With the 2019 Senior Bowl just around the corner, we here at The Draft Network have given you draft fans a good resource to keep up with all of the pending invites of players to the event, and also an up-to-date tracker showing who has officially accepted their invites, too.
So staying in the mood of the Senior Bowl, and since the Christmas season is now fully upon us, I decided to also give you all a wish list of some potential targets for the upcoming Senior Bowl and a list of one player from each position that I hope to see in Mobile this year, for a variety of reasons.
QB, Jordan Ta’amu, Ole Miss
Simply put: Ta’amu is a gunslinger. He has over 3,000 yards passing this season with 17 touchdowns and just five interceptions. The reason I really hope we get to see Ta’amu in Mobile is because I want to see how his style as a passer does without that incredible crop of Ole Miss wide receivers to throw to.
Ta’amu loves to push the ball down the field, and he isn’t afraid to take the big shots. You like taking chances on quarterbacks that have that mentality later in the draft, but if they can’t be consistent enough than the risk will all be for naught.
If he can easily show chemistry down the field with brand new receivers? Then we’re talking.
RB, Myles Gaskin, Washington
One of the reasons why things like the Senior Bowl are important is because you get official measurements on players. Gaskin is a guy who has had a ton of production in the Pac-12 over the last few years, but when it comes to the NFL, the measurements of 5-foot-9, 190 pounds aren’t exactly ideal for a position that takes a lot of punishment.
Not only would I be looking forward to seeing Gaskin versus non-Pac-12 opponents, I’d like to know know just how big or small he is in overall size.
WR, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Stanford
Speaking of Pac-12 guys playing against non-Pac-12 opponents, Arcega-Whiteside would look great in a Senior Bowl jersey.
I’m not sure what kind of draft hype he’ll have by that time, and maybe it will be enough for him to not have to go to Mobile, but if he wants to get some extra looks and some coaching from an NFL coaching staff, seeing the 6-foot-4 Arcega-Whiteside box out cornerbacks all week would be fun.
I’d like to see what kind of an athlete he is in person at his size. If he can prove he’s better at separation, then he has a case to be a top wide receiver in an already stack class.
TE, Josh Oliver, San Jose State
And speaking of overly sized-athletes, Josh Oliver is a player who I would love to see at the Senior Bowl, and a guy who makes a lot of sense as an invite and a player who should for sure accept. Playing at San Jose State doesn’t get you many looks, but when you’re 6-foot-5, 255 pounds, especially at a position that is highly coveted right now, the NFL is already a fan of you. They just need to see what they can do when they get their hands on you.
Oliver has a chance to go to Mobile and really improve his stock — in a coming out party, of sorts — against DI competition.
iOL, Chris Lindstrom, Boston College
This interior offensive line class isn’t great, but Lindstrom seems to be the best chance to be the highest selected upperclassman. He’s earned offensive lineman of the week honors on two separate occasions for the ACC this season, and the more variety of competition he can get under his belt, especially with NFL coaches watching, that can help him be a Top 50 guy by April.
OT, Yodny Cajuste, West Virginia
After Alabama’s Jonah Williams, Dalton Risner and Yodny Cajuste would be the next best offensive tackles in this class. With Risner already invited, I’d love to see Risner and Cajuste lining up together throughout the week.
Let the best man get drafted the highest.
iDL, Isaiah Buggs, Alabama
Miami’s Gerald Willis has already received his invite to the Senior Bowl, and he has already hinted on Twitter that he is likely to accept it. After him, the top senior would be Notre Dame’s Jerry Tillery and Clemson’s Christian Wilkins, and though I wouldn’t mind seeing either of those guys in Mobile, I’d love to see Isaiah Buggs line up on a defense that doesn’t include Alabama studs all around him to see what he can do.
Buggs, at 6-foot-4, 295 pounds would be the main man on basically any other interior defensive line in the country that didn’t include Quinnen Williams and Raekwon Davis.
In Mobile, he can prove that.
EDGE, Josh Allen, Kentucky
I’m not going to lie, I had my concerns about Allen going into the season. Allen played a lot more true linebacker responsibilities during the 2017 campaign, and that made me wonder what kind of passer rusher he really was. Here in 2018, he’s shown his stuff with 11 sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss.
Allen has been on a tear this season, and I’d love to see if the momentum can carry on. I’d also be very interested to see just how an NFL coaching staff would play him in those practice and game situations. Does he always play as a stand-up rusher? Do they give him some defensive end work with his hand in the ground? How much coverage do they ask of him? All that stuff.
LB, Deshaun Davis, Auburn
We’ve already discussed how measureables and practice reps can affect draft stock at the Senior Bowl, but an underrated part of the event is also the access that not only NFL teams can get to these players for interviews, but also media members, too.
After doing a column on Davis, I was told he was “the defensive coordinator on the field” for Auburn. I’d love to get the chance to pick his brain myself, and would like to hear how he does with NFL coaching staffs and clicking with different voices in a new system to learn in just a week.
CB, Deandre Baker, Georgia
Baker was regarded as a first round prospect by some going into the season, and he has had a very good year to follow up that hype. Baker goes up against some tough competition in the SEC, but I’d like to see just how much of an alpha player he is entering a new environment for a week. If he can step up as an immediate, confident player, that would be a big boost to his stock, for me — it would prove what we like best about him playing the position.
His ability has already proven itself.
S, Lukas Denis, Boston College
After Alabama’s Deionte Thompson, the rest of the potential 2019 safety class is up in the air for the early second round and the rest of the Top 75.
Denis is a player who has a chance to become that second safety taken, and showing his stuff and doing well in the interview process at the Senior Bowl could give him a leg-up on others trying to snatch that honor away. Awareness and range are Denis’ go-to attributes. If he can get himself some turnovers that week, you’ll see the interest rise.