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Senior Bowl: Day 1 standouts who can rise in 2023 NFL Draft

Plus, a post-practice interview with Princeton WR Andrei Iosivas.

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Practice Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Princeton wide receiver Andrei Iosivas (pronounced Yoshi-vas) is no stranger to change— going 4,961 miles away from your home will definitely force you to change some things about your life. However, Iosivas was ready for that moment then, and is ready for the moment he has this week as he practices at the 2023 Reese’s Senior Bowl.

“It was always Stanford or the Ivy League,” Iosivas told reporters after Day One of Senior Bowl practice in Mobile, AL. “Coming out of high school, I always made sure I had a good GPA. I went to a Stanford camp and was offered a preferred walk-on scholarship, but then I toured the Ivy League and went to Princeton.”

The culture shock was huge in his first year, Iosivas said, but he knew he would adjust once he got to full speed.

And Iosivas at full speed is an amazing sight to see.

Iosivas doesn’t run, no—he glides. Stretching his legs out at 6’2 and striding past defenders, en route to 16 career touchdowns and 15.3 yards per catch for the Tigers, earning accolade after accolade, including First-team All-Ivy League. Iosivas is also a world class sprinter, setting the NCAA Indoor record in the 60 meter hurdles. When Iosivas goes pedal to the medal, he leaves DBs and opposing runners in the dust.

In Mobile, Iosivas aims to prove that he can hang with the bigger, more physical DBs from the Power Five level. “I think I did well today with the press coverage, but I have to focus a bit more on where my hands are and how low I am,” Iosivas said. “Coming from an Ivy League they always knock you for the competition, but I’m keeping up with it.”

Iosivas has blazed a trail already, from Honolulu, HI to Princeton, and now to Mobile. If he continues to practice well, he could zoom up draft boards come draft time.

Day One Practice Notes

National Team

  • Ohio State OT Dawand Jones is MASSIVE. He measured in today at 6’8, 375 pounds with a 89 4/8 inch wingspan, he’s less right tackle and more double wide RV. He performed really well in pass pro 1-on-1’s, shutting down an Isaiah Foskey long arm rep and a DJ Johnson pass rush move with ease. I want to see him tested against true speed guys but he’s off to a roaring start.
  • North Dakota State OL Cody Mauch is one of the more interesting guys in this Senior Bowl. He came to Fargo as a tight end, left as an offensive tackle, and is now playing guard in Mobile. He has shorter arms (measured in at 32 1/8 inches) and lighter at 305, put really handled strength well. He’s going to be a very interesting prospect for multiple teams.
  • Troy C Jake Andrews had a really solid day of practice, and stood out a lot. He came in with a lot less hype than the other center, Michigan’s Olu Oluwatimi, but today Andrews more than held his own. He was able to anchor really well against power, and also looked nice in the run game. He’s a guy I definitely have to go back and watch on film.
  • Bowling Green DT Karl Brooks was a MONSTER on Tuesday. At 6’3, 303 pounds, he played on the edge a lot for Bowling Green, but man he dominated inside all day. His burst and first step quickness was too much for most of the interior offensive linemen all day, and he was blowing up plays in both the run and passing game, If your team needs instant pass rush juice on the interior, Brooks is your guy.
  • Despite losing the rep to Jones, I think Foskey had a pretty good day. He knows what his pass rush plan is (long arm to death), and when it hits, it looks like this:

Foskey also forced a fumble in team drills and was active for most of the day. I want to see him use more counters to that long arm move that he has, but an overall solid first day of work.

  • Georgia Tech DL Keion White carries his weight really well. He measured in at 6’4, 280 pounds with a 33 inch wingspan, but you wouldn’t think he’s 280 with the way his weight is distributed. He’s very well built and made a lot of nice plays in team drills with his quickness and length.
  • Boise State safety JL Skinner looks less like a safety and more like an NBA shooting guard. He came in at 6’4, 211 pounds with 32 4/8 inch arms and is extremely high waisted. I worry about his ability to cover in man situations, but he looked very comfortable as an overhang defender today and covering underneath zones. His best fit is probably somewhere that’ll let him buzz down into the box after the snap, or in a zone heavy scheme that’ll let him play underneath.
  • Army EDGE Andre Carter received a lot of extra coaching today. Carter measured in today at 6’6 and 252 pounds, with a 34 inch wingspan, but he’s all arms and legs right now. His play strength was tested a lot today, and he got washed out in the run game and was beaten badly by Jones in pass rush reps today. He’s more of a project than ready-made contributor right now.
  • Stanford WR Elijah Higgins might benefit more from a switch to tight end or H-back in the NFL. He doesn’t have the change of direction skills to be a receiver, and really struggled to drop his hips.

American Team

  • Houston WR Tank Dell has got capital J JUICE. He has such amazing change of direction and stop-start skills and was able to beat almost everyone he faced in 1-on-1’s today. He’s small (measured in at 5’8, 163 pounds), but if you’re looking for a slot receiver with some explosiveness and ability to get open in any situation, Dell is one of my guys in this draft to keep an eye on.
  • SMU WR Rashee Rice is a guy that I had my eye on coming in, but today he didn’t stand out too much. He was beating defenders, but then the ball would sail way over his head. Rice definitely showed the ability to make tough catches over the middle and the ability to be a big YAC guy at the NFL level. Think Brandon Aiyuk, physically (I’m not saying he’s going to be like Aiyuk, I’m saying the play styles are similar).
  • The DBs for the American team are very physical. They’re unafraid to get in opposing WRs faces and jam them to cause problems. Kansas State DB Julius Brents was very impressive today, using his length to disrupt routes, yet not being overly grabby. He picked off a pass in 1-on-1’s today that was really nice to see. Miami DB Tyrique Stevenson also had a pretty good day. He got popped with a couple of holding flags, but physically tested receivers all day. The battles between he and WR Jonathan Mingo were fun.
  • Iowa State EDGE Will McDonald IV intrigues me. In a EDGE class that’s lacking guys with true bend, McDonald showed some really nice movement skills today. He flashed an inside spin move in pass rush 1-on-1’s, was able to bend the corner, and even beat Tennessee RT Darnell Wright on the first rep of team drills today. He also flashed in 7 on 7, breaking up a pass and looking comfortable dropping into coverage. He’s a very slender 241, but I think there’s a role for him at the NFL level.
  • Tulane RB Tyjae Spears has a nice second gear. He showed good burst today in practice (although there was no tackling today), and took a screen pass for a big gain. He’s got the ability to turn a 3 yard gain into a 30-yard one at any moment, and that’ll be valuable for an NFL franchise.
  • Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy is the head coach of the American team, and I think he did a great job of easing the minds of the players at the end of practice. The American team held a series of six 1-on-1s, 2 EDGE rushers vs left/right tackle, DT vs OG, RB vs LB, WR vs DB and TE vs Safety. Losing side had to do 15 push-ups. Defense won the day, but instilling that kind of competition lets the players play a bit more loose, and let’s them have more fun. That’s what we’re all here for right?

Day 1 Vibe Check

  • Mobile is a beautiful city, but man the fog is TERRIFYING. Driving over a bridge thinking you’re heading into Narnia is a scary sight.
  • South Alabama’s campus is nothing like a Group of Five campus I’ve been at. It’s spacious, but not way too spacious, the basketball gym is HUGE, and the football stadium is really nice. Props to them.
  • The fog in the morning is deceptive, because the moment you think it’s chilly, you remember you’re in Alabama and the sun hits you with the force of 1,000 gods.
  • Cook Out sweet tea is nectar from the gods.