To perform well at the 2022 Senior Bowl is one thing, but to be classified as a riser at the event is a whole other thing entirely. With so many great performances this week at practice, we take a look back at who helped their case for the 2022 NFL Draft in our Senior Bowl Risers from this week.
2022 Senior Bowl Risers | Offense
It’s important to note that the players listed as our 2022 Senior Bowl Risers fell into one of two different categories. Some of these prospects came from relative obscurity to steal the show. Others simply cemented themselves as the same player, if not better, than what was evaluated on film.
Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina
After Sam Howell‘s performance in Mobile, it’s becoming more and more clear that 2021 was an anomaly for him. The issues he had in 2021 were not on display at the Senior Bowl. Instead, Howell delivered accurate shot after shot to his receivers.
Howell’s delivery is compact and among the best in this draft, and it was clearly at the top of the class in Mobile. He showcased an ability to read his keys and make snappy decisions. His arm strength was never in question, but he put that on display with terrific deep shots in places where only his receivers could grab them. Howell’s stock is very much up.
Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
The quarterback room needed a leader, and Malik Willis took charge. Not only was Willis named the top quarterback by his defense, but he was also clearly the best quarterback among the group. He had the most to gain from his experience in Mobile, and he was commanding. Willis uncorked impressive throws to all levels of the field and left those in attendance in awe at times.
Making matters even better for Willis, he improved as the event went on. He got better as each practice unfolded. After a bit of an erratic start that saw him tossing nothing but fastballs, Willis took a bit off his throws, and his accuracy caught up. His tools are there, and his arm is ever-improving. It was a great week of practice for the Liberty quarterback.
Tyler Badie, RB, Missouri
Proving to be capable of a three-down role in the NFL, Tyler Badie was terrific in Mobile. With great vision to hit even the tiniest of creases, Badie showed out during team drills. Separating himself from the rest of the class in Mobile, Badie was the best pass catcher at the Senior Bowl.
Badie has elite moves in his arsenal, utilizing them to separate from a variety of coverage defenders along his route breaks. He found space early and often in the receiving game. Making matters even better, Badie was at the very least effective in pass protection, rounding out his game in all three facets of play.
Dameon Pierce, RB, Florida
One of the angrier runners in college football the past few years, Dameon Pierce ran the ball just like we thought he would. He also presented a challenge in pass protection, routinely stymying a variety of rushers from linebackers to edge defenders. Pierce showed his ability with the football in his hands on every touch and should rise up boards after this performance.
Velus Jones Jr., WR, Tennessee
As one of the fastest receivers out there, Velus Jones Jr. put on a display. He was quick off the line in 1-on-1 drills and even quicker on straight-line routes. Jones blew by defenders with that speed and utilized that burst to create separation. What Jones did show that was new was an elite ability at the catch point and some terrific body control.
Not every catch counted, but Jones made essentially a highlight reel’s worth of clips with just his displays in 1-on-1s. He contorted his body and kept his feet in bounds while snatching the ball from defenders both in the end zone during red-zone drills and in the open field all the same. It was a great display of skills that translate to the NFL.
Khalil Shakir, WR, Boise State
With the best routes of the Senior Bowl class, Khalil Shakir was a tornado to cover. He simply couldn’t be stopped on Day 3 of the Senior Bowl as his whole performance was something special. Routinely finding himself open, Shakir separated from defenders so quickly at times that he had to wait on the pass to come.
He was great at the line of scrimmage and all throughout his routes. The best aspect of his display of route running was the fact that it was across a full route tree. Shakir made himself known to those in attendance.
Jalen Tolbert, WR, South Alabama
Clearly the alpha of the receiver class at the Senior Bowl, Jalen Tolbert was the most consistent receiver in Mobile. After an early drop during warmups on Day 1, it was smooth sailing for Tolbert. He dominated at the catch point, showcased an elite release at the line of scrimmage, and displayed soft hands that he high-pointed with ease over any defender.
Tolbert also got physical with his blocks both during simulated drills and in team action. He’s a well-rounded receiver who showcased the level of competition doesn’t matter — he just simply wins.
Braxton Jones, OL, Southern Utah
Though Braxton Jones trailed off a little down the stretch of practice, his reps during the first two days were outstanding. He was strong and rigid when necessary. But he presented a great base and soft hands to keep engaged with his defender at others.
Jones has some seasoning left to do, but his athletic traits are impressive. His strength and measurables are a great combination to start with his evaluation. But his performance on the field against some of the best edge rushers through Days 1 and 2 was a better sign of things to come.
Andrew Stueber, OL, Michigan
Making waves with some terrific reps, Andrew Stueber made a name for himself during the Senior Bowl this week. Working on the inside, Stueber more often than not got the better of his defender in team drills. Whether it was for the run or in pass protection during the team portions, Stueber was solid.
His efforts in 1-on-1s were also terrific, as Stueber got the best of his defenders more than they did him. It was a great performance from the Michigan lineman, and it made clear how pivotal Stueber was to the Wolverines’ rushing attack in 2021.
Matt Waletzko, OL, North Dakota
Consistently, Matt Waletzko‘s reps were better than his defenders. There were some misses here and there, but Waletzko recovered quickly and processed what went wrong to make improvements on the next attempt. His efforts in 1-on-1s were very impressive, considering this was arguably the best level of talent he’s ever had to go against. Waletzko confirmed what we saw on tape with his performance in Mobile.
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