(Mandatory Image Credit: Mike Kittrell / AL.com)
Written by: Joseph Yun
The 2023 Senior Bowl marked the first step of the offseason draft bonanza a couple of weeks ago with the practices, interviews, and of course, the actual game. Who were a few standouts that delivered, risers, fallers, and the in-between? Which prospects improved or lowered their stocks after a week full of highlights, lowlights, and awe-inspiring plays? The Combine is the next step in the evolution of the process after a long week in Mobile. Who needs a big week in Indianapolis and who can keep on keeping on?
Tyjae Spears (Tulane), Kenny McIntosh (Georgia), and Chris Rodriguez, Jr (Kentucky)
- Spears was the runaway favorite for RB1 honors for both teams with his performance. The former Tulane star showcased his immense talent on all three days of practice, even during pass pro. He elevated his stock into the top three at his position after this week. McIntosh came into the week as the leading rusher for the reigning national champions. He showed a great deal in pass protection as well during the one on ones. A name to watch for on Day 2 in the draft given his reputation. The former Kentucky back wasn’t as flashy as his American compatriots but had a steady week which improved his stock immensely. Rodriguez was solid in pass pro while flashing surprising athleticism in one on one and team drills. He stood out the most on Day 1 and Day 2 while leveling off a little bit on Day 3 before showing out during the game.
Wide Receivers / Tight Ends
Nathaniel Dell (Houston), Andrei Iosivas (Princeton), Jonathan Mingo (Ole Miss), Rashee Rice (SMU), Don’tayvion Wicks (Virginia), Luke Musgrave (Oregon State)
- This sextuplet of skill players each had great weeks of practice, particularly the Texas twosome of Rice and Dell. Mingo had a solid case for overall WR1 while Wicks flashed plenty himself. The biggest winner of the group had to be Iosivas who had three days of major winning. Musgrave cemented himself as the clear-cut TE1 in the city of Mobile that week. Mingo was nasty during one on one drills and had a good game to follow up. He boosted his stock into Day 2. Tank Dell was relentlessly impressive on all three days as well, he won a large majority of reps showing his FBS leading talents to the scouts. He has the outstanding route-running ability and the lateral quicks to escape defensive backs. Iosivas was steady throughout the week and had a solid effort in the game. He won a large majority of his reps with his quick feet and big frame to box out smaller defenders. It will be interesting to see how he tests during the rest of the offseason.
Wanya Morris (Oklahoma), O’Cyrus Torrence (Florida), and Darnell Wright (Tennessee),
- This trio of tackles was downright nasty in Mobile at times, dominant at others throughout the week. Morris could’ve been National OT1 at the proceedings. Torrence was equally great at tackle and guard, which is ideal for his draft stock. The former Gator lineman projects better at guard but could play tackle in a pinch serviceably. Wright had a few losses but they were highlight-reel losses. He stood out at his primary right tackle spot and shined in one on one drills. Wright could be the first right tackle drafted in April with the week he had. Torrence seems a secure Day 2 selection at this point. Morris could go early to the middle of Day 2 as well.
Emil Ekiyor (Alabama), Tyler Steen (Alabama), and John Michael Schmitz (Minnesota)
- Speaking of linemen with dominant performances, Schmitz was that and then some. He showed out during the practices and is the top center in the class by a country mile. Ekiyor solidified his second-round stock with a great week playing guard and a little bit of center. Steen was the unheralded Alabama lineman and he put on a show to get himself on the radar a bit as well. He played both tackle and guard effectively so that’s a major plus.
Will McDonald IV (Iowa State), Aubrey Miller (Jackson State), Dee Winters (TCU)
- McDonald IV was unblockable by nearly everyone during the week during pass-rushing drills. He was dominant and easily the top EDGE rusher on both sides. The former Iowa State pass rusher boosted his stock in a big way after an eye-popping effort. Miller is another linebacker who surprised a lot of people with an awesome week. He was good in all the drills and popped off the screen in nearly every rep. The former Jackson State product is a winner. Winters entered the week with a bit of hype and delivered in spades.
