The Detroit Lions and New York Jets coaching staffs will coach the 2022 Reese's Senior Bowl, getting an up-close look at more than 100 prospects for the 2022 NFL Draft.
"We are excited to begin our 2022 offseason by coaching the Senior Bowl and getting a first-hand look at some of the top collegiate players as they prepare for the next level," said Lions coach Dan Campbell, via the Senior Bowl website. "My staff and I welcome this unique opportunity. I know Jim Nagy and his staff will put on a first-class event and we look forward to a fun week in Mobile."
NFL teams are offered the opportunity to coach the two Senior Bowl squads based on draft order, unless they are transitioning coaching staffs. The Jaguars hold the No. 1 pick of the draft but with the club in search of a coach, Jacksonville was not an option. The Lions hold the No. 2 pick, while the Jets have the No. 4 selection. The Lions last coached the Senior Bowl in 2020 under then-coach Matt Patricia. Surprisingly, the Jets have not coached a Senior Bowl team since 1979 under coach Walt Michaels.
"We are very thankful to Jim Nagy and his team for the chance to work with some of the best young players in the nation this week," added Jets coach Robert Saleh. "The New York Jets are fired up for the opportunity to engage with these young men and be a part of everything at the Senior Bowl."
The Senior Bowl will be played Saturday, Feb. 5 at the University of South Alabama's Hancock Whitney Stadium, and will air on NFL Network at 2:30 p.m. ET.
This year, for the first time in Senior Bowl history, head coaches will "serve in more an advisory capacity while promoting select assistants into leadership roles on the staff (e.g. running backs coach to head coach, secondary coach to defensive coordinator, etc.)." This change will give position coaches and coordinators the opportunity to showcase their skills in front of peers from around the league.
All 32 NFL clubs send staff to Mobile, Ala., each year to evaluate 110 draft prospects -- comprised of seniors and junior graduates -- divided into two 55-man squads. Those evaluations primarily involve the annual weigh-in, where scouts gather the players' physical measurements, practice observations and personal interviews conducted at night throughout the practice week. But the two teams who coach the players get a much more thorough look at the players from the on-field instruction, team meetings, off-field events and other interactions throughout the week. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones often harkens back to the 2016 Senior Bowl as a starting point for the Cowboys' liking for QB Dak Prescott, who won the Senior Bowl MVP, although the Cowboys coached the North squad while Prescott played for the South.
Rosters aren't yet finalized for this year's game, but top draft prospects that have accepted invitations include Georgia LB Quay Walker, Michigan RB Hassan Haskins, and many of the 2022 draft's top quarterbacks in North Carolina's Sam Howell, Cincinnati's Desmond Ridder, Liberty's Malik Willis, Pittsburgh's Kenny Pickett, Nevada's Carson Strong and Western Kentucky's Bailey Zappe.