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Biggest Falcons takeaways from the Senior Bowl

After a week of practices and a few days to analyze them, here are some of the biggest takeaways and players to watch from the Senior Bowl for the Falcons heading into the 2023 NFL Draft.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: FEB 04 Reese’s Senior Bowl Photo by Bobby McDuffie/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Senior Bowl is officially behind us, with three informative days of practice and a game that wound up being a blowout. I was on-site in Mobile for every moment of practice action, and you can see my detailed notes here: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3. There were also Falcoholic Live episodes featuring all my immediate takeaways, which you can find on our channel or listen to below:

There have been a million “biggest risers from the Senior Bowl” pieces out there, and we don’t need another one here. Instead, I took a look through my notes and came up with some takeaways for the Atlanta Falcons coming out of Senior Bowl.


Edge rushers

While nobody stood out on the level of Jermaine Johnson in 2022, this class of edge rushers at the Senior Bowl showed itself as a deep and talented one. I don’t think anyone in this group will push for a top-15 selection, but I do think three players have a shot to go in the first round: Notre Dame’s Isaiah Foskey, Auburn’s Derick Hall, and Iowa State’s Will McDonald IV. I don’t think any of these three is in contention at 8 for the Falcons, but all three would be top targets with Atlanta’s second round pick.

On Day 2, players like Clemson’s KJ Henry and TCU’s Dylan Horton could absolutely be in play—particularly if the Falcons elect to shift towards more of a traditional 4-3 base. Henry and Horton both looked good over the week of practices in Mobile. Central Michigan’s Thomas Incoom looked better than expected, and got quite a few reps rushing from the interior. He’s a guy I’d consider targeting early on Day 3.

Interior defensive line

This is a good year to need a nose tackle—Atlanta definitely does—and two prospects at the Senior Bowl stood out in a big way: Wisconsin’s Keeanu Benton and Coastal Carolina’s Jerrod Clark. Benton lifted himself into the second-round conversation with his play in Mobile, and he’s a guy who can probably play multiple spots on the interior. Clark is more of a traditional nose tackle, but was damn good in that role. He’s probably an early-Day 3 pick.

Obviously, the star of the show was Georgia Tech’s Keion White. He was dominant as both as pass rusher and run defender, and played both EDGE and IDL in Mobile. Opinions are all over the place on where White ends up getting drafted, anywhere from the first round to early on Day 2. I still think he could be available in the second, but a terrific Combine performance could change things.

I thought South Carolina’s Zacch Pickens had a slow start to the week, but finished strong. He’s someone who has a lot of upside with his frame and athleticism. Oklahoma’s Jalen Redmond is clearly not going to be for everyone with his unusual frame, but I thought he played with great effort and showed off his athletic talents.


I came away from Mobile with three clear winners at the linebacker position: Cincinnati’s Ivan Pace Jr., Washington State’s Daiyan Henley, and TCU’s Dee Winters.

Pace Jr.’s size concerns will scare off some teams, but the guy can clearly ball. He’s a terrific athlete and checked all the boxes in terms of ability. Don’t ask him to play man coverage on tight ends and cut him loose. I’d be happy with him as a late-Day 2 pick.

Henley was a clear leader on the field and I loved the way he took command of the defense. His athleticism pops when watching him play, and his background as a receiver gives him some advantages in coverage. Henley should also be in play late on Day 2.

Winters appeared to miss the final day of practice, but was an early standout. He had a run during one practice where he picked off the QB, then forced a fumble that was returned for a TD on the next play. I remain a big fan of his game and think he’ll get picked early on Day 3.


While the corner group in Mobile lost their headliner in Devon Witherspoon, the rest of the class stepped up. Every day saw a different prospect stand out, and over the course of the week five CBs definitely improved their stock. It’s tough to predict what kind of coverage scheme Atlanta will be switching to, so I’ll just talk about the prospects I liked the most overall.