Julius Brents (Kansas State), Marte Mapu (Sacramento State), Jammie Robinson (Florida State), Tyrique Stevenson (Georgia / Miami), and Darius Rush (South Carolina)
- Mapu was easily the biggest winner of this group, although he almost exclusively played linebacker. He was all over the field, particularly in the team setting. The former Sac State product was listed as a defensive back hence the denomination here. Robinson had some losses but they were close and hard-fought. He flashed a ton of the talent that he showed his last season at Florida State through all three days. He’s primarily a safety at the next level but can play a big nickel type of role as well. Stevenson was injured during the week but was great enough during the first two days to merit consideration here. The schooling he received while at Georgia shone through. He’s a physical DB that attacks every receiver at the release point. Rush had a solid week as well, winning a majority of his reps. Brents entered the week with a lot of hype and delivered to a degree. He’s not athletic as Tariq Woolen but he’s physical with the receiver plus can turn and run. The Combine testing should bear fruit for him after a great week of practice.
Derick Hall (Auburn), Dylan Horton (TCU), Zacch Pickens (South Carolina), Jalen Redmond (Oklahoma)
- This quartet of defensive linemen for the American team showed flashes during the practices. Hall was consistently good during the week while he did lose some battles, he flashed the quick burst talent to merit a stock boost grade. Horton fared better while rushing from the perimeter than rushing from the interior in some reps. The versatility will be useful for some teams looking for depth along their EDGE ranks. Pickens flashed some ability as well but was somewhat muted in his performance. He’s currently trending up heading into the Combine. Redmond was the winner of this group but he had a somewhat inconsistent performance. The athletic traits are there but the size remains a question against bigger guards. He met expectations for the week so that’s a stock-up grade.
- When Hendon Hooker steals all the headlines for being the best passer for your side, you’re likely in trouble. He was there to participate in the interview and off-field process due to an unfortunate late-season injury. Max Duggan was the most capable and hyped passer of the on-field trio but carried his inconsistent play from the national championship game over. He flashed some ability but the effort was muted. Clayton Tune wasn’t the greatest, either. Small school prospect Tyson Bagent presents some intriguing skills such as solid arm talent but was inconsistent throughout the week.
Nick Broeker (Ole Miss) and Nick Saldiveri (Old Dominion)
- These two prospects could have been more effective and seemed overwhelmed by the level of competition. They didn’t have many wins or even draws during the one-on-one portion and looked out of place during team drills. Stock down for these two that needed to show out to get drafted but didn’t.
Ali Gaye (LSU), Eku Leota (Auburn), Cameron Young (Mississippi State), DJ Dale (Alabama)
- Out of the quartet, Leota was the most visible with the biggest amount of success. Gaye occasionally had a few wins, but the week resembled his profile (athletic but fundamentally raw). Young was inconsistent and invisible. Dale had an unspectacular week but did have some wins / draws under his belt.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Likely sack here by Auburn EDGE Eku Leota working against Tennessee OT Darnell Wright. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SeniorBowl?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SeniorBowl</a> <a href="https://t.co/Po8CUq49nv">pic.twitter.com/Po8CUq49nv</a></p>— Kevin Knight (@FalcoholicKevin) <a href="https://twitter.com/FalcoholicKevin/status/1620968084780769281?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 2, 2023</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Steve Avila shuts down DJ Dale 😤 <br><br>The big man from <a href="https://twitter.com/TCUFootball?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TCUFootball</a> looking good on the inside at the Senior Bowl <a href="https://t.co/ZJ8trqXw0y">pic.twitter.com/ZJ8trqXw0y</a></p>— Cam Mellor (@CamMellor) <a href="https://twitter.com/CamMellor/status/1620535547105284097?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 31, 2023</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
Isaiah Land (FAMU)
- Land had relatively high expectations but had an inconsistent week thus the stock was down an assessment. He was up and down throughout the week in one on one drills but shined a little during team drills. The former FAMU linebacker is definitely on the radar to get drafted.
Chamarri Conner (Virginia Tech), Darrell Luter, Jr (South Alabama)
- It wasn’t the most brilliant week for this duo but there were some flashes in between flashes. Luter was the more effective of the two by a margin. Conner looked a bit lost on some reps. Luter was part of a couple of highlight reel receptions but was generally in the picture. Is their stock middling? They will need to do some work to recover stock.
1. OT Dawand Jones (Ohio State)
- Jones stole the show during the week by kicking off the festivities with a whopping wingspan of 7’4 or longer than soon-to-be top NBA draft pick Victor Wembanyama is tall! He showed out during the first day of practice before bowing out the rest of the week with illness. He cemented himself as a possible top-15 selection with a monstrous week. The big man was that good on Day 1.
2. OT Ryan Hayes (Michigan)
- Hayes played both tackle positions with aplomb, winning more than he lost. The losses were spectacular, though. If not for Jones stealing the show, Hayes argued for top OT honors in Mobile. He was more dominant as a right tackle in drills but was adept at left tackle, increasing his value as a swing tackle there. Stock is rising for this Wolverine lineman.
