Senior Bowl 2024: Evaluating small-college prospects at NFL Draft all-star event, including two RB standouts

The Senior Bowl is considered by many to be the pinnacle of postseason college all-star games, the one in which many college football players aspire to get to once their playing careers are done. It provides a great opportunity for those potential NFL Draft prospects to measure up against other top draft hopefuls in front of every NFL team, with many scouts and personnel decision makers in attendance.

What makes the all-star games both unique and beneficial is the opportunity for the small-college prospect (FCS-NAIA) to showcase himself on the biggest stage of his career against arguably the best competition of his career. It provides a one-to-one comparison for scouts and coaches to get a great evaluation of his skill, size and athletic ability. 

While this year’s number of small-college prospects is low, for a variety of reasons like guys moving up to FBS programs, entering the transfer portal, or staying back for another year of eligibility, there was no shortage of talented players hailing from the small-college ranks that made their way to Mobile, Alabama. 

Here’s a look at the five prospects from small-college programs and how they fared during the week of padded practices at the Senior Bowl.

National Team Roster

RB Isaiah Davis, South Dakota State

Davis (6-foot, 220 pounds) was able to display the requisite vision, footwork and burst he showed on film against top-tier competition here at the Senior Bowl practices. What really impressed me the most was his ability to always find the crease within the line of scrimmage, and also his ability to make the subtle move within tight spaces to gain extra yards. He is someone who knows how to be patient in order to hit the home run, which is a big part of his game, and I expect him to showcase that in the actual game.

RB Dylan Laube, New Hampshire

Laube (5-foot-9 210 pounds), had a ton of buzz coming into the week and more than held his own for the most part. He did a lot of things rather well. And, the one trait he showed on film often, which was his ability as a receiver, was the one thing he was able to match here in Mobile. It was his ability as a route-runner and the ease in which he caught the football that was to the delight of many in attendance. You can envision him being a versatile offensive weapon for an NFL team as a rookie.

CB Willie Drew, Virginia State

Making the jump from Division II to high-level Power 5 athletes is always a challenge, but Drew (5-foot-11, 191 pounds) really competed well throughout the week. During 1-on-1 drills, he never made the same mistake twice and was able to right some wrongs in regards to certain receivers who may have gotten the best of him in an earlier rep. From a physical standpoint, he definitely measured up well and gave scouts a glimpse into what his potential upside could be as a pro.

American Team Roster

WR Ryan Flournoy, Southeast Missouri State

Smooth would be the best word to describe the week of work Flournoy (6-foot-1, 200 pounds) had in Mobile. I thought his ability to consistently win at the line of scrimmage was huge, in addition to showing the nuance of stacking the defensive back en route to the football. His hand size measured in at 10 inches, which definitely translated to the on-field work as he was routinely able to pluck the ball out of the air and away from the defender, proving to be a tough matchup for most defensive backs.

EDGE Jalyx Hunt, Houston Christian

Hunt (6-foot-3, 260 pounds) was one of the more feared pass-rushers in the FCS, finishing his career with 20.5 TFLs and 13.5 sacks. What stood out to me was how much better, and comfortable, he got as the week went on. On Thursday, you finally started to see everything come together during the 1-on-1 periods, and he subsequently had his best day in Mobile. He has a good combination of athleticism, twitch and a variety of pass-rushing moves in his toolbox. 

First appeared on www.cbssports.com

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