MOBILE, Ala. — Senior Bowl week is a time for NFL prospects to improve their draft grades in front of pro coaches, scouts and front-office decision makers.
The SEC sent 23 players to Mobile, Ala., for this week’s festivities, and many of them are so-called “breakout” candidates.
But there are some who probably stand more to lose than gain in Alabama. Here are four seniors who might wish they’d stayed home when the final whistle blows on Saturday evening.
Reggie Ragland, Alabama
The inside linebacker is considered a first-round lock by many. ESPN’s Mel Kiper, Jr., pegged Ragland as the No. 11 overall pick, while CBSSports.com ranks him as the top linebacking prospect (No. 16 overall).
Despite being the most touted senior in Mobile this week, Ragland is trying out a new position: pass-rushing outside linebacker. There’s much more risk than reward available for Ragland in the days ahead. We’ll be keeping a close eye on him.
Jarran Reed, Alabama
Like his former Crimson Tide teammate, Reed is already a first-round talent. Kiper has him going No. 16 overall in his latest mock, and CBSSports.com ranks him as the No. 4 defensive lineman (No. 23 overall).
NFL teams are well aware of Reed’s strengths and (few) weaknesses: He’s a powerful run-stopper whose thick 313-pound frame prevents him from being a quick-to-the-quarterback pass rusher. A safe pick for teams who need line help, Reed could hurt his stock in Mobile more than help it.
Kentrell Brothers, Missouri
The Tigers linebacker shot up draft boards during an impressive 152-tackle season. That number led the country, and Brothers is now consistently mentioned as a second-round option.
His strong play had more to do with strength and defensive IQ than speed, a trait that could be exposed in 1-on-1 coverage or rush drills in Mobile. Brothers (6-foot-1, 235 pounds) is a prototypical NFL inside linebacker, but his perceived lack of burst will be under the microscope this week.
Vadal Alexander, LSU
Alexander is projected as a Day 1 or Day 2 selection, with analysts praising his run-blocking ability. He played well at right tackle in college, but iffy footwork could push him inside at the pro level.
Essentially: He’s a solid prospect with one clear weakness that won’t disappear this week. Some could argue that 1-on-1 drills at a new position (guard) might jeopardize his high rankings.
The Senior Bowl will kick off Saturday at 2:30 p.m. ET (NFL Network). SEC Country is bringing you coverage from Mobile all week.
More from the 2016 Senior Bowl: