2023 Senior Bowl Offensive Mega Preview

One of the best weeks of the entire year is finally here! 2023 Senior Bowl practice gets underway today at 12:30 am ET. Unfortunately, it sounds like practices will only be available on NFL+, but if you are a draft nut like myself, it is well worth the investment to watch some of the best prospects in the country clash.

This is one of the biggest stages left for prospects to prove themselves on. While the game at the end of the week is always a fun watch (February 4th at 2:30 pm ET on NFL Network), it is the week of practice where players make the largest impact on there draft stocks.

Like every year, Senior Bowl Executive Director Jim Nagy and his staff do an excellent job scouring the country for top talent. This will be a huge opportunity for some small school standouts as well as those looking to rewrite or solidify their scouting report. While, I wanted to break down every position group in attendance (this group of edge rushers looks fantastic!), but I did not have the time to get into the defense. So, here is my breakdown of each offensive position group down in Mobile.

Quarterback

There is no Mac Jones, Kenny Pickett or Justin Herbert in this year’s group, which is to say, don’t expect anyone from this group to go in the first round. That’s not meant to be a knock, it is just the reality of the outlook for this QB class. 

Possibly the best prospect here will not even be suiting up. Hendon Hooker will participate in off-the-field activities, but will not play as he continues to rehab his torn ACL. He put up fantastic numbers for the second straight season with the Vols while leading Tennessee back to national prominence. He is definitely older at 25 years old and the injury puts a damper on his draft stock, but I think Hooker could reasonably finish out the pre-draft process as a top-five quarterback in this class.

With Hooker not participating in on-field activities, the American team has an extra QB. We will see TCU’s Max Duggan, Houston’s Clayton Tune and Shepard’s Tyson Bagent under center this week. Each has a few interesting nuggets to turn the heads of NFL scouts. 

Duggan was the Heisman runner-up and led the Horned Frogs to an improbable national championship appearance. My pal James Schiano compared him to Brock Purdy last week on my podcast. Duggan’s incredible season has propelled him firmly into the draft conversation. This week will significantly swing where on Day 3 he will land.

Meanwhile, Tune finally put it all together in his final two seasons at Houston. That coincides with Dana Holgerson’s arrival from West Virginia. While Tune owes a lot of his success to Holgerson’s system, he still put up eye-popping numbers in the process. During that two-year stretch, Tune threw for 7,618 yards, 70 touchdowns and only 20 interceptions while averaging roughly 8.3 yards per attempt. 

Then there is Bagent. It is rare for Division II players to find their way onto this stage. It is more unheard of for quarterbacks. The Shepard quarterback has many admirers in the media though and will look to prove he belongs. He set all kinds of records, including the NCAA’s mark for touchdown passes in a career regardless of division, in his four years as a starter. He is a bit sporadic, but there are some NFL throws on his tape. I’m very excited to see him face the step up in competition.

On the National team roster, Louisville’s Malik Cunningham, BYU’s Jaren Hall and Fresno State’s Jake Haener offer a ton of experience and production. Hall’s 718 career pass attempts are the fewest of the trio by a wide margin. Cunningham and Haener are each over 1,000. 

Cunningham is a dual-threat option with a live arm and a number of questions to answer about his ability to stand out as a passer. He threw for just 1,568 yards and 8 touchdowns this season despite featuring in 10 games, including 9 starts. Those were both the lowest marks since his freshman season when he attempted just 67 passes in very limited playing time. He was dealing with a shoulder injury down the stretch, but that does not fully account for such a massive regression in passing production.

Hall is coming off back-to-back impressive seasons. He waited behind Zach Wilson for the chance to start at BYU and maximized his opportunity. Hall tossed 31 touchdowns and just 6 interceptions while completing 66 percent of his passes this season. Like many of the quarterback prospects in this class, he is on the older side as a fifth-year junior. I think there is a good chance that he will emerge as the best of this year’s roster at the position.

For Haener, he might not have put up the same raw numbers he did a season ago when he had north of 4,000 passing yards and 33 touchdowns. However, he was incredibly efficient this season, completing 72 percent of his passes and only throwing 3 interceptions despite throwing the ball 350 times. The fact that he played at all was somewhat remarkable. Haener suffered what was supposed to be a season-ending injury three weeks into the season. Instead, he sought a second opinion and wound up back on the field five weeks later. He ultimately led Fresno State to a conference championship and a win in the LA Bowl over Washington State. In short, don’t count out Haener, no matter what the odds.

