Last week was Senior Bowl week, so that means it is officially NFL Draft season! The Senior Bowl, or as I like to call it, the Sleeper Bowl, is an important piece of the NFL Draft every year. The reason I call it the Sleeper Bowl is this is where we start to learn about the small-school prospects and who can play against the best of the best.
Over the past few years, the Senior Bowl has been a great place to learn about under-the-radar players you can then draft in the second round or later in Dynasty rookie fantasy drafts. Players like Rachaad White, Tank Dell, Christian Watson, Trey McBride, Rashee Rice, Tyjae Spears, Puka Nacua, and Jayden Reed all played in and made big plays during Senior Bowl practices and games.
Obviously, this one week of practice cannot rewrite history or replace what we have seen on film throughout a player’s college career. This is just another set of data for us to use in our draft process. I also do not put a lot of stock in the actual Senior Bowl game, as a lot of players opt not to play in the game after putting in a good week of practice. I watched the game, but the practices are the most important part of the week.
After watching all three days of Senior Bowl practice, I have identified my top Stock Up players for the week. Obviously, not all players that will be drafted in April were at the Senior Bowl, but these players stood out among those who did. These are players I definitely will want to see keep an eye on as we head towards the NFL Draft.
Michael Pratt, Tulane
Overall, all of the quarterbacks at the Senior Bowl had their struggles last week, but this is the hardest position to come in and have a great week of practice with a whole new offense and receivers to learn in three days. Pratt has a chance to be a second-round pick in the draft this year, so this was a big week for him, and he did not disappoint. He showed he was a better athlete than maybe he is given credit for; he has a big arm, and he was consistently accurate when throwing to all three levels on the field. He needs to throw with more anticipation and make better decisions at times, but I thought Pratt helped himself the most out of all the quarterbacks this week.
Spencer Rattler, South Carolina
Rattler was solid during his three days of practice last week. He showed that his arm strength is as good as advertised; he can make all the throws. He was plagued by turnovers last year, but he did not show that during practice or in the Senior Bowl game itself. He was named game MVP after completing all four of his passes for 65 yards and one touchdown. He definitely showed well during the game and was solid, if not spectacular, during the week of practice.
Dylan Laube, New Hampshire
Laube was a late add to the Senior Bowl roster, but I think everyone would agree that it was a great decision to add him to the roster. He showed his explosiveness and pass-catching ability all week. He is not a big back, as he measured in at 5’9” and 210 pounds, but he showed in college that he can handle a lead back workload. I thought he helped himself the most out of all the running backs last week.
Ray Davis, Kentucky
Davis is quickly moving up my board at the running back position. He showed his ability to be a mismatch in the passing game all week. He made a really nice one-handed contested catch along the sideline, and he also beat a linebacker in seven-on-seven drills on a nice wheel route. Davis showed he can be a three-down back in the NFL with his performance last week.
Malachi Corley, Western Kentucky
I absolutely love Malachi Corley! I drafted him in a couple of my Devy Leagues last year, and I think that is going to pay off for me. He is built like a running back at 5’10” and 215 pounds, but he showed elite quickness and the ability to get off press man coverage quickly. He also has excellent yard-after-catch ability. He had a better day one of practice than day two, but he is going to be one of my favorite mid-to-late-round Dynasty rookie picks this year in a deep wide receiver class.
Ricky Pearsall, Florida
Ricky Pearsall is a big receiver who can play all three wide receiver positions. He was easily one of the stars on day one of practice, as he consistently beat defenders in the one-on-one drills, but he dominated on all three days of practice. He makes contested catches look easy with his excellent hands. He can get physical at the point of attack to win in press man-to-man coverage.
Ladd McConkey, Georgia
Ladd McConkey was another star during all three Senior Bowl practices. He reminds me a lot of Cooper Kupp. He was breaking defensive backs’ ankles all week with his precision route running and start-and-stop ability. He is quickly rising up my draft board and he could easily find himself in the top three or four wide receivers in this draft class if he puts on a show at the combine.
Jamari Thrash, Louisville
Jamari Thrash was excellent in all three Senior Bowl practices. He is an excellent route runner. He is not big or fast, but he just knows how to separate and find the soft spot in zone coverages. He flashed excellent ball skills and finish at the catch point. He was every bit as consistent with his route running as Lad McConkey and Ricky Pearsall. I got to see him play in person earlier this year, and he did not disappoint me. He is an excellent receiver with great hands.
Theo Johnson, Penn State
Theo Johnson is a big, athletic tight end at 6’6” and 255 pounds, and he is a smooth route runner for his size. He has excellent hands and a tremendous catch radius. He had an excellent week of practice at the Senior Bowl. He worked well with quarterback Michael Penix Jr during one-on-one drills. He is my third-ranked tight end in this draft class now, after the week he had in Mobile. He will be a great day-three pick for a team in need of an all-around steady but not spectacular tight end.
Ben Sinnott, Kansas State
Ben Sinnott showed at the Senior Bowl that he has moves well for a big guy. He showed good ball skills and ran good routes. He is one of the top five tight ends in this class and he should be a day-three pick in the NFL Draft.
Quinyon Mitchell, Toledo
Quinyon Mitchell is a cornerback out of Toledo. He came to the Senior Bowl wanting to show he was the best defensive back there, and he did not disappoint. His speed, awareness, and ball skills are off the charts. He is a competitive, tough-nosed cornerback who can play both man and zone coverage. I read from more than one scout that he only lost one rep in one-on-one drills all week, and it took a diving catch by the receiver to beat him. He is currently ranked as my sixth overall defensive player in this draft, and I can’t wait to see his Pro Day and Combine numbers.
Darius Robinson, Missouri
Darius Robinson is a defensive lineman from Missouri. He dominated in one-on-ones all week. He was the most consistent defensive lineman, and he showed he can play any position along the line of scrimmage. He is currently ranked as my 16th overall defensive player in this draft, but his stock is going way up, as I did not have him in my top 30 overall defensive players going into the Senior Bowl.