NEPD Editor: Mike Loyko
Day two of the Senior Bowl is “Aaron Donald Day” in my mind, meaning that it’s the day when the cream of the crop starts separating from the other prospects. While there might not be an Aaron Donald caliber prospect on the South squad we were able to see some prospects begin to emerge from the pack. Over the last five years I’ve been able to understand that the cream rises to the top at the Senior Bowl, if there’s a player who is trying to mask flaws or hide weaknesses in their game they’ll be exposed. That’s what begins to happn as the pads go on. These are my observation and notes from the South session and what was learned in Mobile today.
1) Miami (FL) TE Clive Walford put together a stellar practice on Wednesday. He showcased immense potential as a pass catcher at multiple levels of the field. It’s clear Walford is has more burst than the other Tight Ends and can separate from coverage easier. He’s been able to put together two standout practice sessions to go along with tremendous weigh-in results.
2) Phillip Dorsett another Miami (FL) player had a great practice. Dorsett had the stands buzzing with his ridiculous speed and how easily he got open. Dorsett wasn’t asked to run many routes at the University of Miami and had issues with drop, but he’s shown he can put both of those concerns to bed. With time I think he can become a diverse route runner and explosive threat out of the slot.
3) Fullback is a dying position, but Alabama’s Jalston Fowler will carve out a niche for himself in the pros. He can be a “swiss army knife” that can run with the ball, catch the ball, block some, and play on all four special teams. He reminds me a little bit of Marcel Reese of the Oakland Raiders.
4) The defensive line for the South team is much better on the edges than the North team. UCLA’s Owa Odighizuwa is quick, fluid, long, sudden, and difficult to block in drills. Arkansas DE Trey Flowers had a much better day today and I continue to be impressed by Houston’s Joey Mbu’s short area power and explosion. Watching him go through bag drills is scary as he’s able to display his sudden power in tight spaces.
5) Grady Jarrett is a player I’ve talked about a lot over his Clemson career. He always found a way to impact the football game at Clemson and he’s doing the same kind of thing down here. Jarrett was in the backfield all day during team drills and used his quickness to win 1-on-1 battles. He’s a tough evaluation because he’s only 6’1″ and 288 lbs. and plays on the nose, but NFL scouts swear this kid will make an impact in the league.
6) OU Daryl Williams is really raw and has a tendency to play “top heavy”, but there is no doubting his natural power. Both in 1-on-1s and double team drills he was able to generate great movement if he engaged defenders with balance. With his frame and raw tools to develop an NFL team will definitely take a chance on the Sooner product.
7) Speaking of offensive linemen, it was once again clear that LSU OT La’El Collins was the best player on the field. Collins is just more advanced than other OL down here and has a lot more natural talent. On multiple occasions he was matched up with Mizzou DE Markus Golden, once Collins got his hands on he was able to maul him until the whistle. Collins has shown me he can play Left Tackle in the NFL and I can only imagine how dominate he’d be if he played inside at Guard for a few seasons. Collins also proved to other top prospects that coming down to Mobile and battling won’t hurt your draft stock if you’re good. The cream rises to the top down here.
8) Norfolk State OLB Lynden Trail once again wow’d scouts with his mobility and athleticism. He’s shown he can run with Tight Ends down the seam and carry his coverage vertically. There is no way a 6’7″ LB should be able to run and move the way he does. Trail also flashed potential as an edge rush threat and certainly has the frame to be a “force” player vs. the run. With his size he’s probably locked into a 3-4 scheme at OLB.
9) Kevin White and Senquez Golson are the two CB that stand out on the South roster. Both guys are small, quick-twitch players, that are aggressive on the football. Both guys can provide tight coverage out of man looks and like Steven Nelson on the North side are just feisty, tenacious defenders.
10) Bryan Bennett, QB, SE Louisiana was added to the South Roster today replacing Nick Marshall who decided to move to Cornerback this week. In fact I’m told Marshall didn’t even decide he was playing CB and not QB until he got off the bus in Mobile. Senior Bowl officials were caught off guard by the impromptu decision and were caught scrambling for a replacement. Bennett is a good looking athlete and has a clean throwing motion, but he was highly inconsistent making even the routine throws today. As for Marshall, I think he made the right move for the long term. He’s got a much better chance at sticking around in the NFL as a DB than a 3rd string or developmental QB.