Running Back

It’s another deep group of running backs in Mobile, featuring a few that could sneak into Day 2 if they make enough noise. There are four that stand out to me from the rest. 

Roschon Johnson shared the backfield with the clear No. 1 back in this class in Bijan Robinson. He was the thunder to Robinson’s lightning. The bruising back is listed at 6’2”, 223 pounds, but comes with limited tread on his tires. Re: fewer than 400 carries in four seasons with the Longhorns. He also has just enough receiving production, 56 catches for 420 yards in his career, to make me believe he has the potential to be a three-down back.

Chase Brown on the other hand had nearly as many touches this season (355) as Johnson did in his career. The former Western Michigan back was a huge factor in Illinois’ impressive 8-5 campaign, rushing for 1,643 yards and adding an additional 240 through the air. He has a compact frame, good open-field speed and excellent change of direction. My gut reaction is that he will be a quality starter in the league for a while.

Perhaps the back I am most interested to see this week is Kenny McIntosh, who arrives in Mobile fresh off another national championship. He posted 1,334 scrimmage yards and 12 touchdowns on just 192 touches this season. Sure, it helps to play with Stetson Bennett, Brock Bowers and a deep stable of running backs, but those are impressive efficiency numbers. His 6.9 yards per touch ranked 16th in the country, just a hair above Bijan Robinson and far better than his backfield mate Dejuan Edwards. I think McIntosh fits the modern mold for an NFL running back and could be even better at the next level than he was in college.

Here I am gushing about McIntosh’s efficiency when he isn’t even the most productive back at this year’s Senior Bowl from that standpoint. Tulane’s Tyjae Spears racked up 1,837 yards from scrimmage and 21 touchdowns on 251 touches this season. His 7.3 yards per touch ranked eighth in the nation while those 21 TDs had him tied with Pittsburgh’s Israel Abanikanda for the most in the country. Spears has great acceleration, solid vision and soft hands out of the backfield. I have a feeling everyone is going to know his name by the end of the weekend. In a year where the race to be RB2 feels wide open, I won’t rule out Spears taking that title.

Northwestern’s Evan Hull, App State’s Camerun Peoples, Kentucky’s Chris Rodriguez and Oklahoma’s Eric Gray round out the group. I have higher expectations for the four I listed above, but you never know what to expect. I made the mistake of overlooking a back out of Louisiana that I was not as familiar with back in 2021. Turns out, Elijah Mitchell is pretty good in the NFL. Each of these guys has something they bring to the table.

Wide Receiver

Seemingly every year now, the receiver group at the Senior Bowl is one of the deepest. 2023 will be no exception. Much like last year, I don’t know if there will be anyone selected in the first round, but I have my eye on a few players who could make a Christian Watson-type jump up into the top 50. 

As always, this group features some big school products, like Michigan’s Ronnie Bell, Nebraska’s Trey Palmer and Ole Miss’ Jonathan Mingo. You have your Group of 5 stars, such as SMU’s Rashee Rice, Houston’s Nathaniel Dell and Cincinnati’s Tre Tucker. Add in BYU’s Puka Nucua, Charlotte’s Grant Dubose and Iowa State’s Xavier Hutchinson and you have yourself a loaded position group. 

This will be a huge week for Dell and Rice, who both haven’t played on the national stage, but have the traits and production to be early Day 2 picks. Dell in particular put up incredible statistical production, leading the country in receiving yards and touchdowns this past season while finishing 2nd in receptions. His back-to-back 1,300-yard seasons gives him some of the best production for any receiver in this draft class. His biggest drawback will be his size. Listed at 165 pounds, if Dell can weigh in closer to 175 while still displaying that burst he has on tape, I think that will be enough for teams to hone in on him in the 2nd round. 

Then you have Rice, who after three straight solid, but unspectacular years, exploded for 1,355 yards and 10 touchdowns on 96 catches in 2022. He brings the prototypical size for an NFL receiver at 6’2”, 202 pounds. Despite all the production, he played in a vertical passing offense with a limited route tree. He will have a chance to showcase his ability to separate and produce outside of that offensive scheme. If he looks sharp, I think Rice is a lock to go Day 2. He could really solidify it if he runs well at the combine.

