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2023 Senior Bowl Preview: 2 prospects to watch at each position

The Reese’s Senior Bowl is finally here, and these are the draft prospects you need to keep your eye on.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 25 Baylor at Texas Photo by Adam Davis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

One of the most influential events in the NFL’s pre-draft process is the Reese’s Senior Bowl. Each year, the hype surrounding the event seems to only grow, as the pool of talent in Mobile seems to improve on an annual basis. With so many talented prospects taking the field this week, which ones should Steelers fans focus on? Today, I am going to give you one prospect at each position to give the most attention to.

Going strong in its 74th year of operation, the Senior Bowl gives some of the best players in college football an opportunity to practice and play against players from an assortment of conferences and levels. Not a year goes by where we fail to see a small-school prospect, even a D-II or D-III prospect on occasion, put himself on the map during Senior Bowl week. Many of the players in action have not had the fortune of playing against top-level opponents week in and week out. The Senior Bowl gives those players an opportunity to prove themselves against some of the best competition one will find.

Jeremy Betz and I had an opportunity to interview Senior Bowl Director Jim Nagy on the Steelers Fix podcast last week. If you have not yet listened to it, you can do so by clicking on the player below:

The Steelers have already met with prospects at the Tropical Bowl and Shrine Bowl, but we have yet to get any real rumors surrounding players NFL teams have specific interest in. Usually, the Senior Bowl is when the rumor mill begins. In fact, it was just two years ago at the Senior Bowl when it was reported the Steelers had significant interest in Alabama running back Najee Harris. The team took him in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

There are many topics worth discussing when it comes to the Senior Bowl, but here is a brief synopsis on one player I, as a Steelers fan, find intriguing at each position.


American: Tyson Bagent — Shepherd
Bagent is a complete unknown to most, but I do not see that being the case after this week. Displaying a good combination of arm strength and accuracy, Bagent can boost his draft stock this week by going through his progressions quickly and making smart reads against a strong group of National defensive backs.

National: Malik Cunningham — Louisville
Lamar Jackson’s heir at Louisville is finally heading to the NFL, and he brings plenty of upside in the later rounds. He is an outstanding athlete with a good arm, but decision-making will be a big question he needs to answer this week.

Running Back

American: Eric Gray — Oklahoma

Gray is a do-it-all back who enjoyed a breakout season in 2022, amassing over 1,600 all-purpose yards and averaging over 6 yards per carry. With ideal speed, power, and decisiveness, I expect him to show out in Mobile. Jeremy Betz and I had the pleasure of interviewing him for the Steelers Fix podcast recently, and we were blown away by his composure and life balance. You can check out our interview with Gray below.

National: Roschon Johnson — Texas

Johnson has the unfortunate circumstance of being on the same team as Bijan Robinson, but having less tread on the tires may actually be a plus for NFL scouts. Johnson is one of my favorite running backs in this class, as he displays great speed, power, and blocking ability. He could be a starter from Day 1 in the NFL.

Wide Receiver

American: Andrei Iosivas — Princeton
I love me some speed, but when you combine that speed with some size, you have my full attention. At 6’3”, 205 pounds, Iosivas boasts incredible speed as well as a reported 39” vertical. He is not a great blocker out wide, but his physicality will be tested this week. He is one of my true January draft crushes.

National: Tre Tucker — Cincinnati
Tucker is another speed guy, but he does not possess the size of Iosivas. Expected to measure in around 5’8”-5’9” and under 180 pounds, physicality is going to be a question mark going into the event. Fortunately, he displays good hands and decent route-running ability.

Tight End

American: Luke Musgrave — Oregon State
Injuries caused Musgrave to miss all but two games of the 2022 season, but when healthy, this man was one of the most dynamic tight ends in the country. I am not sure how I feel about him as a blocker, but his combination of size and speed will be tough for anyone to contain.

National: Davis Allen — Clemson
I was tempted to put Josh Whyle here, but I cannot help but think Allen has a big week in Mobile. He was never the focus in Clemson’s offense, but he is a solid receiver who may have better athleticism than people give him credit for. He is also one of the better blocking tight ends in the class.

Offensive Tackle

American: Nick Saldiveri — Old Dominion
Saldiveri is a solid athlete who displays good footwork and a consistent pad level. During our interview with Jim Nagy (which you can listen to above), Nagy stated that he could see Saldiveri moving from tackle to center. It is definitely something to keep an eye on while watching practices throughout the week.

National: Jaelyn Duncan — Maryland
Duncan is such a polarizing prospect. The talent is undeniable, but he was quite streaky in performance at Maryland. All I want to see from Duncan at the Senior Bowl is consistency. If he comes through, I think he has a chance to be a late first-round pick.

Interior Offensive Line

American: Nick Broeker — Ole Miss
Broeker is one of the most versatile lineman in the class, and I expect him to line up at multiple positions on the line this week. His experience and pass protecting are the biggest two things going for him, but what I appreciate about his game the most is his consistency. At the very least, I see him being an excellent backup lineman for a team.

National: McClendon Curtis — Chattanooga
If you like length, look no further than Curtis. At 6’6”, 326 pounds, Curtis is a powerful run blocker who pushes defenders off the ball on a consistent basis. However, his footwork needs to be better in Mobile than what it looked to be on tape.

Defensive Line

American: Zacch Pickens — South Carolina
Pickens may be a better fit in a 4-3 system, but I am curious to watch him in 1-on-1s throughout the week. His athleticism is off the charts, but he did not put up eye-popping numbers at South Carolina. His draft stock could range anywhere from Round 2 to mid Day 3.

National: Thomas Incoom — Western Michigan
Jeremy and I also had the opportunity to speak with Incoom (you will hear the interview on this week’s episode of The Steelers Fix), and we were both impressed with his confidence and composure. He is a talented EDGE rusher with good first-step quickness.


SirVocea Dennis — Pittsburgh
Dennis is not the biggest linebacker in the world, but he displays an ability to read and react to the run quickly. The rangy linebacker had a great statistical season for Pitt, amassing 94 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 2 forced fumbles, 1 interception, and 3 passes defended. He could rise to consensus Day 2 status with a strong Senior Bowl.

Nick Hampton — Appalachian State
Hampton is a versatile linebacker who displays an ability to blitz effectively, whether it be off the edge or from the inside. Not only does he display sideline-to-sideline speed, but he also possesses decent length, something the Steelers need more of in their linebacker room. The frustrating part is determining whether or not he can transition to an inside linebacker role. He was primarily an EDGE rusher in college, but I do not see him making it there in the NFL.

Defensive Back

American: Darrell Luter, Jr. — South Alabama
Luter is a decent athlete with enough size to play on the boundary, but his combination of instincts and consistency in coverage will be what attracts NFL teams the most. He is a high-energy guy who will be loved by his teammates.

National: Sydney Brown — Illinois
Brown is someone I would want the Steelers to look into in the event Terrell Edmunds does not return. The way he flies to the ball, long hair and all, brings back fond memories of Troy Polamalu. This is not an attempt to compare Brown to the Steeler legend, but he is quick, instinctual, and capable of making a game-altering play at any moment. Keep an eye on JL Skinner from Boise State as well.

Which prospects are you most excited to see at the Senior Bowl? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comment section below!