Senior Bowl Day 1 South Practice Report
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-Grier was solid in his first practice of the week, showing nice accuracy and mobility throughout the day. There were some misfires at times, but he did connect on a big deep ball with WVU teammate David Sills with a perfect tight window throw. Overall, I think it was about what you expect with Grier as a 2nd-3rd RD type prospect with some starting upside.
-Stidham looked like the most consistent quarterback on the South roster, and impressed with a nice mix of accuracy and arm strength. Stidham had an up-and-down season, but could excel in the Senior Bowl format. Overall he had the best ball placement of the quarterbacks today (probably on both squads), routinely hitting his target in stride or leading the receiver.
-Jackson measured in at a legitimate 6’7″ 250 lbs and he showed a cannon for an arm at practice. His velocity on his passes is noticeable and his deep passes were thrown with ease. Accuracy and ball placement were highly inconsistent, but weren’t expected to be a strength entering the week. You could see he Jackson felt the most comfortable throwing to Buffalo WR Anthony Johnson, as some of his best passes were to Johnson throughout the practice. Jackson has upside and developmental potential, but he needs to show a higher level of accuracy to be a starter at the next level.
-Samuel looked like the best receiver on the South Squad and one of the overall best of the day. Samuel is a smooth route runner, who creates separation on just about every route. Samuel has really good deep speed as well to go along with the short area quickness. For the most part Samuel caught the ball well and made a nice heads-up play catching a tipped pass that was going to fall incomplete during team drills.
-Johnson shows nice combo of size and speed and was very effective on both intermediate and deeper routes. He has nice body control and caught a couple of highly contested passes. Johnson clearly had strong chemistry with his college QB, but he seemed to work pretty well with all the the signal callers today. Johnson has starting potential at the NFL level, and probably will be a mid-round pick in April.
-Renfrow came in at 5’10” 175 lbs with 7 6/8″ hands. That weight and hand size (arm length of 29″ isn’t strong either) are pretty questionable numbers for a receiver, and definitely something that will knock him for a number of teams. Renfrow answered those questions with his play on the field, where he showed himself to be the player he was throughout his college career. Renfrow is a slot only guy, but he has the route running and short area quickness to get open and be an effective target in the short/intermediate area. Despite the questionable hand size, Renfrow didn’t show any issues catching the ball today. His limitations will lower his draft stock, but his play on the field will keep him high enough on boards to go somewhere in the 5th-7th rds.
-Bit of an up-and-down day for Sills. He has some long speed and won deep and in the intermediate area with a couple highlight catches. Sills though was inconsistent and would struggle to get open at times, and didn’t do well in fighting for positioning.
-Dillard looks like the best lineman down here this week and might have the highest upside. His footwork is fantastic in pass protection and he has no trouble versus speed rushers. Montez Sweat did get the better of him during 1-on-1’s in a couple reps, but other than that he excelled. His run blocking was a bit more inconsistent as he doesn’t play with power, but overall he was okay there. Power rushes gave him more of an issue and he needs to use his arm length better to keep defenders out of his body, but generally speaking he lived up to the hype and looks like a top 50 prospect.
-Jenkins had a really good day at center and he looks to be one of the better interior prospects down here this week. He was strong at the point of attack and won most of his reps of the day. He excelled in run blocking and created some nice holes in team drills. It’s a strong interior OL group down at the Senior Bowl and in the draft in general, but Jenkins is a guy to watch. His power is real and his footwork is solid.
-Powers was a mauler out there at guard today and almost a brick wall in 1-on-1 drills. Powers is coming off a great career at Oklahoma where he was part of one of the best offensive lines in the country who made there presence felt on every snap. That mentality seemed to continue with Powers in practice today. He was extremely physical as a run blocker knocking a number of defensive linemen off the line of scrimmage and sometimes into the ground. As a pass blocker he showed a strong anchor and good hand usage. Really good day overall for Powers and something to watch as the week wears on.
-Howard is a smaller school prospect, but he held up well in practice versus some of the best EDGE rushers from the South squad. He stonewalled Montez Sweat on back-to-back pass rushes in 1-on-1’s early in the practice. He also had positive reps early on versus Oshane Ximines and Jonathan Ledbetter. Howard is long physical tackle who won mainly due to strength and his long arms. He did get beat some later in practice versus some of quicker moves. Overall though it was a positive day for Howard just in showing that he belonged on the same field as the rest of the group and handled himself versus some of the best pass rushers. Long term he’s a developmental guy, but this was a positive impression for scouts.
-Sweat is one of the top prospects on either squad down at the Senior Bowl and he showed why early this morning with a very impressive weigh-in of 6’6″ 252 lbs with 35″ arms. Sweat got stopped on a couple early reps, but he got better as the practice wore on and finished the day winning a number of battles in both 1-on-1’s and full team drills. Sweat can win with both power and speed. He lacks elite bend, but overall he’s a very impressive pass rusher.
-Ximines had an up-and-down day for the ODU EDGE rusher. He had a couple nice impressive rushes in 1-on-1’s and team drills, but other times he was blocked out easily. His first step is impressive and can allow him to blow past offensive tackles. When that first step didn’t work though, he struggled at times to get off blocks once he was engaged. Solid day overall, but expected a bit more out of him given how he played this year.
-Ferguson was another impressive EDGE rusher for the South squad, showing explosion off the snap that allowed him to get to the edge before the tackle on a number of reps. He also showed some solid counter moves to disengage when the tackle did get to him. Ferguson isn’t as strong versus the run, but did okay in the reps I watched him.
-Ledbetter is one of the more interesting guys to watch down here as he didn’t come in with big hype or production. At Georgia he was a good run defender and typically was a read-and-react pass rusher who pushed the pocket, but rarely found the QB. Ledbetter showed some quality pass rush ability in 1-on-1’s using his strength and long arms to disengage from offensive linemen. If he continues to show pass rush ability it could help him get consideration for more of an every down role in the NFL.
-Mack was a late Senior Bowl add after a strong East/West Shrine week. He’s an short stocky nose tackle who was consistently winning the leverage battle and pushing offensive linemen back into the QB in 1-on-1’s and some team drills. Mack is pretty quick off the snap as well, which makes it tough to drive him off the line of scrimmage on running plays. This is a start of another good week for the Texas A&M DT, who has definitely helped his draft stock with these All-Star games.
-Didn’t watch a ton of linebackers today, but one that clearly stood out was Hanks from New Mexico State. He’s 6’2″ 234 lbs and was flying around the field in both coverage drills and on running plays. Hanks displayed plus instincts and angles of pursuit which allowed him to make a number of big plays in practice. He’s off to a good start this week and a guy who can really wow scouts this week.
-Johnson is a long corner with good speed and was probably the best all-around coverage guy on the South squad today. He plays physical, but still shows good speed to turn and run on deep routes. Johnson did pretty well covering some of the smaller and quicker receivers as well in short and intermediate drills.
-Ya-Sin had a strong day of practice and looks to be one of the better corners in Mobile this year for the Senior Bowl. He was physical in coverage and run support, and really excelled in coverage as well with only one or two missteps. One thing that really stood out for Ya-Sin was in team drills versus the run or when the pass went in another direction from him, he immediately went into pursuit mode and would look to be involved in the play. He shows really good instincts in coverage and doesn’t take many false steps.