I think I am most excited to watch Xavier Hutchinson. He came just shy of 3,000 receiving yards in three years at Iowa State after transferring from junior college. He was the top target for Brock Purdy just last year and put up even better numbers this season with Hunter Dekkers at quarterback. He does not get talked about enough nationally, especially for a 1st-team All-American. This week, he should remind scouts that he catches the ball well away from his body and has good acceleration in the open field. There is some stiffness to his route running, but his game is more predicated on size and speed than it is agility. I think he will turn some heads in the 50-50 drills.

One other name to keep an eye on this week is Andrei Iosivas from Princeton. The 6’3”, 200-pound receiver had a great season, finishing eight in the FCS in yards per game. He uses his size well to high point the ball on contested catches and shows a second gear in the open field. I like what I have seen from him so far on tape and I think he is in for a big week.

Tight End

This is one of the deepest tight end classes in recent memory and the Senior Bowl will showcase some of its fantastic depth. Oregon State’s Luke Musgrave has to be considered the top-ranked prospect of the group at this point. Despite very limited production, 47 catches for 633 yards and 2 touchdowns in four years, Musgrave turned heads with his size and physicality in his limited playing time in 2022. He fits the profile of a modern day receiving tight end, with Oregon State flexing him out into the slot and using him as a mismatch for defensive backs and linebackers. He featured in just two games in 2022 before a knee injury cost him the rest of the season. This will be a big chance for him to prove that knee is fully healthy and remind everyone why he was on the Mackey Award watch list to open the season. 

One guy I am super high on is Davis Allen from Clemson. I really like what I saw from him this year. While the league has shifted towards preferring this big slot type of tight ends, I am still a sucker for the guy who can contribute as a blocker and a receiver. He had solid production, 443 yards and five TDs, in 2022. Plus he has great size, listed at 6’6”, 250 pounds. I don’t expect him to wow anyone with his athleticism, but has a very well-rounded game that I think will get him on the field sooner rather than later in the NFL.

There seems to be a trend of drafting traits over production at the tight end position in the NFL right now. Daniel Bellinger going in the third round last year is a perfect example of that. If you are still a fan of production from college tight ends though, Purdue’s Payne Durham is your guy. He ranked sixth in receptions and eight in receiving yards among D-I tight ends this season. His eight receiving touchdowns were tied for second most at the position, trailing only Michael Mayer. Durham, like Allen, brings a huge frame at 6’5”, 255 pounds. He feels like a finished product that is ready to contribute at the next level. 

Miami’s Will Mallory, Cincinnati’s Josh Whyle and Oklahoma’s Brayden Willis round out the group. Mallory is a savvy veteran at this point and has the benefit of playing in multiple offensive schemes during his time in college. Whyle had very consistent production over the past three seasons, amassing 1,011 yards and 15 touchdowns. Willis had a bit of a breakout year, topping 500 yards receiving, but has the ability to be an H-back or fullback, depending on the offense. That type of versatility will definitely raise his value.

Offensive Tackle

This is usually my favorite position group to watch all week because man those one-on-ones are awesome. This year’s tackle group is not as star-studded as past years, but there is a good amount of depth, especially if you are a fan of right tackles. 

The right tackle hype starts with former teammates, Oklahoma’s Wanya Morris and Tennessee’s Darnell Wright. The pair began their college careers together in Knoxville. They were both five-star recruits coming out of high school. 

It seemed like Morris was destined for success at Tennessee. He started 12 games at left tackle his freshman year, but injuries and inconsistent play cost him his starting job in 2020. Morris then left for Oklahoma when Jeremy Pruitt was fired for recruiting violations. He barely featured in his first season in Norman, playing six games, starting none. He missed the first two games of this season as well due to an off-field issue. Injuries limited him to just eight starts at right tackle this season, but he seems to have found a home at that spot. 

Meanwhile, Wright stuck with the Vols and developed into a fantastic right tackle in his own right. He has 41 career starts, 26 at right tackle, two at right guard and 13 at left tackle. He has fantastic play strength, showcasing his power well as he anchors in pass protection. I think he is going wow a lot of folks in these one-on-one drills. I’m also eager to see how much he has developed as a run blocker, where he was a bit inconsistent during his time at Tennessee.

