The Senior Bowl on a yearly basis helps players declaring for the draft raise their stock. For some though, it ends up lowering their stock. From the 2023 Senior Bowl, Andrew Little, Marissa Myers, and Tristen Kuhn give their biggest risers and fallers.
Michael Wilson, Wide Receiver, Stanford
Wilson entered the week as somewhat of an unknown after being underutilized in a bad Stanford offense. He immediately stood out as one of the best receivers at the Senior Bowl, showing off his route running and reliable hands. He won plenty of reps with his quick release and has the size at 6’1 and 215 pounds to beat any defender one-on-one. Wilson also drew praise for his character and enthusiasm in interviews and at practice. He capped off his week with four catches for 76 yards and a touchdown. Before the Senior Bowl, it seemed unlikely that Wilson would be drafted anywhere close to day two, but he established himself as a possible top-75 prospect.
Ivan Pace Jr., Linebacker, Cincinnati
Measuring at only 5’10, Cincinnati linebacker Ivan Pace Jr. could have been considered an early faller before practices even started. Pace did not allow his smaller stature to prevent him from being disruptive all week long, and was voted the National Team’s linebacker of the week. He showed off his explosiveness as a blitzer in pass-rushing drills. PFF’s highest-graded linebacker of 2023 then was named the team’s defensive most valuable player in the Senior Bowl game on Saturday, showing off as a pass rusher and a run defender. Critics will say that Pace is too small to be a starter in the NFL and is a positional tweener, but he proved all week that he is a gamer and is worth a high draft choice.
Rashee Rice, Wide Receiver, SMU
The skill position player with the highest stock heading into the Senior Bowl was Rashee Rice. Rice was considered a top-50 player by many and had a chance to move his way up into first round consideration. He struggled at times at beating press coverage and getting separation, especially at the beginning of the week. He finished off the week on a much stronger note but was still outshined by other receivers. Rice still projects as a solid possession receiver, but he underwhelmed for someone who was supposed to be the best pass catcher there.
Andre Carter II, Edge Rusher, Army
Army edge rusher Andre Carter II started off the 2023 cycle with first-round hype, but an up-and-down season caused his stock to fall to day two. Still, his 6’6 frame and 34-inch arms made him one of the most intriguing players in Mobile. Carter struggled to win consistently in one-on-one drills. His lack of strength was apparent compared to a more polished offensive lineman. Someone will take a chance on him due to his measurables, however, his range of outcomes certainly grew wider this week. Carter is still an interesting project pass rusher, but this was a disappointing week for a player hoping to revive his first-round chances.
Adetomiwa Adebawore, Interior Defensive Line, Northwestern
Coming in, there were some areas both against the run and pass that Adebawore could’ve shown improvement at. He did just that. At 6’1, 284 pounds he is a bit on the smaller side than you would think when it comes to defenders being able to stop the run, but over the week he showed this was not a problem. He used his 34-inch arms effectively to get past defenders with ease, and his first step quickness as well to frequently get into the backfield to disrupt the play. Adebawore is also someone that can provide NFL teams with a defensive lineman that can excel on the inside with generating penetration to get pressure on the quarterback. He definitely did a great job at raising his stock.
Darius Rush, Cornerback, South Carolina
From his tape to what he showed at the Senior Bowl, Rush looked completely improved. Rush was one of the most lockdown cornerbacks over the week, ending with the most forced incompletions. He showed quick transitions off the line to stay with receivers in coverage and paired that with his impressive ball tracking skills that really shined. What was impressive is his feel for the game that was fully on display from working with different leverage and ability to read the quarterback’s eyes. With a deep secondary class, Rush put his name into consideration to be talked about more after a great week in Mobile, Alabama.
Jaren Hall, Quarterback, BYU
Hall came in with a lot of questions, but didn’t exactly do anything to help quiet them. He showed slow processing and poor timing frequently throughout the week during practices, even missing some easy throws against basic shell coverages. This led to Hall routinely checking the ball down underneath instead of fully reading the defenses and being able to make a play downfield. While he made some decent throws downfield on occasion, Hall didn’t exactly rise to expectations either over the week, causing him to be an overall faller.
Jarrett Patterson, Offensive Line, Notre Dame
There were a few good reps from Patterson on day two, but on days one and three, Patterson routinely struggled. He frequently missed a variety of blocks, leading to immediate pressures. An immediate play that comes to mind was his rep against Karl Brooks in which he struggled to get set, leading to him lunging and having extremely poor posture. This allowed Brooks to easily get past him, and Patterson’s lack of length routinely showed up over the week with similar situations happening.
Darius Rush, Cornerback, South Carolina
Rush had a sensational week and was likely the “winner of the week” if that makes sense. The South Carolina product, Rush, started off the week strong with measurements of 6-2 height wise and 197 pounds with 33-inch arms. Rush also recorded the second-fastest speed among defensive backs during practice, at just a touch over 22 miles per hour. In one-on-ones, usually a drill designed for receiver wins, Rush dominated, adding two interceptions one day and dropping another two while having multiple pass breakups as well. Rush showed incredible instincts, ball skills, and was able to almost run the receivers routes for them. His hips and feet were some of the most fluid in Mobile, and he flat out dominated whenever the chance came. This corner class is deep and Rush did a great job skyrocketing himself to the second round.
Karl Brooks, Defensive Tackle, Bowling Green
One of the bigger questions coming into the Senior Bowl was where exactly Bowling Green’s Karl Brooks would end up working most at. Brooks answered that question before practices even started, as he shot up to 300 pounds after playing at 275 for the majority of last season. One of his best traits in college was his elite bend and athletic makeup, something that didn’t change even with a 25 pound weight gain. In individual drills, Brooks won a high majority, pushing back some of the best in Mobile. His strength was noticeable along with an elite athletic profile paired with a strong first step. The defensive tackle class is deep in 2023 and Brooks did a fantastic job not only deciding his own position but proving he can win there.
Andre Carter, Edge Rusher, Army
Carter lost a good share of money this week. The Army product was once viewed as a potential first round pick, but after struggling heavily it’s hard to see him hearing his name called even in the second round. There was a noticeable lack of first step explosiveness when facing offensive tackles, and when Carter was engaged in hand combat he struggled to win. Another one of the biggest questions plaguing his stock came to run defense. Carter continued to struggle in Mobile when ran at in team drills and the game itself. In a year loaded with talent off the edge, it’s hard to have a disappointing week and still hear your name called early. There were times that Carter flashed his 6-6 frame with 34-inch arms, and his athletic nature will be a key reason he still goes in the top 70.
Rashee Rice, Wide Receiver, SMU
There were numerous concerns over Rice’s inability to win in press coverage with a strong release, and that continued to show at the Senior Bowl. For starters, Rice was listed at 6-3 during his time at SMU, he only measured in at 6 foot 4/8 at the Senior Bowl, a noticeable loss. During individual drills, you’d consistently see Rice struggle to win at the start of his route and would only win deep after being able to beat the defensive back on a strong cut or a deeper pure speed focused route. Rice isn’t a bad receiver, but he had potential to sneak into the back end of the first round with a good week, and he likely fell. Teams potentially were willing to work with his release package due to his size/speed combination, but he’s forced himself into a slot role, something you don’t want to be in this draft class.