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2024 Senior Bowl Preview

Players to watch on Saturday

2023 Pac-12 Championship - Oregon v Washington Photo by Brandon Sloter/Image Of Sport/Getty Images

The premier college football all-star game, the Senior Bowl, will happen this Saturday, February 3, at 1:00pm EST on the NFL Network. Countless prospects that have played in this game have gone on to be incredible NFL players. The Commanders’ general manager Adam Peters is down there with the rest of the Washington contingent hoping to find folks who can contribute right away and start the rebuild of this franchise.

Below are a few prospects I think the Commanders should keep their eye on as they could help the team. The rosters for each team can be found here. Feel free to mention additional prospects that will play in the game in the comments.

American Team Offense

Carter Bradley, QB, South Alabama

A few of the quarterbacks at the Senior Bowl will be discussed a lot in the next few months, mostly Bo Nix and Michael Penix, Jr., so I wanted to focus on a QB that plays well and could be a good developmental prospect. The son of Gus Bradley, Carter Bradley transferred from Toledo and put up impressive stats, ultimately breaking several school records. He has enough arm to be successful in the NFL, progresses well through reads, looks off defenders, and makes throws into tight windows by being on time.

Michael Wiley, RB, Arizona

Wiley doesn’t have elite size or traits, but he was so productive in 2022. He averaged over 6.8 yards a carry that year, but ceded carries to Jonah Coleman in 2023. If anything about him is elite, it’s his vision, his ability to read blocks, and find space to make plays. The 5’10”, 209 lb back appears to get top speed quickly and it almost freezes defenses. He has hands, too, with 123 receptions in his career. Look for him to be a third-down back or weapon out of the backfield.

Jha’Quan Jackson, WR, Tulane

Last year, Tank Dell was an undersized receiver who wowed onlookers at the Senior Bowl. He went on to have a fantastic rookie season. This year, that player could be Jha’Quan Jackson. The Tulane product is smaller at 5’9”, 190 lbs, but reports are that he has been having great practices. His calling card is speed with a legitimate chance to take the ball to the house once he gets it. Plus, he returns punts.

Jared Wiley, TE, TCU

I featured all the TEs on the American Team - Ben Sinnott, Jared Wiley, and Jaheim Bell - during the college football season in the Future Hogs articles. Bobby_Gould did a draft profile on Sinnott. I’ll focus on Wiley here because he’s got more prototypical size at 6’6”, 253 lbs. He is an excellent red-zone target at his size and has been successful split out wide from the formation. He’s willing to block, but this is an area that needs improvement.

Christian Jones, OT, Texas

Christian Jones has held down the right tackle spot for the Longhorns for the past two seasons, but has started at left tackle as well. He is nimble at 6’5”, 318 lbs, with quick feet and is quick to react to defenders. To generate more power, he’ll sometimes lunge, so improving his strength will make him a better blocker. In his run game, he might be best blocking on the move and getting to second-level defenders. Jones is #70 and playing right tackle in the clip.

Javion Cohen, OG, Miami

After standing out at Alabama, Javion Cohen transferred to Miami. He put together an impressive season that should get him selected early in the draft. Cohen is strong throughout his body at 6’4”, 319 lbs, allowing him to be solid in pass protection. He also has excellent mobility and looks comfortable blocking in space. He needs to improve his hand placement as they get outside the frame of the defender and can lead to holding calls. Cohen is #70 in the clip and playing left guard.

Beaux Limmer, C, Arkansas

Last year, the Commanders drafted Arkansas OG/C Ricky Stromberg. They may want to consider his replacement Limmer Beaux. He has experience playing right guard and center. He’s been taking snaps at center during Senior Bowl practice and he’s been stout. Maintaining proper pad level will be important for him. When he gets too high, he loses leverage and defenders take advantage of him. Limmer is #55 playing center in the clip.

American Team Defense

Eric Watts, DE, UConn

With nearly 36” arms on his 6’5”, 277 lb frame, Eric Watts is an intriguing prospect. He blends that length with superior strength. Watts doesn’t look like he has the agility to bend well, but he can flatten to the quarterback. When he uses a long-arm technique to stab blockers, it’s devastating. He’d improve his draft stock if he could add more pass rush moves. His production this year was low compared to the previous one, so that is also a bit of a concern.

McKinnley Jackson, DT, Texas A&M

Watching McKinnley Jackson use his strength and quickness off the ball to wreck a play is fun to watch. I wouldn’t have guessed he was 331 lbs with the way he moves. Being only 6’1” seems to help him gain leverage on blockers, get under their pads, and displace them. His production this year was okay, but it didn’t match the ability I saw on tape. One thing that could help him is developing counters when he doesn’t beat blockers right away.

JD Bertrand, LB, Notre Dame

I was stuck between choosing JD Bertrand and Trevin Wallace of Kentucky, but figured some folks would be triggered by another Kentucky linebacker so Bertrand it is. Bertrand is excellent at diagnosing run plays and finding a way to get to the ball carrier. He is fast enough to beat some blockers to the spot and strong enough to take them on. I haven’t seen a lot of him in coverage, but the little I’ve seen has been good. He might be tight in the hips and struggle to change direction.

