NFL Draft

Senior Bowl Recap: Day 2

Day Two of the 2018 Senior Bowl is in the books. Bit of a chilly one today, seems to be one of those practices every year. But a better, cleaner day of work than yesterday, just as you’d hope and expect. Let’s dive in.

Before we do, want to thank our sponsor for the week. Touring Plans has been a great partner to Steelers Depot over the years. If you’re booking a Disney trip, definitely go through those guys. 

– We’ll get to Day 2 in a second but after posting yesterday’s report, I was able to watch some of the All-22 of yesterday’s practice. Some of my thoughts from there.

– North center Scott Quessenberry has a couple of people in his camp. Not sure I see it. Might do well in a power, drive block scheme but footwork is a mess when trying to climb to the second level. At least twice in team drills, he was late working to the MIKE linebacker, letting him free to fill the gap.

– Important for receivers to stack (get on top) of the corner on vertical routes. Something Cedrick Wilson does well, including one rep versus Darius Phillips. Couldn’t finish the play unfortunately, dropping a pass thrown slightly out in front.

– In a press man alignment, I like Weber State CB Taron Johnson’s hand placement. In off man or zone, he does get a little tall and has trouble getting his hips open on his punch, causing him to lose power. Maybe a work in progress but there’s potential.

Christian Campbell needs to be more patient in his pedal. Working against a receiver one-on-one, he opened his hips to the outside, expecting the route to stay vertical. Receiver broke inside and he couldn’t recover, giving up an contested pass.

Allen Lazard, the big WR from Iowa State, hasn’t had a great week, but you’re seeing him correct mistakes. First rep against Taron Johnson, had poor hand placement on his punch and couldn’t break press coverage. Second time, he was able to hit Johnson’s wrist, break it, and create space as he worked downfield.

Michael Gallup is one of the more impressive WRs here. Like his burst. Can slow play the corner initially and then dart upfield and create separation. Going to be an asset on playaction. Good hands and adjusts well to the football, too.

– Penn wideout Justin Watson had one of the plays of the day, a sweet one-hand snag in the end zone.

Uchenna Nwosu is showing promise as a pass rusher. Good set of counters. Able to cross the tackle’s face and work inside with a dip move if he can’t win the edge. It was effective, on one rep, getting under Brandon Parker.

Speaking of Parker, you can expect him to struggle at RT, even though many will probably suggest it’s his “best” spot. That’s not where he played at college so the transition is an adjustment. Not nearly as comfortable, not getting width, when on the right side as opposed to the left.

– For the South, I didn’t know much about Neavda’s Austin Corbett going into the Senior Bowl (and he was a late add) but I’m impressed. Great anchor and grip strength. Performed well in one-on-ones. Guys couldn’t move him.

– Virginia DE/DT Andrew Brown has a lot of upside but looking for him to be more violent on his punch. And get his aiming point lower. Up near the helmet, not the shoulders. He isn’t going to be Deacon Jones.

– OLB Marquis Haynes had one of the reps of the day. Countered Alex Cappa (who is having a strong week) with an inside club that opened Cappa’s hips and made it an easy win. Haynes is raw but an upside guy.

– In pass pro, looking for San Diego State’s Rashaad Penny to keep his eyes up in pass protection. Head drops on contact and he winds up holding. Tre’ Williams beat him pretty good on one occasion.

– One other minor thing. He had a good day today from what I saw but LSU’s DJ Chark has to work harder to come back to the ball on underneath routes. Curl route that he stopped up on and let the corner dip under him. Gotta help your QB out.

– If you guys didn’t see it on Twitter yesterday, couple other Steelers personnel members who are here.

Mike Butler (scout, son of Jack Butler)
Mark Bruener
Dave Petett
Samir Suleiman (Football Administration Coordinator – generally known as the guy who helps Omar Khan with the cap)

Think there’s only two Steelers I haven’t been able to identify yet. In total, that makes for at least 11 (and I assume Kevin Colbert, haven’t seen him yet) in Mobile.

