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10 NFL Draft prospects with the most to prove at the 2021 Senior Bowl

Players to watch at this week’s all-star event.

Syracuse v Maryland Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

The Senior Bowl has always been a crucial part of the NFL Draft cycle. This year, it could prove to be even more important given the massive changes being made in the athletic testing and pro-day circuit. This week, teams will get a close look at some of the top prospects in the draft and see them in a new environment where they can thrive against top competition in practice and adjust to professional coaching. Sure, there are players like DeVonta Smith going who have very little more to prove, but here are some prospects who can massively boost their stock this week.

  • Ifeatu Melifonwu, Cornerback, Syracuse: Syracuse won a single game in 2020, burying Ifeatu Melifonwu’s impressive season under their own failures. The 6’3”, 215-pound cornerback is a prototypical athlete with his height, length, and speed at the position. Melifonwu will get a lot of interest from NFL teams this week and he can generate some serious buzz with strong a showing.
  • Quincy Roche, Edge, Miami: Quincy Roche was a dominant defender at Temple before transferring to Miami where he played very well in 2020. In 10 games, the graduate transfer compiled 14.5 TFLs and was constantly harassing opposing quarterbacks. Roche showed he could dominate at Temple and dominate at Miami. Now he will face some of the top offensive linemen in the country and hopefully continue to dominate in Mobile.
  • Jabril Cox, Linebacker, LSU: Jabril Cox is bound to be a fast riser this offseason. A down year for LSU and their defense means the former FCS star’s senior season flew under the radar. Cox is an athletic, hybrid defender who will impress coaches this week with his speed and instincts.
  • Kyle Trask, Quarterback, Florida: What does a Heisman candidate have to prove? Unfortunately, Kyle Trask finished his brilliant season on a low note with a poor performance in Florida’s bowl game. Fair or not, people started to wonder if Trask’s big numbers were a product of scheme and the talent around him when he failed to produce with guys like Kardarius Toney, Kyle Pitts, and Trevon Grimes sitting out. Trask has a great chance this week to build back the public and league perception of him with strong practices and interviews.
  • Jamie Newman, Quarterback, Wake Forest: Jamie Newman was poised for a big year when he transferred from Wake Forest to Georgia. Due to valid concerns about the Coronavirus, the gifted passer sat out for the season to prepare for the NFL draft. Newman is an impressive quarterback with good size, a big arm, and great athleticism. He was a legitimate playmaker at Wake Forest and teams will be happy to see him up close after a year away from the field. Even in this year’s seemingly loaded quarterback class, Newman can generate serious momentum for himself this week.
Wake Forest v North Carolina Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images
  • Michael Carter, Running Back, UNC: One of the most electric players in the country in 2020, Michael Carter will give NFL coaches a close-up of his speed, agility, and overall playmaking ability. UNC’s running game featured a two-headed monster of Javonte Williams and Michael Carter this year and people might question Carter’s ability as a lead back given his size (5’8”, 199). He can show off his ability as a traditional NFL back while wowing everyone with his physical gifts.
  • Any Pac-12 Player: The Pac-12 season was basically a wash this year. A lot of players sat out and those who barely got to put on a display of their talents in limited games. Guys like Levi Onwuzurike, Osa Odighizuwa, and Hamilcar Rashed Junior are the only Pac-12 players with a ton to gain this week.
  • Tylan Wallace, Wide Receiver, Oklahoma State: There was a time when Tulane Wallace was considered a first-round hopeful. After putting up over 80 catches, 1,400 yards, and 12 touchdowns in 2018, Wallace never improved upon those numbers and got lost in the noise of so many other great receivers in college football. Wallace is still a legit playmaker who was a victim of a regressing offense. He can earn back his cred this week and assert himself as one of the top playmakers in this class.
  • Cade Johnson, Wide Receiver, SDSU: Anytime you’re looking at FCS prospects, their stock depends on how much they dominate their level of football. Cade Johnson was a big play machine for the Jackrabbits, scoring 25 times in two years while averaging over 18 yards a reception. He is a true deep threat. The problem is Johnson hasn’t played in a year and we are working off tape against other FCS teams. Johnson will line up against some of the best defensive backs in the country this week and can remind people what he’s capable of doing.
  • Dillon Radunz, Offensive Tackle, NDSU: Dillon Radunz’ predicament is not so dissimilar from Cade Johnson. However, the talented offensive lineman got a one-game showcase in 2020 when NDSU played Central Arkansas. Radunz is a big, athletic, blocker with a ton of upside. He is already a skilled run blocker with flashes in the passing game. Radunz was considered by many to be a fringe top 50 prospect and showing out against higher-level competition this week might cement him in the first round discussion.