As we begin to creep closer toward the NFL offseason, the 2023 NFL Draft starts to come into focus this week with the Senior Bowl taking place this Saturday at Hancock Whitney Stadium in Mobile, Ala.
Outgoing college football stars from across the country will have an opportunity to impress scouts from all 32 NFL teams this week, participating in a series of practices leading into Saturday’s exhibition. The participants are split up into two squads with Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy serving as the head coach of the American Team and Las Vegas Raiders defensive coordinator Patrick Graham serving as the head coach of the National Team.
Here’s a look at some of the most notable NFL Draft prospects to watch at the 2023 Senior Bowl.
Players to watch on offense
- Jaren Hall, QB, BYU: The Senior Bowl quarterback with the most buzz as a potential draft steal is BYU’s Jaren Hall, who mock draft experts as a potential Day 2 pick. At 6-foot-1, 205 pounds, he is the latest QB prospect to draw comparisons to Russell Wilson for his size and arm strength. A strong performance here could kickstart his draft hype machine heading into the spring.
- Max Duggan, QB, TCU: Fresh off leading TCU to the College Football Playoff Championship, Duggan will have an opportunity to impress pro scouts in Mobile this week. Mock drafts don’t have him going anywhere above the sixth round, so we’ll see if the Horned Frog legend can up his stock.
- Jake Haener, QB, Fresno State: Haener enjoyed a successful career at Fresno State and could be a potential draft sleeper. He threw for over 9,000 yards and 68 touchdowns in his three seasons at Fresno, leading the Bulldogs to the Mountain West Conference title this past season. While it’s unrealistic to expect a Brock Purdy to emerge out of the later rounds of every draft, Haener could very well fit that mold in the later rounds.
- Kenny McIntosh, RB, Georgia: McIntosh is the latest in the assembly line of pro-ready running backs from Georgia and is being touted as a potential third-round selection this April. Finally getting run as a starter for the national champs this past fall, he broke off 829 rushing yards on the ground with 10 touchdowns and also caught 43 passes for 504 receiving yards. The ability to catch out of the backfield is a valuable asset, so watch how he’s used on Saturday.
- Chase Brown, RB, Illinois: Brown quietly led the nation in rushing for most of the regular season, taking 328 carries for 1,643 yards, and 10 touchdowns. He’s projected as a potential fourth-round pick and could potentially work his way up to Day 2 of the draft with a strong showing both here and at the NFL Combine.
- Rashee Rice, WR, SMU: With 4.3 speed, Rice is being touted as a fringe first-round pick and could be a valuable get after the first wave of elite wideouts are off the board. Playing all four seasons at SMU, he excelled as a senior this past fall by hauling in 96 receptions for 1,355 yards, and 10 touchdowns. Keep your eyes on him because if you blink, you’ll miss him.
- Xavier Hutchinson, WR, Iowa State: Hutchinson improved his numbers with each passing season at ISU and is currently being projected as a third-rounder. The 6-foot-3 wideout hauled in 107 receptions for 1,171 yards and six touchdowns in 2022 and that earned him the honors of being named a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award.
- O’Cyrus Torrence, OG, Florida: If your team is in need of an interior offensive lineman, keep tabs on Torrence, who could have his name called in round one. Beginning his career at Louisiana, he followed Billy Napier to Florida in 2022 and earned consensus All-American status. He allowed no QB hits or sacks while playing right guard for the Gators.
Players to watch on defense
- Isaiah Foksey, Edge, Notre Dame: Foksey is one of the best edge rushers in this class and is being heralded as a potential late-first-rounder by draft experts. He’s been an effective wrecking ball for the Fighting Irish, combing for 22 sacks, seven forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries over the past few seasons. Watch him in Mobile.
- Derick Hall, Edge, Auburn: Another edge rusher that could raise his stock in Mobile is Hall, who is being projected toward the second round. The Gulfport, MS, native earned All-SEC honors in back-to-back seasons with the Tigers, tallying 15.5 sacks and four forced fumbles combined during that period of time.
- Andre Carter II, Edge, Army: After some uncertainty due to a provision in a government spending bill, the path for Carter to enter the 2023 NFL Draft has been cleared and he will be in Mobile for the Senior Bowl. At 6-foot-7, 260 pounds, the outside linebacker has incredible size and he’s being touted as a late-second-round pick. He earned All-American status in 2021, coming away with 15.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, and an interception that season.
- Christopher Smith, S, Georgia: Smith was a vital piece of Georgia’s national championship defenses of the past two years and enters the Senior Bowl being touted as a late-second-round pick. He was a unanimous All-American in 2022, coming away with 43 solo tackles, five passes defended, and three interceptions.