2016 Senior Bowl: Day 3 Practice Notes
Carson Wentz– Wentz continues to stand out in practice and he’s going to be very popular among teams looking for a potential franchise QB. He’s got the size and arm strength teams covet and he showed he can make all the throws against better competition. He’s still a raw talent, but the upside is undeniable. The Cowboys staff definitely seems impressed with him and the rumors that he’s under consideration for the 4th overall pick probably have some validity behind them.
Braxton Miller- The Braxton Miller show was in full effect again as he made play after play in practice. He gets open with such ease, it’s amazing to think that he has less than a year of experience at the receiver position. Miller’s stock is sky high now and he’s making a strong first round case.
Jordan Payton- Payton doesn’t wow you like Miller does, but he quietly gets open and makes plays. He might not have the number 1 receiver upside like Miller, but he could develop into a number 2 role at the next level. He doesn’t excel in any one area, but he’s also not really weak in any particular area.
Ed Eagen- Eagen was a late add, but he did a nice job in his first practice. He is a classic slot receiver, who won’t really be able to contribute on the outside. He’s really quick and showed the ability to make people miss on a couple of passes and in the return game.
Jason Spriggs- Spriggs continued to be the top OT here in mobile as he was typically the best competition for any edge rusher in drills. He was beaten to the inside on a couple of moves as he would over commit to the speed rush, but that is something that is workable. Spriggs has good size, length and footwork, making him capable of staying on the left side or moving to the right if needed.
Jack Allen- Allen is not the biggest center, but he may be the toughest center down here. He plays with great leverage and technique allowing him to move bigger DTs in the running game. In pass blocking Allen anchors down well and does a nice job countering any pass rush moves. He definitely has the makings of a starting caliber center.
Cole Toner- Toner may be a Harvard product, but he showed that he was more than able to hold his own versus this very talented group of defensive linemen. Toner may fit best as a guard long term, but he did well at tackle as well. He had a number of nice reps versus some of the best rushers the North team had to offer. He plays with a good base and nice feet. When he doesn’t over commit, he can wall off the defender.
Kyle Murphy/Josh Garnett- Both Stanford products continue to play well and while they are far from perfect, they appear to be solid mid-round talents who can start going forward. Garnett is a big physical guard who struggles with consistency, but when he’s on he can blow up the defender and take him out of the play. Murphy probably profiles as a RT only, but he’s pretty solid overall.
Jason Fanaika- Fanaika was inconsistent at times, but he showed some nice pass rush moves during some of his reps and he made some nice plays. He needs to show better power overall, but it was good to see him use some various moves to get after the quarterback.
Sheldon Day- Day may be undersized and a bit of a tweener, but that made no difference on the field as he routinely beat every OL he faced in drills. Some teams might be hesitant as to where he fits, but the fact of the matter is Day can just play. He’s got great initial burst and plays with great leverage allowing him to over power bigger offensive linemen. In addition to his burst and leverage, Day has very violent, strong hands that helps him get off OL blocks.
Adolphus Washington- Washington took his game up a notch yesterday making a number of big plays on the interior. He was really tough to block 1-on-1 and he got a lot of penetration in the backfield throughout the practice.
Austin Johnson- Johnson was another DT that really excelled yesterday. He started quietly, but as practice wore on he was putting up quality rep after quality rep. Johnson plays low and is really tough for OL to move off a spot when run blocking. He’s not as strong as a pass rusher, but he’s so powerful that he was pushing the interior OL back into the pocket on most reps. Maybe he wouldn’t come up with the sack, but he’d be preventing the QB to step up in the pocket and allowing his teammates to get him.
Nick Kwiatkoski- Kwiakoski wasn’t considered a high prospect going in, and while that hasn’t dramatically changed he’s helped himself this week. He flashed multiple times yesterday (though consistency was an issue) and at worst he could be a core special teams player/back-up ILB.
Kyler Fackrell- Fackrell didn’t have as many pass rush reps as the DL group, but he did well on most of his reps. He shows nice edge potential, with good speed/burst off the edge and some bend. What was most impressive about Fackrell is that he made a few nice plays in coverage. While this will be a secondary area for Fackrell, the fact that he showed a little in this area will help him appeal to multiple teams.
Darian Thompson- Thompson continues to be the top safety down here, showing excellent range and instincts making plays as a free safety. His run support can be questionable at times, but he’s definitely shown himself to be one of the top safeties in the class and he can be a starting caliber FS. He’s very fluid in his actions and he should quickly be able to make the transition to the next level.
Deiondre Hall- Hall was not afraid to mix it up with Braxton Miller in practice, and for the most part he backed up his trash talking with his play on the field. Hall has impressive speed and quickness for his size, and could find his way moving up draft boards after showing he could compete at this level.
Maurice Canady- Canady didn’t do anything flashy, but he played at a solid consistent level through out practice. He lost some reps, but overall he did a nice job in practice. He’s smooth changing directions and comes with impressive size and length. He needs to work on being more physical with receivers in press, but overall he’s had a good week.
