The Buffalo Bills’ brass and 31 other NFL teams will have a keen eye on Mobile, AL this week with Senior Bowl practices taking place. This event is the first step in an offseason full of showcases for prospective NFL Draft prospects in 2024.
The Senior Bowl interview processes are also an important aspect of the week, as teams will get to sit down face to face with all of the prospects in attendance. The Bills will seek to poke and prod the minds of the attendees as they look to set a draft board by late April.
One of the big twists of the Senior Bowl in 2024 is that underclassmen are now allowed at the event, rendering the longstanding name of the event a bit misleading. That new wrinkle has allowed for a multitude of talented young prospects to be added to the roster in recent weeks.
Over 130 players are set to compete this week, and practices were underway on Tuesday at 10:30am EST time. Let’s go over just a few of the many prospects to know if you’re following along on either ESPN or NFL Network throughout the week.
Kam Kinchens, S (Miami)
It’s within the range of outcomes that One Bills Drive will be looking for two new starting safeties in 2024 with 33-year-old Micah Hyde a pending unrestricted free agent and a soon-to-be 33-year-old Jordan Poyer on the last year of his contract in 2024. One of the better prospects at the position in this year’s class will be in attendance coming off his true junior season at Miami and taking advantage of the new All-Star game rules.
Kinchens has some of the best ball skills in the entire class, plus the range to play over the top in coverage — and he’s more than willing to stick his nose in run support. The range and stopping power certainly stand out on tape.
There’s some feast or famine to Kinchens’ game at the moment. He’s been on the wrong end of too many busted coverages, and there are plays where he’s approached coverage too aggressive in looking for a big play — instead turning it into one for the opposing offense.
This week will be absolutely massive for Kinchens where he will once again get to show off his ability and why many considered him as the potential best overall safety in the draft class prior to his senior season.
Devontez Walker, WR (North Carolina)
The Bills were sorely missing a roof raiser at wide receiver in 2024. Of course, they must love the output they received from rookie first-round tight end Dalton Kincaid this past season, but the ability to have a real vertical threat to stretch the defense was lacking — no more so than in the biggest contest of the year against the Kansas City Chiefs in which Buffalo was eliminated. A long, tall, and fast target will be in Mobile, and he’ll have the chance to show his stuff for Bills brass.
Walker was subject to national talk early in the season for denied eligibility by the NCAA after he made the move from Kent State to North Carolina. Walker missed more than a month of the season as he awaited a waiver to be declared eligible. Eventually it was approved and Walker was an instant difference maker on the outside for potential number-one overall pick Drake Maye.
Walker is 6’1 1/2”, possessing legit length at the position and long strides that allow him to glide through defenses with ease. He has sure hands to couple with his ball tracking and speed. You’d like to see the route tree improve in the NFL, but this is a player archetype the Bills should be squarely in the market for. It’s a big opportunity for Walker to solidify his Day 2 status this week.
T’Vondre Sweat, DT (Texas)
Another potential big-time need this offseason may be at defensive tackle where huge 2022 free-agency hit DaQuan Jones is set to be a free agent once again. The cupboard is almost completely bare at the position with the potential departures of free-agent defensive tackles Tim Settle and Jordan Phillips. The lone man standing in the room is Ed Oliver who’s locked up on a long-term contract with the team.
The Bills need young bodies in the room at one-technique. One name to watch who is looked at as the best one-technique in the class is Texas’ T’Vondre Sweat — who by all accounts is a physical freak at 6’4” and pushing 360 pounds. In the past, players of this size would be looked at as a true nose with limited scheme versatility. But that’s not the case for Sweat because of the lower body explosiveness he shows along with being a disruptive plugger in the middle.
Sweat will be one of the best at the Senior Bowl regardless of position and is a physical freak relative to size. It’s a big need for the Bills. One-on-ones will be a fascinating proposition for Sweat as he looks to prove he has juice to work with as a pass rusher.