2022 Senior Bowl: 5 Prospects to Keep an Eye On

Senior Bowl

It is almost draft season in the NFL. With Conference Championship games tomorrow, the NFL season is near its end for almost every team. 28 of the 32 NFL franchises have already turned their attention to preparing for next season and hoping they can have a quick turnaround. One of the biggest predraft events in the NFL is the Senior Bowl. Some of college football’s best players will be in Mobile, Alabama this week practicing and working out in the presence of NFL coaches. It will be a chance for some guys to elevate their draft stock and make an impression. Here are five players that will elevate their draft stock at the 2022 Senior Bowl.

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5. Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa

This draft class has two elite offensive tackle prospects in Alabama’s Evan Neal and North Carolina State’s Ikem Ekwonu, but there is not a consensus on who is the next best prospect. A guy that has a chance to rise up is Penning. He has great size for an offensive tackle at 6’7″ and 340 lbs. Furthermore, he is a good athlete for someone of that size.

Penning has been on some team’s draft radars for this year and he did not disappoint. When you possess the kind of athletic traits that he does at his size, any team is going to be intrigued. The Senior Bowl is going to give Penning a chance to go up against some of the best competition that he has faced all season and if he impresses, he could launch himself into the top half of the first round.

4. Cameron Thomas, EDGE, San Diego State

After the quarterback position, you can make an argument that having a dominant edge player is the next most important position in football. That is why guys like Aidan Hutchinson and Kayvon Thibodeaux are at the top of the draft boards this year. One guy that many may not know about just yet is Thomas. He had an outstanding 2021 season at San Diego State and was virtually unblockable for one of the best defenses in the country. The athletic traits that teams are looking for in a dominant edge player are there for Thomas. The Senior Bowl is going to give Thomas a chance to go up against some talented offensive linemen and show teams he is worthy of a first-round grade and selection.

3. Cam Taylor, DB, Nebraska

Every draft season, a tall and long cornerback rises up draft boards. This year, that could be Britt. At 6’0″ and 205 lbs, Britt has already shot up draft boards after his final season at Nebraska. The Senior Bowl is going to have some talented receivers this year. It will give Britt a chance to show he can be a lockdown corner at the next level. With some late-rising prospects like Britt, one of the questions that repeatedly pops up is why has he only put together one complete season? Britt has not flashed this kind of potential before this season and NFL teams might wonder whether he is a one-year wonder or not. He has a chance to show he belongs at the Senior Bowl.

2. Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati

It is not a secret that this year’s quarterback class isn’t elite. However, some teams will fall in love with a quarterback with elite physical traits and athleticism. This year, that could be Ridder. He is well known among football fans and has been the starting signal-caller for the Bearcats for the past few seasons. He led Cincinnati to the college football playoff this past season and improved in every season he started for Cincinnati.

Two years ago, Ridder did not look like a top quarterback prospect. However, he has done a lot to change the perception around him and he is looking to show NFL teams that he has the kind of upside that they want. He has a strong arm and can make virtually any throw and he has running capabilities. However, Ridder can struggle with accuracy and consistency and will need to show up and have a big week in Mobile to possibly elevate his draft stock.

1. Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

There might not be a player at the Senior Bowl with more on the line than Willis. He is the most polarizing quarterback in this class as some believe he is a first-round talent and others think he is a risky developmental project. Willis possesses the most athletic upside of any quarterback in this year’s draft. However, he struggles with his mechanics and accuracy. After transferring from Auburn to Liberty, Willis put up some incredible numbers as he excelled as both a runner and a passer. All eyes will be on Willis this week. He is the ultimate boom or bust prospect and could have a terrific or awful week. Depending on how the week goes, he could end up becoming the first quarterback off the board in April.

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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images

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