No two players are the same.
When evaluating prospects, however, it is helpful to compare their skill sets to those of NFL players. This exercise can show what the future might hold.
Below I make aspirational comparisons for the top 2023 Reese's Senior Bowl prospects. It is far from guaranteed that these players will maximize their potential after the 2023 NFL Draft (April 27-29 in Kansas City, Missouri). Many factors will play into a prospect's professional career arc, from his personal development to the talent that surrounds him at the next destination to the acumen of the coaches on his new team.
But the current and former NFL players listed here also had to improve in areas of their game to get to where they are now, some greatly exceeding the expectations that existed for them when they were drafted. I expect some of the players listed here to step up their games in the same way.
The 2023 Senior Bowl will be held at Hancock Whitney Stadium in Mobile, Alabama, on Feb. 4, 2023 and broadcast on NFL Network.
- Heights and weights are via school measurements.
- * denotes Senior Bowl has announced player accepted invite to the game as of 6 p.m. ET on Friday, Dec. 16.
1) Tyree Wilson, Edge, Texas Tech (6-foot-6, 275 pounds)*
Aspirational NFL comp: Chandler Jones, Las Vegas Raiders
Wilson's power, supreme length and agility on the edge allowed him to play multiple alignments at Texas Tech, just as Jones has done throughout his pro career with New England, Arizona and Las Vegas. If Wilson works out at 265 to 270 pounds this spring after rehabbing his injured foot, his agility numbers could be very comparable to Jones'. Maximizing that talent and athleticism would mean trouble for NFL quarterbacks.
2) Will Levis, QB, Kentucky (6-3, 232)
Aspirational NFL comp: Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
Levis' willingness to stick in the pocket is more reminiscent of Dak Prescott's patient dual-threat game at Mississippi State than Allen's frenetic style at Wyoming, but Levis and Allen match up in many other good -- and sometimes not so good -- ways. Coming out of college, many thought Allen lacked the accuracy to succeed in the NFL. Levis gets the same knocks -- fairly, at least at times -- but when at his best, his feet and upper body work together to deliver passes in tight spaces and deep downfield. Both players run with reckless abandon, pounding into and hurdling defenders in the open field. Even an MVP candidate like Allen still makes mistakes as he's trying to make plays to help his team win; Levis will likely do the same at the next level, but also has the potential to lift his team to new heights.
3) Siaki Ika, DT, Baylor (6-4, 358)*
Aspirational NFL comp: Vita Vea, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Statistically speaking, Ika has not been an ultra-productive player at Baylor (eight tackles for loss over the past two seasons), but keep in mind that Vea averaged five tackles for loss over three years at the University of Washington. Numbers do not always tell the full story of a player's talent and impact. I'd give Vea an advantage in overall agility, but Ika still moves quite well off the ball and chases plays adeptly for a player of his size -- and both will move a man-up block into the backfield or shed to attack ball-carriers. Vea lined up outside for Washington at times, and Ika also beats offensive tackles, showing some bend.
4) Isaiah Foskey, Edge, Notre Dame (6-5, 265)*
Aspirational NFL comp: Matt Judon, New England Patriots
Foskey's impressive length, power and quickness off the edge lead me to believe he can become a similar player to Judon -- a legitimate pass-rush threat with the strength to hold the edge versus the run. Foskey and Judon show the patience to wait for mobile quarterbacks to leave the pocket, as well as the ability to overwhelm athletic tackles when the immediate rush is needed.
5) Andre Carter II, Edge, Army (6-7, 260)*
Aspirational NFL comp: Brian Burns, Carolina Panthers
Even though Carter's production dropped from 15.5 sacks in 2021 to just 3.5 this year, I see similar length and bend in Carter and Burns. Carter has added strength to his lean build over the past couple of seasons. However, he maintained the agility that allows him to drop into coverage and chase run plays -- much like Burns, though he stood up less frequently during his time with Florida State. The sky is the limit for Carter once he gets to the NFL, but that timeline is suddenly up in the air, as a Congressional bill could prevent the Army star from deferring his mandatory two years of active-duty service after graduation.
6) Rashee Rice, WR, SMU (6-2, 203)*
Aspirational NFL comp: CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys
Rice's strengths of winning contested catches, grabbing passes outside his frame and separating from cornerbacks outside look similar to those of Lamb when he starred at Oklahoma. In fact, if Rice played at a national program like Lamb did during his college career, we'd probably be hearing about him a lot more. The Mustangs' top threat has shown he can transition from receiver to runner quickly and run through contact in the open field. Rice is prone to more drops than Lamb, but if he cleans that up and stars at the Senior Bowl, you might start seeing these two names mentioned together more often.