Informal interviews in the lobby yesterday. Steelers spoke with Iowa OG Sean Welsh. Bruener had a brief convo with DE/OLB Marcus Davenport but I’m pretty sure another scout stole him away. Heard the scout say as he walked away with Davenport “I think I pissed that other guy off.”

Welsh and Davenport were both handed questionnaires to fill out and give back to the team. Butler also came up to Humboldt State OT Alex Cappa (who I believe had a meeting to attend) and shook hands with Maine OG Jamil Demby.

Let’s talk about today.

– Some housekeeping stuff. On the South side, couple of TEs went down with hamstring injuries. Dallas Godert and Adam Breneman. It wasn’t reported that either were ruled out for the rest of the week though one TE was brought in, Western Kentucky’s Deon Yelder. Neither practiced today and I’m not holding my breath for either to be available the remainder of the week.

– South ILB Micah Kiser has a sprained knee, Phil Savage announced, and sounds poised to miss the week. Vandy’s Oren Burks will replace him. Will be there tomorrow.

– North side. CB Darius Phillip’s Senior Bowl week is done. Flying out tomorrow due to a knee injury. Miami DT Chad Thomas is “day-to-day” with a groin strain. We await Dave Bryan for further comment on the injury.

– Miami (FL) WR Braxton Berrios took a knee to the ribs in yesterday’s practice. Testing revealed no break, just a bruise, per a source. He practiced in full today, knowing he needed to show some toughness and not get hit with the “small and not durable” label with all the scouts watching. Good day today so he’s doing what he can to improve his stock.

– Florida corner Duke Dawson weighed in. His measurements: 5’10 and 6/8, 195 pounds. 8 1/2inch hands, 30 7/8 arm, 74 5/8 wingspan.

North Practice

– Cedrick Wilson Jr. getting a reality of the NFL. Working on a sideline drill. Coach yells out: “Toe tap. Get both feet down in the NFL. Gonna get out of that one foot habit.”

– Back to Dawson. I like what he did in his first practice, missing yesterday due to illness. Tight man coverage in one-on-ones. After blanketing Berrios on a curl route and forcing a bad throw, his coach yelled out: “You can the route for him.” Saw him communicating well in 7 on 7’s. Called out Jaleel Scott running his crosser into the next zone and let him go so he could pick up someone in the flats.

Desean Hamilton continues to be the talk of the town. Like we wrote yesterday, fluid route runner who doesn’t lose speed out of his breaks and creates a lot of space in man coverage. Able to adjust to balls outside of his frame and doesn’t let many into his chest.

– The safety group on the North side have been impressive. Armani Watts is really fluid and changes directions without popping up or slowing down. Kyzir White and Trayvon Henderson aren’t as impressive in that regard but better at the catch point. White has the size and Henderson has the man coverage ability.

In safety/TE drills, White first broke up an out route and then in the last rep of the drill, carried Troy Fugamelli downfield on a post. Great coverage forced the throw over both their heads and incomplete.Henderson broke up a pass for Tyler Conklin in drills and then intercepted Josh Allen in 7v7.

All three make sense for the Steelers.

– Some fullback love. OU’s Dimitri Flowers with a sweet one-handed grab downfield against NDSU’s Nick DeLuca. Flowers has done well as a lead blocker, too. Can definitely hear the pop when he’s in there.

– Boston College corner Isaac Yiadom defends the deep ball well. Pinned Gallup and Wilson in back-to-back reps to the sideline and created the incompletion. Has length to finish and able to track the ball while it’s in the air without losing speed or getting out of phase with the receiver.

– Not that it’s much of a concern in Pittsburgh but Baker Mayfield had the best day today of any QB. By a wide margin. Allen continued to struggle with his accuracy and placement, including the interception in 7v7. A lot of heat on each throw – doesn’t always have the direction and control with where it’s going.

