Who from the Senior Bowl has the potential to be recruited to the NFL? Stats and records
The Senior Bowl gives collegiate athletes a chance to impress and prove they can play at a professional level in the NFL. Who could go in the first round?
On Tuesday, Mobile, Alabama was filled with potential future NFL players as practices for the Senior Bowl began. Hundreds of players have been given the chance to play in front of scouts and prove why they should be a top draft pick in the NFL. In past years, we have seen what a difference this week can make in where and when a player is drafted. In 2021, six players from the Senior Bowl were drafted in the first round.
The two teams in the Senior Bowl are coached by the coaching staff of two NFL teams, typically from teams which finished in the bottom of the league. This year, the teams will be led by the New York Jets and Detroit Lions. Practices already began earlier in the week and some players are already standing out as potential first-round picks.
The Senior Bowl will be played on Saturday, February 5 at 2:30 p.m. ET. Here are our top picks for the players who have made an impression this week and who we expect to make in impression in the 2022 Senior Bowl.
Pickett has played 52 college games and is known for his accuracy and football smarts. The signal-caller has already shown in practice that he is a leader, his consistency putting him at the top of the list as a contender for a QB1 spot.
For Florida State, Johnson was an impressive run defender with 12 sacks and 17.5 tackles for losses. Already in practice, he’s shown that he has the potential to be a successful pass rusher as well with some impressive spin moves, including a rip-and-run, a bull-rush, an inside spin, and even an outside spin.
Though McCreary doesn’t stand out as far as stats, he sticks out due to his man coverage and physical play. He has the ball skills and aggression to stop receivers and the precision to track the ball and knock it loose. His quick reaction and recovery time are something to watch over the Senior Bowl week.
Though Penning is an FCS player, he shouldn’t be overlooked. At Northern Iowa, he dominated in both the run and pass game. He stuck mostly to left tackle but has proven he can play well at either side. He could be an early starter in the NFL and will have this week to prove it.
What Dotson lacks in size, he makes up for in speed. He is a talented route-runner and comes into Mobile as the top receiver. Six of his 12 TDs came in the last four games of the 2021 season and he’s proven to be an explosive player with the ability to stay open and catch high passes.
McBride has work to do on his route-running, but only dropped one pass in 2021 and is able to get past linebacker and defensive ends alike. He knows how to get open and catch the ball, but isn’t one of those tight ends who just falls down after the catch. He knows how to run and get yardage. He also has the advantage of being a good blocker.
Thomas ended the 2021 season third amongst FBS players with 20.5 tackles fir losses and 10 sacks. He is quick ogg the snap and attacks from behind, making him a threat to any offense. He has pressured quarterbacks on 13.8% of pass rush reps, the 17th best in the FBS.
Though his stats are a little worse in 2021 than they were in 2020 after losing a lot of offensive talent, Howell is still a solid deep passer as well as solid runner. He is comfortable, calm, and accurate in the pocket. That plus his quick and accurate decision-making make him a potential first-round pick.
Pitre is most valuable for his versatility. He could line up at defensive back or safety, anywhere in the box at any given moment. He’s talented both in avoiding blockers and making stops against the run, but also has the ability to make plays in coverage. He may be smaller than most (at just 6’0”, 197 pounds), but he is physical and strong and isn’t afraid to face bigger blockers.
Malik Willis is an explosive runner and accurate passer and he has shown that even more this week. He has a strong arm and depending on what he does on Saturday, could make his case for being a first-round pick in the 2022 NFL draft.
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