The most emotional backstory of the entire week clearly belongs to Georgia’s Warren McClendon. The two-time national champion was involved in the single car crash that killed his teammate Devin Willock and UGA recruiting staffer Chandler LeCroy. He emerged with minor injuries. To honor Willock, Senior Bowl Executive Director Jim Nagy announced on social media last week that McClendon will be wearing Willock’s No. 77 jersey in Mobile. He has had some minor knee issues this season, but played in the CFP title game earlier this month, so he should be good to go this week.

Dawand Jones is yet another right tackle who will draw a lot of attention from scouts. He is hard to miss, literally. Ohio State listed him at 6’8”, 359 pounds this year. That is a large man with impressive athleticism for his size. He is unquestionably a project at this point. His hand usage and footwork are all over the place, but with those intangibles, it is a pretty enticing project for NFL offensive line coaches. Not to mention, he has a basketball background and graded out very well in pass protection according to Pro Football Focus.

Finally, a left tackle prospect! Syracuse’s Matthew Bergeron is one of my favorites among this year’s crop. He has 39 career starts under his belt, with the majority coming at left tackle. He is a fluid mover with good play strength. There is definitely some polish needed for him to hold his own at the next level, but I believe he could be a starter sooner rather than later.

Another left tackle to keep an eye on is Jaelyn Duncan from Maryland. He lacks the ideal polish of a top prospect, but he is a really good athlete with tons of upside. With 38 career starts at left tackle, he has a ton of experience. There is a lot of technical stuff that needs to be cleaned up in his game ranging from hand usage to footwork. Long term though, he has a chance to be an above average starter. At this point, I think he is a Day 2 pick with a chance to rise into the top 50, especially in an offensive tackle class without a ton of depth. 

Rounding out this incredibly experienced group of tackles is BYU’s Blake Freeland. The redshirt junior has 41 career starts with the Cougars. At 6’8”, 305 pounds, he is going to get some looks based on his frame alone. He is a fluid mover with decent power and good hand usage. He has his fair share of fans in the draft community. 

Interior Offensive Line

It wouldn’t be the Senior Bowl without America falling in love with a D-III or FCS interior offensive lineman. In recent years, we’ve seen Cole Strange, Quinn Meinerz and Ben Bartch all make headlines with great play from Chattanooga, Wisconsin-Whitewater and St. John’s (MN) respectively. This year’s model is named Cody Mauch from FCS powerhouse North Dakota State. He has a ton of experience over the past three seasons, mostly playing at left tackle. At 6’6”, 303 pounds, he has a chance to play tackle and will get some work there, but most draft analysts believe his NFL future is at guard. He has the athleticism to be a difference maker at the position. I imagine he will take a bit to get used to playing the position, but I expect him to be another fan favorite in Mobile.

Steve Avila is coming off a strong season with TCU. He was one of the lone bright spots against Georgia in the national championship game. He has a ton of experience all over the offensive line, making starts at every spot except left tackle. At 6’4”, 330 pounds, he is difficult to move off his spot.

Emil Ekiyor Jr. is another guard with tons of experience. He was a three-year starter for Alabama and should be in the mix as one of the better interior lineman in Mobile. I’m excited to see how he does outside of the Tide system. 

As far as centers go, there are a few big names to monitor. O’Cyrus Torrence has a good chance to be a first-round pick and could be the first interior lineman off the board. He started 11 games in his lone season at Florida after transferring from Louisiana. 46 starts into his career, he is a pretty polished final product. He is a massive prospect, listed at 6’5”, 347 pounds. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him dominate this week.

Other top center prospects include John Michael Schmitz from Minnesota and Jarrett Patterson from Notre Dame. Both are veterans with a ton of experience in college. Schmitz is a sixth-year player with 31 starts in his career. Patterson is a fifth-year with 46 starts under his belt. The latter will be especially interesting because he transitioned to left guard this season after spending his whole career up to that point at center. That versatility will go a long way. Expect this to be one of the most position groups of the whole week. 

