group from SMU.


OL


Trey Smith - Tennessee


Deonte Brown - Alabama


Alex Leatherwood - Alabama


Drake Jackson - Kentucky


Alaric Jackson - Iowa


Ben Cleveland - Georgia


- Wow. This is a star-studded group of offensive linemen and timely due to the talent across from them. Smith is the main feature guy as a top 3 guard prospect after a remarkable college career at Tennessee. Brown has some scouts with tongues wagging after his play this season and physical measurements. He’s likely one of the two guards to go off the board first. Leatherwood is a tried and true veteran franchise left tackle type that manned the position for the reigning champions. Kentucky’s Jackson is likely a Day 2 steal for some lucky team due to his versatility at guard and center. Iowa’s Jackson has been the starting left tackle for the Hawkeyes for a number of years, displacing Tristan Wirfs to the right side. It will be interesting to see how the line reps are split. Don’t sleep on the Moore trio (not related but a funny coincidence), particularly A&M’s Moore, Jr. Can Grambling’s David Moore be that small school prospect that makes the leap into early Day 3 / late Day 2? Jim Nagy has been high on him as an overall FCS prospect. He needs the week to impress as he opted out of 2020. Hopefully, Jack Anderson fares a bit better than former Red Raiders teammate Terrance Steele did in Mobile this year.


National


QB


Feleipe Franks - Arkansas


Ian Book - Notre Dame


Sam Ehlinger - Texas


- Not the most talented or pro-ready bunch that the crew in Mobile has had. Franks will see a couple of familiar faces there as he transferred to Arkansas from Florida and did well for the Razorbacks. Book fits the profile of a good college quarterback but not much of an NFL one. It remains to be seen if Ehlinger will be healthy enough to play or practice due to the injury in the bowl game. He made a lot of strides to improve his passing but still is a shaky discount Tim Tebow on a good day. Not a single Day 2 selection in this group, sad to say. Both Book and Ehlinger will be lucky to get drafted by the fifth round if teams were real with themselves.


RB


Michael Carter - UNC


Demetric Felton - UCLA


Khalil Herbert - Virginia Tech


Najee Harris - Alabama


Rhamondre Stevenson - Oklahoma


- If the QB group for the National team is underwhelming, the running back corps is the opposite. A lot of heavy hitters are in attendance here as the uber everything Najee Harris is in town along with Rhamondre Stevenson. Michael Carter, fresh off a great 2020 is also in Mobile as well. Can Felton repeat the success of former teammate Joshua Kelley and get himself noticed? Felton is a former receiver by trade so the electric playmaking ability he flashed in 2020 is there to be unlocked. Herbert had a good year for the Hokies and is underrated. A loaded group here. Someone is getting a steal from this room on Day 3 should a couple of backs make it that far. Carter is my favorite RB in the class that isn’t the top tier.


WR


Ben Skowronek - Notre Dame


Dez Fitzpatrick - Louisville


D’Wayne Eskridge - Western Michigan


Tylan Wallace - Oklahoma State


Frank Darby - Arizona State


Sage Surratt - Wake Forest


Nico Collins - Michigan


- Only if these guys had serviceable quarterbacks in Mobile to showcase their immense talent. Surratt is kind of the unknown in the group as he opted out for 2020 but had an awesome 2019. Skowronek is Chase Claypool 2.0? We all know what Wallace can do as he was the leading actor for the Cowboys the past two seasons. He profiles as an early Day 2 selection with a good week. Can Eskridge come up with a performance to make himself the next great one from Kalamazoo ala Corey Davis? Fitzpatrick is a bit of an unheralded star from Louisville that produced without any consistent QB play. Darby was slated to be the next in line at Arizona State before COVID derailed the Pac-12 season to the extent that it did. Can he replicate Brandon Aiyuk’s performance and get himself some hype? Collins opted out so he needs a good week-long performance to boost the stock. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith will also be in attendance but will not take part on the field due to an injury suffered in the national championship game.


TE


Hunter Long - Boston College


Kenny Yeboah - Ole Miss


- Everyone’s favorite for TE3 or TE4 is on the board for the National squad in the form of Hunter Long. Yeboah is another intriguing prospect that blossomed under the offensive tutelage of Lane Kiffin. He could be an option for a team on late Day 2 with a great week of practice in Mobile. Virginia’s Tony Poljan is in attendance as well. Long is the star of the position group here.


OL


Robert Hainsey - Notre Dame


Dillon Radunz - North Dakota State


Creed Humphrey - Oklahoma


Adrian Ealy - Oklahoma


James Hudson III - Cincinnati


Spencer Brown - Northern Iowa


- A nice mix of guards and tackles for the National squad including a rising star in Spencer Brown. Radunz is a top-five tackle on most boards even with the lost 2020 season for perpetual FCS championship contenders. Hainsey played a bit of both tackle and guard but projects more inside at the next level. Humphrey was the anchor of the Sooners’ high-powered offensive attack so his experience may play a role in a good week. Aaron Banks of Notre Dame could be the underrated man on the Fighting Irish line. Could Quinn Meinerz be the next Ben Bartch aka the D3 superstar everyone wants in the draft? Hudson and Ealy could be a surprise under the radar star tackles next week.


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