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Who were the fastest 2024 prospects at the Senior Bowl and will Rams take any?

Identifying the fastest players at the 2024 Senior Bowl

Iowa v Maryland
Beau Brade, out of Maryland, is a top safety prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft
Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

Still zeroing in on Los Angeles Rams General Manager Les Snead’s need to upgrade team speed, we move now to the fastest players in the 2024 Senior Bowl. Last week, Turf Show Times posted speeds at the East-West Shrine Bowl.

At the 2024 Senior Bowl, Zebra Technologies partnered up with game organizers to measure top speeds at practice and in the game. It also provided acceleration and deceleration numbers for all players in action. If you agree that the Rams need a speed upgrade, I have given options by listing player’s top speeds by position. The Zebra Technologies miles per hour numbers are in bold, as are rounds where I have slotted these players (off my first Top 300 Big Board) in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Again, I have linked to a calculator that converts miles per hour to 40 yard dash times. It’s not guaranteed to be 100 percent accurate, just to give a fair estimate, there are many facets and variables when measuring the speed of athletes.

Cornerback

22.17- Carlton Johnson, Fresno State 5’ 10 7/8” 169 lb.

21.34- Kris Abrams-Draine (4th) Mizzou 5’ 11 3/8” 173 lb.

21.04- DJ James (3rd) Auburn 5’ 11 5/8” 170 lb.

20.96- Max Melton (2nd) Rutgers 5’ 11” 193 lb.

20.75- Johnny Dixon (5th) Penn State 5’ 11 192 lb.

20.57- Kalen King (1st) Penn State 5’ 11” 189 lb.

20.56- Nehemiah Pritchett (4th) Auburn 6’ 1/8” 188 lb.

20.30- Cam Hart (5th) Notre Dame 6’ 2 7/8” 204 lb.

20.08- Quinyon Mitchell (2nd) Toledo 6’ 3/8” 195 lb.

20.07- Elijah Jones, Boston College 6’ 1 3/4” 169 lb.

20.07- Andru Phillips (6th) Kentucky 5’ 10 1/2” 191 lb.

Johnson and Jones, I haven’t graded, hadn’t heard of either til now. Abrams-Draine is a three-year SEC starter with kick return in his college history. James pent three years at Oregon before bumping up to the SEC and has a lot of zone experience. Melton is an aggressive player and versatile in man, zone, and run support. Physical and competetive, Dixon is also a very good blitzer off the corner. King’s inconsistency in 2023 has me dropping his draft projection and a poor Senior Bowl showing only adds to his woes. Pritchett and Hart are both experienced at college football’s highest level, sold mid-draft picks. Mitchell was a star at the Senior Bowl and has moved into Day 1 draft consideration. Phillips was a one-year starter and returned kickoffs.

Safety

20.71- Javon Bullard (2nd) Georgia 5’ 10 1/2” 197 lb.

20.32- Sione Vaki (7th) Utah 5’ 11 3/8” 211 lb.

19.95- Evan Williams (6th) Oregon 5’ 11 3/8” 202 lb.

19.92- Beau Brade (3rd) Maryland 5’ 11 3/4” 208 lb.

19.73- Tykee Smith (3rd) Georgia 5’ 9 3/4” 206 lb.

Even though the Georgia guys are on the small side for safeties, you just know they are tough as nails and play both the run and pass. Vaki appears to be a linear player, best when triggering downhill. He’s a bit of a draft darling because of his playing both offense and defense. Williams has slot/safety versatility and made the step up from MWC to Pac12 seamlessly. I really like Brade, can play deep or in the box and man or zone. physical enough to matchup on tight ends.

Off-ball linebacker

20.03- Payton Wilson (3rd) North Carolina State 6’ 4 1/8” 234 lb.

20.02- JD Bertrand (6th) Notre Dame 6’ 1” 235 lb.

19.42- Trevin Wallace (6th) Kentucky 6’ 1 1/4” 239 lb.

19.31- Marist Liufau (5th) Notre Dame 6’ 2” 239 lb.

18.81- Cedric Gray (4th) North Carolina 6’ 4 1/2” 232 lb.

