They say “the NFL Draft starts in Mobile,” because the first major draft event of the offseason is the Senior Bowl. Sure, the East-West Shrine Bowl technically takes place first, and those practices are already underway with the actual game kicking off this Thursday, but the Senior Bowl has clearly passed that event in both popularity and quality of prospects.
And practices for the Senior Bowl kick-off on Tuesday beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET and being aired on NFL+. Those practices will run through Thursday in the lead-up to the actual Senior Bowl game at 2:30 p.m. ET this Saturday (televised on NFL Network).
For most, draft season has already been well underway. Many of you are probably on Mock Draft 10.0 by now, while others have likely focused on the NFL Playoffs—making the Senior Bowl a nice jump-in spot for draft coverage.
There will be over 100 NFL Draft prospects on display this week in Mobile, Alabama, so today’s Question of the Day is:
Who is the one prospect you’re most excited to see at the Senior Bowl?
My answer: My first inclination was to say Illinois cornerback Devon Witherspoon, who has already captured the hearts of many in Detroit as a possible pick at 6 or 18 due to his tenacious playing style, but the first-round prospect withdrew from the Senior Bowl last week.
So, instead, I’ll stick with the cornerback group and go with Miami’s Tyrique Stevenson. Projections for Stevenson are all over the place. He went 23rd overall in Daniel Jeremiah’s mock draft two weeks ago, while The Draft Network has a fourth-round grade on him. Dane Brugler named Stevenson and Stanford’s Kye Blu Kelly as the top cornerbacks who will be in Mobile this week.
The debate seems to be around Stevenson’s functional athleticism. He has the size (6-foot, 214-pounder per Miami’s website) and physical nature to be a good press corner, and his production jumped in 2022. However, some have questioned his movement skills and wondered his he can turn fluidly and run with NFL athletes. He’ll have an opportunity to prove those doubters wrong all week.
Stevenson is also on the American Team roster, which means he’ll be directly coached by Lions defensive assistant Shaun Dion Hamilton. That inside knowledge on Stevenson could give the Lions a lot more clarity on his draft value. And with cornerback being the team’s biggest need heading into the offseason, I look forward to getting a little more clarity on Stevenson myself.