As we enter the second half of the NFL regular season and the final weeks of college football's regular season, I'm taking a look at potential pairings of draft prospects and pro teams.
Below, I rank my top 25 players from the Reese's Senior Bowl watch list based on their performance so far during the college football season. I'm also including one NFL team fit for each player in my top 25, taking into account a franchise's current depth chart, scheme, possible draft position and potential free agents. In addition, I've provided the names of 25 other prospects who could crack my rankings as I update this list through the end of the season.
The 2023 NFL Draft is still about five months away (April 27-29 in Kansas City, Missouri), so my evaluation of these players will change based on their play this fall, their results in athletic testing and, if they are fortunate enough to receive an invite, their performance at Senior Bowl practices and in the game itself. 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.
- Texas A&M WR Ainias Smith is not listed here because he is expected to miss the rest of the season due to an injury suffered against Arkansas on Sept. 24.
- * denotes Senior Bowl has announced player accepted invite to the game as of 3 p.m. ET on Friday, Nov. 18.
25) Jack Campbell, LB, Iowa (6-foot-5, 246 pounds)
Previous rank: No. 19
Ideal team fit: Buffalo Bills
The Bills must decide whether to re-sign Tremaine Edmunds, who is having arguably his best year as his rookie contract expires. If the two parties can't come to an agreement, then grabbing a talented middle 'backer like Campbell late in the second round could be in the cards. He finds the ball between the tackles and is reliable bringing down ball-carriers. Campbell is instinctive and athletic enough to handle coverage responsibilities in the short and intermediate levels, which becomes a big need if Edmunds doesn't return.
24) Sidy Sow, OL, Eastern Michigan (6-5, 326)
Previous rank: No. 25
Ideal team fit: Miami Dolphins
Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel was the offensive coordinator in San Francisco when the Niners selected former Notre Dame guard Aaron Banks in the second round of the 2021 draft. Sow might remind McDaniel of Banks from a pure size standpoint, as well as from a quick-footwork perspective, which aids his ability to block at the second level. He could compete for reps at the left guard spot.
23) Xavier Hutchinson, WR, Iowa State (6-3, 205)*
Ideal team fit: New York Giants
The Giants will search for playmakers this offseason after dealing former first-round pick Kadarius Toney to the Chiefs before the trade deadline, seeing limited returns from the signing of Kenny Golladay and potentially losing leading pass-catcher Darius Slayton in free agency. Hutchinson's size and strength help him win contested catches over smaller corners downfield. He possesses the foot quickness to win off the line of scrimmage, as well, and the striding speed to break off chunk plays on slants and crossers.
22) Kyu Blu Kelly, CB, Stanford (6-1, 188)*
Previous rank: No. 22
Ideal team fit: Minnesota Vikings
If the Vikings find a receiver or defensive lineman in the first round to add depth in those areas, their focus on Day 2 should be selecting a young corner to play opposite 2022 second-rounder Andrew Booth. Veteran Patrick Peterson is playing well, but his contract voids after this season. Kelly's size is a plus, and Minnesota plays mostly zone coverage, accenting his strengths of fighting with receivers through the catch and quickly bringing them down.
21) Matthew Bergeron, OL, Syracuse (6-5, 322)*
Previous rank: No. 15
Ideal team fit: Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh will be looking to bolster its offensive line talent in April's draft. Bergeron started at right tackle early in his Syracuse career before switching to the left side in 2020, giving him the position versatility teams appreciate. He stays engaged throughout each play with active feet and a strong grip. That combination of tenacious blocking and athleticism would allow him to compete for either tackle spot in Steelers training camp.
20) Jammie Robinson, S, Florida State (5-11, 203)*
Previous rank: No. 16
Ideal team fit: Green Bay Packers
The Packers' struggles on offense could finally push them to address that side of the ball in the first round. With Adrian Amos (contract voids) and newly acquired Johnathan Abram approaching free agency and former first-round pick Darnell Savage not meeting expectations, the team should have interest in Robinson if he's available in Round 2. Robinson is a secure tackler when asked to prevent big plays from a deep position and can also hang with receivers when over the slot. Combining that versatility with his leadership skills could allow him to start from Day 1 for the Packers.
19) Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah (6-4, 240)
Previous rank: No. 20
Ideal team fit: Jacksonville Jaguars
If the Jaguars don't land a tight end in the first round, they could find a real bargain on Day 2 in the athletic, sure-handed Kincaid. Somewhat late to football, as he was an excellent youth basketball player, the Utes' leading receiver has blossomed into a playmaking threat at all levels of the field. Jacksonville quarterback Trevor Lawrence needs a security blanket like Kincaid, especially if impending free agents Evan Engram, Dan Arnold and/or Chris Manhertz are not retained in 2023. Jags coaches and running backs will also appreciate his blocking acumen.
18) Rashee Rice, WR, SMU (6-2, 203)*
Previous rank: No. 21
Ideal team fit: Atlanta Falcons
Rice would join last year's first-rounder, Drake London, in making plays on the outside for the Falcons. With Damiere Byrd and Olamide Zaccheaus impending free agents and the team already lacking receiver depth, Atlanta will likely be picking multiple pass-catchers in the 2023 draft. Rice's ability to win jump balls downfield over smaller corners and get yardage after the catch with a quick first move would complement London's game nicely. Pairing London and Rice with an explosive slot receiver from free agency or later in the draft would put the Falcons' quarterback (whether it's Marcus Mariota, Desmond Ridder or someone else) in a better position to succeed.
17) Henry To'oTo'o, LB, Alabama (6-2, 228)
Previous rank: No. 12
Ideal team fit: Chicago Bears
It would be quite fitting if the Bears were to grab To'oTo'o with the second-round selection gained from Baltimore in the Roquan Smith trade. While the Alabama linebacker is not quite as athletic as Smith, he combines excellent recognition skills with enough speed to attack pass and run plays outside the hashes. His instincts and toughness between the tackles would serve Chicago well.
16) Byron Young, DL, Alabama (6-3, 292)
Ideal team fit: Cleveland Browns
The Browns must address the weakness of their interior defensive line. Young would be a great add because he is a disruptive player with a quick first step and a great motor, consistently threatening to pressure quarterbacks into early throws as well as chasing ball-carriers outside the box. Having his quickness and strength at the 3-technique spot would also help All-Pro edge rusher Myles Garrett get into the backfield even more often.
15) Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee (6-4, 218)
Previous rank: No. 14
Ideal team fit: Indianapolis Colts
The Colts have turned to veteran quarterbacks in recent years, signing Philip Rivers in free agency and then trading for Carson Wentz and Matt Ryan. In Hooker, they get both a rookie and a veteran, as the sixth-year senior turns 25 in January and has four years of starting experience at Virginia Tech and Tennessee. Like Ryan, he can throw lasers from the pocket when his first read is available, and like Wentz, he can challenge defenses with strong running if things break down. Hooker could become a Day 2 treasure if he's able to improve his movement within the pocket and make more off-platform throws.
14) Zach Harrison, Edge, Ohio State (6-6, 272)
Ideal team fit: New Orleans Saints
This is the easiest pick in the bunch in terms of pure fit within a defensive scheme, as the length and power Harrison possesses is exactly what the Saints have coveted on the edges for years. Cameron Jordan is in his 12th year in the league, and the team has decisions to make about impending free agents Marcus Davenport and Tanoh Kpassagnon. While Harrison doesn't win one-on-one as often as you'd expect, given his frame, he flashes quickness off the snap, holds the edge in the run game and wraps up quarterbacks trying to escape the pocket.
13) Tyler Davis, DL, Clemson (6-2, 300)
Previous rank: No. 11
Ideal team fit: Carolina Panthers
Pairing 2020 first-round selection Derrick Brown with Davis would help the Panthers take a leap on defense. The Clemson DT makes impacts in the run game by winning gaps with quickness and chasing down ball-carriers. Quarterbacks don't get a break when they drop back, either, as Davis can beat guards with various pass-rush moves. Considering that Carolina does not produce many sacks inside and struggles against the run, I think Davis would be an excellent fit early in the second round.
12) Derick Hall, Edge, Auburn (6-3, 256)
Previous rank: No. 17
Ideal team fit: Houston Texans
It seems likely the Texans will address their moribund offense in the first round. They could add another pass rusher in the second round, with Rasheem Green approaching free agency. Hall's a linebacker in Auburn's scheme, but he is capable of playing with his hand on the ground, attacking his man with a powerful long-arm move and also turning the corner well when in a 9-technique alignment. Hall's reliable playing the run on the edge, too, so he won't have to be a pass-rush specialist as a rookie.
