As we head closer to this year’s Senior Bowl, our Draft writers are compiling their Watchlists. Here is who MJ will be watching out for!
ISAIAH FOSKEY – EDGE – NOTRE DAME
Foskey put the finishing touches to an impressive College resumé this season with a second consecutive 11-sack season. He now holds the Notre Dame career record for sacks at 26.5. This earned him national recognition with All-American honours. Foskey has also been a team captain at Notre Dame so he displays those leadership and high football IQ traits which are coveted by evaluators.
A powerful athlete, Foskey has the prototypical build of an explosive edge rusher coming in at 6’5 and 260 lbs. He has excellent reach and tremendous speed out of the blocks. Foskey should test well once we reach that part of the process. Therefore, a good week at the Senior Bowl on top of his College-level production should give him some real momentum.
He is definitely in the category of a speed-to-power rusher at the moment. The test for Foskey will be how he can handle the up close and personal 1-on-1 reps against offensive linemen. These reps are always keenly contested and Foskey will want to demonstrate he has a variety of counter moves when his opponent drops anchor.
DAYIAN HENLEY – LB – WASHINGTON STATE
Henley is an intriguing prospect at the linebacker position and his path to the 2023 NFL Draft has not been straightforward. He was recruited to Nevada at the wide receiver position and spent until 2019 on offence, also with some time on kick returning duties. Even then he did not immediately settle on linebacker and has experience at the nickel and safety positions on defence. His production grew steadily at Nevada, enough to earn him 2nd team All-Mountain West Conference honours. Off the back of this, he entered the transfer portal and moved to Washington State for 2022 where he became a key part of their defence.
His athleticism has been key to his ability to play in his wide variety of positions to-date. His build (approx. 6’1 230lbs) gives him the strength and durability to adapt to his role on defence, albeit he comes in on the smaller side for linebacker. His experiences give the advantage of broadening his football IQ as he was asked to learn the different requirements of each role. As he develops this should give him the opportunity to become a valuable asset to a defence.
With the right development Henley could have the flexibility to meet a team’s need at more than just linebacker. His experience in the secondary means he is able to drop into coverage, while his speed and athleticism allow him to quickly support stopping the run. Henley is also a sound tackler, having only missed 5 of 97 attempts in 2022. Given the need for versatility on defensive packages run by NFL teams today Henley could find himself in demand and should provide a solid day 2 option. A good showing in the Senior Bowl should help cement that position.
CAMERON LATU – TE – ALABAMA
Latu originally started out as an edge rusher and put together a high school career which alerted many top College teams, including Alabama. However, given their depth at that position Latu decided to switch to tight end but again found his path to any meaningful involvement blocked by another prospect, Jahleel Billingsley.
It was only in 2021, when Latu took his opportunity to surpass Billingsley on the depth chart, that things started moving. A breakout season followed with over 400 yards and an Alabama record of 8 touchdowns at the tight end position. This past 2022 season has solidified his position at Alabama and he now moves to the 2023 Draft with a growing reputation.
Latu has all the raw tools to be a success at tight end in the NFL. He displays great athleticism and agility as a pass-catching tight end. He moves with good speed and fluidity. There is also a willingness to be physical and again uses speed to his advantage as a blocker.
In terms of development the traits are there but just need refining and developing. He is still very raw at the position in terms of actual game reps. The tight end group is deep in this year’s draft and there will be strong competition at the Senior Bowl. A good week could see Latu cement his place as a day 2 pick.
KENNY McINTOSH – RB – GEORGIA
McIntosh is sitting pretty right now after Georgia’s back to back College titles. He has moved to centre stage this season after serving his time on the depth chart behind the likes of James Cook and Zamir White. His outstanding game in the recent semi-final versus Ohio State will have made many around the league involved in the draft process sit up and take note.
With a good combination of size (6’1 210lbs) and speed McIntosh is not easy to bring down and displays good balance through contact. He is also able to read the field well and uses the blocking in front of him to his advantage. McIntosh has the ability to be an every-down back and teams will look to utilise his receiving skills out of the backfield (a touch over 500 yards in 2022).
With the backfield committee approach at Georgia, McIntosh has been under-utilised in comparison to other top running backs coming out of the College game this year (only just over 200 carries in last 2 years). This means he is still, to an extent, raw and learning the roles and responsibilities – pass protection being one. If he is able to take his recent good form into the Senior Bowl then teams will perhaps be more comfortable with projecting how McIntosh could develop as a real weapon in an NFL offense.
RASHEE RICE – WR – SMU
The 2023 wide receiver draft class is loaded with potential but it is wide open in terms of the top prospects. In amongst the names jostling for attention is Rashee Rice from Southern Methodist University Mustangs, better known as SMU!
At 6’2 and around 200lbs Rice has a good solid frame to work from and excellent reach. There’s an ability to burst and once on the move he can work up his long strides to show decent speed in the open field. However, Rice’s calling card is his excellent instincts at the catch point. He’s able to display a great focus on tracking the ball right into his hands and is physical in contesting the catch where needed.
His Senior year was a real breakout (1,355yds 10TDs) but Rice needs to use the opportunities in the Senior Bowl against some top defensive backs to display his abilities in route running. The question is can he translate his SMU performances into the pro game? If Rice can string together a solid pre-draft process, including a successful Senior Bowl, he could easily up his value. This could put him in the conversation for an early day 2 pick or even late in the first round if there is a run on the wide receiver position.
Who do you think will be a riser in this year’s Senior Bowl? Let us know over on Twitter @NinetynineYards
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