With the help of Eric Galko of OptimumScouting.com, here’s a quick preview of this week’s Senior Bowl practices, which are scouted by all 32 teams and take place Tuesday through Thursday in Mobile, Ala. The Senior Bowl will be at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in Mobile.
Three strongest positions
1. Pass rusher: There is no shortage of pass rushers at the Senior Bowl this week, and Texas A&M defensive end Daeshon Hall (6 feet 6, 260 pounds) might be the best of the bunch. He was overshadowed this year by potential No. 1 pick and fellow edge rusher Myles Garrett, but Hall actually had more quarterback pressures than Garrett (12 to 10) and is a former basketball player with long levers and good physical traits. Another player to keep an eye on is Houston outside linebacker Tyus Bowser (6-3, 240), who finished with 8 1/2 sacks in only eight games. Galko thinks Bowser would have led college football in sacks and tackles for loss had he not suffered a midseason eye injury. “NFL teams really like him — I’m not sure why the rest of the draft community isn’t bullish on him,” Galko said.
2. Wide receiver: There a lot of intriguing receivers, including Texas A&M’s big-bodied Josh Reynolds (6-4, 195) — who caught 61 passes for 1,039 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2016 — and Western Kentucky’s Taywan Taylor , who is a personal favorite of Galko’s. Also keep an eye on Jalen Robinette of Air Force and Syracuse’s Amba Etta-Tawo, who impressed at the East-West Shrine Game last week, and productive Michigan receiver Amara Darboh. “Maybe every one of these guys that will be there this week will be drafted, with the exception of one or two,” Galko said.
3. Tight end: This tight end class is really strong. It’s paced by Alabama’s all-around stud O.J. Howard, a likely first-round pick whose decision to participate in the Senior Bowl solidified this as a good group. “He’ll be a first-round pick, barring injury — no doubt about that,” Galko said. “NFL teams love him. He’s going to test very well; I bet he has a Vernon Davis-like rise in the draft process. His character alone will make him a first-round pick.” Also keep an eye on Gerald Everett (6-4, 215), a receiving tight end from West Alabama, and Jeremy Sprinkle of Arkansas, who some scouts like more than 2016 second-round pick Hunter Henry, according to Galko.
Five players to watch
O.J. Howard, 6-6, 242, Alabama: Strong receiver and blocker caught 45 passes for 595 yards and three touchdowns in 2016 and projects as a top-20 pick. “I don’t think he’ll get past Denver (at No. 20),” Galko said. “I’m actually surprised he came here.”
Taywan Taylor, 6-1, 195, Western Kentucky: Caught 98 passes for 1,730 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2016. “Super-explosive guy — I think he’ll have a great week of practice,” Galko said.
Antonio Garcia, 6-7, 302, Troy: Four-year starter at left tackle, with lots of experience. “I bet he was a great week of practice — he’s the kind of guy who makes this offensive tackle class strong,” Galko said.
Forrest Lamp, 6-4, 300, Western Kentucky: Played left tackle in college and will be playing guard in the Senior Bowl. “He’s going to be this year’s Justin Pugh, Zack Martin-esque riser as a tackle-turned-guard who was a first-round pick,” Galko said.
Montravius Adams, 6-4, 306, Auburn: Stayed in school, added weight and has been dominant in more snaps than he played as a junior. “He’s gone from a rotation guy to arguably one of the top two or three defensive tackles in this draft class,” Galko said. “He’s physical at the point of attack, finishes away from his frame and uses his length really well.”