Each year, the Reese's Senior Bowl represents the ultimate proving ground for the best college football prospects in the nation, looking to boost their draft stock in front of NFL coaches and scouts in attendance.
This event is significant to the Pittsburgh Steelers since it typically provides a blueprint for the position on which they should concentrate early in the draft. Additionally, since 2016, the Steelers have chosen at least one player from this contest annually. Javon Hargrave (2016) of South Carolina State, Cameron Sutton (2017) of Tennessee, Najee Harris (2021) of Alabama, and Keeanu Benton (2023) of Wisconsin are a few prominent names.
This year's event promises to feature one of the deepest prospect pools on offense in recent memory. Fans should expect head coach Mike Tomlin to be very interactive and general manager Omar Khan and assistant Andy Weidl to conduct various meetings with different players.
With all this in mind, here are some names we believe should be on your radar during the upcoming week of practices leading to gameday.
Center Sedrick Van Pran - Georgia
It just so happens that Van Pran's name has been linked to the Steelers in various mock drafts. With the need for an upgrade at the center position from the incumbent, Mason Cole, Van Pran is arguably the most refined player at his position. Considering Weidl's preference for size with his linemen, Van Pran's 6'4, 310-pound frame makes him ideal for the team's offensive line. The idea of reuniting him with former Bulldogs teammate Broderick Jones on the same line could be worth exploring.
Other name(s) to consider: Jackson Powers-Johnson (Oregon), Zach Frazier (West Virginia)
Tackle Taliese Fuaga - Oregon State
When it comes to tackles, few are as accomplished as Fuaga. This past season, he became the first Beaver to be recognized as an All-American since 2012. On 351 snaps, Fuaga surrendered zero sacks, two QB hits, and 11 QB hurries. He was graded as the nation’s No. 1 run blocker by Pro Football Focus at 90.7. If the Steelers were to move Jones back to his natural position at left tackle, they would no doubt look for a suitable replacement at right tackle for veteran Chukwuma Okorafor, who is likely to leave the team for free agency this offseason. Though there will be other options available, Fuaga's athleticism and physicality should distinguish him from the rest of the competition.
Other name(s) to consider: Tyler Guyton (Oklahoma), Javon Foster (Missouri)
Safety James Williams - Miami
During the latter part of the 2023 season, the Steelers' depth at defensive back was severely compromised due to various injuries. This year's Senior Bowl roster at defensive back is as strong and diverse as it has ever been. In the case of Miami's James Williams, what sets him apart is his tremendous stature for the position at 6'5 and 215 pounds. With his size and versatility, Williams is able to play in the backfield or in the box as a linebacker. This past season, Williams finished as the team's leader in tackles, posting an impressive 84.7 coverage grade. Fans should expect him to stand out during the week of practice and make a name for himself.
Other name(s) to consider: Kamren Kinchens (Miami), Javon Bullard (Georgia), Beau Brade (Maryland)