11) Mekhi Garner, CB, LSU (6-2, 217)
Previous rank: No. 13
Ideal team fit: Arizona Cardinals
Arizona defensive coordinator Vance Joseph is known for employing man coverage, but the Cardinals have been forced to use zone almost exclusively at times with their current roster. Garner's size and length give him a chance to be an excellent press cover man in the NFL, and he possesses enough speed to stay with receivers while engaged. He has stood up to SEC competition in his first year with the Tigers after previously suiting up at Louisiana and Navarro College. The Cardinals' need for corner talent could be exacerbated if Byron Murphy and Trayvon Mullen walk in free agency.
10) Cody Mauch, OL, North Dakota State (6-6, 303)*
Previous rank: No. 9
Ideal team fit: New England Patriots
The Patriots surprised the league by picking former Chattanooga guard Cole Strange in the first round last April. I won't be shocked if they reach outside major college football to pick up their next starting left tackle, as injury-riddled former first-round pick Isaiah Wynn has not worked out, and Trent Brown could move back to the right side. Mauch's athleticism and pure tenacity have gained him fans among NFL scouts. The former tight end already gets leverage in the run game but will improve with added strength.
9) Andrew Vorhees, OL, USC (6-6, 325)
Previous rank: No. 10
Ideal team fit: Tennessee Titans
There's no question that the Titans' bread and butter on offense is running Derrick Henry. Vorhees could help that cause by sliding right into the starting left guard job. He combines the pure bulk to move defensive linemen off the snap with the movement skills to handle second-level targets. Tennessee left tackle Taylor Lewan has not played more than 13 games in a season since 2018; Vorhees, who has started at both guard and tackles spots, could give the Titans a potential contributor outside if Lewan were to be sidelined again next season.
8) Jaelyn Duncan, OL, Maryland (6-6, 320)*
Previous rank: No. 3
Ideal team fit: Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs may be without their left and right tackles after the season if they choose to let Orlando Brown Jr. and Andrew Wylie leave via free agency. Duncan possesses the physical attributes to be a very good bookend blocker, flashing the athleticism to stay with edge rushers off the snap and to hit linebackers in the run game. He can be inconsistent in dropping his anchor against power rushes and hitting targets in space, but I think pro coaches will believe they can get the most out of his talent and turn him into a long-time starter.
7) Nolan Smith, Edge, Georgia (6-3, 235)
Previous rank: No. 8
Ideal team fit: Los Angeles Rams
The Rams clearly miss Von Miller's pass rush this season, as they rank 25th in league in sacks. Smith has the speed off the edge but also displays the power and strong hands to hold up his end of the bargain on run plays. Lacking a first-round pick because of the trade for Matthew Stafford, the Rams would love to find Smith waiting for a call on Day 2 -- like his former Bulldogs teammate Azeez Ojulari was in 2021, before the Giants took him at No. 50 overall -- but could also move back into the initial stanza to select him. The torn pectoral muscle keeping him out of Georgia's lineup right now will not be a huge factor in his draft evaluation.
6) Dawand Jones, OL, Ohio State (6-8, 359)
Previous rank: No. 7
Ideal team fit: New York Jets
Imagine lining up Jones across from 6-7, 363-pound Mekhi Becton when the latter returns from a knee injury next season; the team's young offensive playmakers would be thrilled to see those bodyguards on each side of the line. A high school basketball star, Jones is now committed to playing football, using his supreme length and girth to push edge rushers around the pocket and crash the edge in the run game. He shows nimble feet moving in space to create room for ball-carriers downfield.
5) O'Cyrus Torrence, OL, Florida (6-5, 347)
Previous rank: No. 5
Ideal team fit: Washington Commanders
After allowing Pro Bowler Brandon Scherff to leave town because of his injury history, the Commanders need a dominant presence on the interior of the offensive line. Torrence can be that force behind whom backs Brian Robinson and Antonio Gibson can follow, either powering through the hole or cutting off his back side off tackle. The Louisiana Ragin' Cajun-turned-Florida Gator could be a stone wall of pass protection in front of whoever is quarterbacking the team in 2023.
4) Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College (5-10, 172)
Previous rank: No. 4
Ideal team fit: Baltimore Ravens
After trading Hollywood Brown to Arizona during the 2022 draft, the Ravens simply do not have enough playmakers at receiver, with 2021 first-round pick Rashod Bateman dealing with injuries. Flowers has returned to his sophomore-year form for the Eagles this season, using his quickness to turn screens and crossers into long gains. The 5-10, 172-pounder is stronger than you'd expect as a runner and blocker, and he can also win with speed or toughness downfield -- a quality Baltimore desperately needs.
3) Andre Carter II, Edge, Army (6-7, 260)
Previous rank: No. 6
Ideal team fit: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Carter has untapped potential that could be fulfilled in the Buccaneers' system. Even if Pro Bowler Shaquil Barrett recovers from his Achilles injury in time for the start of the 2023 season, veterans Anthony Nelson and Carl Nassib are impending free agents, so Carter would get playing time as a rookie. Carter doesn't always have an opportunity to take advantage of his excellent length and bend off the edge when Army plays run-heavy offenses. His open-field agility is excellent for his size, as well -- he can cover the flat with ease. That upside and versatility could make him a great investment for Tampa Bay.
2) Will Levis, QB, Kentucky (6-3, 232)
Previous rank: No. 1
Ideal team fit: Detroit Lions
This is a perfect marriage of two competitors: Levis and Detroit head coach Dan Campbell. The Lions could pick up the QB with one of their two first-round picks, as they received the Rams' Thursday night selection in the Matthew Stafford trade. Levis has a plus arm, hits targets all over the field and throws with touch. He's as tough as they come, playing through various injuries and fighting for every yard when on the run. His competitiveness also hurts his game, though, when forcing throws into tight windows and taking sacks while waiting for deep targets to get open. Still, it's easy to see Campbell and general manager Brad Holmes preventing this raw talent from slipping beyond the top 15 selections.
1) Tyree Wilson, Edge, Texas Tech (6-6, 275)*
Previous rank: No. 2
Ideal team fit: Seattle Seahawks
Wilson's athleticism and versatility would make him an excellent fit in Seattle. He can join 2022 second-round pick Boye Mafe as the team's future edge rushers and/or join Shelby Harris on the line if Poona Ford finds another team next spring. The Seahawks value length in their front seven as much as any team in the league, and Wilson certainly checks that box. He uses that length effectively as a pass rusher and run defender, which will make him an appealing candidate for one of the Seahawks' two first-round selections. After suffering a foot injury against Kansas last weekend, Wilson has been ruled out of Saturday's game against Iowa State. But with the information we have right now, it doesn't appear this setback will have significant bearing on his final draft position.
Twenty-five more to watch
Listed in alphabetical order:
- Jordan Battle, S, Alabama (6-foot-1, 206 pounds)
- Keeanu Benton, DL, Wisconsin (6-4, 315)*
- Zach Charbonnet, RB, UCLA (6-1, 220)
- McClendon Curtis, OL, Tennessee-Chattanooga (6-6, 328)*
- Javon Foster, OL, Missouri (6-5, 319)
- Blake Freeland, OL, BYU (6-8, 305)
- Eric Gray, RB, Oklahoma (5-10, 210)
- Nick Hampton, Edge, Appalachian State (6-3, 235)*
- Ryan Hayes, OL, Michigan (6-7, 305)
- Daiyan Henley, LB, Washington State (6-2, 232)
- K.J. Henry, Edge, Clemson (6-4, 255)
- Anthony Johnson, CB, Virginia (6-2, 205)*
- Isaiah Land, Edge, Florida A&M (6-4, 225)
- Will McDonald IV, Edge, Iowa State (6-3, 236)*
- Kenny McIntosh, RB, Georgia (6-1, 210)
- Ventrell Miller, LB, Florida (6-0, 221)
- Olusegun Oluwatimi, OL, Michigan (6-3, 307)
- Gervarrius Owens, S, Houston (6-0, 200)
- Zacch Pickens, DL, South Carolina (6-4, 305)
- Tayvion Robinson, WR, Kentucky (5-11, 187)
- John Michael Schmitz, OL, Minnesota (6-4, 320)
- Christopher Smith, S, Georgia (5-11, 195)
- Starling Thomas V, CB, UAB (6-0, 195)
- Cedric Tillman, WR, Tennessee (6-3, 215)
- Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois (6-0, 180)*