The Reese’s Senior Bowl in Mobile opened some eyes to names that you will see come off of the boards mostly in days two and three of the NFL Draft. While the bulk of the Atlanta Falcons scouting brass was in Las Vegas for the Shrine Bowl, we were down here scoping out some of these mid-to-late-round talents at the Senior Bowl.
Every single one of the players that came down to Mobile should be on your big board somewhere. They all came down to Mobile and competed mightily. However, there were five prospects that jumped out that Atlanta Falcons fans should keep their eyes on from this year’s Senior Bowl.
Senior Bowl Prospects the Atlanta Falcons Should Watch
Keion White, EDGE, Georgia Tech
With the hire of Ryan Nielsen, expect the defensive line of the Falcons to get bigger everywhere. That includes on the outside. It is apparent that Nielsen has a type when it comes to getting pressure from the outside. Nielsen wants bigger, more physical guys on the edge.
Enter Keion White. The Georgia Tech edge may have made himself a bit too valuable for the Atlanta Falcons to pick him up at pick 44 with his play at the Senior Bowl. But, if he is there expect Atlanta to pull the trigger. He is a strong, physical presence on the outside with some good lateral quickness that lends itself to immediate value in the run game.
Jammie Robinson, Safety, Florida State
This is more of a safety valve, no pun intended, in case the Falcons don’t get Jessie Bates in free agency. Jammie Robinson has shown a physicality this week that new assistant head coach, Jerry Gray, would covet in the back end of the defense.
Gray was spoiled back in Green Bay with the duo of Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage. With the versatility of both Robinson and Grant in the back end, Gray should be able to get creative with how he can run his coverage. Not to mention that both of them are threats to rush the passer if in the box.
Keeanu Benton, Interior Defensive Lineman, Wisconsin
Benton showed a bevy of pass-rush moves throughout the week and was a nightmare in one-on-ones. He has violent hands and some explosion that a man his size (6’3″, 312 pounds) should not have. He moves smooth laterally and is steadily improving as a pass rusher.
Benton also has an extremely high motor. A trait that would be perfect to match with the likes of Ta’Quon Graham and Grady Jarrett. Everyone knows how difficult it has been to get to the quarterback recently for Atlanta defenses. Benton would be a nice step in the right direction to fixing that.
Jayden Reed, Wide Receiver, Michigan State
Okay, that’s enough defense. The Falcons are squarely in the wide receiver market and they need speed. Or at least some type of explosiveness. A solid route-runner could help as well. Well, you get all three with Jayden Reed.
In this draft, there are a slew of day two wide receivers that are going to be instant producers in the NFL. From Xavier Hutchinson and Rashee Rice (who both also had great weeks) to Zay Flowers and Josh Downs. With his performance this week, Reed cemented himself in that conversation.
He is an absolute burner, hitting a top speed of 20.03 MPH. A savvy and explosive route-runner would do wonders for opening up Arthur Smith’s passing game.
John Michael Schmitz, Minnesota
Finally, we have the big bully of the Senior Bowl. Will we be able to draft him? Who knows. Schmitz really showed out this week and cemented himself as the top center in this draft. If the Atlanta Falcons were at the Senior Bowl, you would probably see Arthur Smith and OL coach Dwayne Ledford salivating over Schmitz and his ability to anchor.
He showed an ability to finish his blocks in pass protection that the Falcons do need in the interior. Not to mention his ability to move in space. In the team drills, he impressed me with his ability to move laterally after snapping the football. Schmitz could easily have a good career in the NFL, maybe in Atlanta.
Other Senior Bowl Names to Watch
Darius Rush, cornerback, South Carolina
Kenny McIntosh, running back, Georgia
Daiyan Henley, linebacker, Washington State
Trey Palmer, wide receiver, Nebraska
Josh Whyle, tight end, Cincinnati