5 players to watch in the Senior Bowl

carson wentz

If anyone is dreading watching the all famous Pro Bowl this weekend that features the likes of Teddy Bridgewater and Tyrod Taylor, I am here to tell you there is more football being played this weekend.

The Senior Bowl will take place this Sunday. Although in the past the Senior Bowl has unfairly raised the stock of prospects such as Buffalo Bills backup EJ Manuel, it has also helped showcase the talents of productive NFL starters such as Eagles left tackle Lane Johnson, Broncos all pro outside linebacker Von Miller, and Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.

Sunday’s game also presents an opportunity for prospects from smaller schools to prove they can play against some of the best players in the NCAA. See the first player on the list who has that exact opportunity.

Carson Wentz (QB)– At 6’6 Carson Wentz has the size and arm strength to be a franchise quarterback in the NFL. Although Wentz played at North Dakota State against inferior opponents, Wentz dominated almost every game he played in showing he can make every throw the NFL will ask him to make such as this one below.

Wentz played in a pro style system lining up under center and reading defenses in a way many college quarterbacks are not asked to do. In only 7 games his senior year, Wentz posted 1,651 yards with 17 touchdowns and 6 touchdowns on the ground.

At his size, many that haven’t watched Wentz would think he can’t take off and run. Think again. North Dakota State used the read option in a major way with Carson Wentz. In his junior year, Wentz posted over 600 rushing yards and 6 touchdowns. Below shows just how fast the 6’6 prospect is.

The senior bowl will tell us a lot about just how ready Carson Wentz is to face NFL level talent.

Braxton Miller (WR)– The former duel threat quarterback made the transition to receiver in his senior season. Miller showed the explosion off the line of scrimmage that many knew he had. Many former quarterbacks that changed positions in the NFL have had some success such as Denard Robinson and Joe Webb.

Braxton Miller has more speed and better route running ability than either of the other guys showed. Miller only posted 26 receptions for 341 yards and 3 touchdowns through the air but he also showed versatility by being used in the running game posting 260 rushing yards.

Miller’s ability to cut on a dime and make madden like moves will pose an interesting case to NFL teams in the third and fourth round.

The senior bowl will showcase Miller’s athleticism but many scouts will be keeping a close eye on his development as a route runner and blocker.

Kyler Fackrell (OLB)– At 6’5 and 240 pounds, Fackrell has all the physical abilities to be a productive 3-4 outside linebacker or a 4-3 defensive end. Playing at Utah State, Fackrell played at outside linebacker, middle linebacker, and defensive end.

His speed and ability to shed a block with one move will have scouts intensely watching him at the senior bowl. Fackrell’s pass rushing ability is a strength recording 4.5 sacks despite not lining up on the line of scrimmage 100% of the time.

If there is one thing to watch about Fackrell on Sunday it will be his coverage ability. His lateral movement isn’t the strength of his game but at Utah State he showed he can do it in different packages.

Dak Prescott (QB)– The NFL draft features a lot of big, athletic quarterbacks that have a high ceiling, but also a low floor. Dak Prescott is one of these prospects. After claiming almost every record at Mississippi State, Prescott hopes to prove he can be an efficient pocket passer that has improved in reading coverage and lining up under center.

Prescott’s running ability is intriguing as well posting 10 rushing touchdowns last season, 14 the season before, and 13 in his sophomore season.

Prescott’s accuracy was a weakness but that can improve with better footwork. The former Heisman candidate will hope to improve upon that area at the senior bowl but also show off the big arm he possesses. Prescott was really strong throwing across the middle of the field. However he needs to find that balance of power and touch. Often he puts too much into his throws. Kind of like Cam Newton did early on.

His senior year was impressive throwing for nearly 4,000 yards and 29 touchdowns to only 5 interceptions.

Upside is an understatement when it comes to Prescott. Watch out for this guy.

Darian Thompson (S)– Fellow BLTD Sports writer Derek Kramer has talked up Thompson for some time now. At Boise State, Thompson had a nose for the ball recording 5 interceptions. The Bronco safety is a strong tackler as well having multiple games with double digit tackles. He is big enough to line up in the box but his strength is in coverage. It will be very interesting to see where he is used at the Senior Bowl.

These 5 players each have a lot riding on the Senior Bowl. It is an opportunity to really open some eyes and raise their individual draft stock like so many have in the past.

Keep it right here on BLTD Sports for more NFL Draft coverage.

Written by Louie DiBiase

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