It was a great week in Mobile, Alabama, for the 2023 Reese's Senior Bowl, as more than 100 NFL Draft hopefuls participated in a week-long event in front of a bevy of NFL coaches, scouts and personnel decision-makers.
While many prospects from the Power 5 ranks are used to this level of scrutiny and attention, it can be new for a lot of players outside of that group, especially for guys hailing from programs in the FCS, Division II, Division III and NAIA ranks.
The evaluation of these prospects at this all-star game is two-fold: one, It's to see how they deal with the added attention and scrutiny of scouts, seeing if they can perform under the unique pressure of the situation. And two, can they match up physically and athletically with their counterparts of the upper levels? It gives scouts a great look at how these guys project to the next level.
This year's crop of small-college prospects at the Senior Bowl wasn't a lot, but it was more than enough to get a good read on where they are and how they fared in Mobile. But before we get into the standouts from the three practices, here's how to watch Saturday's game.
How to watch
For more extensive draft content, check out our latest prospect rankings and mock drafts, as well as our new weekly podcast, "With the First Pick," featuring former Vikings general manager Rick Spielman.
LB Marte Mapu: 6-2 217, Sacramento State
I wrote about Mapu last week during his impressive, which earned him the opportunity here in Mobile this week. His performance at the Senior Bowl just put the scouting community on notice that his NFLPA Collegiate Bowl performance wasn't an aberration. Mapu was outstanding in coverage, showing the ability to match up in man and excel in zone. Some teams view him as a safety, while some view him as a nickel linebacker. Either way, Mapu is someone I want on my defense.
WR Andrei Iosivas: 6-2 212, Princeton
Iosivas was one of the players hailing from the small-college ranks who garnered a lot of buzz heading into the week, and he didn't disappoint. His initial speed and burst off the ball really put defenders in a bind during 1-on-1s. You also saw him show nuance when trying to haul in a pass near the back line of the end zone or the sideline. There's still some rawness there with how he battles through contact, but watching him fly past defenders from the Power 5 level all throughout the week was great to see. I thought he answered some questions in that regard.
OL McClendon Curtis: 6-5 331, Chattanooga
Quick, agile and always with a plan is what I saw from Curtis this week. Something has to be in the water in Chattanooga, as Curtis looked equally as impressive as Cole Strange did last year at the Senior Bowl. The most impressive part was his ability to reset his hands and redirect defenders. That, as well as him showing the ability to play guard or tackle, was a positive.
LB Isaiah Land: 6-3 226, Florida A&M
Land was one of the more dominant edge rushers at the FCS level, and coming into the week, many wanted to see him rush the passer. But because he measured in at 6-foot-2, 226 pounds, him being exclusively on the edge wasn't going to be the best projection for him. This is why it is important to come to these all-star games, because often you'll get a peek into what the NFL is thinking in terms of how they view a player.
More specifically for Land, we saw a ton of work from him as an off-ball linebacker, serving in more of a traditional SAM, WILL or MIKE backer role. And when you view him from that perspective, you noticed how comfortable he was with his hand off the ground, flowing to the football well and getting good run fits. Pass coverage was obviously a work in progress, but overall I thought this was a big week for him in showing his versatility.
I'll be interested to see what he does in that capacity at the HBCU Legacy Bowl later this month in New Orleans.
LB Aubrey Miller: 5-11 229, Jackson State
Miller participated this week like a man on a mission. I love the way he was able to get a fit in the run game and developed a quick reputation as a thumper on defense. This showed up in the blitz period vs. the RBs and in the 9-on-7 periods as well. I came away impressed with his acceleration and effort in pass coverage. He looks like a guy who will be a core special teamer from Day 1 before working his way into the regular defense.
OL Cody Mauch: 6-4 309, North Dakota State
Mauch was a standout from start to finish in 1-on-1s, 9-on-7s and team periods. In the run game, he consistently moved defensive linemen out of the gap, and in some cases moved them a couple of gaps over. Mauch has the functional strength you look for and the technical savvy of a player who has logged a lot of meaningful starts and reps at the position. Similar to Curtis, the development that happens at the North Dakota State program really shines through at these all-star games.
QB: 6-2 213, Shepherd
Bagent made the most of his week in Mobile, in the sense that he was able to fit in with the rest of the QBs here. He didn't look overwhelmed, nor out of place. Day 3 was his best day in my opinion, which is usually how things go with the QB position. His skillset shows up more during live, practical drills like 7-on-7 and team period. That's when he can really operate and distribute the football like he did at Shepherd.
Next up: HBCU Legacy Bowl