The Senior Bowl can be a massive boost to one’s draft stock that allows for all athletes to be seen on a more level playing field. Every year, gems seem to appear from the woodwork during the week of events, but this year it feels more important. With a muddled and weaker QB class, the Senior Bowl is going to be massive to separate the lot. As a draft guru and College Football devotee myself, I am excited to watch all of the position battles at this game. As such, I compiled a little list of guys and what to watch for in order to elevate their draft stock.
We need to see consistent ball placement in 1-on-1s, him throwing guys open, and quick reactions. In the actual game, we need to see how he operates a “pro-style” offense. We want to see Howell operating in a pocket instead of forcing his way out of the pocket and relying on scramble drill (current comp Baker Mayfield)
Needs to prove he has the best ball placement of QBs here, consistently threw into tight windows in college but needs to prove that he can continue to thread those needles in the NFL. (current comp Ryan Fitzpatrick++)
Streaky accuracy in college, but needs to be consistent all week. Needs to prove himself against stronger competition. Needs to show ball placement and ability to stand in the pocket. (current comp Jalen Hurts)
Needs to prove that his accuracy separates him from the class. Needs to prove himself against top-tier competition and how he executes a pro-style offense. (current comp Gardner Minshew with slightly stronger arm)
Needs to prove that there is a floor with accuracy and consistency. Willis has the strongest arm in the class and needs to find open receivers. Willis must also be able to break tackles in the run game. At 23, as a high ceiling QB with a low floor, he needs to raise the floor if he wants to be a QB taken anywhere before late 2nd. (current comp MUCH OLDER Trey Lance)
Has a weak arm, accuracy needs to separate him if he wants to go anywhere higher than day 3. (current comp 2020-21 Big Ben)
Needs to show he can win 1-on-1. Needs to show consistent running in a variety of concepts. Want to see him step up in pass protection. Needs to prove that he can be more than a 3rd down back in the NFL (current comp Duke Johnson)
Needs to show decisiveness and hit holes harder. Needs to show that his pass protection continues to hold up as one of the best in the draft and that his receiving is good enough to play consistently on 3rd down. (current comp Jamaal Williams)
Needs to show decisive and consistent vision. Needs to win in 1-on-1s. Pierce showed dual-threat ability in college and displayed great playmaking ability in space. Pierce must to continue to show that at the Senior Bowl and capitalize on that. (current comp Austin Ekeler)
Needs to show he is more than a runner in any way at the senior bowl. (current comp Carlos Hyde)
Brian Robinson Jr:
Needs to show decisiveness on wide zone and needs to show more versatility than just being a pure runner.
Needs to show that he can win routes 1-on-1. Displays good breaking tackle ability and needs to show that in the game. Shows consistency on a variety of runs. (current comp Kareem Hunt)
Needs to show he is more than a runner in any way at the senior bowl.
Calvin Austin III:
Needs to show refined route running, ability to separate 1 on 1 with technique. (current comp Quez Watkins)
Gifted a lot of free releases and produced a lot on double moves and busted coverage. Need to see him win against press coverage as well as generating separation on basic routes. Great at the catch point for size want to see that against bigger corners in sticky man (current comp Darnell Mooney+)
Had a limited route tree in college, want to see him running more routes. Won in the slot and generated most of his college production there when facing top-tier corners. Need to see him winning on the outside, and against press. Great catching in traffic but doesn’t currently translate as any more than a big slot right now. (current comp Zay Jones)
A lot of schemed production, winning mostly on play action. Want to see him win against solo coverage and in more pure pass situations. Intrigued to see him face press coverage.
Really excited to see him at the Senior Bowl. High-end speed/size combo that is hard to tackle. Want to see consistent technique and performance against high-end competition. (current comp Michael Gallup)
Velus Jones Jr:
Another high-end speed/size combo, fairly hard to bring down. Want to see him winning with technique and against press. (current comp Sammy Watkins)
Translates to the NFL as a pure deep threat. Intrigued to see what else he can show with an actual QB and a higher variance of routes.
Also translates to the NFL as a deep threat. Want to see him executing in one on ones. Seeing him against legit talent is going to be important as he struggles to restack on fades versus press. I really need to see him able to do that consistently before I’d spend any pick over mid-day 3 on him.
Reggie Robertson Jr:
Quick twitchy athlete with massively inconsistent technique, intrigued to see how that develops over the week with an NFL WR coach.
Translates as a gadget slot guy. Want to see him get open against real competition. (current comp Steven Sims)
Excited to see him with an actual QB against real talent. Has great talent and focus. Want to see him winning outside against press.
Incredible at the catch point, want to see him show off more technique and physicality in his routes in 1 on 1s. (current comp Mike Williams)
Need to see him separating against both safeties and linebackers and BLOCKING. Want to see him perform well against top competition and use his size to his advantage.
Need to see him separating against both safeties and linebackers and BLOCKING. Needs to separate against the top-tier competition, want to see him taking reps lined up wide.
Jeremy Ruckert/Charlie Kolar/Jake Furguson:
Need to win their routes and block well. Hope that McBride and Likely fold against better competition.
Spencer Buford/Luke Goedeke/Braxton Jones/Max Mitchell/Trevor Penning/Bernhard Raimann/Cole Strange/Matt Waletzko/Nick Zakelj/Dylan Parham/Chris Paul:
Need to see all these guys hold up against top competition in 1 v 1 pass protection and run blocking. A very talented edge group could expose some of these guys. Watch for both CMU guys to show up run blocking in-game. We need to see the pass blocking though.
Want to see if he can hold up at tackle and see him get some reps at guard.
Needs to be the runaway best guard here. Excited to see him against Haskell Garrett.
He needs to show smooth pass sets and movement ability the whole week. Needs to be a man amongst boys in the actual game.
I want to see 2020 Abraham Lucas. He needs to show that he is the best pass-blocking right tackle at the senior bowl against all of the talented edge rushers there.
Photo: Keith Srakocic/AP