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2018 Senior Bowl North Practice Day 2

Steve Shoup

Quarterbacks:

 

Baker Mayfield- Any rust that people may have seen day 1 was gone by the time Mayfield took the field Day 2. He started off practice firing on all cylinders and that is how he played throughout the entire session. Mayfield was accurate with strong ball placement that allowed his receivers to pick up extra yards after the catch. In 7-on-7 and team drills, Mayfield did an excellent job diagnosing the defense and finding the open man. He had a couple of really nice throws in these sessions fitting the ball in tighter windows, and throwing on the move.

 

One small thing that I liked to see was that after Josh Allen had an exceptional deep ball throw Mayfield ran up to congratulate him. This goes well against the narrative that Mayfield is a selfish player/bad teammate that seems to be out there in some scouting circles. It’s a small thing to be sure, but despite Mayfield competing with Allen for draft positioning the most important thing for him in the moment was to celebrate the big play.

 

Josh Allen- Allen started off the practice on fire looking great on throws to receivers without coverage and in the 1-on-1 WR vs CB or TE vs S drills. He had a number of really nice throws, including probably the throw of the day to Michael Gallup in 1-on-1s, but problems started to arise in 7-on-7 and team drills. The inaccuracy and indecision were more evident and there were multiple throws where you were wondering where he was trying to throw the ball.

 

With Allen the arm strength is tantalizing and it’s no doubt a special arm that can make some impressive throws, but the touch and accuracy are lacking leading to some major inconsistencies to his game. Allen hasn’t done too much to change that perception of him on the field, which makes him a risky top 100 pick.

 

Tanner Lee- Lee did not have a good day today and it looked to be a step back from Tuesday’s practice. Lee still showed some zip on the ball and connected on a couple nice throws, but the bulk of his attempts were simply poor throws/decisions. His live arm is intriguing, but he’s going to need a bounceback practice tomorrow to really show he’s worth a later round pick.

 

Luke Falk- Falk is not going to wow anyone with arm strength or highlight throws, but he remains accurate and consistent in the short and intermediate areas. His decision making is sound and he doesn’t try to force it when it’s not there in 7-on-7 or team drills. Though checking the ball down can be “boring” at times in practice, if it’s the right call it’s a positive play. Falk doesn’t really have the upside to be a starter, but he’s got the skill set to be a long time back-up in the league which makes him worth a later round investment.

 

Running backs:

 

Just a general write-up here on the backs. Ballage continued to have a strong showing as a receiver and has a couple of nice runs in practice. I thought Akrum Wadley had a really strong day and was a weapon in his own right catching the ball out of the backfield. I don’t see a feature back from this group, but Ballage and Wadley especially have shown they can have a valued role on offense.

 

Tight ends:

 

Mike Gesicki- Gesicki continues to have a good week of practice, catching just about everything thrown his way and showing some ability to pick-up yards after the catch. His speed is deceptive, but he has continued to find ways to get open and get extra yards after the catch. For the most part he has caught things cleanly and has used his height to give him an excellent catch radius for QBs to target.

 

Durham Smythe- Smythe probably wasn’t as good as he was on Tuesday, but it was still a pretty positive practice for the Notre Dame TE. He had a couple nice contested catches, and fared really well as a blocker.

 

Wide Receivers:

 

Michael Gallup- Gallup came in with some buzz, but looked fairly average in the first practice of the week on Tue. That perception changed today as I thought he stood out throughout the day. Gallup showed well in a variety of areas, creating easy separation both with speed and quality route running. He made multiple nice catches, including a couple homerun balls.

 

DaeSean Hamilton- Hamilton continued to be the top WR on the North squad and has shown himself to be a fantastic route runner, with good hands and speed. Hamilton is just so smooth in and out of his breaks that corners have no shot on some of his routes.

 

Cedrick Wilson- Wilson started out slow, but I thought he played better as practice wore on and it was definitely a better showing than Tuesday. I noticed him fight off press coverage a couple of times that allowed him to get open. He didn’t have probably as many highlight catches, but I did notice a couple of poor passes where he was the target as he had worked himself open, but the pass just was off the mark.

