Some of the very best college football players turned NFL draft prospects converged on Mobile, Alabama, for the 2023 Senior Bowl. After an exciting and enlightening week of practices, the all-star game from Hancock Whitney Stadium allowed those players to pull on their program’s helmet for one last time while showcasing their talents for NFL evaluators.
Who won the contest, and who impressed in the 2023 Senior Bowl game?
Who Won the 2023 Senior Bowl?
After 60 minutes of on-field action, the National Team defeated the American Team 27-10 in the 2023 Senior Bowl. The victory for the Las Vegas Raiders-led National Team marked the third successive Senior Bowl victory over their American counterparts.
After a cagey start to the game that saw Chad Ryland and Jack Podlesny exchange field goals, the introduction of Louisville quarterback Malik Cunningham energized the National Team.
The most productive QB in Cardinals history hit Purdue tight end Payne Durham for a big gain that set the National Team up at the 1-yard line. The scrambling sensation snook into the end zone for the opening touchdown of the game.
MORE: Final 2023 Senior Bowl QB Rankings
Cunningham went back to Durham for the two-point conversion, which put the American Team down 11 points — a deficit that they’d never recover from.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for Cunningham, however. A fourth-quarter interception thrown to Virginia corner Anthony Johnson was returned for a pick-six, giving the American Team their first touchdown of the game. Sadly for the Chicago Bears-led team, it wasn’t enough to prevent a 27-10 defeat in the 2023 Senior Bowl.
Fresno State QB Jake Haener added a late touchdown heave to Stanford’s Michael Wilson — one of the true standouts from the week in Mobile — for the National Team before a Jakorian Bennett interception sealed the deal in the 2023 Senior Bowl.
Who Impressed During the 2023 Senior Bowl?
While the week of practices at the Senior Bowl is considered the true money-maker from the all-star event, the game itself allows the NFL draft prospects on show the opportunity to leave Mobile on a high note and fresh in the mind of NFL evaluators. There were several players who finished the event in the same dominant fashion they’d displayed all week in Mobile.
It’s difficult to look past Durham, the Purdue tight end, as one of the biggest winners of the entire 2023 Senior Bowl week. One of the more underrated prospects heading into the week, Durham routinely showcased that he can be a Sunday standout. A reliable target in the passing game, his body control, physicality, and ability to high-point the ball were on display on the catch that set up the National Team touchdown.
The Purdue tight end demonstrated his versatility throughout the week of the 2023 Senior Bowl. In addition to his threat as a receiver, Durham flashed his blocking ability in the game. He’s positioned himself well in what is a deep 2023 NFL Draft tight end class.
Another positional group with exciting depth in the 2023 NFL Draft class is running back, and Northwestern rusher Evan Hull used the 2023 Senior Bowl to ensure he’s firmly in the minds of NFL evaluators. Hull took the bulk of the snaps for the National Team early in the game and broke a 24-yard run as part of a 10-carry, 74-yard effort. Hull is a reliable and exciting target in the passing game too.
MORE: What Is the Senior Bowl?
In an uncertain linebacker class with no true frontrunner, Washington State’s Daiyan Henley had a week that should ensure he receives early-round attention in the 2023 NFL Draft. The former wide receiver was everywhere during the game, creating consistent pressure while showcasing his eye-popping athleticism.
A true weapon as a modern-day linebacker prospect, he’s a heat-seeking missile with excellent coverage ability. Henley also recovered a fumble during the game.
During the cagey opening exchanges of the game, Rutgers punter Adam Korsak cemented his status as the best at his position in the 2023 NFL Draft. Korsak dropped an early punt deep in National Team territory, helped by a sensational special teams effort from FSU safety Jammie Robinson, another big winner from the 2023 Senior Bowl week.
Almost all of Korsak’s attempts landed inside the 20, as the Rutgers punter showcased the directional and positional consistency that should ensure a selection in April.
There’s plenty of EDGE talent in the 2023 NFL Draft class, and some of the pass-rush prospects at the 2023 Senior Bowl helped elevate their stock during the game.
Kansas standout Lonnie Phelps was the biggest winner from the 60 minutes of on-field action. He was a constant force who was responsible for a fumble amongst a litany of pass-rush stats. Florida A&M outside linebacker Isaiah Land also helped solidify his position with a standout showing as one of the very best HBCU prospects.