The Senior Bowl is the premier showcase game for some of the nation’s best college football players. And even though the Bears don’t have the advantage of getting to know the players as intimately as they did last year (when John Fox and his staff were coaching the team), there’s still a ton of talent to comb through.
In total, as the title suggests, this Senior Bowl features 6 of the 11 best draft-eligible wide receivers according to CBS Sports, with Oklahoma State’s James Washington as the highest-profile of the bunch. Washington, you’ll recall, has ripped off three straight 1,000-yard, 10-touchdown seasons for the Cowboys, while setting career bests with 74 catches, 1,549 receiving yards, and 13 touchdowns in 2017. According to CBS, Washington is the second-highest rated receiver behind only SMU’s Courtland Sutton – who will not be participating in the Senior Bowl, because, well, he’s not a senior.
Joining Washington are OSU teammate Marcell Ateman (third), Colorado State’s Michael Gallup (sixth), New Mexico State’s Jaleel Scott (ninth), Central Florida’s Tre’Quan Smith (10th), and Boise State’s Cedrick Wilson (11th).
And in case you’re wondering, Alabama’s Calvin Ridley – who Mel Kiper Jr. sent to the Bears in his first mock draft and believes is the best receiver prospect “by a mile” – ranks fifth at CBS Sports, but will also not be participating in the Senior Bowl, because of that pesky “not a senior,” caveat.
With Sutton and Ridley out of the way (two of the more frequently rumored Bears targets for the draft), GM Ryan Pace and the rest of his front office/coaches should get a good look at some of the other options on the board. Hopefully, they’ll come away with something they like and start planning accordingly for the upcoming, supremely important draft.
Reminder: The 69th Senior Bowl game will be played at 1:30 p.m. (central) on January 27 in Mobile, Ala., and will be televised on NFL Network. Denver Broncos Head Coach Vance Joseph will coach the North, which will feature Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield, while Houston Texans Head Coach Bill O’Brien will coach the South, which stars four members of the national-championship-winning Alabama Crimson Tide.