*Note Senior Bowl Rosters are accurate as of 1/31, expect some player changes
Quarterbacks: Malik Willis, Sam Howell, Bailey Zappe
Malik Willis transferred from Auburn to Liberty for the opportunity to start. He’s an elite athlete with good arm talent. He was clearly the best player on his team, which made it tough to evaluate him. Numbers wise there were a lot of struggles for Willis, particularly against better opponents. Still even in down games we saw Willis make big plays. This Senior Bowl week will be huge for him to make an impression on scouts that he can be a Franchise QB.
Sam Howell entered the season as perhaps the top QB prospect, but it quickly became clear that there were some concerns. He didn’t look nearly as sharp as, he did the season before. Part of it could be that he lost multiple key weapons, but some of it was a lack of growth. Howell didn’t look comfortable in some key moments and it felt like he was forcing things. On the positive side he showed that he can be a threat on the ground that wasn’t shown in previous years. The Senior Bowl could be a major reset for him, and get him back into the mid-1st round mix.
Bailey Zappe gets a little lost in the shuffle with the QB group down at the Senior Bowl. He put up eye popping numbers this year at Western Kentucky and shows decent arm talent despite the smaller size. In most Senior Bowl groups he probably would have been the 3rd or 4th best QB in Mobile, but he’s probably the 6th best. The good news for him, is if he plays well he will be competing versus good talent. He’s probably looking for a 3rd-4th round talent, but look for him to push for the late 2nd round.
Brian Robinson Jr. is coming off a really good year at Alabama. He does have some injury history so medical will be key for him. He’s a power back who won’t go as high as some recent Bama backs, but he can quickly help an NFL team as a number 2 back.
Dameon Pierce is an elite athlete with big play ability in both the running and passing game, but he’s never been a workhorse back. Can he show enough this week to be more than a change of pace back is the question.
Connor Heyward has NFL bloodlines as the son of Craig Heyward, and the brother of Connor Heyward. He started at Michigan State as a running back and moved to more of an H-back and TE role as a Senior. Unfortunately he doesn’t have the height for TE at the NFL level, so he will need to be more of a FB.
This receiver group is a little thin, but Jalen Tolbert could be a top 75 pick. He’s got excellent size and great speed, and can be a legitimate deep threat. Danny Gray, Dontario Drummond and Velus Jones Jr. are all 4th-6th round guys with some intriguing traits. If they can show they can build on that, they could see their stock rise.
Likely is probably the 4th or 5th best TE in this class and could be a top 100 pick. He’s highly athletic and a strong route runner, and he could be a primary pass catcher in an offense.
Offensive Line: Jamaree Salyer, Justin Shaffer, Darian Kinnard, Max Mitchell, Ed Ingram, Dylan Parham, Braxton Jones, Cade Mays, Chris Paul, Spencer Burford, Lecitus Smith, Luke Fortner
Kinnard is the top option here and he should be a top 50 prospect. He’s got a lot of power and displays great feet. Beyond Kinnard, Parham and Salyer are two other offensive linemen to watch this week.
Defensive Line: Phidarian Mathis, John Ridgeway III, Zachary Carter, Jermaine Johnson, Devonte Wyatt, Neil Farrell Jr., Kingsley Enagbare, Michael Clemons, Amare Barno, DeAngelo Malone, Cameron Thomas
Devonte Wyatt is the star here, but this is a strong group from top to bottom. Wyatt and Mathis look like late 1sts/early 2nd rd talents.
The edge rusher group here has a lot of upside, but might lack a true star. Amare Barno and Jermaine Johnson are the two best ones to shine this week.
Channing Tindall was extremely talented linebacker on the National Championship team. He gets lost a bit on the All-star team that Georgia’s defense was, but make no mistake he’s a good prospect. He shows good instincts and is strong in run support.
JoJo Domann is going to be an interesting evaluation this week. He started his college career as a safety, and moved to linebacker his past couple of seasons. The way he was used though, was primarily in the slot in coverage. He has coverage skills and should be good versus TEs, but the question is where is his primary position and can he stay at LB.
Defensive Backs: Roger McCreary, Mario Goodrich, Derion Kendrick, Yusuf Corker, Akayleb Evans, Cam Taylor-Britt, Zyon McCollum, Alontae Taylor, Josh Thompson, Leon O’Neal Jr., Tycen Anderson, Tariq Woolen, Tariq Carpenter
Roger McCreary and Derion Kendrick are two top tier CB prospects who both have first round talent. Both have a few knocks on them, so this week will be important to answer teams questions. Kendrick flashes elite talent, and had two picks versus Michigan in the CFB Playoff game.
There is a drop-off after McCreary and Kendrick in terms of talent, but there area few guys who could open some eyes this week. Carpenter was a jack-of-all trades player at Georgia Tech, but probably fits best as a true SS.
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