2024 Senior Bowl Mega Guide: From Michael Penix Jr to Willie Drew, Everything to Watch this Week in Mobile

The 2024 Senior Bowl is here! It is one of the best weeks of the year for draft fans, and one where the practice often draws more attention than the games. Jim Nagy's crew has put together another loaded squad to dazzle scouts and fans alike in Mobile. If you are wondering who you should be keeping an eye on this week, we've got you covered. We went position by position to breakdown every single player who should be suiting up.
Tailese Fuaga and Brandon Dorlus are two of the players that expect to draw lots of attention in Mobile.
Tailese Fuaga and Brandon Dorlus are two of the players that expect to draw lots of attention in Mobile. / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages
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While not as star-studded as some previous years, there will be a lot of buzz all week about how Michael Penix Jr. and Bo Nix fare. The two are on the same team, which is a nice change of pace after watching them compete against each other for the last two years in the Pac-12. Both have big supporters in the draft community but come with their fair share of question marks.

Penix dominated the 2023 season and finished as the runner-up for the Heisman. He thrived in Kalen DeBoer's offense and benefitted greatly from an impressive supporting cast. What scouts will love is Penix's arm strength and accuracy. He can truly hit any spot on the field and has a penchant for dropping passes in a bucket. The rumblings you will hear about him will be centered on his extensive injury history, age (he will turn 24 after the draft) and ability to perform under pressure. Penix's tape in the College Football Playoff was the tale of two completely different quarterbacks. Against Texas, he slid away from pressure and delivered some incredible throws under duress. Facing Michigan, Penix looked rattled and consistently missed open receivers. His performance outside of the Washington offense in Mobile will likely go a long way to solidifying his spot in the first round or firmly push him down into the Day 2 conversation.

For Nix, there are definitely some similarities to his journey. He, too, ended up in the Pacific Northwest after three years at a different school. Auburn's prodigal son struggled to deliver as a starter, ultimately leading him to Oregon. What's perhaps most impressive for Nix is that he went from being an erratic passer to one of the nation's most efficient players under two different offensive coordinators during his time in Eugene. Nix finished third in the Heisman voting and narrowly beat out Mac Jones' mark for the best completion percentage in a single season in college football history. He should impress teams with his poise and mobility at the Senior Bowl, while many scouts will want to see him push the ball downfield, something he did not do a ton of at Oregon. His draft stock is also in flux, and this week will go a long way to determining where he winds up being selected.

Beyond Nix and Penix, there are a few quarterbacks worth keeping an eye on. Spencer Rattler is unquestionably talented. The former Oklahoma quarterback revived his career at South Carolina. He makes some spectacular plays, but he takes a ton of risks as well. This is a huge week for him off the field as much as it is on the field with a chance to meet with teams and leave a positive impression of who he is. He called his situation in Norman "toxic," so clearing the air of any personality concerns will go a long way. Michael Pratt had a fantastic career at Tulane, but injuries derailed the hype train for him this season. He still played in 11 games this season, but he missed one of his biggest opportunities to impress scouts against Ole Miss early in the season. He could be the first quarterback taken in Detroit after the "Big 6" of Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, Jayden Daniels, Penix, Nix and J.J. McCarthy.

Joe Milton III has the potential for the biggest wow factor of any player in Mobile. His arm strength is off the charts, but he struggled with touch and accuracy all season. Milton is a fun project but will need to show some growth this week. For those looking for the next Brock Purdy, Sam Hartman could be your man. He played in 59 collegiate games and finished fifth all-time in passing yards and third in passing touchdowns. He lacks a lot of the tools to be a franchise quarterback, but I have no doubt that he will find his way into an NFL quarterback room next season. Rounding out the group is the local kid, Carter Bradley. He took a step back after an impressive 2022 campaign, but he will be a fun player to watch compete and make a name for himself.

Running backs

It has been a long time since we have had a running back class like this one, and I don't mean that in a good way. Despite all of the conversation about how the NFL does not value running backs, 2022 is the only time in the past decade that one was not selected in the first round. Breece Hall came off the board just a few picks into the second round in 2022. The wait for the top running back to be selected might be a lot longer in 2024.

That is, unless we have a breakout star at the Senior Bowl and there are a couple of players that could make enough noise to shake things up. Cody Schrader is coming off an impressive senior campaign, which caps an unbelievable rise from playing at Truman State just two years ago. He racked up 2,372 yards, 23 touchdowns and 41 receptions over the past two seasons at Missouri. He is a shifty runner who hits the hole with authority. Schrader lack of elite speed will probably keep him as a Day 3 pick, but it is hard to argue with his production. MarShawn Lloyd is another name that will pop up a bunch. The South Carolina transfer had a strong debut season for USC. He has good wiggle and decent open-field speed. It will be nice to see him work in a different offensive scheme after playing behind a bad offensive line in a pass-heavy offense.

If you are looking for a big-play threat, Emani Bailey is your guy. The former Louisiana standout transferred to TCU this season and wowed with his incredible speed with great change of direction skills. He is a threat to break a big play any time he touches the ball, but he is also very feast or famine. Definitely not a lead back, but someone who could be a really fun addition to a backfield that offensive coordinators would be able to scheme up manufactured touches for in hopes of getting him into the open field.

Ray Davis' path to the Senior Bowl is an interesting one. He rushed for nearly 1,000 yards as a freshman at Temple back in 2019. He played in only four games in the COVID-impacted 2020 season and opted to transfer to Vanderbilt. A hot start was then cut short by injury in 2021. He then bounced back with a 1,000-yard campaign for the Commodores, which led to an in-conference transfer to Kentucky. He posted another 1,000 yard season this year and accounted for a whopping 21 touchdowns, third-most in the country. His injury history and extensive tread on his tires, he had 746 collegiate carries, will likely push him down boards, but he is a player who will turn some heads with his quick feet and patient approach. Don't sleep on him having 33 catches for over 300 yards and seven touchdowns this season. This is an SEC-heavy group in Mobile, with Georgia's Daijun Edwards in the mix. Edwards has the made-you-miss ability with his impressive change of direction. He is a bit smaller than a lot of the other backs in this year's crop, but don't let that fool you. He is an excellent pass blocker who is not afraid of contact.

One of the most unique situations comes with Rasheen Ali. He dominated in his redshirt freshman season at Marshall, racking up over 1,700 yards from scrimmage and 24 total touchdowns. Poised for a monster campaign in 2022, Ali missed most of the season due to injury. He returned for the Thundering Herd's final three games, including a standout bowl performance. 2023 saw him return to form as he eclipsed 1,300 yards from scrimmage and scored 16 touchdowns. Don't overlook Jawhar Jordan either. The Louisville product is undersized but brings more power and pop than you would expect. He is incredibly slippery as a runner, allowing him to pick up yards after contact. I am a bit worried about how he will hold up in the NFL at his size, but he will be out to prove that he can handle the punishment.

The other backs rounding out the group are Arizona's Michael Wiley, Troy's Kimani Vidal and New Hampshire's Dylan Laube. Wiley did not get much usage as a runner for the Wildcats, but leaves as the program's all-time leader in receiving yards for a running back. Vidal will be overlooked because he is short (listed at 5'8"), but that would be a mistake. He racked up over 4,700 yards from scrimmage in his four-year career. Only Ollie Gordon had more rushing yards than Vidal this season. For Laube, this is a huge opportunity. He is the most accomplished receiving running back in the group, posting a staggering 68 receptions for 699 yards and seven touchdowns. With the NFL's shift to pass-heavy offenses, Laube should be a natural fit. This is the stage for him to prove he can do it against top-tier competition after five years of playing in the FCS.