7) O'Cyrus Torrence, OG, Florida (6-5, 347)*
Aspirational NFL comp: Robert Hunt, Miami Dolphins
Hunt and Torrence both played college football at Louisiana, although Torrence transferred to spend his final season at Florida. After Hunt spent one year at right tackle for the Dolphins, he shifted inside in 2021 (where he played early in his career for the Ragin' Cajuns) and is really starting to shine in Year 3. Once drafted, Torrence immediately should be plugged into the right guard spot, where he can use his girth, powerful grip and surprising mobility to be a major asset in the run game. I won't be surprised if he plays closer to the 335 pounds at which Hunt is listed, to take full advantage of his athleticism.
8) Cody Mauch, OT, North Dakota State (6-6, 303)*
Aspirational NFL comp: Jack Conklin, Cleveland Browns
Conklin has been a right tackle since entering the NFL, but at Michigan State, he played a very similar style of left tackle to that of Mauch. Both guys get after their man off the snap, dominating with aggression and athleticism. They're both effective blockers on the move. Mauch played some right tackle early in his Bison career, but he might stay on the left side in the NFL, as his tenacity, foot quickness and potential to add strength give him a chance to be an excellent pass protector -- like former 49ers star Joe Staley, who made six Pro Bowls despite coming from a non-Power Five school (Central Michigan).
9) Andrew Vorhees, OG, USC (6-6, 325)*
Aspirational NFL comp: Trey Smith, Kansas City Chiefs
Eagles second-year starter Landon Dickerson would be the easy pick here because he brings similar size and position versatility (Vorhees played both guard and tackle spots at USC; Dickerson played all five O-line positions as a collegian). But I think Vorhees has the potential to be a star blocker like the Chiefs' Smith or the Browns' Wyatt Teller. Their overall build, impressive toughness, strong grip, powerful get-off and good mobility to hit open-field targets are what offensive line coaches look for on the interior. Smith also played left tackle at Tennessee, like Vorhees did for USC in 2021, so both could be called on to play outside in a pinch.
10) Blake Freeland, OT, BYU (6-8, 305)*
Aspirational NFL comp: Mike McGlinchey, San Francisco 49ers
A four-year starter who's played both right and, most recently, left tackle for the Cougars, Freeland is approaching his potential as a top-notch pass protector who also gives his all crashing the edge on run blocks. McGlinchey made the switch from left to right tackle as a rookie with the 49ers, and it wouldn't surprise me if Freeland returned to that side of the formation as he works toward maxing out his frame.
11) Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois (6-0, 180)*
Aspirational NFL comp: Darius Slay, Philadelphia Eagles
Witherspoon and Slay are competitive -- they constantly harass receivers downfield in coverage. They're not big corners, which can be a challenge against larger receivers at the top of the route, but they truly fight for the ball through the catch. They are game for throwing their bodies into quick screens and run plays to chop down ball-carriers. I think if all goes well for Witherspoon, you'll see him deflecting passes in man coverage and creating turnovers in zone like Slay.
12) Zach Harrison, Edge, Ohio State (6-6, 272)*
Aspirational NFL comp: Carlos Dunlap, Kansas City Chiefs
Harrison really turned on the heat during the second half of his senior season, dominating at times against Iowa and Maryland. Some might compare him to former Buckeye Sam Hubbard or second-year Buffalo edge rushers Boogie Basham and Greg Rousseau, but his length and power on the edge remind me most of Dunlap. Harrison has flashed the quickness to turn the corner, but his inconsistency might weigh on scouts' minds. Dunlap faced some similar concerns before he became a second-round pick in 2010. Harrison's untapped potential is intriguing.
13) Henry To'oTo'o, LB, Alabama (6-2, 228)
Aspirational NFL comp: Eric Kendricks, Minnesota Vikings
It would be easy to compare To'oTo'o to one of the Alabama linebackers selected in the top 50 since 2014, but I think his game reminds me the most of Kendricks'. Their instincts are more important to their production than pure speed, yet they both close with explosiveness to wrap up ball-carriers in the backfield, handle coverage responsibilities and blitz effectively. Intensity and assignment knowledge are also prime characteristics for both, which will help To'oTo'o earn a leadership role early in his career.
