2023 Senior Bowl: Biggest winners at every position

Senior Bowl practices are officially in the books, and just like every other installment, this year’s week of festivities saw a handful of NFL draft prospects send their stock in the right direction with impressive performances.

Here are my picks for the biggest winners at every position from the 2023 Senior Bowl.

QB: Jake Haener, Fresno State

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The quarterback group produced a mixed bag of results as a whole. But Haener flashed the most. Haener showed plenty of anticipation and poise, and his throws had zip, and he was very accurate. Among his notable passes was a back-shoulder to tight end Payne Durham on the final day of practice. Haener projects as a backup at the next level, but his performances this past week definitely helped his stock.

RB: Tyjae Spears, Tulane

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While undersized, Spears played bigger than advertised with his quick cuts, burst into the hole, and ability to make defenders miss in space. He busted loose for a big carry on Wednesday. Spears also raised eyebrows in the passing game, running slick routes to put defenders on skates and catching everything thrown in his direction with his 10-inch hands.

WR: Jayden Reed, Michigan State

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Reed stood out with his ability to create consistent separation with his Ph.D.-level route running and track-like speed to win vertically. He also tracked deep balls and made challenging catches near the boundary. Reed will appeal to teams not only due to his skill set but because he can play inside the slot or outside and return punts.

TE: Payne Durham, Purdue

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This past season, Durham finished second on the Boilermakers with 56 catches for 560 yards and eight touchdowns. Those numbers were all career-high marks for Durham, and the receiving chops carried over to the practice field, as he supplied solid hands with a significant catch radius. In addition, Durham was a force that consistently kicked out defenders in the running game.

OT Darnell Wright, Tennessee

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Wright came into Mobile looking to show evaluators that he could be capable of being a starting right tackle. He accomplished that task. With a combination of power, leverage and efficient hand usage and a nasty temperament, defenders struggled to get by him. He also provided a surge in the running game.

IOL: O'Cyrus Torrence, Florida

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When isolated in pass protection in one-on-one drills, Torrence stymied his opponents with a great anchor, base, power absorption and the controlled footwork to mirror. But he was at his best, creating consistent movement in the run game, using his strength and hand strength to move defenders off the ball and cutting off linebackers at the second level.

EDGE: Will McDonald IV, Iowa State

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McDonald had a handful of wins due to his impressive traits, overshadowing him being on the lighter side. With an excellent first step with the hips to bend the edge and the flexibility to drop his shoulder to get under blockers, and the arm length (35″) to long-arm offensive tackles, McDonald was a mainstay in the backfield.

DT Keeanu Benton, Wisconsin

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Benton was known as a good run defender, but he really helped himself by showing that the pass rush potential is there. In one-on-ones, Benton ate up the interior offensive line on the offensive line, flashing great quickness, body control, hands and ability to shed.

LB Daiyan Henley, Washington State

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Henley entered this week as my biggest sleeper, but he’s no longer being slept on. As a former defensive back, Henley showed great athleticism and coverage skills, mirroring routes and defending passes. As a former edge defender, Henley was money in the pass rush drills, displaying speed and a variety of hand tactics to get past running backs.

CB: Julius Brents, Kansas State

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Brents stole the show with his initial measurements, coming in at an eye-popping 6-foot-3 and 202 pounds, with a 6-foot-11 wingspan. Then, he showed off his coverage skills on the field, with the length to apply pressure, foot speed and fluidity, spatial awareness, and transition skills to stay on the hip of receivers.

S: Sydney Brown, Illinois

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When manned up against tight ends and receivers, Brown showed great instincts, the movement skills to mirror, match and lock down his matchup and the disruptiveness at the catch point. He was also very vocal on the practice field, standing out as the communicator.

Story originally appeared on Draft Wire