2021 Senior Bowl Preview

This year’s roster is filled with top tier talent and there are 12 prospects playing in the game that are inside our Top 50.

3. Devonta Smith | WR, Alabama

The Heisman will be in Mobile to network, but won’t be suiting up. Smith is third on our Big Board and the possibility of him going third overall to the Dolphins could be even more realistic after being around the Dolphins staff for the week. Smith has a legitimate shot at becoming the WR1 after this week, despite not playing a snap. Smith is all business.

16. Mac Jones | QB, Alabama

Jones is another Alabama prospect with a lot to prove this week. He is currently in the fringe 1st round discussion, but could really lock himself into that elite group with a strong week. Jones won’t have his top weapon as Devonta Smith, but has the benefit of throwing to two of our top 50 players, Kadarius Toney and Amari Rodgers. This leaves the opportunity open for Jones to prove he can do it on a much more even playing field, as well as further prove himself over the idle Kyle Trask.

27. Najee Harris | RB, Alabama

The Doak Walker Award winner will suit up and get to play alongside fellow top 5 RB Michael Carter and fringe RBs like Kylin Hill and Khalil Herbert. This will be a great opportunity for Harris to play with a new offensive line that will have their hands full with this strong DL class playing on Saturday. Seeing Najee play alongside several other strong RB prospects will have a huge impact on his draft stock.

36. Kadarius Toney | WR, Florida

Toney had an awesome season, but it will be great to see how he does against some of the elite defensive backs. Trask won’t be throwing to Toney and Trevon Grimes, but both will be playing with the much superior quarterback group.

37. Amari Rodgers | WR, Clemson

I am higher than most on Rodgers, but I think he is the real deal. Rodgers and Kadarius Toney are similarly graded prospects so it will be interesting to see a full week of practice from each. I am hoping to see Rodgers play on the outside some as well as a good portion of snaps in the slot. Both Rodgers and Toney primarily played slot this past season, so both will probably rotate all over the field. Rodgers could have a potentially huge week, similar to Deebo Samuel’s breakout two years ago.

43. Kyle Trask | QB, Florida

Trask has emerged as our QB6, but had a huge chance to outperform Mac Jones head to head. Trask is on the border of having 1st round potential, but opted out due to a lingering ankle injury stemming back to the SEC Championship.

44. Levi Onwuzurike | DL, Washington

Onwuzurike is one of the best Defensive Lineman in the draft and could really legitimize his draft stock playing against some of the strongest offensive lineman in the country. This week of 1 on 1s could be huge for Onwuzurike.

45. Carlos Basham Jr. | DL, Wake Forest

Basham had a bit of a down season, but has the raw upside to really impress at the Senior Bowl and down the road. He is certainly in the 1st round discussion. Early reports from practice this week say that Basham has been one of the most outstanding players this week.

46. Trey Smith | OT, Tennessee

Smith has steadily been on of our favorite prospects this season and it will be interesting to see where he lines up on Saturday. Smith has played both Tackle and Guard in his career at Tennessee.

47. Michael Carter | RB, UNC

Carter is currently our RB5, but has an awesome chance to outperform Najee Harris and Trey Sermon to really make strides on the draft board.

49. Alex Leatherwood | OT, Alabama

Leatherwood had a strong career at Alabama, but was a bit overshadowed this season by the other lineman he played with. This week could be a great opportunity to jump other lineman like Trey Smith.

50. Deonte Brown | IOL, Alabama

Brown became one of the top OL prospects and could have a huge week in order to jump guys like Wyatt Davis.

Kylin Hill | RB, Mississippi State

Hill was one of my top RB prospects coming into the season, but fell after several disciplinary concerns followed by Hill leaving the Mississippi State program. Hill has prototypical size and speed and is one of the better receiving backs in the draft. You could see his volatile value either rise or fall meteorically. This guy looks like an NFL feature back, so a Alvin Kamara type spring come up is definitely in the mix.

