The Draft Starts In Mobile!… Next Week

| January 22nd, 2024

With the NFL’s divisional round of the playoffs wrapped up, 28 out of 32 fanbases are free to pivot towards previewing the NFL Draft. And if you know anything about the Reese’s Senior Bowl… you know ‘The Draft Starts in Mobile, Alabama’.

I’m credited to cover the Reese’s Senior Bowl again this year, which means I’ll spend next week watching some of the 2024 NFL Draft Class’s best prospects as they showcase their skills in practice sessions on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

The Senior Bowl rarely features players sure of their draft status (like last year’s Myles Murphy or this year’s Marvin Harrison Jr), but all kinds of talent will be present next week — last year we saw Darnell Wright, John Michael Schmitz, Keanu Benton, Jayden Reed, Michael Wilson, Tyrique Stevenson, JuJu Brents, and plenty of other soon-to-be high-rounders compete and win throughout the sessions, and I expect to see the same this year.

But if you read this blog consistently, you know that I couldn’t go to Mobile unprepared — I’ve been drinking down as much college film as I can stand to fit into my life over the last two weeks and, throughout this week, will do my best to get you caught up on names I’ve found to watch throughout draft season.

You probably know the big names — players like LSU WR Malik Nabers or Washington WR Rome Odunze need no introduction, but it’s players like:

  • Georgia Z/Slot WR Ladd McConkey
    • One of the nastiest route runners in an already loaded class
  • Texas A&M Z/Slot WR Ainias Smith
    • Heady route runner that blocks like he hates his opponent
  • South Carolina’s massive Z WR Xavier Legette
    • Massive, dynamic athlete with great hands
  • Auburn Free Safety Jaylin Simpson
    • Whose tape I’ve loved
  • Penn State CB Kalen King
    • His tape can be messy, but he’s got all the natural physicality of a Tyrique Stevenson-type plus more agility than most CBs his size
  • Rutgers CB Max Melton
    • Brother of Bo Melton, Max is long, physical, and fast. High-motor player

That may be under your radar right now. They’re the names to know, because they could very well be targets in the key Day 2 rounds (2nd & 3rd) that fuel a draft class’s success.

I’ll be focusing on skill position players this year — practices in Mobile are split, with DBs & WRs in one endzone and OL/DL in the other, so I won’t try to be everywhere at once. As I prep for my trip, I’ll post as many draft cut-ups as I can — if draft prep is starting for me, it might as well start for you too!

Here’s to a great 2024 draft season! Now back to the film room — I’ll see you soon.

Your Turn: What position are you most looking forward to drafting after Round 1?

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