Once again, it’s the best time of the year! Today, I got off the plane in Mobile, Alabama with about a dozen of players that will be participating in the event. Regardless of the number of times that I’m here at the Senior Bowl, it’s still so amazing at how massive these players are and just how talented they are for being able to move at their imposing frames.
As the National and American teams for the Senior Bowl still iron some things out due to players opting-out for personal reasons or injury, let’s just dive into four players that should be participating all week. These are four players you should watch for during the 2023 Senior Bowl.
Matthew Bergeron, OT, Syracuse
If you’re looking for a player that should be able to turn a lot of heads during every day of practice, look no further than Matthew Bergeron from Syracuse. The talented offensive tackle from Syracuse is listed at 6-5 and 322 pounds and he has all the tools to work with when trying to develop a starting offensive tackle in the NFL.
Syracuse OT 60 Matthew Bergeron has been a really fun study this morning. Has 1950+ career snaps at LT and 550+ career snaps at RT. Gave up a career high 5 sacks this year but there's A LOT to work with in his game. Watch the feet and snatch-trap attempt vs. Foskey 👀 pic.twitter.com/nhFzoCQhlA— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) December 25, 2022
Bergeron has the size and foot speed that’s needed to play either tackle spot in the NFL. Meanwhile, his arms are long enough to create separation against defenders. He looks like a smooth operator when climbing up to linebackers or when getting out into space but one of the things I like most about his game is that he’s already got a snatch-trap technique into his repertoire.
It’ll be interesting to get his take on playing football in Canada compared to the states and if there was any type of learning curve for him. He played high school football in Victoriaville, Quebec, Canada and was listed as a 3-star recruit (per 24/7 Sports) but he committed to Syracuse fairly early in the process. Certainly keep tabs on Bergeron as he’s got the potential to move up offensive tackle rankings due to how he already plays the position but also because of the potential he has for the position.
Julius Brents, CB, Kansas State
One of my favorite players in the entire 2023 NFL Draft is Julius Brents from Kansas State. He’s listed at 6-4 and 205 pounds and he’s one of the more fluid athletes at the position this year. Brents has great length, hip fluidity and he’s not afraid to get physical. This should all be on display this week in Mobile.
Check out my guy Julius Brents (K-State CB 23) at the bottom of the screen with the tackle. Love the aggressiveness and physicality that he plays with on the perimeter. pic.twitter.com/PI4G8HQkVh— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) January 15, 2023
Before playing for the Wildcats, Brents transferred from the University of Iowa. Prior to transferring, he played in 11 games as a true freshman but then he ended up getting injured the following season and then played for the Hawkeyes during the shortened year due to COVID.
Now with the Wildcats, it’s been all production for the former 3-star recruit (per 24/7 Sports) out of Warren Central High School in Indianapolis, Indiana. Throughout his career, he played 46 games and had 32 starts between K-State and Iowa. Over the last two seasons, he’s been able to compile 5 interceptions and 11 pass deflections. This week at the 2023 Senior Bowl, look for Brents to get feisty with receivers while running in stride with them and don’t be surprised when he’s consistently playing through the catch point.
Sydney Brown, SAF, Illinois
If you like physical players that just have that “dog in them” then look no further. Illinois safety Sydney Brown might only be listed at 6-0 and 205 pounds but this dude can move mountains. With 50 games played in his career, Brown was able to tally over 300 total tackles. Not afraid of contact, Brown could end up being one of the hardest hitters at the 2023 Senior Bowl.
On tape, Brown is able to play in the slot, cover tight ends or even play down in the box and attack the line-of-scrimmage. He’s a great tackler and is able to make plenty of big hits or open field tackles. His long speed will get tested from time to time and he’s not as fluid as other defensive backs in this class but he’s most certainly a player that should and will get drafted in the 2023 NFL Draft.
In addition to his hard-hitting ability, Brown did have six interceptions this past season for the Fighting Illini. Plenty of NFL teams are going to ask and try to find out where they can play Brown at the next level. I’m sure many of them will ask him to play in more of a “buzz” defender role or in the box while contributing on special teams. Tackling and winning as many one-on-one drills for Brown will be pivotal during his week of practice at the 2023 Senior Bowl.
Kenny McIntosh, RB, Georgia
There’s no doubt that all 127 players down at the Senior Bowl have something to gain but for the running backs, there might not be a more talented back in Mobile than Kenny McIntosh. At 6-1 and 210 pounds, he’s got the frame and skill-set to be an every down back in the NFL. Whether he’s running North and South on defenses or making defenders miss with a decisive cut (as seen below), he’s got a thick lower half and should run his draft stock up boards this week at the Senior Bowl.
In a running back class for the 2023 NFL Draft that is led by Bijan Robinson from Texas, there’s some uncertainty on who the next running back will be. While some might say it’ll be Jahmyr Gibbs from Alabama or Sean Tucker from Syracuse, it could very well be McIntosh from Georgia. In Mobile, teams are going to fall in love with the way he runs the football and catches it out of the backfield.