D’Wayne Eskridge | WR, Western Michigan

The standout WR who has been coined the next Corey Davis has impressed this week. As a small school guy, this week is probably the most important opportunity for Eskridge to legitimize his abilities and prove himself among this talented WR class.

Shi Smith | WR, South Carolina

Smith is tiny, but explosive and has impressed in Mobile so far. South Carolina has had a wonderful track record putting receivers into the pros. Smith has showed his ability to get separation from defenders, but must show out in the game Saturday to prove that he is the best slot receiver among the group.

Tarron Jackson | DL, Coastal Carolina

Jackson was a disruptor all season for the Chanticleers, but most notably gained national attention during their biggest game of the season against BYU. Despite not having a sack in the game, he was in on the hurries all day long. He will have a great opportunity to prove that he should be included in the elite edge conversation.

Richie Grant | DB, UCF

Grant is one of the best Safeties in the country and was the leader of the UCF defense. The 4 year starter is graded as a Day 2 prospect, but could be a mover if he has a strong week. Grant is a tackling machine who will bring a high IQ to whoever drafts him.

Jabril Cox | LB, LSU

Cox is another small school guy who played a majority of his career at North Dakota State before becoming a graduate transfer at LSU. Cox has just one season of FBS film, but could prove that he can play LB at the next level.

Rashad Weaver and Patrick Jones | DL, Pittsburgh

The two dominant Pittsburgh lineman have been in the borderline elite category, but having broken through as sure-fire prospects. As of now they both have fringe 1st round potential, but will need every bit of help they can get to be picked that highly.

Jamie Newman | QB, Wake Forest

Newman transferred to UGA, but opted out of the season in August. The former Wake Forest QB will be reunited with former top weapon Sage Surratt, who also opted out of the season. Surratt and Newman will get a chance to knock the dust off and prove once again that they are elite prospects. Both were projected 1st round picks before the season, but both have fallen far out of that discussion. A strong performance could certainly boost them back into the conversation.

The Senior Bowl coaching selection gives priority to teams in the same order as the 1st Round of the NFL Draft (excluding trades). That means that the priority skipped over Jacksonville (coachless), New York Jets (coachless), Houston (coachless)…etc…until they landed on the Carolina Panthers (8th overall) and the Miami Dolphins (18th overall). Teams value the Senior Bowl differently, so some front offices may pass on the opportunity, but it certainly is a huge advantage to evaluate much of the top talent first hand.

The Carolina Panthers were without their top weapon Christian McCaffrey for most of the season. An interesting storyline is that they are likely to replace Teddy Bridgewater at QB so the Senior Bowl could be a great chance to evaluate the incoming class. All 7 of the QBs playing will likely be available 8th overall, but names to watch would be Mac Jones and Jamie Newman (and get to know Trask). Matt Rhule will have all three on his roster, however, taking any of these three would likely be a reach at 8. It is likely that Trask and Newman will be available at 39, and if Mac Jones falls he could be a great steal there. Another player to keep an eye on is Linebacker. The Panthers are in desperate need of a true inside backer and will get a great chance to evaluate Paddy Fisher, Charles Snowden, Jabril Cox, Monty Rice and KJ Britt.

The Dolphins find themselves with 4 picks inside the top 50, and given the amount of players we have ranked inside the top 50 the Dolphins will be busy this week. At 3rd overall the only player at the Senior Bowl that they will be evaluating is Devonta Smith. The Heisman winner has shot up draft boards this season and could be reunited with his former college QB Tua Tagovailoa. The Dolphins had a rather successful backfield last season, but could land a surefire prospect like Najee Harris or Michael Carter inside the top 50. Another position group they could target at 18 would be the offensive line and will get a great chance to evaluate guys like Trey Smith and Alex Leatherwood. Lastly, the defensive line class is very impressive and will get a great chance to evaluate some later round depth prospects.

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