Senior Bowl WR Risers and Fallers

by Corey Pieper
Senior Bowl Risers and Fallers

Now that the Senior Bowl has wrapped up, it is time to analyze who were the risers and who were the fallers.

If you haven't already checked it out, start by reading the Senior Bowl Live Blog. It provides a nice preview of the skill position players that were at the game. Plus, some updates from practice throughout the week of practice. Finally, the blog was updated throughout the game.

RB Injury

One name that after day one was looking to be on the riser list was Marshall running back Rasheen Ali. Unfortunately, we learned that he ruptured his biceps tendon. Surgery will keep him out of action for up to six months. Going into the week he was likely a day-three selection, and that is probably still where he is selected but with an additional question.

Senior Bowl WR Risers and Fallers

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Risers

Roman Wilson, Michigan Wolverines

Roman Wilson never had a 50-reception season while at Michigan. He never had 800 receiving yards in a season. This year was his best season statistically but, it was still just 48 receptions for 789 yards and 12 touchdowns. Then, he showed up to Mobile, Alabama, and showed why he was a 4-star recruit to Michigan.

Wilson has incredible body control which gives him a larger catch radius than you would think for someone who is six foot tall. He also has fantastic hands and uses them well to pluck the ball out of the air. Watch this catch he made in the one-on-one drills against Toledo cornerback Quinyon Mitchell.

Wilson came into the week in the 15-20 range among wide receivers. His week was too good not to raise him. It's a very good receiver class, but I now have him at wide receiver 10. Expect to hear his name in the first two days of the NFL Draft.

Ricky Pearsall, Florida Gators

Ricky Pearsall is a player who can excel in a variety of roles. He has played nearly the same number of snaps out wide as he has in the slot position. He has also returned punts and kicks, as well as being effective on special teams coverage units in the past. That versatility alone would have made him a day-three selection by an NFL team. Coming off the Senior Bowl, he may now be a top-100 pick.

There was never any questioning Pearsall's hands. He had the catch of the season in this game against Charlotte early in the season.

Those hands were on display again this week as he routinely snagged balls out of the air in his vicinity. Throughout the practices, he also proved that he could win at all three levels of the field.

It would have been nice to see both Wilson and Pearsall in actual game action against their NFL draft peers. Instead, both of them chose to opt out of the Senior Bowl game. Both players recognized they had done enough throughout the week of practice to show NFL teams they were better receivers than their perceived value going into the week.

Fallers

Devontez Walker, North Carolina Tar Heels

It was a tough week for Devontez Walker that culminated in a tough Senior Bowl game. Going into the week, he was inside the top 10 receivers for me. The week's practice footage, the practice reports, and the game itself were enough to drop him about 10 spots.

It's not that Walker struggles to separate. For a man who is six foot two inches tall, he is extremely fast. There were times during the Senior Bowl when he was open downfield because he simply ran by the cornerbacks. Still, the most important aspect of playing wide receiver is catching the ball though, and that is where he struggled all week.

Officially, Walker only dropped three passes this season (after seven the year before). He also was initially ruled ineligible by the NCAA so he only played half the season. His drop percentage dropped from over 10% in 2022 to 6.8% in 2023. That is still a high percentage for a projected top-50 overall pick in the NFL Draft. The NFL has a big, fast wide receiver who can get open deep with questionable hands; his name is Marquez Valdez-Scantling.

Xavier Legette, South Carolina Gamecocks

During his first four seasons at South Carolina, Xavier Legette had a combined stat line of 42 receptions, 423 yards, and five touchdowns. Then, in 2023 alone he had a stat line of 71 receptions, 1,255 yards, and seven touchdowns! Going into the Senior Bowl week, Legette was getting hype as a size and speed prospect who could even climb into the backend of the first round.

Legette's first stock hit came when the players were officially measured. He was listed at six foot three inches on the South Carolina website. Instead, he measured six foot one inch which is still a good-sized wide receiver. For a player who doesn't always separate well, those extra inches are a big deal.

Legette didn't play in the Senior Bowl itself with an ankle injury. Add it all together and we're left with questions on what he truly is. NFL teams are going to want some clarity at the NFL combine and his pro day.


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