With the season winding down, veteran players have begun drawing invites to postseason games in an order to solidify their draft stocks. With a veteran-heavy roster leading Maryland this season, it’s no surprise to see the Terps drawing that attention as three starters will have one more game in their college careers.
Jaelyn Duncan, Jakorian Bennett, and Chad Ryland have accepted invites to the Reese’s Senior Bowl down in Mobile, Alabama. The Senior Bowl is a last chance for many seniors from across the country in all divisions to show NFL GM’s and scouts they have what it takes to make it into the NFL.
Duncan, who is a 6-foot-6, 320 pound left tackle for the Terps, could have easily gone to the draft last season. But instead he chose to come back for one last ride with the guys. “Jaelyn Duncan has been a four-season starter at left tackle at Maryland. His tape has been inconsistent, however, and he’s struggled in bigger games. He will be grilled at interviews to see where his mental focus is. Regardless, he should put up monster numbers in testing and has the athleticism and strength to hold up at the NFL level” said John Vogel, a draft analyst for NFL Draft Blitz when talking about Duncan. While Duncan has been inconsistent, his potential and athleticism at his size will be the reason he will be very much loved during the draft process.
Bennett, a 5-foot-11, 195 cornerback for the Terps, has become a consistent starter since signing with the program out of Hutchinson CC. Last season, Bennett led all Power Five corners in pass break ups and so far this year he has nine pass break ups. With his eligibility exhausted, Jakorian Bennett is built more to the Darius Slay-type mold but will have to develop technique and refine some of his mechanics before he starts in the NFL. He’s more of a zone coverage cornerback, someone who has a natural feel for those types of assignments. While his size might get him in some trouble with some teams, Bennett might be able to work himself into a slot role over the next few years and slowly work into a dependable starter” said John Vogel about Bennett. While Bennett lacks the number of picks, he does a great job of getting his hands in the right places and causing incompletions.
Arguably no player drew more praise during fall camp than Chad Ryland, a kicker who transferred into Maryland from Eastern Michigan during the Spring and was regarded as the best kicker in the portal. The 6 foot, 183 pound kicker is 11/15 on field goals so far and is 32/33 on PAT’s with his only miss being the blocked PAT late in the Purdue game. So far Ryland has showed why he was so highly regarded and wanted while in the transfer portal. “Ryland is by far one of the more meaningful gets out of the transfer portal for us,” said head coach Mike Locksley during the pre-season. “It’s not just his ability to kick,but now he’s integrated himself into a new football family. He’s already one of the guys that shows tremendous leadership, he’s part of our leadership counsel. He’s definitely a weapon.” Ryland will look to keep showing he is one of the best kickers in the country the rest of the season as well as in Mobile during the Senior Bowl.
Antoine Brooks, Darnell Savage, and Sean Davis are some of the most recent and notable former Terps that have participated in the Senior Bowl. All three ended up getting drafted as well which hopefully will be the same case for Duncan, Bennett, and Ryland. The Senior Bowl will be played on Saturday February 4th, 2023 down in Mobile, Alabama. Practices will also be shown during the week for people to watch as well.
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