TDN Mailbag: Senior Bowl Edition

Photo: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

We've got mail! Friday Saturday mornings at The Draft Network are one of my favorite times of the week, as we wrap up an awesome week of content with some terrific questions from our readers, while also getting prepared for an exciting slate of college football this weekend.

Senior Bowl Mailbag edition this week! Who backs out of the big game, which players need to kill the weigh-in, my top three OL/DL 1v1s, three biggest snubs, my top OL and RB at the event and who wins Senior Bowl week, all in the latest TDN Mailbag.

This is always the tricky part. It's easy to get excited when so many high-profile players accept their invitations initially, but the reality is that usually precedes a host of them backing out of the game when January rolls around.

This time, however, I think the quarterback group is in, which is huge. I think all of these guys understand that the line between no. 5 and no. 1, at least in their minds, is razor thin. All of them plenty to prove, none of them first round locks, and a mostly QB-friendly environment in Mobile could benefit all of their stock. As for the rest of the roster, only time will tell if they opt out of the game or not.

The only one I worry about getting drafted is Trace McSorley, who has very little upside and very real weaknesses. Gardner Minshew isn't a lock to be drafted, but I've also seen the least of him, so I'm looking forward to getting a better look at him in Mobile.

Best WR-CB matchup is Amani Oruwariye vs. Deebo Samuel. How does Deebo deal with the size and strength of a safety-like corner in Oruwariye, while the defender must learn to be more physical at the line of scrimmage while still matching up with Samuel's speed deep. Also looking forward to seeing Oruwariye defend Emanuel Hall vertically as well.

Weigh-in will probably be biggest for the following: Hunter Renfrow, Myles Gaskin, McSorley, Dru Samia, Garrett Bradbury, Jalen Jelks, Zach Allen and Bryce Love if he declares.

Can we talk about how there are only five cornerbacks on the Senior Bowl roster currently, and a sixth (Kris Boyd) still undecided? Even if Mike Edwards and Nasir Adderley double-dip, I'm guessing there are still at least four more cornerbacks on the way.

I'm not particularly high on any of the six cornerbacks we know have been invited, but Oruwariye is my top guy. I've seen very little of Rock-Ya Sin and Isaiah Johnson and none of Corey Ballentine however, while being pretty low on Boyd and Lonnie Johnson. Wide receivers have a chance to light it up.

I know Brandon is talking about OL-DL matchups here haha, as he and I always have our eyes on those positional square-offs. Those battles should absolutely be the talk of the Senior Bowl, from 1v1s to in-game situational play. Here are the three I want to see the most:

Josh Allen vs. Yodny Cajuste: Cajuste is a specimen with outstanding natural tools, but some project a move inside to guard for the WVU left tackle. If he can lock down Allen's speed/bend, that will go a long way toward solidifying him as an outside prospect for the NFL. Meanwhile, Allen needs to show he can work counter moves as readily as he wins the corner in order to keep opponents' off-balance in their sets.

Gerald Willis vs. Chris Lindstrom: When these two met earlier this season, Lindstrom won decisively. But Boston College is a run-heavy offense, and seeing Lindstrom on more of an island as a pass protector will be helpful in Mobile. Can Willis work a detailed plan of attack rather than just attempting to fire gaps all day?

Charles Omenihu vs Garrett Bradbury: Omenihu is growing quickly on me, but he currently loves power rushes and needs to learn to string moves together more fluidly. Power rushes is exactly what I want to see Bradbury handle however. I know he's a great athlete and zone blocker, I want to know if he can drop anchor and ward off bull rushes in pass protection.

Out of all the players in Mobile, I'm probably most excited to see Deebo Samuel and Nasir Adderley. I've loved Samuel's game for a long time now, and Adderley's flashes are exceptional. Can't wait to see how Samuel fares with better quarterback play and Adderley against better competition.

The Colts have a host of different types of edge rushers on their current roster, so I wouldn't get picky there. They also just drafted two in the second round last year, so they may want to give those guys a chance to become the starters they envisioned before going back to the well.

They need pass rush help along the interior defensive line, and I would be very intrigued by the upside of Omenihu and Renell Wren. Gerald Willis is extremely explosive, but needs technical work to become less predictable.

I talked about the cornerback group already, and at safety I think someone like Darnell Savage or Johnathan Abram to play closer to the line of scrimmage would be a great fit and complement to Malik Hooker.

My top offensive lineman confirmed for the Senior Bowl is Dalton Risner, although I have yet to finish Cajuste and Bradbury's evals, two players I believe will be in the mix as well. Lindstrom would be no. 2, currently. I have an early Round 2 grade on Risner.

Of the four running backs that have accepted their invitations, Karan Higdon is my top back, but Gaskin may be more valuable ultimately because of his receiving ability. Both look like mid-round types.

The three players that didn't get invited that I would have loved to see there are DaMarkus Lodge, Brett Rypien and Ugo Amadi.

I think Adderley, Abram, Omenihu, Cajuste and Germaine Pratt will all have strong weeks. I'll go with Andy Isabella as the biggest winner of the week however, while Drew Lock and Jarrett Stidham get their draft stock buzzing again in the easy Senior Bowl environment.