Players With The Most To Gain At The Senior Bowl


The Senior Bowl is a few days away, which means there is a great opportunity on the horizon for the prospects heading to Mobile, Alabama. This is a chance for each player to make an impression on the hundreds of scouts, coaches and executives who will ultimately play a major role in where they are selected in the 2016 NFL draft.

Normally, this is a great opportunity for small-school players because it gives them a chance to prove they belong with the players from the power-five conferences. Furthermore, this is a great chance for players who were injured or have off-field concerns a chance to ease any worries that teams may have on him.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at which players have the most to gain the Senior Bowl next week.

Carson Wentz, North Dakota State, Quarterback

Carson Wentz has as big of an opportunity as any player in recent memory to boost his draft stock. His stock is already on the rise as more evaluators get exposed to his tape; however, his real opportunity comes from the fact that he will be on the North squad, which will be coached by the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff, who have the No. 4 overall pick and are in need of a quarterback of the future.

Wentz has a chance to really wow the Cowboys’ coaching staff with his work ethic, mental capacity and physical talents in Mobile. Based on his tape, it appears as though the FCS star has the capacity to do just that. He is very athletic for the position and possesses great size and arm talent that are sure to amaze in the Senior Bowl environment. He can make all the throws in any weather and he is extremely accurate in and out of the pocket. He tends to be a gunslinger at times and rely too much on his physical talents. Furthermore, he needs to do a better job of working through his progressions and not locking onto one receiver.

Ultimately, these issues shouldn’t bother a team like the Cowboys because they can be patient and develop Wentz while he sits and learns behind Tony Romo.

If Wentz does make the most of his opportunity, he has the chance to move all the way up to becoming the first quarterback taken in the draft.

Noah Spence, Eastern Kentucky, Edge Defender

Noah Spence’s off-field issues are well documented and they have caused his draft stock to fall far below where his talents warrant it should be. If Spence was never dismissed from Ohio State, he would likely be in the conversation to be the first player taken; he is that talented.

With one year of no off-field issues, the Eastern Kentucky defensive end has momentum on his side and he should shine during the practices at the Senior Bowl. Spence is a dynamic pass-rusher off the edge with the speed, quickness, bend and length to dominate on Sundays. He plays with a non-stop motor and he understands how to counter and set up his pass-rush moves. He is a heady player who understands when he should and shouldn’t take chances. He has the size and athleticism to play at either defensive end or outside linebacker, but he is at his best when he has a wider alignment so his speed is a bigger advantage.

Spence should dominate the Senior Bowl as he is a much more refined pass-rusher with superior athleticism than any offensive lineman in Mobile. He has a chance to really boost his stock and become a top-15 type of player if his off-field concerns check out.

Jonathan Williams, Arkansas, Running Back

Going into this year, Jonathan Williams was viewed as one of the most talented running backs in the nation. Unfortunately, a foot injury derailed Williams from playing this year and his stock took a major hit, but luckily for him, his foot has healed enough to allow him to take part in the Senior Bowl.

The Arkansas running back is an explosive runner who plays with a combination of power and elusiveness. He plays behind his pads and he understands how to lower his pads to take on incoming defenders. He has the lateral burst to fit in a zone blocking scheme plus the physical nature to do well in a power-blocking scheme.

This will be a great opportunity for Williams to show that his foot injury isn’t still affecting him and that he is still one of the most talented running backs in the draft. If he plays well and quiets the injury concerns, Williams could rise into the top-three rounds, which is fantastic for a running back who hasn’t played a down in 2015.

About John Owning

John Owning

John Owning is a NFL columnist for Football Insiders. He has years of experience covering the NFL, NFL draft and NCAA football. John's work has been featured on the Bleacher Report and