 

Braxton Berrios and Justin Watson didn’t stand out as much to me, but I both noted them positively multiple times throughout the practice.

 

Offensive Line:

 

Tyrell Crosby- Crosby had a mixed day. Early on he won a couple 1-on-1s pretty handily, showing good balance and power. Later though in team drills he missed a couple blocks where he was slow to get to the edge. Overall I’d say it was a positive day for Crosby, but it would be nice to see a bit more consistency.

 

Brett Toth- Teams are going to have to really get a firm answer from the United States Army as to how their policy on deferment will apply to Toth, because from a talent stand point Toth has NFL starting potential. The question is how quickly he will be available to an NFL team as to where he should go in the draft. Toth shows really good power and excels as a run blocker (not too surprising). Despite not having to do it much in college, Toth has shown well as a pass blocker and he has the size and ability to really develop nicely in this area.

 

Will Hernandez- Looked like the best offensive lineman on the North squad today. He is just too powerful in 1-on-1 drills and run blocking in team drills. If he gets his hands on the defender the play is over, as no one seems to have an effective counter for Hernandez. While he probably won’t fit the best in zone schemes, his technique and power make him a consideration regardless of whether or not he’s a perfect fit. Hernandez has had a big week and he’s cementing himself as a potential top 50 pick.

 

Defense:

 

Defensive Line:

 

Nathan Shepherd- Shepherd was having another strong practice as an interior menace along the defensive line. He had a really strong showing in 1-on-1s causing a number of headaches for opposing offensive linemen with his quick first step and power. Unfortunately Shepherd broke his arm during practice and will be out the rest of the week. While it’s disappointing that he suffered the injury, this was clearly a strong week for him that should help is draft stock.

 

Harrison Phillips- Phillips had a good practice today. During positional drills he received praise for his technique and staying low. He looked strong and powerful in 1-on-1’s, but was probably his most dominant in team drills, where he really looked strong versus the run. It’s been a good week for Phillips, and while his pass rush ability looks to be just okay, combined with his run stopping ability he brings a lot of value to a defensive front.

 

Both NC State DL B.J. Hill and Justin Jones have flashed some this week. Jones has more quickness and has wrecked havoc on some key plays. Both have some consistency issues, but overall have had positive showings.

 

Ogbonnia Okoronkwo- Okoronkwo was excellent in the defensive line positional drills to start practice earning a high amount of compliments from the coaching staff. His burst and quickness is extremely evident, and help allows him to win a lot of his battles before the offensive lineman can even get out of his stance. Okoronkwo does need to improve his counter moves, but he has plenty of projection as a pass rusher at the next level. Though pass rushing is his forte, Okoronkwo fared well in coverage drills today.

Kemoko Turay- Turay continues to show himself as a force off the edge rushing the passer both in 1-on-1s and team drills. While his speed and quick first step are key, he showed some ability to bend around the edge today. I think he could still use some work getting off blocks vs the run and in coverage, but he can rush the passer for sure.

 

Linebacker:

 

Fred Warner- Warner has stood out as a linebacker in both practices this week. He’s got good size, and is physical in the running game, but he has been really good in coverage this week as well. He has the makings of a 3 down all-around linebacker and has definitely helped himself this week.

 

Defensive back:

 

Duke Dawson- Dawson missed the first practice due to an illness, but came out of the gate ready to play today. He had a really good day in coverage, sticking to receivers in man coverage and showing nice ball skills and reaction time. His hips were smooth in transition, and it was an impressive showing (particularly since he was likely less than 100%).

 

Armani Watts- The North Squad safety group is extremely impressive so it’s not easy to stand-out on this squad, but Watts did just that. Watts has excelled both in coverage and run defense in practice this week. His range is very impressive and he should test well at the Combine. On top of his natural athletic ability, Watts helps his case with taking good angles and quick reaction time.

 

The other three safeties on the North squad all had good days, and were making a number of nice plays. This is a really strong group that should see three top 100 players and perhaps see all four taken in the top 4 rounds.



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