This is the first Senior Bowl watchlist by the Around the Block scouting department. By this time next week, over 100 prospects will be in Mobile, Alabama for the Senior Bowl. The Senior Bowl is the most prestigious collegiate all-star game for draft prospects.
They will practice with NFL coaching staffs during the week then play in a game on Saturday, February 5th. The Senior Bowl provides a fantastic opportunity for prospects from diverse backgrounds to prove themselves on a level playing field.
This year, the Detroit Lions and the New York Jets will be coaching up the players. The scouting department for Around the Block put together a watchlist of players from each Senior Bowl team, the American and the National. This Senior Bowl watchlist will preview the players on the American team, coached by the Detroit Lions.
Quarterback – Malik Willis, Liberty
The American team roster probably has the more diverse group of quarterbacks. Among the ATB staff, however, there was near consensus that Malik Willis is the most intriguing of the trio. Willis began his career at Auburn but elected to transfer when true freshman Bo Nix won the starting job.
He had two great seasons at Liberty but still has a lot of room to grow as a passer. The Senior Bowl provides a great opportunity for quarterbacks at lower-level schools to prove they can run an NFL offense.
Offense – D’Vonte Price, Florida International
D’Vonte Price is a pretty deep sleeper in a running back class chock full of talent. Price is a bigger back that does everything pretty well. On an FIU squad devoid of NFL talent, he consistently performed above his expectations. Price started this season off strong but faded down the stretch due to injury. He’ll be playing alongside three SEC running backs on the American squad so if he can keep up with them, he could significantly improve his draft stock.
SMU Trio (Reggie Roberson, Danny Gray, Grant Calcaterra)
This is a bit of a cop-out but all three names were mentioned among the staff. Roberson was a hot name a few years ago. However, season-ending injuries in consecutive seasons forced him back to school. But in his absence, Danny Gray stepped up to become the Mustangs’ leading receiver the last two seasons. Additionally, Grant Calcaterra came out of retirement after a stellar but short career with Oklahoma to earn several All-AAC honors.
Offensive Line – Max Mitchell, Louisiana
Over the past few seasons, the Ragin’ Cajuns have been one of the best running teams in college football. One of the biggest reasons for their success is their offensive line. Two former Louisiana linemen are starting in the NFL right now (Robert Hunt, Dolphins; Kevin Dotson, Steelers).
The next player in their lineage is Max Mitchell. Mitchell earned the highest Offense and Run Blocking grades among all tackles in college football, according to Pro Football Focus. He’s started at both tackle spots and even played guard at times. If he can hold up in 1-on-1s and continue his dominance in the game, he could solidify himself as a top-100 pick.
Defensive Line – Kingsley Enagbare, South Carolina
At the end of this process, Kingsley Enagbare could be the highest drafted player on the American squad (quarterbacks excluded). Despite having a relatively down year in terms of sacks in 2021, Enagbare consistently put pressure on the quarterback. He will have ample opportunity to display his skills in the individual drills, typically where the defensive linemen can shine the most. If he puts together a good week of practice in Mobile, he could cement himself as a first-round pick.
Linebackers – Quay Walker, Georgia
At 6’4” and 240 pounds, Quay Walker is among the most imposing and physically terrifying prospects. He’s an extremely versatile defensive chess piece that can fill a variety of roles. In the modern NFL that requires linebackers to do so much, Walker is the prototypical linebacker for a new age of football. Thanks to his incredible physical gifts, he should be able to excel during practices and demonstrate that he is worthy of being selected in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft.
Defensive Backs – Tariq Woolen, UTSA
Even with the Legion of Boom long disbanded, the age of the tall, long cornerback is far from over. Tariq Woolen, listed at 6’4” and 205 pounds, is among the biggest cornerbacks in recent memory. He’s actually a converted wide receiver and has only been playing defense for about two years.
Woolen is still far from a finished product as a cornerback but getting coaching from an NFL staff should help him fix some of those issues. He needs to show he can stick with receivers off the line of scrimmage and stay in phase down the field.