Senior Bowl 2022 | NFL Draft Prospect Game Recap & Betting Tips
The 2022 Reese’s Senior Bowl took place Saturday, February 5, in Mobile, Alabama as the nation’s top college seniors competed in the 73rd annual showcase.
Throughout the week, a number of players saw their draft stock rise and fall based on practices, performances, and measurements. Today, we take a look at some of the 2022 Senior Bowl winners and losers.
Senior Bowl Recap 2022
FINAL SCORE: National Team 20, American Team 10
The actual Senior Bowl game is the least important part of the evaluation for NFL decision-makers. Most teams only care about the measurements, practices, and interviews, as scouts usually leave before the game even happens.
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That said, quarterbacks Desmond Ridder (Cincinnati) and Kenny Pickett (Pittsburgh) played well. Ridder threw a pair of touchdowns to lead the Nationals to victory, while Pickett completed all six of his passes for 89 yards and a touchdown.
2022 Senior Bowl MVP
The Senior Bowl MVP was Oklahoma defensive tackle Perrion Winfrey, who recorded two sacks in the game and had another tackle for a loss. After a dominant Senior Bowl week, Winfrey likely went from a late-round pick to a possible top-50 selection in the 2022 NFL Draft.
- Read Marcus’ Round 1 2022 NFL Mock Draft.
NFL Draft Prospect Risers 2022
Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
Five of the top six projected quarterbacks in the 2022 NFL Draft were at the Senior Bowl this week, but the signal-caller that stood out the most was Malik Willis.
He was a bit up and down during the practices, but Willis showed that he was not only the best athlete at the position but also had the strongest arm. Even during the rainy practices, Willis was able to drive the ball to the sidelines and showed scouts that he has all the tools to become a franchise quarterback.
With so many teams in the quarterback market this offseason, don’t be shocked if Willis ends up being a top-10 pick this spring. BetMGM Sportsbook currently gives him the fifth-best odds of getting taken first overall.
The Jags already have Trevor Lawrence under center and could trade down to a QB-thirsty squad, so there’s an angle here.
NFL DRAFT BET PICK: Malik Willis No. 1 Overall Pick
Malik Willis: No. 1 Overall Pick In 2022 NFL Draft
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Jermaine Johnson, EDGE, Florida State
From the first snap of practice on Tuesday, it was clear that Jermaine Johnson was the best player at the Senior Bowl.
His week started off strong at weigh-ins, where he measured in at 6-foot-4 and 259 pounds with an 83-inch wingspan (89th percentile) that really caught scouts’ attention. Then, he proceeded to win nearly every one-on-one matchup, showing off impressive power, speed, and hand technique.
Johnson entered the week as the best player in Mobile and only helped his stock throughout the week. Johnson is a surefire first-round pick in April and could go inside the top-15.
Zion Johnson, OG, Boston College
Going into the week, Johnson was considered a borderline top-50 player. But after taking snaps at left guard, center, and right guard, he now finds himself in the conversation to be the first interior offensive lineman taken in the upcoming draft.
Despite never playing center before, Johnson performed well there and was named the 2022 Reese’s Senior Bowl Practice Player of the Week. With the ideal length and frame to play guard in the NFL, don’t be surprised if Johnson is a top-25 pick this year.
NFL Draft Prospect Fallers 2022
Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan
Bernhard Raimann might have been the highest-rated offensive tackle to enter the Senior Bowl, but that probably isn’t the case anymore.
Raimann measured in with only 33-inch arms, which means several teams will cross him off their board as an offensive tackle. He also struggled with speed as a tackle during practice and looked unnatural after shifting inside to guard.
He might still go in the first round, but the excitement around him and his NFL prospects has cooled.
Carson Strong, QB, Nevada
Carson Strong was one of several interesting quarterback prospects to go to Mobile this week. He did not stand out, however, as his lack of athleticism in the pocket continues to be an issue and he wasn’t as accurate as advertised.
Strong had a chance to impress scouts during the week of practice, but most ended up feeling lukewarm on his chances of becoming a starting quarterback. It was not a good week for Strong.
Cameron Thomas, DE, San Diego State
Cameron Thomas had a chance to establish himself as a first-round pick going into the week. However, he injured himself in the stretching period before the first practice and was unable to practice or play in the game.
It’s a tough break for a player that had so much to gain this week. Thomas should still be a top-50 pick, but it’s got to be frustrating for him to miss out on an opportunity to bolster his case.
Why Senior Bowl Matters for NFL Draft
While the game itself is less important, the Senior Bowl and the practices leading up to it still matter for several different reasons.
The first is that this is the last chance that college players have to perform (in pads) in a real football setting. They get to show off their talent against the best players in the country to all 32 NFL teams.
Another big reason why this week matters so much for NFL evaluators is that this is the first time they get verified measurements of college prospects. For some teams, that can be very important as they have clear and strong thresholds when it comes to certain positions. Getting accurate measurements is the first step in building a player’s final draft grade.
The Senior Bowl really benefits players from small schools as well. Someone like Trevor Penning (Northern Iowa) rarely faced NFL talent in college, so the Senior Bowl is his chance to prove he belongs with other NFL hopefuls. Those practice snaps can help illustrate how large the jump from small-school college to the NFL might be for a prospect.