January 30, 2024   4 MIN READ

Made In Mobile

5 Prospects To Watch At Senior Bowl


The 2024 edition of the Reese’s Senior Bowl, which begins today in Mobile, Ala., boasts over 100 of college football’s most prolific standouts participating in the storied all-star game.

The Eagles, who possess four picks in the top three rounds, including a pair of second-round picks, figure to leave no stone unturned to
identify future building blocks as they look to restock and replenish the talent for new coordinators Kellen Moore (offense) and Vic Fangio (defense).

This year’s version of the premier college football showcase offers no shortage of potential reinforcements, specifically when viewed through the lens of a defensive coach.

Here are five players worth monitoring as a busy week in Mobile gets underway.

Payton Wilson

GETTY IMAGES: N.C. State product Payton Wilson will show off his LB skills this week at the Senior Bowl.

Payton Wilson, LB, N.C. State

The hiring of Vic Fangio might constitute the team veering off of its philosophical approach to the linebacker position, as the position is typically a crucial cog to Fangio’s scheme and functionality. His extensive injury history aside, Wilson is definitely the most talented linebacking prospect in this year’s class and warrants consideration with one of the Eagles’ second-round selections. At 6-foot-4, 238, the former Wolfpack defender offers the length to narrow throwing windows while also providing fluidity and range in coverage. Violent finisher with exceptional closing speed who would fit the bill as a sufficient upgrade.

Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo

It’s hard to imagine both Darius Slay and James Bradberry – 33 and 30, respectively – returning as incumbents on the outside. Even so, the Eagles have long been starved for a blue-chip, surefire, long-term starter to build around, and Mitchell checks all the boxes. At 6-foot, 196 pounds, he boasts prototypical size for the position, matching his unrelenting competitiveness.  Tremendous athlete with the requisite eye discipline to diagnose opposing quarterbacks. He’ll have an opportunity to qualify among the week’s most notable stock-boosters. Right now, I have Mitchell slotted as a late first-round pick with an opportunity for his stock to skyrocket.

Malik Mustapha

GETTY IMAGES: Wake Forest S Malik Mustapha is the type of safety prospect whose body frame compares to Sydney Brown’s.

Malik Mustapha, S, Wake Forest

Much like linebacker, safety is another position in which the Eagles might need to venture outside their conventional school of thought to satisfy their demanding veteran coordinator. Mustapha, at 5-foot-10, 207, is compactly built, similar to Sydney Brown. The former Demon Deacon oozes tantalizing athleticism and flows to the football with extreme urgency and tone-setting intent. Mustapha has the range, explosion and coverage acumen needed to make an immediate impact. He’s also scheme-versatile. One of my favorite defensive players to watch.

Luke McCaffrey, WR, Rice

Moore’s offense has been predicated on a hearty dosage of 11-personnel, and with pending free agents Olamide Zaccheaus and Quez Watkins facing uncertain futures, the Eagles must upgrade at No. 3 receiver. Sure, Georgia’s Ladd McConkey and South Carolina’s Xavier Legette – my personal favorite – figure to steal the show in Mobile. But I’ve operated under the assumption that this position might not qualify as the Eagles’ highest priority given their defensive shortcomings. McCaffrey (6-2, 198), brother of 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey, provides size, straight-line speed and body control — an underrated trait for inside pass-catchers navigating the intermediary levels. He’s a razor-sharp route-runner. Interested to see how he fares in 1-on-1s.

Johnny Dixon

GETTY IMAGES: Penn State product Johnny Dixon is one of two Nittany Lions CBs who could see his draft stock boost.

Johnny Dixon, CB, Penn State

As for the two Penn State cornerbacks in this class, Kalen King is the more highly heralded prospect but Dixon is the prospect I’m more intrigued by. Mobile affords him the platform to turn some heads, particularly in individual drills and 1-on-1s. Like Mitchell, Dixon – also listed at 6 feet, 196 pounds – has the desired frame to contend with receivers of all shapes and sizes and narrow throwing windows. He also showcases high-level football intelligence and a knack for making plays on the ball along with getting to the quarterback, producing 7.5 sacks over his final two seasons. The knock on Dixon’s is over-aggressiveness, as he has a tendency to become handsy, which could drum up some concerns in terms of transitioning to the pro level.

– Andrew DiCecco (@AndrewDiCecco) is a Staff Reporter/Content Producer for InsideTheBirds.com.

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