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2023 Senior Bowl: Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookies to Watch (Saturday)

Feb 4, 2023
2023 Senior Bowl Players to Watch

Senior Bowl practices wrapped up on Thursday, and the 2023 Senior Bowl game takes place on Saturday, February 4, at 2:30 pm ET. The practices and interviews with NFL teams are arguably more important for the players, but this exhibition game is one final chance to put some positive game film in front of NFL teams. Here are the players we’re keeping an eye on Saturday.

Check out all of our 2023 NFL Draft Scouting Reports & Prospect Profiles >>

Players to Watch at the 2023 Senior Bowl

Michael Wilson (WR – Stanford)

Wilson closed the week with another stellar day. With so much of his college career muddied by injury, it was a premium showing today for Wilson. He displayed the ability to get open on short area routes and come down with difficult grabs in the red zone. With a plus combine, Wilson could be a riser all the way through this NFL Draft cycle.
 Derek Brown

Jake Haener (QB – Fresno State)

Thursday was probably Haener’s worst day at the Senior Bowl – okay, it just categorically was. On the field during the media session after practice, he was clearly frustrated with his work on the day.

Which, fair enough. But yet again, for the third-straight day, Haener clearly out-classed the other quarterbacks in his session.

Haener’s overall accuracy wasn’t as strong as on Tuesday and Wednesday. But he had a couple of wow throws during the team session. He’s able to get mustard on window balls within 20 yards, and you’re going to trust his ability to run a system and make the correct decision every snap.

When your worst day at an all-star event is still better than other guys’ best days, you’re by definition a winner.
 Thor Nystrom

Tyjae Spears (RB – Tulane)

Flashed all week long – I think he’s the biggest winner of the event.

On Thursday, he once again set out to dispel a potential myth in his evaluation – that he couldn’t contribute on third-downs in the NFL.

Spears’ strengths, obvious as they were on film, were equally obvious in Mobile. What impressed the most, arguably, was his addressing, one-by-one, the questions in his eval.

And on Thursday, once again, he displayed receiving chops that weren’t as obvious on his film – which may have simply been a collegiate usage thing.

Not only did Spears take profits with his easy pass-catching reps, but he showed route-running chops nobody gave him credit for coming into the week, and he caught multiple balls outside his frame before seamlessly turning upfield.
 Thor Nystrom

Rashee Rice (WR – SMU)

With possible top-50 NFL Draft prospect status still hovering around Rice, I have to say I don’t see the hype and production the consensus promised me. Rice did come down with some solid reps in red zone drills today, but overall this was a week to forget for Rice. He never looked the part of the best wide receiver of the week. With hope and faith remaining high in the athletic wide receiver, I’ll probably remain below consensus.
Derek Brown

Andrei Iosivas (WR – Princeton)

Iosivas had a superb first two days in Mobile. But Iosivas admitted to us himself in an interview this week that he’s raw and needs work. He’s right about that, and we got a deeper look into that on Thursday.

It was a regrettable final practice on Thursday for Iosivas – no two-ways around that. He struggled to get clean releases against press coverage. He struggled to release on intermediate routes. He dropped multiple catchable balls. 

And, speaking to the week on the whole, Iosivas didn’t prove that he’s not allergic to contact or that he has dormant potential as a route-runner that’ll be immediately tapped by NFL coaching. 

Iosivas was no-doubt hoping for a bonanza week in Mobile that would lead to a blow-the-roof-off-Indy showing in athletic testing at the NFL Combine. That didn’t happen. 

But not getting an A+ for the week doesn’t constitute a failing grade – I’d give Iosivas a solid B or B+ for his work in Mobile. In conjunction with his forgone-conclusion superb athletic testing, he’s at least locked himself into the middle-rounds.
Thor Nystrom

Tyson Bagent (QB – Shepherd)

What Bagent proved this week is that he absolutely has an NFL arm. From a talent perspective, he belonged on the field in Mobile.

But his accuracy, an inconsistent aspect of his game, was particularly wonky on Thursday. Bagent had numerous misses throughout the day, sailing several balls over his receiver’s heads.

But he also had a few dime throws toward the boundary in the red zone session, and showed oomph muscling fast balls into tight windows. 

Bagent did enough this week to get drafted. That much is clear.

Unfortunately, it’s probably not happening before late-Day 3. Bagent’s accuracy would have had to significantly tick up from his film to get him into the Day 2 discussion. That was an unrealistic expectation anyway, and it didn’t happen. 

Proving worthy of a draft selection was the reasonable expectation, and Bagent succeeded.
Thor Nystrom

Evan Hull (RB – Northwestern)

Hull didn’t do anything to make you fall out of your seat in Mobile. But his versatility and play ethos shined throughout the sessions.

He was the smoothest receiving back in practices. Hull has an advanced understanding of route-running for his position, and he has slick, reliable hands.

With the ball in his hands, Hull is underrated. He accelerates quickly, his cuts are sudden, he has good balance, and he has very good vision. He displayed all these traits on Tuesday. Hull gets knocked for lacking open-field speed, but I think he has a decent shot to run in the 4.5s. He’s a sleeper prospect to monitor closely the rest of the week.
 Thor Nystrom

Darius Rush (CB – South Carolina)

Rush, who played in the shadow of ballyhooed NFL prospect CB Cam Smith, got an opportunity in Mobile to step out on his own – and he flashed.

Analytically, Rush was easily the fastest corner tracked by the Senior Bowl’s Zebra system this week.

He was also impressive in one-on-ones, including on Thursday, where he made multiple plays on the ball and ceded precious little separation.

Rush may have been in jeopardy of being viewed as someone who benefitted from his circumstance in college. This week, he made a strong argument that he would have been the CB1 for the vast majority of FBS programs.
 Thor Nystrom

Check out all of our 2023 NFL Draft Scouting Reports & Prospect Profiles >>

Players Not Playing Saturday

Roschon Johnson (RB – Texas)
Johnson stood out during the first day of practices with an impressive performance, but he broke a bone in his hand and was held out of practice the rest of the week. He was replaced by Texas Tech RB SaRodorick Thompson Jr. on the National Team.

Puka Nacua (WR – BYU)
Like Johnson, Nacua had a solid first day of practice but was not seen for the rest of the week. He’s unlikely to play Saturday.

Jaren Hall (QB – BYU) and Dontayvion Wicks (WR – Virginia)
This hasn’t been widely reported, but our own Thor Nystrom reports that Hall and Wicks were on his flight out of Mobile, AL on Friday. Wicks had a very impressive week of practice and may just be skipping the game to avoid injury. Hall, on the other hand, struggled mightily in practice. His potential absence Saturday is a surprise. H

Hendon Hooker (QB – Tennessee)
Hooker was in attendance at the Senior Bowl practices to do interviews and meet with the media, but he did not practice and will not play Saturday as he continues to recover from knee surgery.

Players Questionable for Saturday

Nathaniel “Tank” Dell (WR – Houston)
Dell had a great week of practices but was not on the field for the final day of practices on Thursday. It’s unclear if he’ll be on the field on Saturday. If he is, he’s a must-watch.

Kenny McIntosh (RB – Georgia)
McIntosh left practice early on Tuesday with what looked like it could be a significant injury. Luckily, it turned out to only be a calf cramp. He was back on the field for Wednesday and Thursday’s sessions, and it’s possible he plays on Saturday.


Check out all of our 2023 NFL Draft Scouting Reports & Prospect Profiles >>

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