The Reese’s Senior Bowl will be held this upcoming Saturday at 11:30 a.m. PT in Mobile Alabama, and will be shown on NFL Network. For those unfamiliar, the Senior Bowl is an opportunity for a lot of players to talk with scouts, prove themselves, and walk away with hopes of leaving an impression on some NFL teams. The talent range is all over the place which makes it extra intriguing to watch. You’ll see some Day 1 potential prospects, as well as some potential later round gems that may prove to be the steal of the draft. The 49ers have shown their interest in some of the prospects that come through here by trading up in the first in the 2016 draft to acquire Joshua Garnett. This is definitely a game worth keeping an eye on and there are quite a few prospects that I could very well see our front office staff looking at for this year’s draft as well.
My section will consist of the North team’s defense. I’ll break down some of the more intriguing prospects in it and feel free to give some feedback on any of the players mentioned if you feel I may have missed out on something or someone. On Tuesday, we looked at the South offense.
Desmond King, Iowa, CB
Though the thought of drafting another defensive back early may make some Niner fans cringe, I believe it’s important to realize that this is an incredibly deep class. I believe King to be one of the top CBs in all of college football, as well as quite possibly the best zone coverage player in the game, and despite that, there are still potentially five or more CBs that will go ahead of him. He’s instinctive, he’s a ball hawk, he can tackle, I really like his game a lot, and I believe he’d be a terrific get in the second round if he lasts. Some believe his game will translate better as a safety in the pros, but I don’t think he’s limited to being just a safety. Rather, his versatility just makes him even more dynamic. It really is unfortunate that DB isn’t exactly a priority, because this guy has game changer written all over him.
Vince Biegel, Wisconsin, OLB
This is one of those special moments when position of need and player meet at the right time. Vince Biegal’s draft stock is currently in flux so it’s hard to pinpoint where would be best to go for him. On the other side of that though, he’s definitely one to target. He’s a special player that is constantly creating pressure on the line. While he’s not exactly a player you gameplan for, he is solid. His leadership is unmistakable, and he’s a team player. He works well in coverage adding to his scheme versatility, and he has my nomination for potential steal of the draft if he makes it to Day 3. It might just be the Borland effect, but I love me some Wisconsin linebackers.
Dawuane Smoot, Illinois, Edge
At 6’3, 265, he’ll likely be designated as an edge player in the pros despite playing all over the line with Illinois. He’s a force on the edge, despite not always being disruptive. He was clearly the best player on his team and PFF has him ranked as the 20th best player in college football during the pre-season. I think the Senior Bowl will be critical for him, so it’ll be interesting to see if he brings it. I’m personally not sold on him and I could imagine that he takes an Eli Harold like fall (projected as a late first/early second and falls to the middle of the third). For anybody out there who loves him, please chime in on why because the few games that I’ve seen of him have left me with question marks.
Jourdan Lewis, Michigan, Cornerback
Lewis is a stud press corner. Watching him play is fun, he’s physical, he uses his hands, and when he plays against an outside receiver, he becomes their shadow until the play is over. He can play slot, but excels at press. The times he generally gets beat are when he looks to see if he’s needed in run support, but otherwise, he’s golden. Due to the Harbaugh aspect of it all, I’m not sure if we’ll likely draft any Michigan players, but if he were to drop, it’d be hard passing on him. His other concern tends to be his size. He’s listed at 5’11, and that’s becoming short in football for corners. Ge also weighed in at 188 lbs, which is what Niner fans were concerned with Rashard Robinson initially. It’s hard to say where he’ll end up, but maybe he’ll show us where he’ll go at the Senior Bowl.
Haason Reddick, Temple, ILB
This may be the most intriguing player to watch in the Senior Bowl on the North’s defense. He’s listed at 6’1, 230 lbs, which seem appropriate for an ILB. The thing is that he’s been playing as an OLB up until now. He obviously is speedy because he was actually a productive pass rusher, but that size won’t cut it in the pros. What will be interesting is watching his transition process unfold. Not a lot of players can play a whole new position right off the bat, so his Senior Bowl showing will be telling. Fun fact about him, he was voted as one of the toughest players by his teammates. There’s a tradition at Temple that whomever gets voted as being the toughest gets a single digit jersey. I’d love to see more toughness instilled at our ILB position this offseason.
So those are my players, but there are many more out there worth watching. Check the game out and write about your thoughts. No insight is too small to not share. Thanks for taking the time to read, and enjoy the game!