From the National team, Stanford’s Kyu Blu Kelly and Iowa’s Riley Moss were the two clear winners. Kelly is a sticky man coverage corner and gave receivers fits all week with his ability to play the ball. Moss answered some questions about his athleticism by posting one of the fastest speeds ever recorded in Mobile, and had a great week of practice overall.

On the American side of things, the early standout was Miami’s Tyrique Stevenson. He showed up and played with a competitive fire, standing out over the first two days before leaving with an injury. Kansas State’s Julius Brents has incredible size and athleticism and played very well against a tough receiver group, improving his stock into the Day 2 range. South Carolina’s Darius Rush had a tough first day (mostly against Tank Dell), but rebounded in a big way and finished the week as one of the best overall CBs in Mobile.


My favorite safety at the Senior Bowl was Florida State’s Jammie Robinson. I was high on him for the Falcons coming in, and after a quiet Day 1, Robinson emerged as a do-it-all playmaker for the American team. He even handled most of the punts. Robinson is a big winner from Mobile. We also saw a steady week from Georgia’s Christopher Smith II, who had a knack for always being around the ball.

The National team had one of the most intriguing safety prospects in the class in Boise State’s JL Skinner. Skinner’s athleticism and frame immediately showed up, but he struggled in coverage throughout the week. I do think he had a good Day 3, but he’s still got some developing to do.

Instead, it was Cal’s Daniel Scott and Illinois’ Sydney Brown that wound up stealing the show. Scott was consistently the best safety on the National squad on all three days, notching multiple interceptions and even flashing some quality man coverage skills in 1-on-1s. Brown had a solid opening day, but really turned it on over the remainder of the week with some impressive turnovers and really consistent play in coverage.



I didn’t come in to the Senior Bowl with high hopes for this quarterback class, and really wasn’t watching it closely given the Falcons QB situation. Kentucky’s Will Levis was supposed to be here, but was hurt—and the other top prospect, Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker, was only here for interviews due to his own injury. That being said, a few guys did stand out.

For the National team, I was actually most impressed by Fresno State’s Jake Haener. He was consistently the best of the bunch, navigated the pocket well, and showed off some pretty good arm talent. He’s just 6’0 and under 200 pounds, so the size concerns are there, but I think Haener has a long, productive career ahead of him as a good NFL backup.

On the American side, the issues were mainly with consistency. While TCU’s Max Duggan was the big name and had the best week overall, I think Shepherd’s Tyson Bagent was probably the most intriguing prospect in Mobile. He’s got the prototypical size, the plus athleticism, and the crazy arm talent that scouts love, but Bagent is a long way away from being NFL ready. He’s a developmental guy, but definitely one with potential.

Tight ends

Even though I think the Falcons tight end room is basically set—especially if MyCole Pruitt is re-signed—Arthur Smith’s fascination (obsession?) with the position means it can never really be ignored.

Honestly, all the tight ends in Mobile looked like fine NFL players at worst. I was hoping for a little more from Cincinnati’s Josh Whyle, who was good but not great and I want to like him due to the Ridder connection. Two players really stood out at the Senior Bowl, however: Purdue’s Payne Durham and Oregon State’s Luke Musgrave.

I could immediately tell when watching Durham that this was a guy who Arthur Smith would love. He’s a big-bodied, hard-nosed blocker at first glance, and he doesn’t move around particularly well. But man, this guy has a huge catch radius and really good hands. He showed it off numerous times, beating tight coverage (because he’s not going to separate) with some great contested catches. I don’t know where you draft that, but he’s someone to keep an eye on.

Musgrave also has a big frame, but he’s sort of the opposite of Durham. He’s a finesse receiving specialist with some pretty absurd deep speed and movement skills for someone his size. But his blocking is not great to say the least, and I really don’t think he’s “physical” enough for Atlanta. Still, he was impressive as a receiver and dusted some linebackers and even safeties downfield. Some team will definitely fall in love with the traits on Day 2.

