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Friday, July 12, 2024

Senior Bowl preview

The Senior Bowl features a new coaching staff format and an opportunity for NFL draft prospects to impress scouts


By PATRICK FIGUEROA — sports@theaggie.org


The Senior Bowl is a college football all-star game, as well as the first stage in the NFL draft process. Players who have completed their college eligibility are invited to compete in front of NFL scouts from all 32 teams. Notable players that participated in the Senior Bowl include Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert and UC Davis alum Keelan Doss. 

This year, the Senior Bowl has changed the format for its coaching staff. Instead of having two full NFL coaching staffs for each respective team in the Senior Bowl, NFL operations is implementing a “coach up” format. This means that NFL coordinators and assistant coaches from around the league will be coaching in elevated positions to promote professional development. 

Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy will be the head coach for the American team. On the other side, Las Vegas Raiders defensive coordinator Patrick Graham will be coaching the National team. They will be joined by assistant coaches from various NFL teams, as well as four coaches from historically Black colleges and universities in honor of the Senior Bowl’s Minority Coaching Fellowship Program

Senior Bowl Executive Director Jim Nagy spoke on the new coaching format with NFL reporter Ari Meirov

“What I do like about [the new coaching format] is the opportunity that these coaches now have,” Nagy said

He elaborated that Graham and Getsy both will likely have future head coaching opportunities with what they have done in their careers so far, and the paths they seem to be on for the coming years.

Nagy also adamantly expressed his excitement for the players participating in this year’s Senior Bowl. 

“I’m really excited for our players,” Nagy exclaimed. “[The coaching staffs’ teams are] drafting in the top half of the draft so they’re going to have the top picks in each one of the rounds… [it’s] just a great experience for the players behind the scenes with half the league now.” 

Between the two Senior Bowl rosters, there are nearly 120 players expected to participate. Not only will these players have the opportunity to impress scouts during the game, but also during practices and behind the scenes, as Nagy mentioned. 

One of the players that is expected to participate in the Senior Bowl is Texas Longhorns running back Roschon Johnson. Part of the National team roster, Johnson is a powerful athlete, but he played behind one of the best running backs in college football, Bijan Robinson. This limited Johnson’s number of touches during the 2022 college season. The Senior Bowl provides Johnson with a better opportunity to impress scouts with increased reps. 

Georgia Bulldogs running back Kenny McIntosh is part of the American team roster. Similarly to Johnson, McIntosh had a limited workload because he was part of a crowded backfield at Georgia. However, with good pass-catching and rushing skills, McIntosh has the potential to be a three-down running back in the NFL. Showcasing his three-down skill set at the Senior Bowl could improve his draft stock. 

Tennessee Volunteers quarterback Hendon Hooker was one of the most productive quarterbacks in college football, totaling 27 touchdowns and 3,135 yards thrown. However, he tore his ACL near the end of the season in a game against South Carolina. Despite the injury, Hooker accepted his Senior Bowl invite and will have the opportunity to interview with multiple NFL teams.

TCU Horn Frogs quarterback Max Duggan will also be in the Bowl. Duggan was productive throughout his 2022 season, throwing 3,698 yards and producing 32 touchdowns. He was the runner-up for the 2022 Heisman Trophy and led his team to the College Football National Championship

Iowa State Cyclones wide receiver Xavier Hutchinson had the third-most catches in college football this past season. He is the most productive wide receiver attending the Senior Bowl and is currently projected to be a second-round pick by the Draft Network. If Hutchinson has good athletic testing at the Senior Bowl, he could improve his draft stock. 

With a long history and national coverage, the Senior Bowl is an opportunity for both coaches and players. For players, there will be other opportunities and events along the way, such as the NFL Combine and College Pro Days, that will guide their paths to the NFL draft.


Written by: Patrick Figueroa — sports@theaggie.org