The crown jewel of the college football all-star prospect showcase is set to kick off shortly as the annual Senior Bowl wraps up the post-season collegiate slate.
In a way that’s similar to your friend who always has the latest hot track from a bold new artist, the Senior Bowl annually unearths underrated prospects and boosts their draft stock. Perhaps that might knock some players off the Chicago Bears’ boards because they won’t pick until the third round, but it could also open their eyes to someone who might not have been in their line of vision previously.
With that in mind, let’s check out some prospects we’ll be watching this afternoon.
Trace McSorley, quarterback, Penn State – What McSorley lacks in size, he makes up with intangibles and playmaking ability. On-lookers raved about McSorley’s handling of the West Coast offense while working under Jon Gruden this week. Knowing that the West Coast system is the base for what Matt Nagy runs, McSorley is worth watching.
Bruce Anderson, running back, North Dakota State – As someone who watches his fair share of Missouri Valley Conference football as a graduate of SIU Carbondale, I know a little something about what Bruce Anderson can do. This jack-of-all-trades back was a star for the Bison, showing off all sorts of skills coming out of the backfield.
Just check out his highlight reel:
The Bears could use a back who can properly round out their position group and compliment Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a three-headed monster working with Mitch Trubisky?
Terry McLaurin, wide receiver, Ohio State – McLaurin is the type of mid-round prospect who piques my interest because of his prospect pedigree. In addition to being Indiana’s Mr. Football in 2013, McLaurin was a four-star recruit by ESPN and Rivals scouting services and a top-50 prospect by some accounts. McLaurin scored 11 touchdowns and averaged 20 yards per reception. That knack for big plays could come in handy at the next level.
Max Scharping, offensive lineman, Northern Illinois – The Bears showed how much they value versatility in their offensive linemen when they drafted James Daniels in the second round in 2018. Chicago could go to the well again with a local product who played his college ball in DeKalb. Scharping has experience at both left and right tackle, but could be best suited to move inside to guard. And even though the team re-signed right tackle Bobby Massie earlier on Saturday, you can’t ever have enough depth.
Kris Boyd, cornerback, Texas – Boyd started 32 of the 50 games he played in at Texas and was a first-team All-Big-12 contributor and a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, which is given to the best defensive back in college football. The Bears could be in the market to beef up their secondary, specifically at cornerback if Bryce Callahan isn’t retained. And even if Callahan comes back, depth at that position is important in the pass-happy NFL.
Austin Seibert, kicker, Oklahoma – The Bears already met with one standout kicker at the Senior Bowl, so I imagine they’ll have eyes on the other big-name kicker in town. Seibert is the leading scorer in Oklahoma and Big 12 history with 499 points, which is a pretty big deal (even in the offense-friendly Big 12). He won the conference’s Special Teams Player of the Year award after making 17 of 19 field goal attempts, including all 15 tries against Big 12 rivals. The final two years of Seibert’s college career were his best, as he made 35 of 40 (87.5%) of his field goals and missed just one of 169 extra-point tries in his junior ans senior seasons. It’s a nice run for a kicker who could pique the Bears’ interests come April. For what it’s worth, Seibert is a native of downstate Belleville, Ill., which pulls at my heartstrings as a former resident of the southern Illinois region.