One of the most important weeks of the NFL draft process kicks off Tuesday as players, coaches, scouts and media members descend upon Mobile, Alabama, for the 2016 Senior Bowl.
The festivities begin with the weigh-in Tuesday morning, followed by practices for both the North and South squads in the afternoon.
The Senior Bowl recently announced a partnership with ESPN, which will air practices in their entirety. ESPN's coverage will consist of four two-hour shows, one for each team's practice Wednesday and Thursday.
|Wed. Jan. 27||10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.||North practice||ESPNU and/or ESPN3|
|Wed. Jan. 27||2:30-4:30 p.m.||South practice||ESPNU and/or ESPN3|
|Thurs. Jan. 28||10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.||North practice||ESPNU and/or ESPN3|
|Thurs. Jan. 28||2:30-4:30 p.m.||South practice||ESPNU and/or ESPN3|
|Sat. Jan. 30||2:30 p.m.||Senior Bowl Game||NFL Network|
For those interested in checking out the Senior Bowl coverage, here are a few prospects with a lot riding on their performances this week.
Braxton Miller, WR, Ohio State
One of the mysteries heading into Senior Bowl week is how the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff, who will coach the North team, plans to use Braxton Miller. After spending three years at quarterback, Miller shifted to a hybrid wide receiver/running back role as a senior for Urban Meyer.
Ohio State listed him at 6'2", 215 pounds, putting him within a reasonable range for either position in the pros. Miller has already proved to be a capable runner, so it would make the most sense for him to get more reps at wide receiver in Mobile.
Ohio State primarily used Miller on quick-strike throws or in the deep passing game, giving him limited opportunities to showcase his route-running ability for intermediate throws. His performance as a route-runner this week could dictate how concerned teams are about his ability to make a smooth transition to the NFL at receiver.
Vernon Butler, DT, Louisiana Tech
Vernon Butler enters Senior Bowl week as a relative unknown to all but the most diehard NFL draft fans. But he could leave Mobile as a first-round lock coveted by fans across the country.
Butler didn't enter the season with much hype and therefore didn't attract much attention early in the draft process due to Louisiana Tech's lack of national coverage. However, he's starting to generate some momentum as one of the most intriguing defensive line prospects in this class.
The Senior Bowl should be an opportunity for Butler to show off his athleticism, which will open doors for him, as teams running every defensive scheme will see a place for him in their rotation.
Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State
Carson Wentz is already drawing considerable hype. He's listed in the first round of just about every mock draft around the Internet, most notably appearing at No. 4 overall for Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com.
Much of the hype, though, is based on his projected success at the Senior Bowl.
Wentz has relatively little experience—he attempted just 612 passes in his college career—and even less experience against top competition. As a result, all the momentum he's gained in recent weeks could go down the drain with a shaky performance in Mobile.
The Dallas coaching staff will have the opportunity to work with Wentz this week, which is critical, as the Cowboys are one of the teams that could potentially snag a quarterback in the first round.