One of the Rams needs is for a coverage linebacker and all these prospects would seemingly fit. Wilson pursues the ball very well. He played a hybrid edge rusher/traditional outside linebacker role and was utilized in a very aggressive style. Bertrand was one of the big Senior Bowl workout winners shows he has speed to boot. Wallace looks the part, but doesn’t appear to play that fast on film. Liufau plays a high-energy style, always willing to crash into and bang heads. Has the loose hips and change of direction to cover NFL players. Recruited as a safety, Gray has a natural sideline-to-sideline and coverage game. He struggles to stack/shed blockers in the run game and is more of a drag-and-tackle pursuit player.

Edge

19.80- Marshawn Kneeland (6th) Western Michigan 6’ 3” 268 lb.

19.37- Javon Solomon (5th) Troy 6’ 1/2” 247 lb.

19.14- Jalyx Hunt (U) Houston Christian 6’ 3 1/4” 250 lb.

18.99- Cedric Johnson (6th) Ole Miss 6’ 2 7/8” 260 lb.

18.78- Myles Cole, Texas Tech 6’ 5 7/8” 272 lb.

Who are these guys? Stellar speed showing by a group of late round prospects. Will it be enough to move them up draft boards? Pundits have been on to Kneeland for quite awhile. Solomon played primarily in tight with his hand on the ground, it appears to me that his strength’s would be better served standing and playing wider. Hunt is from a very small-school and is a tremendous size/length/speed prospect. Not gawky, actually quite coordinated, but needs much play strength and technique work. Recruited as a linebacker, Johnson is SEC-hardened with 29 starts in his final three Ole Miss years. Cole doesn’t have much college production, but has the stellar physical traits to be a late-round pick.

Defensive line

16.94- Gabe Hall (6th) Baylor 6’ 5 3/4” 290 lb.

16.82- Michael Hall (3rd) Ohio State 6’ 2 3/8” 280 lb.

16.60- Braden Fiske (3rd) Florida State 6’ 3 5/8” 295 lb.

16.59- Brandon Dorlus (2nd) Oregon 6’ 3 1/8” 272 lb.

16.51- Tyler Davis (3rd) Clemson 6’ 1 3/4” 299 lb.

Michael Hall and Dorlus are tweeners, a better NFL fit in a 4-3 front. Hall was never a full-time starter, he has good get-off abs nice swim move. I’ve moved Dorlus downward after digging deeper. He’s active and pursues, but not really athletic enough for edge and can be pushed around inside. Although Gabe Hall had a stellar Senior Bowl week and is blessed with physical traits, his game film tells a different story. His pad level is too often way too high and even with his strength, he is easily moved around. Davis is an experienced, (52 college starts) high floor player, the kind of player to do the dirty work on the interior.

Quarterback

19.44- Joe Milton (5th) Tennessee 6’ 5” 236 lb.

19.20- Michael Penix (1st) Washington 6’ 2 1/2” 212 lb.

19.16- Sam Hartman (7th) Notre Dame 6’ 1” 209 lb.

18.31- Michael Pratt (3rd) Tulane 6’ 2 3/8” 216 lb.

17.85- Bo Nix (1st) Oregon 6’ 1 7/8” 218 lb.

I cannot lie, big, strong-armed QB’s that can run always catch my eye. For as inaccurate as Milton can be, I don’t see too many WTF? throws. Penix throws a beautiful ball, but it seems every time that he gets jostled and can’t throw with his feet set and on rhythm, the pass goes awry. Hartman has a backup ceiling. Reports are that Pratt had multiple visits with Denver Broncos. Does Sean Payton see/know something? Nix struggled in the wind at the Senior Bowl, but is solid combination of arm and athleticism.

Running back

20.43- Dylan Laube (5th) New Hampshire 5’ 9 5/8” 210 lb.

20.40- Emani Bailey, TCU 5’ 7 3/8” 208 lb.

20.12- Isaiah Davis (6th) South Dakota State 6’ 220 lb.

19.74- Daijun Edwards (6th) Georgia 5’ 9 3/8” 202 lb.

19.59- Marshawn Lloyd (3rd) USC 5’ 9” 217 lb.

Laube is a versatile piece and has a good all-around game, but I don’t see RB#1, more of a mid-roster value. Although I haven’t looked at Bailey, top speed certainly seems a plus. For a big guy, Davis has good feet and deft moves. I expected a thumper and he’s got more finesse. Edwards has the Georgia/SEC pedigree and solid well-rounded game, a strong late round choice. Lloyd has burst, long speed, and power. He showed stellar hands and blocking at the Senior Bowl workouts.

Wide receiver

21.18- Tez Walker (3rd) North Carolina 6’ 1 1/2” 197 lb.