Jarvis Brownlee, Jr., CB, Louisville

I thought about picking Carlton Johnson from Fresno State, but I don’t think fans can handle another sub-170 lb cornerback. Jarvis Brownlee, Jr. is a player that wasn’t even on my radar until this week, but he’s had an amazing week of practice. If he’s not running the route for receivers, he’s staying in phase with them through routes. At 5’11”, 183 lbs, he’ll lose some battles with bigger receivers, but he’ll fight them to the end.

Malik Mustapha, S, Wake Forest

A bit compact at almost 5’10” and 210 lbs, Malik Mustapha played numerous rolls in Wake Forest’s defense. He aligned deep at free safety, played in split safety looks, and played in the slot. He flies to the ball, especially downhill, but he has to be careful with the angles he takes.

National Team Offense

Marshawn Lloyd, RB USC

If Washington is looking for a dynamic running back, Marshawn Lloyd fits the bill. At 5’9”, 217 lbs, Lloyd is not less of a bruiser between the tackles and more of a playmaker is space. Lloyd has both short-area quickness to make defenders miss and long speed to break a play open. As a receiver he averaged almost 18 yards a catch and tracks the ball downfield well. If Antonio Gibson isn’t retained, Lloyd might be able to step into his role.

Javon Baker, WR, UCF

Javon Baker has been impressive in Mobile. He’s creating separation with creative releases and crisp route-running. Looking at him in games, you see the same thing on tape. The 6’1”, 208 lb receiver tracks the ball downfield and has the body control to adjust to any throw. His quickness and acceleration help him get open, and while he may not have breakaway speed, it is sufficient to be a solid contributor at the next level.

Theo Johnson, TE, Penn State

With prototypical size at 6’6”, 257 lbs, Theo Johnson has had a fantastic week of Senior Bowl practice. He’s consistently found ways to create separation from defenders and finished plays with good hands. He did the same thing at Penn State, averaging 10 yards a catch and finding the endzone seven times. He’s a willing blocker, but he’ll make an impact in the NFL as a pass catcher.

Roger Rosengarten, OT, Washington

The right tackle for the Huskies, Roger Rosengarten had a rough game against Michigan. He is still an athletic tackle that can be a good player in the NFL. His athleticism at 6’5”, 311 lbs, helps him stay in front of rushers and his quickness allows him to react and recover. Rosengarten must get stronger as his lack of strength was evident in both run blocking and pass protection. Hand usage and staying attached to defenders is another area of improvement.

Isaiah Adams, OG, Illinois

Throughout his career at Illinois, Isaiah Adams has played both tackle spots and left guard, but has primarily taken snaps at guard in Mobile. Adams is 6’4”, 318, is a mauler of a blocker. If he gets his hands on a defender, he is going to finish that block with an exclamation point. He is good on the move, too, and is effective pulling and leading the way for a runner.

Jackson Powers-Johnson, C, Oregon

Jackson Powers-Johnson has taken snaps at every position on the line except left tackle. He is huge for a center at 6’3”, 334 lbs, and it shows with the way he manhandles defenders. What’s even more impressive to me is how athletic he is at that size. There are plays where he makes plays 20 yards downfield. For those who like multi-sport athletes, Powers-Johnson played baseball and wrestled in high school.

National Team Defense

DeWayne Carter, DT, Duke

Duke had one of their best football seasons and DeWayne Carter was a big reason why. The 6’2”, 308 lb interior defensive lineman is strong and walked several blockers back into the QB’s lap. He regularly gets under their pads and steamrolls them. Duke even moved him to the edge just to push tackles back to the quarterback. Can he be more than just a power rusher at the next level?

Adisa Isaac, DE, Penn State

His running mate Chop Robinson is the more highly-touted prospect, but Adisa Isaac is looking to raise his draft stock. At 6’4” and 250 lbs, Isaac’s has speed off the edge, uses his agility to dip under tackles or bend around he corner and flatten to the quarterback. He has strong hands and enough strength to stack and shed tackles to make plays in the run game.

Jontrey Hunter, LB, Georgia State

The National Team has some productive linebackers in Payton Wilson, Cedric Gray, and Edefuan Ulofoshio. Add Jontrey Hunter to that list. His background as a safety is probably the reason Hunter plays really well in space, especially in zone coverage. He has good size for the position at 6’2”, 229 lbs, but I’d like to see more of his play against the run.

Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo

Quinyon Mitchell has had a terrific week of practice at the Senior Bowl with some even thinking he could be the first cornerback taken in the draft. He is a smart corner who takes the cues from the quarterback and receiver about the route being run and how to defend it. He is patient, but quick to react to receivers in their route, and does not panic when the ball is in the air. I’d like to see him turn a lot of his PBUs into interceptions, but I’ll take stick coverage that usually results in incompletions.

Evan Williams, S, Oregon

If the Commanders lose Kam Curl and look to the draft for a replacement, Evan Williams should be considered. He is a terror around the line of scrimmage with 4.5 sacks from his safety spot. He has made some play in coverage, but there wasn’t much ball production this season. In the 2022 season, when Williams was at Fresno State, he had three interceptions, so I think he can make an impact in this area at the next level.