14) Dawand Jones, OT, Ohio State (6-8, 359)*
Aspirational NFL comp: Andrew Whitworth (retired)
Jones greatly improved over the past year. If he continues to work on his craft and consistently plays with a nasty attitude, it will put him on a track to be a respected longtime starter like Whitworth was. The former basketball star's athleticism test results should look a lot like Whitworth's when he was undervalued as a mid-second round pick in 2006. Their wide frames make it difficult for edge rushers to win outside, though both gave up the corner when hand placement and footwork were lacking during their college days. Jones played some left tackle as a young Buckeye, so it will be interesting to see if he gets reps at Whitworth's position at the next level.
15) Derick Hall, Edge, Auburn (6-3, 256)*
Aspirational NFL comp: Shaquil Barrett, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Hall will certainly be drafted, unlike Barrett, who was a pass-rush specialist with Denver before getting a legitimate chance to flourish with Tampa Bay in 2019. The two are similar in their stature and reliance on a strong long-arm move and quick hands to get the corner, rather than elite speed or bend. Hall stood up for most of his career in Auburn, much like Barrett, using his hustle and straight-line speed to chase down running backs and mobile quarterbacks to the outside. It's also possible Hall could add weight and play defensive end in a 4-3 alignment, using his length and voracity to mimic the game of Cowboys stalwart Demarcus Lawrence.
16) Matthew Bergeron, OL, Syracuse (6-5, 322)*
Aspirational NFL comp: Morgan Moses, Baltimore Ravens
Bergeron has been an excellent left tackle for Syracuse and might stick there if a team believes he can flourish at the position like fellow former ACC tackle Christian Darrisaw (Virginia Tech) has for the Vikings. His strength and attitude as a power blocker, as well as his mirroring and anchor skills in pass protection, make me think he could return to the right tackle spot where he started early in his career with the Orange. Moses transitioned to the right side coming out of Virginia and has earned a place among the most consistent right tackles in the league.
17) Luke Musgrave, TE, Oregon State (6-6, 250)*
Aspirational NFL comp: Zach Ertz, Arizona Cardinals
Musgrave did not get to show off his abilities much this year, missing all but two games due to injury. The nephew of longtime NFL offensive coach Bill Musgrave is a tall, strong (and still growing) pass catcher who has enough speed and agility to be a big-time threat down the seam and a red-zone nightmare at the next level. Forget about the fact that he only had two touchdowns in his career with the Beavers; his size and strong hands will draw comparisons to Ertz, who became a touchdown machine in his Pro Bowl years with the Eagles.
18) Eric Gray, RB, Oklahoma (5-10, 210)*
Aspirational NFL comp: Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints
Gray began his career at Tennessee, where Kamara starred as a dual-threat weapon for two years. Gray transferred to Oklahoma after two seasons, getting limited opportunities in 2021 before breaking out as a rusher and receiver with the Sooners this year. Gray's low center of gravity helps him get lost in traffic and spin off contact to break big runs, much like Kamara did with the Volunteers (and does with the Saints, when healthy). Kamara did not show elite speed or quickness at the NFL Scouting Combine, but even if Gray follows suit, NFL defenders will have issues trying to bring him to the turf in the open field.
19) Tyler Davis, DT, Clemson (6-2, 300)*
Aspirational NFL comp: Grady Jarrett, Atlanta Falcons
Jarrett was a Clemson Tiger, but that's not why I compare him to Davis. He measured under 6-foot-1 and weighed 304 pounds at the combine, winding up as a fifth-round pick who would ultimately prove to be one of the biggest steals of the 2015 NFL Draft. Davis is similar in his lack of elite size and his ability to beat single blocks from multiple spots up front, lining up everywhere from the nose to the 5-technique. They're both explosive off the snap and able to chase down ball-carriers. If Davis stays healthy and is allowed to attack one gap, I expect him to be a productive pro.
20) JL Skinner, S, Boise State (6-4, 220)*
Aspirational NFL comp: Derwin James, Los Angeles Chargers
With his rare build, Skinner could sneak into Day 1 of the draft if he showcases top-end agility and coverage skills at the Senior Bowl and combine. He has been one of the top hitters in college football over the past couple of seasons. If used around the line of scrimmage more consistently in the NFL -- like James -- he will terrorize quarterbacks, be a factor against the run, find receivers in zone coverage and carry tight ends downfield. At worst, I believe he will be a solid starter as a box safety, like the Cowboys' Jayron Kearse.