Mayfield got off to a slow start with not much going on during the first team session. Good coverage was forcing him to throw it away or tuck it to the sideline. But he was smart with the football and things opened up later in practice. Second team session was a lot better. Back shoulder to Conklin. Then rainbow to Mike Gesicki down the left sideline. Later, he hit Gallup on an over route, tossing it over the linebacker, and finally, showed good rhythm and timing, again finding Gallup on a ten yard curl. Ball was there as the receiver got his head around. Lot of QBs at this level, in this environment, are late with the ball. Can tell Mayfield is anticipating, not just reading.

Tanner Lee had the same issues as yesterday. Up-and-down. Today, mostly down. Poor accuracy on a deep ball down the right sideline. Ball too far inside and Campbell intercepted it. Had Cedrick Wilson wide open on a corner route. Ball again too far inside and Wilson couldn’t reach back for it. Big time development guy.

– Report is Fort Hayes State DT Nathan Shepherd broke his hand today. That’s a bummer – picking up a lot of buzz. Tomorrow should confirm.

– New Mexico State WR Jaleel Scott was a little better today but only slightly and that’s still not saying much.

– More on CB Michael Joseph. Saw his competitiveness and ability to finish yesterday. Saw it again today. Got initially crossed by Hamilton on a slant. Flipped his hips, drove to the ball, and pulled the ball out for the incompletion. He might come from a school nobody has ever heard of but he’s got a chance.

South Practice

– I like how the Houston Texans conduct their practice. Not a lot of time wasted. One example. They break off into 9 on 9 (run game focused) and 7 on 7 (pass game) at the same time. No offensive linemen standing around doing nothing.

– Anyway, to the players. Shaq Griffin has great change of direction ability and can play man coverage.But he struggles to finish the rep and make a play on the ball. Gave up catches to Yelder and then missed a diving attempt for Ito Smith on back-to-back reps despite being in great position.

– Mentioned it in yesterday’s article. UCF TE Jordan Akins is a guy to keep an eye on. Good athlete, easy-mover with great concentration and ability to finish the play. Sick one-handed TD near the end of team drills. With Dallas Godert out, Atkins has a chance to shine for the South squad.

Darrel Williams is looking like one of the better running backs here. Again, good hands for his frame, able to catch away from his body. Everything is smooth, even if the degree of catches aren’t all that difficult, it’s still nice to see. As a runner, he of course isn’t going to be super explosive but he’s got the vision to press the linebacker one way and cut the other. As I wrote about before this thing kicked off, a definite run demeanor. Downhill, all day.

Da’Shawn Hand continues to struggle in OL/DL, an area he should be winning. Isaiah Wynn has had his number all week.

– LSU WR DJ Chark is a fluid player who can string together multiple stems in his route and create space at the break point. Didn’t know a ton about him going into the week but today makes me want to take a closer look.

– Jacksonville State CB Siran Neal is going to get arrested for mugging these receivers. Way too grabby in coverage. That’s not inherently a terrible thing, as Mike Tomlin says, better to say whoa than sick ’em, but it is going to need to be improved on. In one instance, he literally grabbed the back of Byron Pringle’s jersey and held on the whole way essentially acting as Pringle’s parachute.

Kameron Kelly is probably going to find his home at safety, not corner. Where he’s more natural anyway after playing three years there. This year’s Sean Davis. Was at CB for a rep, was too tall and stiff coming out of his pedal to drive downhill on the curl, and the DB coach spent a minute going over it with him. He fills the alley well against the run and can track the football. Safety safety safety. Makes the most sense.

Andrew Brown showed explosiveness on one rep. Beat the reach block from the backside and knifed in to grab Williams from behind, not letting him hit the edge to the right.

– Marcus Davenport hasn’t gotten rave reviews in an important week for him but I did see him dust Joseph Noteboom around the edge once in team drills. He needs more plays like that.

Darius Leonard ended the day on a high note. Big pop on tiny Ito Smith in the right flat as the Texans worked on two-point plays.

– The quarterbacks are…meh. Western Kentucky’s Mike White probably the most impressive. Arm with the ability to put touch on his passes. But no one to get very excited about.

Tomorrow is the last day of practice. Kickoff for the 69th Senior Bowl on Sunday. If you guys have any other questions, or someone you want me to try and watch, let me know in the comments below.

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