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Draft Season Never Ends: 2023 Quarterback Breakdown

Every year, the draft is always about the quarterback. James Schiano stops by to offer his thoughts on this year’s crop of QBs, including an in-depth look at Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, Will Levis and Anthony Richardson. Plus, a few sleepers, including who he thinks this year’s Brock Purdy will be.

You can find every episode on Anchor, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, YouTube or wherever you find your podcasts. As always, I appreciate reviews, feedback and when you hit that subscribe button.

Draft Season Never Ends: Week 1 Recap and Week 2 Preview

New episodes dropping every Friday! Football is finally back in full swing! Stetson Bennett, Anthony Richardson and C.J. Stroud each had important weeks to open the season. There are a few other standout performers from across the country as well. Plus, Chris looks ahead to another big weekend of college football games and reacts to Thursday Night Football.

You can find every episode on Anchor, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, YouTube or wherever you find your podcasts. As always, I appreciate reviews, feedback and when you hit that subscribe button.

Five under-the-radar 2023 NFL draft prospects to watch in Week 2

What a first week of college football action! From a high-scoring affair in North Carolina to a beatdown in Atlanta to a special teams collapse in New Orleans, it was incredible all around.

There was a ton to unpack from Week 1. I wrote about my biggest takeaways earlier this week and now Week 2 is already upon us. There are a ton of fantastic matchups to watch once again this weekend.

Unfortunately, some of these games are going to be at the same time, so break out the tablet or set your DVR if you want to watch all of the amazing action from this weekend.

I wanted to highlight a few of the draft-eligible players I am most excited to watch this weekend. Without a doubt, Anthony Richardson vs. Will Levis will draw a ton of eyeballs. Plus, I’m really excited for the fanfare of Alabama and Texas.

What about the under-the-radar guys? Perhaps that is a bit of a misnomer. Many of these players fans of college football have likely heard of. However, these are not the guys you will likely see in a first-round mock draft at this point. So rather than just tell people to watch the games they already know to turn on, let’s take a look at some players who might not be household names yet, but could very well be Top 100 players at the end of the season.

Cameron Ward, QB, Washington State
Year: 3rd-year junior
Opponent: at #19 Wisconsin (Saturday at 3:30 pm ET on FOX)

This is a huge stage for Ward. He is a transfer from Incarnate Word looking to make an impression at the FBS level. Ward has a super quick release and can pick apart defenses when given the chance. He got off to a really solid start against Idaho, tossing three touchdown passes in a victory. Now, he will face much stiffer opposition in a Wisconsin defense that shutout Illinois State in their season opener. I wouldn’t be shocked if he returns to school for another season, but Ward is draft eligible this year. A big, nationally-televised game for him against a Top 25 team is the perfect stage to prove to NFL talent-evaluators that he deserves to be on their radar.

Brenton Cox, LB, Florida
Year: 5th-year junior
Opponent: vs. No. 20 Kentucky (Saturday at 7:00 pm ET on ESPN)

Talk about absolutely relentless. That is the best way I can describe Brenton Cox. He made himself some money last week with 10 tackles in the Gators’ upset of Utah. He will have a chance to earn even more this week against Kentucky. The Wildcats are another ranked team with a talented quarterback and a veteran-heavy offensive line. Cox showed incredible burst, great hand usage and good discipline against the run. If he can start pressuring the quarterback on a more consistent basis, he will be trending towards being a top 50 selection. I haven’t seen much buzz about him yet, but I expect that to change if he keeps playing like he did in Week 1, especially against Top 25 opponents.

Myles Jones, CB, Texas A&M
Year: 6th-year senior
Opponent: vs. Appalachian State (Saturday at 3:30 pm ET on ESPN2)

Being a sixth-year player coming off a major injury is going to be a lot to overcome, but Jones has a pretty unique skill set that I believe will see him get drafted this year. He reminds me a bit of Brandon Browner, or, if you want a more recent comparison, Israel Mukuamu from South Carolina, now of the Dallas Cowboys. That’s the type of role I think we could see him play and I would not be shocked if he was moved to safety in the NFL. He is a logical fit in zone heavy schemes, especially those that would not have him pressing much. He needs to improve his hand usage and physicality, but his combination of size (6’4″) and speed is enticing. Facing an App State team that just hung 61 on UNC should offer a pretty solid test.

