The Reese's Senior Bowl can act as a launching pad for NFL prospects as players from across the country practice and play in front of all 32 NFL teams for the final time before April's draft. Here are three players whose stock rose with an impressive week in Mobile, Ala., according to Dane Brugler of The Athletic.
Oklahoma State WR Tylan Wallace
Wallace (5-11, 193) reminded teams why he's considered a potential second-round pick, according to Brugler, after his 2019 season was cut short by an ACL injury. He had 205 career receptions, 3,434 yards and 26 TDs in 37 games for the Cowboys. He's a downfield threat who averaged 16.8 yards per catch.
"If he were to walk up to you he wouldn't necessarily impress you but throw out those measurables," Brugler said. "He plays bigger, he plays stronger. For a guy that size, his catch radius is really impressive and he plays through contact, which is so important for receivers. There are going to be tight windows and you have to be able to play through that contact and he does consistently. I think he's ready right now. Line him up in an NFL offense and he would not look out of place. With his route-running skills and his instinctive nature of the position, he's NFL ready and a guy who is going somewhere on Day 2. … He's a Day 1 NFL starter at receiver. He can play inside, he can play outside. He's just a really good football player."
Syracuse CB Ifeatu Melifonwu
The younger brother of 49ers S Obi, Melifonwu (6-3, 213) isn't the same freak athlete as his brother, but Brugler believes he's a better player. Primarily an offensive player in high school at RB and WR, Syracuse played him at CB. He totaled 88 tackles, 3 INT and 17 PDs in 23 games for the Orange.
"I really like his drive quickness and that's what he showed on tape," Brugler said. "I really like his acceleration. He has that loose-muscle twitch so he can redirect himself without that hitch or any restraint.
"He's still getting a read on things, but I really like his reactive quickness. I really like the physical gifts that he has. He's long, he's speedy, he's a fluid athlete. I think he's going to compete for starting reps very early in his NFL career. He can play press, he can play Cover 3, he can do these different things and I think he has a little bit of position flex as well. Before the Senior Bowl I had him in the second round and I think he just cemented himself somewhere in the top 60 picks."
See the Best Photos from the Reese's Senior Bowl Practices in Mobile, Ala.
Wisconsin-Whitewater OL Quinn Meinerz
Meinerz was the biggest "riser" of the week -- and perhaps of all prospects who participated in the Senior Bowl over the last decade -- according to Brugler. Following the conclusion of the 2019 season, Meinerz (6-3, 320) received mostly sixth- and seventh-round grades, and even some priority-free-agent grades. He declared for the draft after his 2020 season was canceled and he had the opportunity to play in the Senior Bowl after Alabama OL Landon Dickerson tore his ACL in December. After an impressive week in which he broke a bone in his hand but didn't miss any practices or the game, Brugler believes Meinerz, who wore his jersey like a crop top, is a top-100 pick.
"Based off his 2019 film, he's a little sloppy, he's just moving these DIII guys," Brugler said. "It's always tough when you're facing that level of competition because you don't really understand how good is he. He's playing against future accountants and dentists, but what can he do against the future NFL talent? I'll tell you what, he showed up at the Senior Bowl and just dominated from Day 1. Each practice he was outstanding. He only played guard in college and they put him at guard and center in Mobile. It looked like he played center his entire life. You see the balanced feet, he's really flexible, he has that nasty demeanor to him.
"He reminds me a lot of Ryan Jensen, who was a small-school guy. He took advantage of this opportunity and he's running with it."