The 2023 Senior Bowl began on Tuesday with two practices, and of all the NFL hopefuls out there, receiver Jonathan Mingo was the most impressive.
MOBILE, Ala. — Ask 100 evaluators their favorite players from the first day of Senior Bowl practice, and you’re likely to get at least 75 different answers.
The answer in this space? Ole Miss wide receiver Jonathan Mingo.
Watching Mingo work at South Alabama’s Hancock Whitney Stadium, you could see the traits which will excite NFL personnel men. While it’ll be fascinating to see what time he runs in the 40-yard dash, 3-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle at the NFL Scouting Combine in March, Mingo’s potential is clear.
Mingo, working in the second practice with the American Team, showcased both speed and size during team and individual drills. On one play during the second half of practice, Mingo ran a deep in, snatched the ball and exploded upfield.
Measuring 6-foot-1 and 226 pounds, Mingo projects as a big-bodied kid with Day 2 potential. Ole Miss has recently churned out similarly-sized receivers who went in Day 2, including A.J. Brown (6-foot, 226 pounds) and D.K. Metcalf (6-foot-3, 228 pounds).
However, during their time in Oxford, Brown and Metcalf both left after three seasons, with Brown posting 2,984 receiving yards and Metcalf only 1,228. Conversely, Mingo spent four years in the program and totaled 1,758. While the body types are similar, it would be unfair to categorize the trio as similar in their NFL Draft stock.
Mingo has far more to prove, but a good draft season could have him solidify as a top-100 choice.
Tulane’s Tyjae Spears has speed for days
This is a good draft for running backs, and while most of the notoriety has gone towards first-round targets in Texas’ Bijan Robinson and Jahmyr Gibbs of Alabama, there’s plenty of good depth as well.
In this regard, Tulane’s Tyjae Spears is a name to consider.
Only 5-foot-9 and 204 pounds, Spears was one of the country’s most productive running backs in 2022, gaining 1,581 rushing yards and scoring 19 touchdowns for the Green Wave. He also caught 22 passes for 256 yards and two scores. He was instrumental in Tulane’s program turnaround that culminated in a Cotton Bowl win over USC.
In Mobile, his elusiveness, hands and burst were on full display during team drills. Spears consistently ran away from defenders in tight quarters both on handoffs and when he caught passes in the flat.
Considering his size, he’s not going to be much help picking up blitzes or running inside consistently, but for a Day 3 pick? Spears showed scouts why he’s worthy of a choice.
DeMarcco Hellams showing his talent for American side
Alabama is known for its defense, and another member of the Crimson Tide didn’t disappoint.
Safety DeMarcco Hellams put his coverage skills on full display, intercepting a pass during 7-on-7 drills, stepping into a throwing lane for the theft. Hellams started three years with the Tide, amassing 255 tackles and four interceptions. While physicality and tackling are impossible to gauge in practice at the Senior Bowl, his abilities to cover and create turnovers were evident.
Likely a Day 3 pick with upside, Hellams has the size at 6-foot and 213 pounds. The question will be speed and whether he has the ability to open up and run playing in a deep role, or whether he’ll be relegated to being a box safety.
- Jonathan Mingo shines on Day 1
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