Calijah Kancey, DL, Pittsburgh
Year: 4th-year junior
Opponent: at Tennessee (Saturday at 3:30 pm ET on ABC)

Interior pass rushers are still in high demand at the NFL level. At this point, Kancey projects best as a situational pass-rusher rather than a three-down lineman. He struggles against the run, lacking the size and play strength to consistently disrupt the ground game. However, he is a slippery and crafty pass rusher. He excels at crashing the pocket on passing downs. He had a solid game against West Virginia to open the year. The more that I watch him, the more I want him to kick outside and play defensive end, but we will see how the NFL views him. He will get a chance to face off with a talented Tennessee offensive line with three upperclassmen on the interior. Plus, they have a solid two-headed rushing attack with Jabari Small and Jaylen Wright. Kancey needs to start showing improvement in that area of his game in order to bolster his draft stock.

Jaren Hall, QB, BYU
Year: 5th-year junior
Opponent: vs. #9 Baylor (Saturday at 10:15 pm ET on ESPN)

This looks like it is going to be an epic fight in Provo on Saturday. If you need an extra reason to stay up late if you are an East Coaster, Hall has you covered. The fifth-year junior is in his second season as the starter. His mobility is a huge strength and he looks comfortable throwing on the move. He is already showing some improvement from a year ago. His accuracy was a bit spotty last year, but he completed 25 of 32 passes to open the season against South Florida. Baylor has a much better defense and should force Hall into some tougher situations. He is a good improviser and will need to be at his best to take down the Bears. If Hall plays well and BYU picks up the win, he is going to be talked about a whole lot more moving forward.

Follow the Aftermath via email to get every article delivered right to your inbox. Enter your email in the text box to subscribe. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter. You can also check out our weekly podcast Draft Season Never Ends with new episodes every Friday, available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and YouTube.

NFL Draft Daily: Wrapping up my early look at the 2023 quarterback class

NFL Draft Daily looks at top stories, historical trends, player performances and more all through the lens of the NFL Draft. After all, there are only 328 days until the 2023 NFL Draft. Check back in tomorrow for another entry.

I’m finally back to wrap up these quarterbacks. Turns out I needed a little break after the draft and sometimes life has its way of throwing other things your way.

It’s time for Part 3 of my watchlist, which includes 36 quarterbacks in total. Part 1 featured a lot of big names and Part 2 had a number of guys that could make things interesting with a big year. Part 3 of this loaded class has a couple of wild cards heading into this year that I think could make some noise. My final group also includes a few guys that have a lot to prove this year or likely candidates to return to school for another season. Let’s dive into these final 10 QBs.

Clayton Tune, Houston
I definitely did not pick the best game to watch for Tune. He threw four interceptions in the season opener against Texas Tech in 2021. As it turned out, it would be one of just two losses for Houston all season, in part due to Tune’s impressive play. He finished the year with over 3,500 passing yards and 30 touchdowns. He cannot afford to have meltdowns like he did against the Red Raiders, where he was way too careless with the ball. Decision making can be improved though.

Payton Thorne, Michigan State
This final group is definitely not among the favorites to be selected early in the draft. Thorne is no exception. Following an impressive 2021 season, he will be on the radar at least heading into the 2023 draft. He has good touch on his throws, but lacks elite arm strength. He is a solid athlete showing his ability to make plays on read options this past year. He definitely benefited from a lot of short passes and screens in the Michigan State offense. I would like to see him hit some more NFL throws more consistently this year across the middle and in rhythm with his receivers. Those throws are there on his 2021 film, but few and far between.

Hank Bachmeier, Boise State
There was a time that I was very excited for Bachmeier to be draft eligible. The excitement has dropped off some, but he put together a solid junior season and I think could be in the mix as a late-round selection. He has a strong arm and throws a nice deep ball. The ball placement is a bit spotty at times. He has struggled with injuries, but he finally put together a full season in 2021. He is a decent scrambler, but he doesn’t do it too often. A bit undersized as well, he has a lot of questions to answer, but I like what he could become.

