Each week during the season, On3’s Matt Zenitz teams up with Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy to identify some senior 2023 NFL Draft prospects generating buzz in the scouting world.
Here are 11 who fall into that category for Nagy and the Senior Bowl staff based on their play in Week 2.
Texas DL Keondre Coburn, Moro Ojomo and T’Vondre Sweat
Week 2 stats: During a 20-19 loss to Alabama, Keondre Coburn had three tackles, Moro Ojomo had two tackles as well as a quarterback hurry and T’Vondre Sweat posted one tackle along with a quarterback hurry
Nagy’s take: We haven’t had a chance to check out the tape yet this week, but from our scout’s seat in the press box in Austin, it looked like the interior defensive line trio of Coburn, Ojomo and Sweat stepped up in a big way for the Longhorns. If you take away Jase McClellan’s 81-yard TD run, the Tide’s other 23 carries only netted 80 yards, which is a respectable 3.5 yards per rush for Texas. Coburn and Ojomo are starters, but Sweat also will get a long look from NFL scouts. At 6 feet 4⅜ and 346 pounds with 33¼-inch arms, Sweat has the type of “doesn’t grow on trees” size that all NFL teams are typically looking for in NFL draft Day 3 interior defensive line prospects.
Auburn EDGE Derick Hall, LB Owen Pappoe and CB Nehemiah Pritchett
Week 2 stats: During a 24-16 win over San Jose State, Derick Hall had eight tackles, Owen Pappoe made seven tackles and Nehemiah Pritchett had three tackles
Nagy’s take: Our scouts liked what they saw from Auburn’s top two rated prospects – Hall and Pappoe. Both look the part physically and both stood out in the Tigers’ surprisingly close win over San Jose State. Hall is extremely explosive and strong with his hands; Pappoe’s play speed was impressive from field level. Another prospect who got our attention was Pritchett, a second-year starter at cornerback. Pritchett moves well for a legit 6-footer and he will be one of the longest corners in next year’s draft. NFL scouts measured Pritchett’s arms at 32⅞ inches last spring, and he makes plenty of “length plays” on tape.
San Diego State WR Jesse Matthews
Week 2 stats: Three catches, 24 yards during a 38-7 win over FCS Idaho State
Nagy’s take: One sleeper-type prospect our West Coast scout was excited to see in person last Saturday was Jesse Matthews. Although he had only three catches for 24 yards against overmatched FCS opponent Idaho State, we liked what Matthews showed during pre-game route work – crisp change of direction, good acceleration/deceleration and confident, natural hands to snatch it. The former walk-on turned two-time bowl MVP has all the tools and skills to be a productive NFL slot receiver. His all-targets cutup from last year, which included 82 snaps, included a number of big-time contested catches. This kid is tough, and he’ll go up and get it.
Iowa State EDGE Will McDonald
Week 2 stats: Two tackles, two fumble recoveries, one pass deflection during a 10-7 win over Iowa
Nagy’s take: Will McDonald didn’t light up the stat sheet in the Cyclones’ game against Iowa, but our scout in Iowa City thought he impacted the game. McDonald, a long, tough and explosive player, is known mostly for his pass-rush ability, but he held up well against the run Saturday, helping hold the Hawkeyes to 2.3 yards per rush. Perhaps the biggest takeaway from this live exposure was getting our first up-close look at McDonald’s sleek-but-slender body type. McDonald weighed only 226 pounds for NFL scouts last spring, and he looks more like a standup outside linebacker than someone who will put his hand in the dirt at the next level.
Iowa CB Riley Moss
Week 2 stats: Nine tackles during a 10-7 loss to Iowa State
Nagy’s take: Staying in that same corn belt rivalry game, Riley Moss impressed us with his fluid and twitchy movement during warmups and with his confidence and toughness in the game. We have seen many media outlets already projecting a move from corner to safety as a pro. Our scouts don’t see it that way. Moss is loose-hipped and plenty fast enough to cover people on the perimeter at the next level. Just based off his ridiculous 110-meter hurdles time in high school (13.85 is the Iowa state record and was 10th in the nation), Moss should run in the 4.3 range at the NFL Scouting Combine next March. Moss accepted his invitation to the 2022 Reese’s Senior Bowl before opting to use an extra COVID season for the Hawkeyes.
Louisville OT Trevor Reid
Week 2 stats: Helped Louisville gain 427 yards in a 20-14 win over UCF
Nagy’s take: There is plenty of rawness to his game, but one player who absolutely has the “wow factor” when you get up on him is Trevor Reid. He’s a former junior college product in his second season as the Cardinals’ starting left tackle, and there are still plenty of technique issues to clean up. But in the reps when Reid is right with his hands, he’s hard to get around. We haven’t seen any verified size measurables yet, but based off our scouts’ pre-game videos of Reid on the field before the UCF game, there won’t be many longer or prettier-looking offensive tackle prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft. It’s simply hard to find guys this long and light-footed for a league that puts a premium on edge pass protectors.
Kentucky LB Jordan Wright
Week 2 stats: Six tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack, one interception during a 26-16 win over No. 12 Florida
Nagy’s take: Kentucky’s trip to the Swamp drew top-billing as a showdown of potential first-round quarterbacks – UK’s Will Levis and UF’s Anthony Richardson – but our scout left Gainesville most impressed by Jordan Wright. He finished with six tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack and a highlight-worthy and game-changing one-handed interception. Wright, who measured a hair over 6-3 for NFL scouts, has unique length considering he has a wingspan (82 inches) of someone 6-10. NFL teams typically like to dig into a player’s athletic background and when they do research on Wright, they’ll find he led Fort Lauderdale Dillard to a Class 6A state basketball title as a junior. He also was named All-Broward County in hoops. Just based off this impressive live look against the Gators, Wright looks like someone who could be making a late-career ascension.
The 2023 NFL Draft will be April 27-29 in Kansas City.
Jim Nagy has been the executive director of the Reese’s Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier college all-star game, since 2018 after 18 years as an NFL scout. For interesting feedback and information on senior NFL draft prospects throughout the year, follow Jim on Twitter. For information on the Senior Bowl, follow both Jim and the Reese’s Senior Bowl main account.