10 Senior Bowl prospects who helped themselves as potential Lions this week

The Senior Bowl wraps up the postseason all-star game circuit with 125 aspiring NFL draft prospects going through a week of practices, interviews and meetings. It’s a very important stop on the draft circuit, with heavy scouting representation from all 32 NFL teams as well as hundreds of media in attendance for the annual extravaganza in Mobile, Alabama.

From watching the practices inside Hancock Whitney Stadium, here are some of the players who stood out during the week as prospects who fit what the Detroit Lions appear to want or need to help bolster the roster in 2023 and beyond.

You can catch all these players in action in the Senior Bowl on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. ET on the NFL Network.

Daiyan Henley, LB, Washington State

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

It’s no secret the Lions need to improve their coverage ability at linebacker. Henley is a former safety who has bulked up to 230 pounds at jut under 6-foot-1 but has not lost one iota of his speed or quickness. Henley has sharp coverage instincts, quick reactions and flashed some very nice ball skills during the week.

He appears solidly in the 75-125 overall range in the draft. LBs in that range need to contribute on special teams as well as on D, and that’s something that really excites Henley. He talked about his love of special teams in a great interview with the Detroit Lions Podcast this week.

McClendon Curtis, OL, UT-Chattanooga

Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Curtis stood out in all three practices for his ability to land his hands in the right spot and seize control of the action–even against stronger defenders. He looked capable of playing in the NFL right away at both right tackle and right guard, though he’s also seen time at left tackle for the Moccasins.

In Detroit, I really like the idea of Curtis coming in as the No. 6 offensive lineman as a middle-round rookie. His ability to play any OL spot makes him a great backup, but Curtis can also step into the extra tackle role the Lions utilize heavily on offense in lieu of a blocking tight end. Despite being in college for six years, Curtis is still just 23 years old.

Adetomiwa Adebawore, DL, Northwestern

Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

His name is a mouthful and so is Adebawore’s game. The Northwestern strongman excelled all week at disrupting in team drills with strong hands, good balance and using his long arms to give himself space to operate on the interior.

Weighing in at just 284 pound at 6-foot-1, Adebawore is a bit of a struggle to project to a specific position. In Detroit, he’s a guy who can fill in a rotation with John Cominsky and Josh Paschal as the “heavy” end in both odd or even fronts. He does have some room to add another 5-10 pounds, which would allow Adebawore to also play more 3-tech if he’s drafted by the Lions in the middle rounds.

Jayden Reed, WR, Michigan State

Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Reed had himself a very impressive week working down the field as a deep threat receiver. Playing bigger than his 5-foot-10.5-inch measurement, Reed consistently got open over the top in both 1-on-1 against CBs and also in team drills.

Reed turned in one of the fastest measured times of the week, the first player to top 20 MPH on the field. He would have had a bigger week in practice if the quarterback play on the National team was better.

Trey Palmer, WR, Nebraska

Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Another National team wideout who quietly opened some eyes in practices, Palmer showed the best hand of the group. Palmer isn’t big (6-foot, 194 pounds) but he’s got long arms, big hands and an understanding of how to make himself a bigger target than his size. He also turned in some nice reps on special teams, a necessity for a Day 3 wideout.

Cameron Young, DT, Mississippi State

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Young was one of the few linemen in Mobile who was consistently solid all three days. Some guys flashed higher ceilings at times, but Young was steady as an immovable-object type of anchor in the middle.

Young isn’t a pass rusher, though he does have a snatch-yank move that won some 1-on-1 reps. His value is in soaking up blocks, not ceding one blade of grass and making life difficult for the opposing center. He did that better in Mobile than he did on game film. Young has all the makings of a fifth-round or sixth-round sub-package player who can be an asset in run defense as a rookie.

Nick Broeker, OL, Ole Miss

Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Broeker showed outstanding functional athleticism while playing both left and right guard all week. His ability to get out into space and block was nicely captured here by Mike Kaye of the Charlotte Observer,

Broeker did this all week. He’s not a powerful guard who can handle strong bull rushers. Neither was Evan Brown, Detroit’s starting right guard in 2022 who is a free agent. Broeker would be a plug-and-play starter in Brown’s old spot and shouldn’t cost more than a fourth-round pick.

Sydney Brown, S, Illinois

Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Brown is a little shorter than ideal at just 5-foot-10, but he checks off every other box for being an NFL-ready safety. Even though his best attribute on film is his run defense and tackling isn’t live in practices, Brown still showed off the instincts, quick reactions and body control at full speed to impress. He had a great set of reps on Tuesday in a press drill against tight ends, too.

Brayden Willis, TE, Oklahoma

Willis did not have an exceptional showing in any one skill at tight end all week. Instead, he was typically above average in everything.

Two things I saw from Willis that stood out in relation to the Lions:

  • Very natural ability lining up as a fullback and both lead blocking and flaring out as an outlet receiver.

  • Consistently got open quickly in the red zone, even if the ball didn’t come his way.

He’s smaller than ideal at 6-foot-3 and 239 pounds and that figures to drop Willis into the 6th-7th round conversations. That seems to be the range where the Lions have interest in adding another TE.

Kenny McIntosh, RB, Georgia

Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

McIntosh was not the best running back in Mobile. That would be Tulane’s Tyjae Spears, who had one of the best Senior Bowl weeks ever for an RB. But McIntosh more than held his own and showed he’s got real juice that should translate well to the next level, too.

McIntosh thrived in the passing game all week. And not just as a receiver; he was the best back in pass protection drills in Mobile, something the Lions value very much:

McIntosh is a speedy, smart scheme fit in the 3rd or 4th rounds.

Story originally appeared on Lions Wire