Notes from the final North Squad Senior Bowl Practice. I will mix it up a bit and only focus on the quarterbacks and then give a brief summary on the other positions:
-Lock had his best practice of the week and was the best QB on either squad on Thursday. He threw the ball pretty well throughout the day. He displayed his big arm and velocity on a number of his throws fitting the ball into some tight windows or hitting his deep targets. Lock also showed some nice touch on some throws trying to hit guys in stride and allow his receiver to pick up YAC. One of Lock’s best throws of the day was a side arm throw where he fit the ball around one defender to his receiver who was in tight coverage. Lock still had his share of missed throws and the inconsistency was frustrating at times, but the decisions were typically sound on those missed throws. I wouldn’t define his day as a “great” practice, but relative to the rest of the QB’s it was the best of the day and a clear improvement from earlier in the week.
-Finley continues to be a very accurate QB in the short and intermediate area, but the upside is clearly limited. He did well in 7-on-7 and team drills dissecting the play and trying to throw guys open. There were a few mistakes, but his day was solid overall. Where he struggled was on his few attempts down the field. While the upside is questionable, Finley was the 2nd best QB on the North squad in practice.
-Really disappointing day for Jones, who really didn’t improve as the week wore on (in fact he probably regressed). His decision making in 7-on-7 and full team drills was questionable and his passes continue to lack zip when throwing deeper or across the field. Jones had a couple nice throws in 1-on-1’s that I saw, but overall his practice was more bad than good.
-McSorley was okay relatively today, but his upside is clearly limited. He has good job feeling pressure and throwing on the move, but he doesn’t have the arm talent to make the throws at a starting level. I see him as a late round guy who maxes out as a back-up.
-Penny Hart, Andy Isabella and Terry McLaurin all had really good days at practice and are clearly above the rest of the group. Hart and Isabella are very similar in build and style, so it made for an interesting comparison. Both did a great job getting open and using their speed to threaten downfield. Hart showed better hands, but Isabella seemed to have a better 2nd gear. McLaurin arguably had the best all-around practice of the three receivers. He has really good deep speed, and I really liked how he adjusted to the ball on a couple of throws.
While it wasn’t as impressive as the top three receiver’s Keelan Doss had a solid day. He’s another guy who offers deep speed and he has solid size as well. He’s more of a developmental project, but he offers some upside. Drew Sample was the one tight end who really stood out both as a blocker and as a receiver. In full team drills Sample had a couple really nice blocks where he was able to control the defensive end with ease. As a receiver Sample doesn’t have the big play ability to stretch the field, but he’s a solid route runner and receiver. He offers a good intermediate target and can help in the red zone.
-Huge bounce back day for Dalton Risner, who struggled early in the week and was a standout in the 3rd practice. Risner really struggled when lined up at tackle in Tuesday’s practice which led many (myself included) to believe that he had zero chance of staying outside at the NFL level. After Thursday’s practice that feeling has changed a bit. While he still seems like a better fit at center or guard, Risner dominated at tackle in practice. He showed nice feet and just plain nastiness. Two other practice standouts were Chris Lindstrom and Garrett Bradbury at guard and center respectively. Lindstrom lost a couple reps, but overall he was great inside both as a pass blocker and run blocker. He does a nice job anchoring vs the bull rush and he finishes his blocks when run blocking. As for Bradbury he is more of a finesse player, but he’s very technically sound and is quick after the snap in getting set to anchor. He uses his hands well and displays really good feet.
Overall i thought most of the offensive linemen played well, but Michael Deiter, Kaleb McGary and Erik McCoy were the next best three of the day.
-Two defensive tackles Renell Wren and Khalen Saunders, stood out in practice as the most consistent, but I think overall it was a win for the offensive line. Wren continued to show his first step quickness and his ability to get into the gap before the offensive lineman is ready. Even when face up on an offensive lineman, Wren’s quickness allows him to put the guard on his heels. It’s been a good week for Wren and he capped it off with another good practice. Saunders has been pretty impressive as well, he continues to be so quick and strong that a lot of times he wins initially causing a disruption in the back-field. The one concern is he plays out of control at times, which either puts him on the ground or allows the offensive lineman to re-anchor and control him.
Others who had solid-to-good days: Anthony Nelson, Ben Banogu, Charles Omenihu and Byron Cowart. None were standouts in practice, but helped their stock on the final day.
-Didn’t focus a ton on non-rush linebackers, but I liked what I saw from Germaine Pratt who was a bit disappointing earlier in the week. I thought he was better in coverage in Thursday’s practice and continues to play the run well. Without full hitting he can’t showcase his physicality as much, but that is a quality he has. Pratt’s range looked really good and he just needs to clean a few things up. It was a really strong end of the practice week and if he can follow it up with a good game, he will have helped himself a lot this week.
-Nasir Adderley struggled some in man-to-man coverage, but on one occasion he broke up a screen by fighting through another receiver’s block. Adderley’s strength though is as a free range safety where he can use his instincts and athleticism to make plays. I think this practice helped defined his role, and it showed when used correctly he can be a very good player at the next level.
One player who struggled was corner Kris Boyd. Boyd has had a rough week and really struggled versus speed receivers and deep routes. When he matched up versus guys like McLaurin and Isabella he got beat on multiple occasions. He can still have a role at the next level, but he clearly won’t fit in every system.