Senior Bowl 2023 Notebook: Who is the standout among the QBs in Mobile? | News, Results, Highlights, Stats and Rumours

TCU quarterback Max Duggan (15) plays against Georgia in the first half of the NCAA college football national championship playoff game Monday, Jan. 9, 2023 in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis).

AP Photo/Ashley Landis

Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ohio State’s CJ Stroud, Kentucky’s Will Levis, and Florida’s Anthony Richardson are almost universally considered the top four quarterbacks for the NFL’s 2023 draft class.

However, three of the four are underclassmen. Levis has opted not to compete in this year’s Senior Bowl as he continues to recover from injuries sustained on campus during his final season. A source went so far as to tell Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline that Levis’ decision not to attend any All-Star celebrations bordered on “professional suicide.”

Without one of the best prospects, the Senior Bowl turned to a Heisman Trophy finalist, the NCAA all-time leader in passing touchdowns, Louisville’s all-time leader in total touchdowns, one of the most accurate passers in BYU history, and the officiating first. Team All-Mountain West and All-AAC quarterbacks.

Despite the accolades, the group got off to a slow start on Tuesday. On Wednesday we created a certain separation.

TCU’s Max Duggan has a slight advantage over the rest of the group over two days of practice. Duggan got the ball out quickly, lengthened plays, showed anticipation and made a few shots from a narrow window. Duggan is widely viewed as a mid-round possibility, but another strong day of practice coupled with a solid-to-good performance in the All-Star game could put him at the top of the second tier of incoming signal callers.

Louisville’s Malik Cunningham could pass Duggan depending on how he does the rest of the week. Cunningham is the most natural athlete of those in Mobile with the best overall arm talent. However, he has a small and lean build (6’0″, 188 lbs).

Louisville quarterback Malik Cunningham

Louisville quarterback Malik CunninghamAndy Lyons/Getty Images

Cunningham only took the field Wednesday after playing in the NFLPA game and showed the tools to possibly make his claim as the best in Mobile.

From then on, BYU’s Jaren Hall didn’t make the kind of throws to bring this to the attention of the Boy Scouts. Fresno State’s Jake Haener forces the ball into cover too often despite playing with all-new teammates. His strengths – such as anticipation, tact – do not really come into their own in this setting. Finally, Shepherd’s Tyson Bagent sprayed balls all over the field and lacked any consistency in his placement or decision making. The Division II prospect can push the ball down, but the inconsistency comes from poor mechanics.

In years past, quarterbacks have used the Senior Bowl as a stage to move further up the ranks or to solidify themselves as top prospects. As it stands now, this year’s crop doesn’t feature a spotlight performer, although there’s a chance they can impress both on and off the field to carve their way into a Day 2 selection.

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Stanford cornerback Kyu Blu Kelly

Stanford cornerback Kyu Blu KellyAP Photo/Jeff Chiu

– Four wide receivers continue to impress with two days of training.

Michigan’s Ronnie Bell is a very consistent possession receiver who routinely made controversial catches. Michigan State’s Jayden Reed serves as a deep threat with the twitch to beat defenders at the line of scrimmage and creativity in his routes to consistently stay open. Houston’s Tank Dell performs well off releases and runs good distances. Stanford’s Elijah Higgins almost looks like a tight end at his 6’3″ and 228-pound frame. He plays like that too, using his size to fend off defenders with the right position to snatch passes.

– Several talented defenders flashed on the other side of the ball with quality plays.

Among the national teams, Stanford’s Kyu Blu Kelly had one of the best overall performances on Wednesday with an interception to end a team session and another near-pick at a later period. His anticipation of zone coverage is overwhelming. Iowa’s Riley Moss is a great athlete who made it big on Wednesday with an acrobatic interception during the one-on-one. He has demonstrated the ability to play from both press and off alignments in man coverage.

Virginia’s Anthony Johnson Jr. had a good day of practice on the American side of the ledger. He is of very good length and height (6’1″, 207 lbs) and has the movement skills needed to compete. His coverage was tacky with a slight mix of physicality. Kansas State’s Julius Brents also brings in an excellent one Sized at (6’3″, 202 lbs) with the ability to go head-to-head with smaller, twitchy receivers, plus the fluidity to drop his hips and get out of breaks with little wasted movement.

– Northwestern’s Adetomiwa Adebawore continues to impress. The 6’2″, 284-pound defender pushed outside and spent most of Wednesday on the defensive end after playing plenty of 3 technique the previous day. Adebawore has the quickness to snap blockers, but also the one Build and keep the power to do this at the point of attack.

– Tulane’s Tyjae Spears has dynamic direction switching abilities. His stop-start quickness after hitting the hole allows him to jump runs to the outside where he rips off a few longgainers.

– North Dakota State’s Cody Mauch continues to rotate positions. After playing mostly left defense during the national team’s first practice session, the college left tackle began snapping the ball, receiving multiple replays in one-on-one and team meetings at center.

— Sacramento State linebacker Marte Mapu plays so much taller than his reported measurements of 6ft 3in and 217 pounds. He flies downhill with evil intentions to play through blocks and blast moves. It also has the length and fluidity to drop for cover and mess up trajectories.

Injury Updates

Texas running back Roshon Johnson

Texas running back Roshon JohnsonAdam Davis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

– Texas running back Roshon Johnson broke his hand in Tuesday’s practice but continued playing despite the injury. According to ESPN’s Pete Thamel and Matt Miller, the injury does not require surgery even though his week in Mobile is over.

— After Ohio State’s Dawand Jones caused an uproar in the scouting world on Tuesday, he did not attend Wednesday’s practice session. The massive right tackle reported “concussion-like symptoms” with a headache, and medical staff removed him from the action as a precautionary measure, according to ESPN Jeremy Fowler. Jones’ status for the remainder of the week is yet to be determined.

– Oklahoma offensive tackle Wanya Morris cautiously walked off the field with coaches before the American team’s practice ended.

5 Questions with Tennessee OT Darnell Wright

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 10: Tennessee Volunteers offensive lineman Darnell Wright (58) blocks during a college football game against the Pittsburgh Panthers on September 10, 2022 at Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

b/r: As a junior you started out with left tackle, although for the last two seasons you’ve mostly played on the right. This season saw a return to right tackle. Are you more comfortable on the strong side?

DW: “I have more experience on this side. I’ve done two full training camps in real tackle. It’s just what I’ve done the most.”

b/r: Are NFL teams asking about the opportunity to be a left tackle and train at that position?

DW: “Either way I hope to show that I can play both. Having played both before, I feel comfortable having continued to work on both sides. My primary experience might be getting the tackle right and they saw me there. I think I can do both if I have to.”

b/r: At 6’5″ and 342 pounds but only 21 years old, what growth potential can still be found in your game?

DW: “I think I can always get stronger. My body will get stronger overall with age and time.”

b/r: Is your main goal this draft cycle to show your versatility or improve your technique?

DW: “It’s a little bit of everything. I want to show consistency in everything I do. I think my movie shows are flashing. There has been an upward trend over the years. It comes down to consistency, which is important at the Senior Bowl.”

b/r: What did it mean to be a team leader during the Tennessee Volunteers’ football program revival?

DW: “It feels good to be part of something special that we’ve been working toward for a long time. When you put all the work into something, it’s great to reap the rewards.”

Report Bleacher Scout Cory Giddings contributed to this notebook.

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