NFL Hot Press: 2024 Senior Bowl Rumors Thursday

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With all the general managers, coaches and scouts in attendance for the Senior Bowl, there is a lot of chatter going around. Here are some of the highlights from around the league on Day 4 of the 2024 Senior Bowl week.

One all-star prospect who could be in Mobile is Texas A&M linebacker Edgerrin Cooper. Cooper accepted an invitation to the East-West Shrine, but pulled out of practicing at the last minute. When teams interviewed him and asked why he opted out late instead of practicing, Cooper snarkily responded by asking NFL scouts if they had watched his tape. That answer and attitude was the worst possible thing that Cooper could have offered. Sources say they really liked Cooper’s tape and 2023 performance, but now they are wondering about adding his personality to their team. Cooper needs a big reversal in the team interviews at the combine and other pre-draft interactions. Beyond also playing a position that gets devalued in NFL drafts, Cooper did some damage to his draft stock with teams.

Every year at Senior Bowl, there are some prospects who have been moved to a new position. This year, Miami’s James Williams is undergoing that change, shifting from safety to linebacker. The 6-foot-4, 230-pounder could be too big to play safety in the NFL, and his size makes him a better fit for linebacker. Team sources said they like what they have seen from Williams in the move to linebacker and feel that he could be a starting linebacker at the pro level. Williams will need work at taking on and shedding blocks, like almost all college linebackers entering the pro ranks, but Williams has a good skill set with size, speed and athleticism. Sources said they think Williams would fit as a starting Will – weakside – linebacker who could play on all three downs. Assuming the rest of the pre-draft process goes well for him, Williams could get selected on Day 2 of the 2024 NFL Draft.

Some in the media have been hyping Oregon State offensive lineman Taliese Fuaga with high first-round projections. Some teams have him graded on Day 2 of the 2024 NFL Draft because they feel he has to move inside to guard. Those teams rarely value guards or centers in the first round of NFL drafts, and hence they see Fuaga as a better fit in Round 2. Other teams, however, might feel Fuaga can remain at tackle. There are a lot of teams in the middle and back half of Round 1 that need help at tackle and guard, so Fuaga stands a good shot of some organization in the first round believing in him being an impactful starter on the inside or edge.

One player who has had a good week of practice is Toledo cornerback Quinyon Mitchell. Often times when prospects come from a lower level of competition, they need some time to adjust for taking on more talented competitors who are bigger, faster, and more athletic. Mitchell has needed no such time, as he has looked every bit as effective in Mobile as he did for the Rockets. Team sources have singled Mitchell out as a player who has helped himself at the Senior Bowl. They also said Mitchell is rumored to run extremely fast in the 40-yard dash. Given his size and speed, Mitchell could rise into becoming a top-20 selection if he continues to ace the draft process with a stellar combine and pro day.

A lot was made during this season about the officiating in the NFL, and there have been more and more fans claiming the games feel rigged. Team staff disagree the games are rigged of course, but many in the scouting community feel the officiating is a problem.

Here is what one team president shared with on the matter:

I think the league office has hurt officiating. It’s impossible for officials to call a game. Yes, game-day officials have some tendencies with home and away teams. But I think the officiating department needs a BIG makeover. With the current set up, they will never get consistency, and the league office isn’t serious about fixing it. The league office is like the government; they think they know more than the coaches and players and they know what is best for the game.