We're 24 hours away from some of the top talents in college football taking the field for the 2020 Reese's Senior Bowl on Saturday afternoon at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala.
Last year, the Raiders participated in the event, coaching the North roster and got an up-close look at some of the best players entering the NFL Draft. Each year, more and more players from the game are taken because the Senior Bowl gives them a bigger platform to get their name out there, and helps them get a foot in the door with NFL coaching staffs.
There are currently six players on the Raiders' roster who attended the 2019 Senior Bowl: Johnathan Abram, Alec Ingold, Te'von Coney, Foster Moreau, Keelan Doss, and Isaiah Johnson. It's possible the Raiders find another gem during this year's Senior Bowl; let's take a look at some players to keep an eye on during Saturday's game.
Michael Pittman Jr., WR, USC
The Las Vegas Raiders need wide receiver help.
Last season the Silver and Black played every game without a true WR1, despite having big contributions from guys like Tyrell Williams and Hunter Renfrow.
Michael Pittman Jr. is the son of former Arizona Cardinals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Michael Pittman, who played 11 years in the NFL. Pittman Jr. is coming off his best statistical year at USC, totaling 1,275 receiving yards, 11 touchdowns, and 101 receptions. At 6'4" and 220 pounds, Pittman's frame is comparable to Julio Jones. I'm curious to see how Pittman performs during tomorrow's game.
Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
Picked as one of Daniel Jeremiah's top players to watch at the Senior Bowl, this 6'6", 310-pound behemoth is a lane clogger if I've ever seen one.
Kinlaw has great reaction speed at the snap, and uses his low center of gravity to gain leverage against his opponent. Despite being one of the bigger players on the football field, the former South Carolina Gamecock can also get after the quarterback. During his three collegiate seasons, Kinlaw finished with 10 sacks to go along with 82 tackles and 10 tackles for loss. He's also expected to be a top 10 pick according to ESPN's Mel Kiper.
Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
I know I have a biased opinion given I went to the University of Oregon, but Justin Herbert has all the tools you could ask for in a quarterback, and he's been putting them on display all week in Mobile.
The Eugene native was awarded the Senior Bowl Player of the Week and is undeniably the best arm talent at the event. There's no denying that he'll be a Top 10 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, but draft analysts are wary of his leadership ability, given his calm demeanor; however, in recent weeks people have noticed more enthusiasm and spark out of the 21-year-old signal-caller.
Marlon Davidson, DE, Auburn
I hate to draw too much from Daniel Jeremiah's list of guys to watch, but the man knows his stuff.
The four-year Tiger has exceptional explosiveness, but struggles to make short adjustments quickly. He stays active with his hands in the trenches and relies a lot on the cross chop, which is one of his best attributes. What stands out about Davidson is his raw talent, and I think that's what most people get excited about when they watch him. His numbers at Auburn weren't staggering for a defensive end, but as a potential mid-draft selection a team might get some quality production out of him.
In years past, the Bay Area has been well represented at the Senior Bowl, but this year there are only two local players participating and they're both from University of California Berkeley. Both Ashtyn Davis and Evan Weaver play on the defensive side of the ball, Davis serving as a defensive back and Weaver plays inside linebacker.
There are several players who fly under the radar at the Senior Bowl and end up making major contributions in the NFL. I'm sure there will be some surprises during Saturday's game, but keep your eye on these four players.
If you want to see the entire Senior Bowl roster, click here.