3. OL Cody Mauch (North Dakota State)
- Mauch has a very good argument for top overall offensive linemen honors with a fantastic week at both guard and tackle. He proved that he belonged at this level, shutting down the best of the best and rarely losing a rep if ever. His best position at the pro level might be at guard but he could play tackle in a pinch if necessary. The former Bison’s stock is going onward and upward after a great week. He’s been on a Quinn Meinerz-like rise this offseason to date. Day 2 is his floor now.
4. WR Michael Wilson (Stanford)
- Wilson was arguably the most prolific receiver during the week. The former Cardinal receiver stole the show on nearly every rep, proving that Stanford’s fall from grace isn’t on him. He’s quite the sleeper that could rise the boards into the third to the fourth round range when it’s all said and done. If not for the next guy on the list, he had a shot at being the top receiver in Mobile.
5. WR Jayden Reed (Michigan State)
- Reed showed out on the first day of practice and didn’t stop after until the actual game was over. He won almost every one on one rep and didn’t lose a single one. The former Spartan receiver was that dominant, causing his peers to vote for him as National WR practice player of the week over a couple of others who deserved the award. He should be a Day 2 prospect when the process is completed. The speed and lateral quickness are undeniable.
6. WR Tre Tucker (Cincinnati)
- The former Bearcats receiver was nigh impossible to cover in one on ones for any defensive back, including some who had elite performances. He was in the top four fastest overall athletes tracked by Zebra Sports. Tucker struck like lightning and flashed great lateral quickness to escape the defensive back. He’s an active jitterbug of a receiver who can get open against any type of defensive back. An excellent slot option who can bust the top coverages open like a smaller Deebo Samuels. The ceiling is quite high with him. Some lucky team will get a steal on Day 3.
7. OL Curtis McClendon (UT-Chattanooga)
- Another year, another former Moccasin lineman put on a show in Mobile. McClendon stood out at both tackle and guard during the week. He was one of a select few linemen who contained standout Keeanu Benton consistently. While he likely won’t get drafted as high as Cole Strange last cycle, he has an outside chance at going early on Day 2 as of right now.
8. OL Ola Oluwatimi (Michigan)
- Oluwatimi bounced back after a down first day of practice with two solid ones. He mainly worked at the center (his natural position) but did get some work as a guard. The former Wolverine looked good during the team drills and improved as the week wore on during the one-on-one portion. He could be a versatile interior swing piece at the next level much like Dylan Parham was for Memphis before being drafted by the Raiders. OO’s floor should be early on Day 3 at this point in the process.
Kyu Blu Kelly (Stanford), Riley Moss (Iowa), Keidron Smith (Kentucky), Sydney Brown (Illinois), Jay Ward (LSU)
- Kelly had a hugely successful week, which was unsurprising given his talent and pedigree. Wednesday was particularly impressive as he snagged a total of three interceptions and housed one. A big winner that elevated his stock into the early Day 2 range if not a chance to sneak into the first round. He was dominant and shut down nearly every receiver he came up against. Moss was one of the fastest overall players in Mobile and generally had a solid week except for a few highlights given up. Smith was another riser up the boards with an outstanding week with hardly any losses. If not for Kelly, Illinois’ corner Sydney Brown would’ve been CB1 for the National side. He was consistently solid and won nearly all of his reps.
