Dynasty Rookie Prospects that Stood Out at the 2023 Senior Bowl
It’s rookie season in the NFL and in fantasy football. That means every player who has declared for the 2023 NFL Draft is going to be under a microscope from now until the day of the draft at the end of April. One of the annual occurrences that let some of the college seniors showcase themselves and their talent is Reese’s Senior Bowl.
Every year, players are selected to participate in practice on the National team or the American team and then during the Senior Bowl game itself. All of the NFL teams sent representatives to the practices and the game, in order to scout the invited players and see how well they can take to NFL-like coaching.
For most players, the practice is a lot more important than the actual game itself, despite the fact that the practices are mostly non-contact. This is because scouts get to see a lot more of the players at practice, and there are not necessarily a lot of reps to be had during the game, as players are often substituted so that everybody can get playing time. This leaves little room for proper evaluation during the actual game.
As a result, this article will break down which Rookie prospects that stood out at the 2023 senior bowl, whether it was during practice or during the game itself. If you want to find out who stood out at the 2023 East/West Shrine Bowl or you want to read more about dynasty fantasy football, we have plenty of other dynasty content on RotoHeat.com
Nathaniel “Tank” Dell, WR, Houston
If reports from the 2023 Senior Bowl practices are true, Nathaniel Dell did not lose a single rep at WR on either day one or day two, before deciding to sit out day three of practice as well as the Senior Bowl game. The small WR showed his amazing start/stop quickness, his explosiveness, and his speed as well as his great hands and solid route-running during the two days of practice that he participated in.
Dell is never going to play on the outside at the NFL level, but he is going to be a slot wide receiver and a hell of a chain-mover for a team. In PPR formats, Dell could be a receiver that is going to rack up catches at a rapid pace, because of how well he creates separation. The biggest concern is his size when he is going to go over the middle a lot from the slot and take hits from linebackers and safeties.
The draft buzz on Nathaniel Dell is that he has locked himself as a second-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. He should also be moving up the board in dynasty rookie drafts, as he could be a catch-monster, much like an Amon-Ra St. Brown has been out of the slot.
Tyjae Spears, RB, Tulane
Another absolute standout at the Senior Bowl practices has been Tyjae Spears. He has had multiple long touchdown runs in practice, and he has showcased just how great of a pass-catching running back he is, and how explosive he is in the open field. Spears has been the talk of the Senior Bowl practices at the skill positions together with Tank Dell. Spears barely played in the actual game, touching the ball 4 times with 1 carry and 3 catches.
Tyjae Spears is small, even for a running back, yet he has been able to shoulder the load in 2022 as the featured running back at Tulane. He has a compact build, which is what makes him shake off hits, and he is explosive, making it hard for defenders to tackle him. Spears is also an incredible receiver, which could give him great value in PPR formats.
Spears is unlikely to ever become a featured back in the NFL due to his size, but there are very few of those in the league anyway, so Spears could become a fantasy contributor if he can land a role as a pass-catching back for a team.
Max Duggan, QB, TCU
Although the consensus is that there were no QB rookie prospects that stood out, Max Duggan is probably the QB who did himself the biggest favor. None of the QBs at the 2023 Senior Bowl are likely to get drafted on Day 1 or Day 2 of the 2023 NFL Draft, but Duggan showed that he is coachable and improved every day, despite having to deal with heavy rain on the second day of practice. That’s what NFL teams are looking for in a Day 3 QB.
Duggan didn’t play much in the 2023 Senior Bowl itself, letting Clayton Tune and Tyson Bagent take most of the snaps. Duggan completed 4 of 9 passes for 26 yards and generally did not play enough to get any proper evaluation on him from this game. Instead, we must evaluate him on his practice, where he was arguably the best of the QBs, primarily because of the improvement we saw from Duggan from practice to practice.
Senior Bowl game standouts
Michael Wilson, WR, Stanford
Someone who was barely on radars before the 2023 Senior Bowl practices and games, was Michael Wilson. The primary reason is probably that he never really had any great seasons prior to 2022. However, in 2022 Michael Wilson had some very good games to begin the season before getting injured. He had 26 catches for 418 yards and 4 TDs in 6 games. In 3 of those games, Wilson had 5+ targets, including a game with 6 catches for 176 yards and 2 TDs.
In the 2023 Senior Bowl, Michael Wilson had 4 catches for 76 yards and a TD, including a 44-yard TD catch, where he went up to grab and underthrown ball against double coverage. Wilson might have gone from an undrafted free agent to a Day 3 selection with his 2023 Senior Bowl performance.
Jake Haener, QB, Fresno State
Winning the MVP of the 2023 Senior Bowl is never a bad thing. Jake Haener started off slow as the starting QB for the National team, but he looked a lot better when he re-entered the game due to a Malik Cunningham injury. Haener completed 12 of 19 passes for 139 yards and 1 TD.
Of course, it is difficult to perform and get into a grove when getting substituted quite early, so it was good to see Haener quickly picking it up when he came back in for Cunningham.
Evan Hull, RB, Northwestern
Evan Hull out of Northwestern was the only RB who really made a significant enough performance to stand out during the 2023 Senior Bowl game.
Chase Brown, who had some good practices, also did decent in the game, but Evan Hull had the best game of any RB, rushing 10 times for 74 yards and catching 2 passes for 11 yards.
Hull looked good running the ball, finding the hole, and often making the first guy miss, to gain extra yards.
Jalen Wayne, WR
One of the more interesting stories is Jalen Wayne. He is the cousin of former superstar WR Reggie Wayne, and he had a very good 2023 Senior Bowl. Wayne caught 8 balls for 50 yards. The yardage output wasn’t great, but he got open and made the catches, which should help his draft stock.
Wayne is probably nothing more than a Day 3 talent in the NFL Draft, but he did stand out as really the only offensive player on the American team, that generally had a lot of problems moving the ball.
Rookie Prospects that Stood Out at the 2023 Senior Bowl
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