Quarterbacks- No one quarterback really stood out, Dak Prescott was probably the best of the bunch, but that isn’t saying a lot. Jacoby Brissett does well on short passes, but he underthrew some key deeper passes that looked pretty bad. Brandon Allen had some nice moments in 7-on-7 drills, threading a couple nice passes in tight windows, but in full team he didn’t do much.
Sterling Shepard– Shepard was the one receiver who really would give the South DB’s some problems in practice. His quickness and burst allowed him to create separation on a number of routes and he displayed really nice hands. Shepard will get top two round consideration, and he looks capable both in the slot and on the outside.
Malcolm Mitchell- Mitchell had a nice practice making a couple nice contested catches, including a back shoulder TD catch in the red zone. Overall the DBs were winning the coverage battle, but Mitchell did get some separation on a few reps, but he wasn’t always targeted on those plays.
Cody Whitehair- This was probably Whitehair’s worst practice of the week, yet he was still the top OL on the South team. He lost a couple battles due to not getting set in time, but overall he was a stonewall and the toughest test for defensive linemen. He’s got a great anchor and a really good punch that makes it tough to beat him in pass rush.
Sebastian Tretola- Tretola continued to have a good week both in run and pass blocking. After Whitehair he was probably the 2nd best OL of the group. He has nice speed when pulling or getting to the 2nd level, and he plays with really strong power making him an excellent run blocker. His pass blocking was pretty strong as well as he didn’t get beat too often in 1-on-1’s and in full scrimmage he remained strong in that area.
Vadal Alexander- Alexander came into the week with a pretty consensus top 75 (if not top 50) grade, but he’s been just way too quiet this week. It’s not to say that he was beaten on every play or abused in drills, but rather that he never stood out. For a guy who was hoping to be taken in the early 2nd round that isn’t a good thing. I don’t know if it will knock his stock too much, but it definitely didn’t help him raise his stock.
Noah Spence- Spence just flat out dominates on the edge. He’s simply too fast and quick for these tackles and he was living in the backfield. Spence is making a case for a top 15 selection and he could even be taken in the top 10.
Jarran Reed- With Sheldon Rankins pulling out, Reed was the most dominant interior DL on the South squad. He’s got a great power/speed combo, and really strong hands that he uses to shed blockers with ease. Reed is making a strong case for himself to crack the 1st round with this performance.
D.J. Reader- Reader is a big physical nose tackle type. For his size he’s got decent speed and burst, and it allows him to blow up a number of plays either at the LOS or in the backfield. He was a bit more inconsistent today vs yesterday, but he still played well overall. Reader does need to work at maintaining his pad level as a couple of times he lost the leverage battle.
Javon Hargrave- Hargrave was a injury replacement add today, but he quickly made his presence felt. He is explosive off the ball and he used that speed to get some nice penetration on a number of reps. He even got Cody Whitehair on a couple of plays, which is very atypical for the week. Hargrave can be a bit over aggressive at times and sometimes OL were able to use that to push him out of the play, but overall Hargrave had a nice 1st impression.
Reggie Ragland- Ragland came to the Senior Bowl a bit over-weight and it shows at times in coverage or when he tries to rush the passer. He’s still really strong in run support, but he needs to show far more consistency in coverage.
Eric Striker- Striker is an emotional player on the field and he definitely brings energy to the defense, but the problem remains where does he fit in. He’s really on the small side and he struggled to cover tight ends in coverage, and didn’t do as much as you’d like in run support. He will fly in and make a play every now and then, but there is no consistency to his game.
Dadi Nicolas- Nicolas is another undersized guy, but he played pretty well in practice yesterday. He’s more of a pass rusher, but he’s here with the linebacker group and he held his own in coverage responsibility drills. He did well in his pass rush attempts also, and he could carve out a role as a situational rusher at the next level.
Jalen Mills- Mills is playing corner here, but he will likely see a lot of safety consideration as well. He’s very fluid in flipping his hips or changing direction, and has nice size and impressive speed. Mills displayed really good coverage throughout the practice and was a big part of the reason that routinely the QB’s had no where to go with the football.
Harlan Miller- Miller played at SE Louisiana, but has quickly showed that he can excel at this level. Miller consistently had tight coverage regardless of the receiver he was facing or the route they were running.
Cyrus Jones- The Alabama product is known for his impressive speed and punt return ability, but he can also play a little corner as well. Though he may be best suited for slot work at the next level Jones had an impressive practice both inside and outside. Even when a receiver got a step on him, Jones was able to recover quickly and get back in position.
Jeremy Cash- The Duke safety is definitely at his best in the box, but he showed he could make some plays playing deep as well. During a three play stretch in full team scrimmage, Cash closed in run support from his single high safety position, came up to cover a back out of the backfield and then took away the seam route for the TE. None of the plays were flashy or spectacular, but they all represented the types of plays Cash will face at the next level. Earlier in practice Cash had a couple rough moments in coverage, so it wasn’t all good, but he did well overall.