Ivan Pace, Jr (Cincinnati) and Daiyan Henley (Washington State)
- Both linebackers had a standout three days of practice and cemented their stock on the upswing. Pace is a little small for the inside linebacker role at the next level but he proved that he can hang with the big boys. He was a dynamo rushing the passer and hardly anyone could contain him there. Unstoppable covering the back out of the backfield as well. He just knows how to play and that means something in the pros. Overall, it could be argued that he had the best week for the position and carried it over to the game in style. Joining Mr. Pace in the winners' department is Washington State’s, Daiyan Henley. He was all over the field, making play after play, regardless of the drill. Undersized but athletic and has plus instincts. He really blossomed in 2022 and that progress was shown during the week. The dude is a baller that should get drafted early on Day 3 if not sooner.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Ivan Pace Jr. again <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SeniorBowl?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SeniorBowl</a> <a href="https://t.co/Dc2zvjupmT">pic.twitter.com/Dc2zvjupmT</a></p>— Tyler Browning (@DiabeticTyler) <a href="https://twitter.com/DiabeticTyler/status/1621319728907096064?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 3, 2023</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Another strong day at the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SeniorBowl?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SeniorBowl</a> for Washington State’s Daiyan Henley. First just runs through the RB in pass rush and then shows his change of direction ability in coverage to cause an incompletion. <a href="https://t.co/pHe9bIOYfz">pic.twitter.com/pHe9bIOYfz</a></p>— Bobby Football (@Rob__Paul) <a href="https://twitter.com/Rob__Paul/status/1621326025811542017?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 3, 2023</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
Nesta Jade-Silvera (ASU), KJ Henry (Clemson), Keion White (Georgia Tech), Ade Adebawore (Northwestern), Lonnie Phelps, Jr (Kansas), Keeanu Benton (Wisconsin)
- The National defensive line was full of potential and hype coming into the week and they delivered in spades. NJS flat-out dominated the proceedings and rarely lost a rep anywhere during the week. The former Sun Devil IDL was one of the rare losses for Cody Mauch. He was nigh unblockable on Day 1 and Day 2. Henry proved that he’s more than capable of being the next star EDGE from Clemson. He had a great week in one on one and team drills overall. White flashed a ton of potential from the interior as well as on the perimeter. He had a great week, boosting his stock into a Day 2 possibility if not higher. The Big Ten / Big 12 law firm of Adebawore, Phelps, and Benton wasn’t too shabby either. Phelps in particular was solid all three days while Benton had a spectacular Day 1 but followed it up with good practices after that. Out of this group, Adebawore was possibly the biggest winner and that says a lot considering this group stood out the most. The former Northwestern EDGE rusher was zooming past linemen like they didn’t exist on most reps.
- Expectations were low given the lack of passers worthy of a first-round grade in Mobile but these signal-callers were bad. Jake Haener was the best of the mediocre-at-best group but Malik Cunningham can be excused for being a late call-up. Jaren Hall wasn’t as good as his cohorts but did have some flashes. Haener won the title of Senior Bowl MVP during the game so there’s that. Cunningham presents an intriguing athletic skillset for teams searching for a developmental prospect and could get drafted late on Day 3.
Blake Freeland (BYU) and Asim Richards (UNC)
- Freeland had a rough week dealing with speed rushers but did win some reps here and there. He was terrible on Day 1 but recovered some the following days. The former BYU tackle fell off the map this past week and needs a monster Combine to heal. Richards came in a bit undersized for a tackle at just 6’4 307 with 34-inch arms. He had some excellent reps but some bad reps as well. The former Tar Heels tackle looked much more comfortable at tackle than guard at this point so the versatility isn’t there yet.
Ronnie Bell (Michigan)
- Bell generally flashed his skillset but didn’t do much to outshine the other receivers on the team in the drills. He was just OK, which isn’t a negative thing but isn’t winning WR1 honors in this event. A slight stock-down effort from him. The wins were great to see from the former Michigan receiver though.
1. Ronnie Hickman S Ohio State
- Hickman should be a box safety at the next level and the week showed it in spades. He struggled in coverage multiple times and just existed in team drills. Even with the knowledge that the one-on-one drills are purely stacked in the odds for the receivers, he struggled. The former Ohio State defensive back earns a “stock down” after last week.
2. Isaiah Foskey EDGE Notre Dame
- The all-time sacks leader in Notre Dame’s illustrious history was up and down on the whole but his wins were fun to watch as seen below. This placement on the stock-down list is relative to his hype entering the week and his general performance hereinafter. He’s still projected to go early to the middle of Day 2 so there is no big loss on his part.
3. Andre Carter II EDGE Army
- Carter showed flashes of what he can be during the week but was seemingly overwhelmed by the level of competition at times. He was inconsistent in one on one drills and didn’t feature much. A slight stock downgrade but he did flash a ton of potential in terms of speed and motor on certain reps. He will need a moderately productive offseason process to recover his stock into the early Day 3 range.
4. Carlton Martial LB Troy
- The career tackles leader in FBS history didn’t necessarily have a bad week, it was just that he came in shorter than expected at 5’7. The height and small frame limit what he can be at the next level. He’s a playmaker that’s simply around the ball, though. He participated in the first day of practices but missed the last two due to back spasms, which was unfortunate. He will need a great Combine and Pro Day performance to bounce back on the board.
5. DJ Johnson EDGE Oregon
- Johnson had a minimal impact throughout the week and was generally stymied during the drills. He will need a big week at the Combine to recover the ground that he lost last week. The former Oregon product was better in a stand-up off-ball role than a hand-in-the-dirt pass rusher so there’s that. Stock is down for now.