With the 2022 Senior Bowl practices wrapping up, I wanted to create an NFL Mock Draft using only Senior Bowl prospects. For this exercise I’m not using a specific team’s needs in coming up with this Senior Bowl draft class. To expand the list from a typical draft, I added an extra pick for all the odd rounds.
– For the top pick in this group a quarterback needed to be selected. This was a tough choice between Willis and Kenny Pickett, but overall Willis helped himself more this week. Willis has exceptional arm strength and the best athleticism in the class. His accuracy can be inconsistent, and he needs to throw with more anticipation, but the sky is the limit with him.
Some will bring up size concerns and up-and-down play at Liberty, but those are more overblown concerns. Willis is on the shorter side, but he’s built well enough to endure the NFL punishment. As for his college play, we’ve seen some recent examples in Josh Allen and Justin Herbert, who’s tools were better than their production in college. The same could end up being true for Willis if a team can be patient.
-Johnson only needed two day’s of practice to show that his production at Florida State this year was no fluke. He was excellent off the edge and gave offensive tackles fits both days. Johnson came in as maybe a fringe 1st rounder for many, but he solidified his status as a day 1 pick with these practices.
-Zion Johnson is the type of interior offensive line prospect that coaches are going to love. He’s big, powerful, with good footwork, and has a reputation as one of the hardest workers. When you watch game tape of Johnson, he is consistent in his approach and rarely has lapses. He should be a plug and play guard, and a top 50 pick.
-Winfrey showed that the flashes you would see at Oklahoma could be consistent if given the opportunity. He was unblockable on the 2nd day of practice and made a number of big plays. He definitely needs to be used a system that allows him to attack and get up field. If he gets that chance, expect him to be a quality starter.
-Many of the linebackers at the Senior Bowl this year are more in the hybrid LB/Safety type, who profile best as Nickel linebackers. While that is a key role in today’s NFL, you still need to find some linebackers who can play in the middle and take on the run. Muma has shown that he is that guy, he displays good instincts vs the run and can fill the hole. At the same time he’s still really good in coverage and can run with most tight ends and backs. It’s possible it ends up he ascends to more of a 2nd round range, but right now he’s likely a 3rd round pick.
-Doubs was Carson Strong’s big play receiver at Nevada and he has shown that ability at the Senior Bowl. With most of the top receivers either underclassemen or not attending the Senior Bowl, Doubs has had the chance to show himself to be in that next tier. I expect to see him go off the board early on Day 3 of the draft.
-White’s big play ability is evident nearly every time he touches the ball, but he’s not a complete runner at this stage. That will likely keep him from going in the first 2 days of the draft. He should be viewed more as a pass catcher/change of pace back. White is a playmaker plain and simple and to get him this late in the draft is an absolute steal. If I had to bet on a player who within his first year drastically out plays his draft position, White would probably be my first choice.
-In a deep TE class I get the feeling that Dulcich is going to get pushed down to the middle of day 3. Dulcich is a good blocker, solid route runner with good hands, but he doesn’t wow enough in an area. That will keep him from going too much higher than this, but he is a TE teams should be targeting in this area. His ceiling might be capped a bit, but his floor is pretty high. I think he is a solid long term TE 2 for a team, and can fill in a TE 1 role if you need him to.
-It took a long road for Stueber to be a fulltime starter at Michigan, but when he finally got that fulltime role this year he didn’t let go. Stueber was 2nd team All-American selection and 1st team All-Big 10, and helped pave the way for Michigan’s rushing attack this year, starting at RT. He probably profiles best inside at guard, but some teams may look to keep him outside at right tackle. Either way he should offer solid versatility and depth. His Senior Bowl week has looked solid, and he held his own versus some good defensive linemen.
-Mathis was a two year starter at Pittsburgh, and was a consistent cover corner. He doesn’t jump off the page in any one area, but he should excel on special teams and is versatile enough to play both inside and outside at corner. For a guy who is likely going to need to earn his way onto a roster, Mathis has the versatility you want to see. At the Senior Bowl he’s been solid, getting beat a few times, but also making some nice plays. He’s a later Day 3 guy, with moderate upside, but a strong floor.
-Heyward switched to TE this past season and had a solid 1st year at the position. Unfortunately he lacks the height to play TE at the NFL level, so he will need to be more of a fullback/H-back. This will keep his draft stock pretty muted, but expect him to get some looks late on Day 3. He has NFL bloodlines, and he can contribute a little as a runner, receiver, lead blocker and on special teams. Heyward has looked solid throughout practice as he transitions to a new role.