Jaren Hall, BYU
Meet Hall, your typical fifth-year junior. COVID has really messed up eligibility for a long time to come. On first watch, my initial assessment of Hall is that he is incredibly mobile and can throw on the run, but he is much less effective playing from the pocket. His accuracy is inconsistent and he overthrew a number of receivers downfield in the game I watched. That being said, I could see him having a ton of success in an offense that moves the pocket and allows him to roll out. It plays to his strengths and helps minimize the impact of his smaller frame.

Dylan Hopkins, UAB
Here’s a name you probably haven’t heard too much. Hopkins led UAB to a strong season with 18 touchdowns in his first full season as the starter. We don’t have a huge sample size with him given that he only attempted 235 passes last year. For reference, that’s less than half the number of attempts Bryce Young had in 2021. What I have seen is a player with a solid arm and a pretty deep ball. He also uses his eyes well to freeze or hold defenders. My concerns with Hopkins come to his mobility. He is not very quick in escaping the pocket and does not look overly comfortable throwing on the run. Hopefully, UAB will let him cut it loose a bit more often in 2022.

Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA
From a name you don’t know to one you have likely heard of. Thompson-Robinson, aka DTR, arrived at UCLA with a ton of fanfare. He has not quite delivered on the hype, but he has developed into a solid player. A clear dual-threat option, he is a really fun player to watch in the open field. His accuracy is a bit inconsistent, with him missing high on a number of occasions down the field. The throwing motion is a bit elongated as well. The physical traits are enticing, but I think he would really need to work on his mechanics to have a shot at the next level. He will need to be a bit more polished to garner attention heading into his fifth season with the Bruins.

Jayden Daniels, LSU
One of the most interesting transfers of this entire offseason, Daniels leaves an Arizona State program under fire for an LSU program that has a bit of a checkered history in its own right. One thing is undeniable though, Daniels will have weapons to work with in Baton Rouge. Kayshon Boutte and Jaray Jenkins are proven commodities at the college level. The Tigers have a few up-and-comers as well. Daniels will need to bounce back after throwing as many touchdowns (10) as he did interceptions in 2021. He has a very compact and quick throwing motion, but his footwork is a mess. The accuracy is good, but not great. I think it could improve with better footwork actually. As a runner, he is one of the best, scrambling to pick up extra yards and very capable on designed runs. He will get a chance to prove himself in the SEC this season.

Cameron Ward, Washington State
Hat tip to my favorite subreddit NFL_Draft for putting this guy on my radar. A former FCS quarterback at Incarnate Word, Ward won the Jerry Rice award. He has a very quick release and looks very comfortable playing from the pocket. Now, he will have a chance to prove himself in a Power Five conference after transferring to Washington State. He will get some real tests at Camp Randall this September and then in Pac-12 play. I wouldn’t be surprised if he stayed another year, but he has the potential to be an NFL quarterback.

Cade McNamara, Michigan
I had an old friend from high school reach out to me to ask why McNamara wasn’t part of my first two entries. After all, McNamara became the first Michigan quarterback to beat Ohio State since Denard Robinson. Plus, the Wolverines did reach the College Football Playoffs. McNamara undoubtedly benefits from a run-heavy scheme, but he is still talented. He lacks elite arm strength, but he has a nice deep ball. His release is a bit of a concern. His side-arm style leads to a number of passes to be batted at the line of scrimmage. I don’t think he will be garnering first-round attention, but he could be a late-round draft pick come April.

D.J. Uiagalelei, Clemson
I’m going to be completely honest. I forgot about Uiagalelei when I first started putting together my watch list. He went from the dazzling replacement to Trevor Lawrence to an afterthought in just one season. I still don’t know what happened to the guy who racked up 439 yards passing and three total touchdowns against Notre Dame in 2020. Looking at his 2021 tape, his accuracy is all over the place. His throwing motion is a bit elongated. As a runner, he has a bit of wiggle, but he is not a burner by any means. He doesn’t have as much power as you would expect for a player listed at 250 pounds either. There are still some special moments on film and his physical traits are great, but none of that is going to matter if he continues to complete 55 percent of his passes and throw only nine touchdowns to 10 interceptions.

Follow the Aftermath via email to get every article delivered right to your inbox. Enter your email in the text box to subscribe. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter. You can also check out our weekly podcast Draft Season Never Ends with new episodes every Friday, available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, YouTube or wherever you get your podcasts.