The 2021 Senior Bowl will be different across several facets, most of which have been brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
What won’t change is the fact that this is one of the last opportunities for college seniors — and fourth-year juniors — to make an impression on NFL teams. In fact, that portion of the event will be heightened this year due to the lack of an NFL combine. But not everyone who attends the Senior Bowl is there to play. Some, such as Alabama receiver DeVonta Smith, projected by Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer as going No. 2 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, will be there merely to interview with teams.
Regardless, this game — coupled with individual pro days — will be a huge factor in whether a team drafts a certain player, and at what position in the draft.
NFL MOCK DRAFT 2021: SN’s latest projections before Senior Bowl
Among several changes necessitated by the pandemic, safety protocols in place mean attendance will be severely limited for the game and fans won’t be allowed to attend game-week practices at all.
Sporting News has you covered on what you need to know to watch the 2021 Senior Bowl, including time, date, TV channels, rosters and players who can make the most of their week in Mobile, Ala.:
What time is the Senior Bowl 2020?
Kickoff for this year’s game — the 72nd edition — is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. ET.
While the game will continue to take place in Mobile, Ala., it will see a new venue: Hancock Whitney Stadium, which in 2020 replaced Ladd-Peebles Stadium as the South Alabama Jaguars’ home stadium. The game follows three days of practice on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
What channel is the Senior Bowl on?
The Senior Bowl will be broadcast on NFL Network. Viewers in Canada can sign up for DAZN to watch NFL Network.
Senior Bowl practice schedule
The players practiced before Saturday’s game on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. ESPNU broadcast practices for both teams on Wednesday and Thursday, while the NFL Network broadcast a one-hour recap for every day of practice at 8 p.m. ET. Below is the full practice broadcast schedule:
All times Eastern
Tuesday, Jan. 26
Wednesday, Jan. 27
12:30-2:30 p.m: National Team
3-5 p.m.: American Team
Thursday, Jan. 28
12:30-2:30 p.m: National Team
3-5 p.m.: American Team
Senior Bowl 2020 rosters
Player listings reflect official Senior Bowl rosters but do not include the full list of attendees.
NFL staffs coaching the 2020 Senior Bowl
Brian Flores and the Dolphins’ staff — who hold the Nos. 3 and 18 overall picks — will coach the National Team.
Matt Rhule and the Panthers’ staff — who hold the No. 8 overall pick — will coach the American Team. That roster includes projected first-round picks Kadarius Toney and Kyle Trask, receiver and quarterback at Florida, respectively.
2020 NFL Draft prospects with most to prove at Senior Bowl
Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
Jones’ lone season as a starter at Alabama was prolific enough to warrant an SN projection as a first-round selection. But many pundits have wondered aloud whether his incredible season was more the result of his supporting cast — which includes Smith, Harris and a Joe Moore Award-winning offensive line — and the play-calling brilliance of offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian. Jones can show once and for all his passing acuity isn’t owed entirely to external factors.
Kyle Trask, QB, Florida
Like Jones, Trask enjoyed an incredible season in 2020. But he threw five interceptions over his last three games, including multiple turnovers against LSU and Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl. The common factor in those two games is that he played without several of his offensive playmakers, including receiver Kadarius Toney and Mackey Award-winning tight end Kyle Pitts. A good week of practice can erase doubts those subpar games may have created.
Jamie Newman, QB, Wake Forest
Newman made waves when he transferred to Georgia after his 2019 season with the Demon Deacons, in which the 6-4, 230-pound dual threat threw for 2,800-plus yards and 26 touchdowns while running for more than 500 yards and six more scores. He opted out of the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic before he could play, however. No one will fault him — nor should they — for taking his safety and future into his hands, and a week of good practice and interviews will cement him among the top second-tier quarterbacks of the draft.
Nico Collins, WR, Michigan
Collins is a big-bodied receiver at 6-4, 215 pounds, but is yet another pass-catcher from Michigan whose stats don’t suggest a prolific college career. Collins, who opted out of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has a career stat line of 78 catches, 1,388 yards and 13 touchdowns. He can make a big jump up draft boards at the Senior Bowl, in lieu of a final season in 2020.
Trey Smith, OG, Tennessee
Smith — all 6-6, 330 pounds of him — has shown NFL-caliber traits across his three years at Tennessee. Teams may be wary of selecting him with a high draft pick, however, due to the fact he was diagnosed with blood clots in 2018. He played seven games that season before getting shut down to address the clots. He played two complete seasons in 2019 and ’20 with no issues. If Smith can dominate in Mobile, it might be enough to convince a team to take a chance on him.
Tarron Jackson, DL, Coastal Carolina
Jackson enjoyed a strong career for the Chanticleers, finishing with double-digit tackles for loss in each of the last three seasons and 18 combined sacks over his final two years. Now the 6-2, 260-pound pass-rushing specialist can use the Senior Bowl as a stage to show he can compete with some of the best competition the college game has to offer.
Kylin Hill, RB, Mississippi State
Hill, the SEC’s top returning back from the 2019 season, was expected to show off his versatility in first-year coach Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense. Instead, the senior back played in only three games before opting out; he rushed 15 times for 57 yards and caught 23 passes for 237 yards and a score for the 1-2 Bulldogs. How that affected his draft stock remains to be seen, but he could have used an all-around season to prove his worth at a position that continues to lose value in the NFL. He can do that in Mobile.
Liam Eichenberg, OL, Notre Dame
Eichenberg’s was a great career for the Fighting Irish, who have a noted history of producing top-flight offensive line talent. Eichenberg — listed at 6-6, 302 pounds — is a massive candidate, in every sense of the word, to keep that factory line going. He’s fundamentally sound and played against elite talent, but was occasionally beat by talented players such as Clemson defensive tackle Bryan Bresee and Alabama linebacker Will Anderson. Some draft outlets already consider Eichenberg a plug-and-play candidate at the NFL, but if he can produce excellent results in pass protection in Mobile, it could be enough to ensure he’s a first-round pick.
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