East-West Shrine Bowl West Practice Notes, Day 2

Another beautiful day here in Las Vegas, another terrific day of football at the Fertitta Football Complex in the heart of UNLV’s campus.

Like we did yesterday, I will cover West practice, while Owen Straley will cover the East.

-I switched things up this morning and really followed around the offensive linemen, as I feel the West has the best crop of linemen here in Las Vegas. North Dakota State’s Cordell Volson, Baylor’s Xavier Newman-Johnson, and Florida’s Jean Delance really stood out in 1v1 and looked good in the team scrimmage. Volson is really impressing me. He has been working at left and right guard here in Vegas and has thwarted any attempt at defensive linemen trying to put together any sort of pass rush against him.

-Newman-Johnson is the smallest lineman here without a doubt, but he has what it takes. He’s extremely physical, uses is hands very well and is light on his feet. He does a great job of recovering even when he’s beat, and he is just really smart overall. I know people seem to be scared off due to his size, but he can really play.

-Delance was really impressive. He has great feet, plays with a low pad level and flashes his strength with a powerful punch and great torque to toss guys aside. He was rather quiet on Saturday, but on Sunday really flashed time and time again. So too did Arizona State tackle Kellen Diesch. He’s one of the more athletic linemen here and really is light on his feet. He moves very, very well and has been able to handle power and speed through two days, which matches his college tape.

-Along the defensive line, I was really impressed with Penn State defensive tackle Derrick Tangelo. He has a really quick first step, quick hands and really has some explosion to his game. He held up well against the run in 9-on-7 and the team scrimmage. Tennessee’s Matthew Butler also had another strong day, though is Sunday practice started off poorly, jumping offsides on back-to-back plays in 1v1, earning an earful from the coaching staff. He’s a big, powerful guy though that continues to flash in a big, big way.

-Running backs Ty Chandler and Keontay Ingram really impressed me today. Chandler is a natural catcher of the football out of the backfield and really just explodes with the football in his hands. He really ran hard in practice on Sunday too, seeking out contact when he could in the team scrimmage. He really flies in space too. Fun guy to watch up close. Ingram is just silky smooth. He has great hands out of the backfield and just glides into and out of his cuts as a runner. He is well-built too and could be a solid fit as the No. 2 RB in Pittsburgh. He has my attention.

-Baylor wide receiver Tyquan Thornton and Oklahoma State wide receiver Tay Martin continue to dominate the competition here. Both really create a ton of separation in their routes and continue to show off strong hands, winning in the air consistently. Both are worth monitoring throughout the draft process as they bring a ton of experience to the table.

-Baylor cornerback Kalen Barnes had a great day, as did North Carolina’s Kyler McMichael. Barnes has the size and length the teams will covet at the position, and he does a great job playing with his technique rep-to-rep. He kept receivers off balance and was sticky in coverage throughout the day. He generated some real buzz on the sideline throughout the day. McMichael picked off Iowa State’s Brock Purdy in the team scrimmage off of a tipped ball intended for Florida State running back Jashaun Corbin in the right flat.

We’ll have much, much more coming in the next few days, including practice notes for the final two practices for the East and West, as well as player interviews and more for Steelers Depot. Let us know in the comments section below what you’d like to see more of from the notes articles, in terms of position focus or individual players. Thanks as always for reading!

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