20.99- Javon Baker (5th) Central Florida 6’ 1 3/8” 208 lb.

20.49- Brendan Rice (3rd) USC 6’ 2 1/8” 212 lb.

20.45- Ricky Pearsall (3rd) Florida 6’ 7/8” 193 lb.

20.30- Jamari Thrash (4th) Louisville 5’ 11 3/4” 185 lb.

20.17- Luke McCaffrey (5th) Rice 6’ 1 3/4” 202 lb.

20.16- Jha’Quan Jackson, Tulane 5’ 9” 190 lb.

20.07- Roman Wilson (3rd) Michigan 5’ 10 1/2” 186 lb.

20.05- Ryan Flournoy, SE Mizzou State 6’ 1 1/8” 200 lb.

20.04- Malachi Corley (2nd) Western Kentucky 5’ 10 5/8” 215 lb.

All of these prospects had numerous shining moments during Senior Bowl workouts. Walker is a playmaker, but has his share of dropped passes. Baker originally played at Alabama, is thickly-cut and strong at catch point. Rice is a nice combination, physical and long underneath, while going deep he has speed and hand/eye coordination. Pearsall has great hands and understands how to run routes and create separation. Thrash had some drops, but was one of the biggest winners at Senior Bowl workouts. McCaffrey has the genes and played out of the limelight at Rice, his game is not a secret anymore. I haven’t graded Jackson, another to look after. You have to believe that if Michigan recruits a player, he’s talented, no matter his production. Wilson fits that to a tee. Flournoy is another I haven’t scouted and need to. Many draft pundits are not high on Corley, but I like his game. He’s not cut like a traditional receiver and lacks length, but can make plays with the ball in his hands.

Tight end

18.95- Jaheim Bell (5th) Florida State 6’ 1 7/8” 244 lb.

18.91- Ben Sinnott (3rd) Kansas State 6’ 4” 254 lb.

18.68- Theo Johnson (5th) Penn State 6’ 6” 257 lb.

17.15- Jared Wiley (6th) TCU 6’ 6” 253 lb.

17.04- Brevyn Spann-Ford (5th) Minnesota 6’ 6 5/8” 267 lb.

Bell began his college career as a running back, he’s built and plays like it. A versatile piece to move around formations. Sinnott is the best all-around tight end in the draft, most of his reviews are about ball-catching skills and while they are good, Kansas State runs a balanced attack and he blocks out of the backfield and inline, as well as playing in the slot. I have mentioned Johnson in other articles, I like his game and more importantly, his potential to improve. Wiley is an ex-quarterback, a receiver first tight end with good hands and hand/eye coordination. Spann-Ford is a throwback, like having another offensive lineman, but now we know he can run pretty well for such a big man.

Offensive line

15.69- Javon Foster (4th) Mizzou 6’ 5 1/2” 319 lb.

15.35- Kingsley Egaukun (U) Florida 6’ 3 1/4” 300 lb.

15.07- Charles Turner, LSU 6’ 3 1/2” 300 lb.

15.03- Christian Haynes (2nd) UConn 6’ 2 1/2” 318 lb.

14.36- Christian Jones (4th) Texas 6’ 5” 318 lb.

Foster started 38 straight SEC games at left tackle and has the physical and athletic traits to play there in the NFL. What makes him a work in progress is needing technique work, both with his punch and footwork. Egaukun and Turner are both developmental players, their strong play during Senior Bowl week notwithstanding. Haynes had 49 straight starts and was an All-American two years running. Doesn’t have prototypical size, but has excellent length and athleticism for the interior. Experienced and aware, Jones has a decent ceiling, but his move skills limit him to right tackle or a move inside. Uses his length for a good punch and clamps on well to control defenders.

Any possible Rams?

Yes, unlike the Shrine Bowl, the talent pool in the Senior Bowl is quite deep and the NFL dips in frequently. Rams General Manager Les Snead has been active mining the Senior Bowl since taking the L.A. reins in 2012. He’s drafted 29 players and signed three others as undrafted rookies.

Some of my favorites off this speed group, in no particular order: Cornerback Max Melton, safety Beau Brade, guard Christian Haynes, tight end Theo Johnson, running back Marshawn Lloyd, and wide receiver Roman Wilson. The best thing? The Rams would not have to touch their Round 1 pick to draft any of these prospects.

Which top Senior Bowl speed prospects would you fit into the Rams future?