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2021 Senior Bowl: 5 players to watch

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NCAA Football: Texas Tech at Oklahoma State Bryan Terry-USA TODAY Sports

The Senior Bowl is here! The practices will officially begin on Tuesday, while the game will take place on Saturday. The event will hold extra importance this year. With no NFL combine, the Senior Bowl may be the best opportunity for some organizations to see draft prospects in-person.

Let’s take a quick look at five players that the Ravens should watch.

Tylan Wallace (WR, Oklahoma State)

It’s no secret that the Ravens need to add a wide receiver this offseason. They will have several options in free agency, but finding a receiver in the draft would be ideal. The Ravens have a limited amount of cap space, and they need to also address needs at outside linebacker and the interior offensive line. Luckily, this is another great wide receiver draft class.

Wallace might be my favorite wide receiver in the whole class. It is difficult to find a weakness in his game. Over the last three seasons, he had a total of 3,316 receiving yards and 26 receiving touchdowns. He’s an excellent route runner, as you can see here:

He also thrives at making contested catches, which would add a needed new dimension to the Ravens offense. Marquise Brown is a deep-threat, and Devin Duvernay thrives in the slot. Both of those players are also under six feet tall. Wallace is not as tall as Miles Boykin, but at 6’0”, he can take over that role with his skillset.

Finally, he had a 40-yard dash time of 4.45 seconds at Oklahoma State.

Wallace is a pro-ready prospect, and he is a player to monitor throughout the pre-draft process.

Marquez Stevenson (WR, Houston)

Stevenson has flown under the radar, thus far. Many mock drafts project him to be a Day 3 pick. He is one of the fastest players in this year’s draft class. As a junior, he ran a 4.38-second 40-yard dash. That speed translated into production for Stevenson in college. As a sophomore, he posted 75 receptions for 1,019 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. Furthermore, he had big games against ranked opponents. Most notably, he had 211 receiving yards and two touchdowns against #16 SMU in 2019. At 6’0”, he would still give the Ravens a size upgrade on the outside. Stevenson, Brown, and Devin Duvernay would give the offense a trio of wide receivers with game-breaking speed.

Drake Jackson (C, Kentucky)

The offensive line was the biggest problem in the Ravens’ playoff loss to the Bills. Still, the Ravens are set at tackle long-term with Ronnie Stanley and Orlando Brown Jr. Additionally, Bradley Bozeman has been a solid, consistent starter at left guard, so center and right guard are the two positions that will likely be upgraded. I actually thought Patrick Mekari played well during the regular season, but after his performance against the Bills, there is no question that the front office should, at least, explore adding another center.

Jackson might be the best run-blocking center on the board. His PFF grade reflected that. Here is an excerpt from a PFF article regarding Jackson:

Kentucky’s run game is predicated on inside zone, and Jackson was in his element on those plays. His run-block grade on inside zone runs was the best in the FBS by over eight grading points.

Kentucky’s rushing offense thrived with Jackson at center. The Wildcats’ two leading rushers were Chris Rodriguez Jr. and Asim Rose; they both averaged over six yards per carry.

Jackson definitely held his own in pass protection, as well. He did not allow a single sack this season.

He could be a seamless fit in the Ravens’ offense.

Tarron Jackson (DE, Coastal Carolina)

Like wide receiver and center/guard, edge rusher should be a priority for the Ravens this offseason, as Matt Judon, Yannick Ngakoue, and Tyus Bowser are all set to hit the free agent market. In addition, defensive starters Derek Wolfe and Pernell McPhee also will be free agents. The front office will unquestionably need to draft a defensive end or outside linebacker.

Tarron Jackson is a great option. He is a projected Day 3 pick in most mocks. He was very productive at Coastal Carolina. Last season, he had 8.5 sacks and four forced fumbles. In 2019, he had 9.5 sacks. According to PFF, he had a whopping 59 quarterback pressures last season, which easily leads the draft class:

The Senior Bowl will provide Jackson a chance to significantly raise his draft stock by playing against top-level competition.

Rashad Weaver (DE, Pittsburgh)

Weaver missed the 2019 season with a knee injury, but he returned and had the best season of his college career. In nine games, he had 7.5 sacks, 14 TFL, and three forced fumbles. His performance against ranked opponents only boosted his stock. Against Clemson, he had two sacks and a forced fumble.

At 6’5” and 270 pounds, Weaver has great length and size, but he does not have elite speed for his position. Nevertheless, he is able to create pressure due to his technical ability and high energy.