Wide receivers

One name immediately stands out from this group: Houston’s Nathaniel “Tank” Dell. He will always have to fight against the size concerns at just over 5’8, 163. What he won’t have to fight is his ability as a receiver. Dell made pretty much everyone who attempted to cover him look silly. He’s got tremendous agility and deep speed, looks polished as a route runner, and caught the ball extremely well. I think Dell definitely worked himself into the second-round range, but I’m not sure the Falcons will be interested at that price.

The best overall receiver prospect in Mobile remained SMU’s Rashee Rice, who had a bit of a slow start to the week before finishing with the best Day 3 of any receiver. Rice has the ideal combination of size, speed, and hands that will make him a coveted early-Day 2 prospect.

Close behind the top two were a number of standouts. Iowa State’s Xavier Hutchinson definitely looks like a Future Falcon. Big and physical with polished technique, Hutchinson lacks elite athleticism but looked more than good enough to me. He’s also a great blocker, and we know how much Atlanta values that.

Michigan State’s Jayden Reed is a player I’ve already mocked to Atlanta on several occasions, and he helped himself with a very good week. He’s a fantastic route runner who catches the ball extremely well, and he looked even more athletic than expected.

Honestly, a lot of guys showed out in Mobile and improved their stock. Here are some others who deserve a mention:

  • Trey Palmer (Nebraska)
  • Don’tayvion Wicks (Virginia)
  • Jonathan Mingo (Ole Miss)
  • Michael Wilson (Stanford)
  • Puka Nacua (BYU, missed Day 2-3 with injury)

Running backs

I wasn’t as focused on this group as I was last year due to Atlanta’s RB situation, but the need for a long-term complementary back for Tyler Allgeier was on my mind throughout the week.

The biggest winner was Tulane’s Tyjae Spears, who wowed scouts with his movement skills and deep speed. Unfortunately for Atlanta, he’s probably worked his way into the second round.

Right behind Spears was Illinois’ Chase Brown, who also looked like an electric home-run threat and ripped off big plays with consistency throughout the week. He might be available a little bit later. Texas’ Roschon Johnson left with an injury after the first day, but was very impressive. Northwestern’s Evan Hull also showed off an impressive skillset as a receiver.

Offensive tackle

This group flashed immediately with Ohio State’s Dawand Jones showing up and wrecking shop on Day 1. He dominated everybody, then pulled out of the rest of the week. It was that impressive. So he’s a guy who really helped himself ascend into that mid-to-late first round range. Otherwise, a number of players stood out over the course of the week.

On the National side, North Carolina’s Asim Richards impressed me. I haven’t yet watched his tape, but he handled pretty much everyone he faced well during 1-on-1s and team sessions. Maryland’s Jaelyn Duncan had his ups-and-downs, but you can see the enticing size and athleticism profile that he offers. BYU’s Blake Freeland really struggled on Day 1, but stabilized on Day 2 and had a good performance on Day 3.

On the American side, Tennessee’s Darnell Wright and Syracuse’s Matthew Bergeron were the clear winners. Wright won with his size and strength, while Bergeron showed off his athleticism. Both will be in the late-first, early-second conversation.

Interior offensive line

This group featured the best offensive lineman at the Senior Bowl in Minnesota’s John Michael Schmitz, who solidified himself as a potential top-20 pick. He was dominant and played with a competitive fire that really impressed everyone in attendance. Florida’s O’Cyrus Torrence, another potential first-rounder, also had a good week overall.

North Dakota State’s Cody Mauch primarily played on the interior, including a few sessions at center. He was much better overall at guard, and although he’ll be a project there, flashed some high-end potential. TCU’s Steve Avila, who primarily played center, also got some reps at guard and looked like a Day 2 pick.

UT-Chattanooga’s McClendon Curtis was another player who surprised me, as the small school player more than held his own against a tough group. I also liked Alabama’s Emil Ekiyor Jr., who made the most of his opportunities at both center and guard.