MOBILE, Ala. -- Heisman Trophy runner-up Max Duggan was among the NFL prospects to report on Monday after accepting his invitation to the Senior Bowl.
The TCU quarterback declared for the NFL draft after a near-storybook ending to his college career, where he went from losing his starting job to leading the Horned Frogs to their first national title appearance since 1938, where they came up short.
Although this Senior Bowl isn't projected to have a first-round quarterback for the first time in nearly a decade, executive director Jim Nagy sees this as an opportunity for Duggan to ascend on draft boards similar to late-rising quarterbacks such as the Philadelphia Eagles' Jalen Hurts and San Francisco 49ers' Brock Purdy.
"Really excited about this year's quarterback class," Nagy said at Tuesday's news conference. "Really, based on our grades, our Senior Bowl grades and when we do our grade-sharing calls around the league in November, this class is all in that fourth-, fifth-round group which is where Jalen Hurts was just three short years ago and now it's pretty awesome to see Jalen in the Super Bowl and Jalen jumped into second that year so I think it's going to be a guy or two that gets into Day 2. There's some Day 2 guys that went back to school."
Nagy also touched on the meteoric rise of going from a "seventh-round PFA to fourth or fifth round, that's a massive jump."
Duggan passed for 3,698 yards and 32 touchdowns in his senior season.
"It was pretty special. A lot of ups and downs, but I was supported and surrounded by a lot of great people whether it was family and friends, teammates, coaching staff, people at the university," Duggan said. "It was just so many people in my corner that helped me get to this point."
Duggan said he hasn't had time to reflect on his accomplishments, but wants to use the Senior Bowl experience as a chance to showcase his football knowledge, ability to execute playcalling and run a full operation to NFL front offices.
"I think it can help in the sense that you're always trying to self-scout yourself, and these teams are all doing that, and everyone's thinking, 'well why didn't we take Purdy in the fifth or sixth or even before that?'" Nagy said. "And I know when I got into scouting, we used to value experience a ton at quarterback and guys that like lifted programs and that's why I loved Desmond Ridder so much last year because Desmond really lifted that entire Cincinnati program, but with Max, he's played a ton of football so for anyone that's going back and doing the Purdy study, they're going to look at a guy like Max who's started 40 or whatever career games and that can certainly probably help him."
This year also marks the first time in the Senior Bowl's history that two full staffs from NFL squads will not be coaching the game. Nagy didn't view the new coaching format as a con, but admitted that it "created a lot more work for our staff."
The Detroit Lions and New York Jets were the coaching staffs at the 2022 Senior Bowl.
"That was a call by the league office. Like I said, I was taken off guard a little bit with the call in June and you just deal with it," Nagy said. "We've dealt with a lot in the last five years since I've been here with a stadium move, COVID, trying to pull a game off fully bubbled. So, the coaching staff move is nothing we would've proactively done, but again, it's not just a great opportunity for our players, I think it's great for the players, too. It's been great having those guys in town."