My favorite part about the Senior Bowl is the way worlds collide. National Champions can take the field with Division II stars and go toe-to-toe.
Where you went to college no longer matters; all that matters is if you can play. In a lot of cases, the small school stars prove they belong and can have the same type of NFL future as the big name prospects.
Here are a few of the names who can really establish themselves this week as they test their mettle against the best college football has to offer:
Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
Let’s get the obvious one out of the way. Josh Allen has elite arm talent and could really solidify himself as a top pick with a strong Senior Bowl week. He’ll have a lot of questions to answer regarding his accuracy, mechanics, and ability to read a defense; all of which are areas he’s been inconsistent in college. If he shows well in these areas, or even just shows improvement from what we saw at times while he was at Wyoming, then he could realistically hear his name called in the top ten of the draft.
Marcus Davenport, EDGE, UTSA
Marcus Davenport put up big-time numbers vs low-level competition. It’s good that he dominated vs. the small school guys, but now he’s playing with the big boys. This is a strong group of offensive tackles at the Senior Bowl, including Brian O’Neill and Tyrell Crosby, so it would go a long way for Davenport’s draft stock if he can show the same type of dominance in this event. If he does then expect to see him drafted in the top 50.
Chukwuma Okorafor, OT, Western Michigan
This is a very deep class of offensive tackles. Even so, Chukwuma Okorafor has drawn the interest of many members of the draft community. As of now, he is considered by many to be a day two pick. However, Okorafor has to prove that he’s more than a big body pusher who’s had his way with inferior athletes. If he can do that, he’ll earn a lot of the hype he’s had coming into the week. On the other hand, if he’s exposed in Mobile then don’t be shocked to hear his name on day three. This week could be make or break.
Darius Phillips, CB, Western Michigan
A small guy from a small school, but make no mistake this guy has massive game. Darius Phillips looks like a very good athlete who can make plays happen. And with all the talent at quarterback and receiver at this event, he’ll be tested by some of the best this draft class has to offer. If he can hold his own vs. all these big name stars — or perhaps even shut them down — then you could see Phillips fly up draft boards.
Ito Smith, RB, Southern Mississippi
With big-name backs like Kalen Ballage, Akrum Wadley and Rashaad Penny attending the Senior Bowl, it’s really easy to overlook a guy like Ito Smith. That would be a mistake. He is a complete back who can carry the rock and catch it out of the backfield. Smith is every bit the prospect as those guys I listed are, and then some. If he goes out and proves that over this week then this Mobile native could really explode onto the national scene.