Senior Bowl “South” Practices Recap

Introduction:

Though the weather may have been somewhat bleak, Senior Bowl week was far from it. In attendance live for the first time, the whole atmosphere was certainly overwhelming, but I tried to make the most of my surroundings. Focusing in on specific drills and particular positions rather than watch every player (which is near impossible) I caught snaps and reps of most in attendance, but in many cases just didn’t get a good enough look to make full-fledged opinions on them. With that being said, here is my EXTREMELY LATE recap from what I saw down in Mobile throughout “South” practices.

QB’s a Mixed Bag:

Though the North squad had the more high profile signal-callers, I was more than intrigued to see how the South group would fair in their week action. To no surprise, each had their fair share of positives and negatives to take away from the experience.

For my money, Gardner Minshew was the easiest QB of the group to evaluate. Right from the get-go, the former Washington State Cougar was crisp, clean and precise. Exuding swagger and confidence, Minshew was commanding in the huddle, energetic on the field, and exactly the type of leader that the flattering reviews had painted. Using his trademark short to intermediate accuracy, Minshew was a check down master throughout the week (I mean this as a compliment) and his ball placement in the flat was consistently sublime. Taking 99% of his Collegiate snaps from the gun given Mike Leach’s air raid Offence, I was also expecting Minshew to struggle Under-Center given his inexperience in this regard. The exact opposite was actually what took place.  Silky smooth, the Cougar looked polished and quick in his drops, and fluid in his ball exchanges. Ultimately, however, the most prominent question mark of Gardner’s was his velocity. On tape, this was a serious issue, and his lack of pace is what prevented him from making several potential NFL type throws at the Collegiate level. Unfortunately, the week only confirmed my arm related concerns regarding Minshew. His deep throws consistently hung in the air, and the ball just didn’t flow off his hand in an explosive manner. These limitations are the main reason many have him pegged as a back-up at the next level.

After Minshew, workout warrior Jarrett Stidham had a quiet but excellent performance. Not having to deal with his greatest weakness, pressure, Jarrett was able to show off his blessed arm talent and make a variety of quality throws all around the field. He sprayed a few balls and was inaccurate at times, but it was an impressive outing for the former Tiger. Stidham looked comfortable out on that field and it showed. Of course, his pure ability has never been in question, so it would almost be concerning if he didn’t show well in an atmosphere like this.

The true enigma of the week, Tyree Jackson is the definition of raw. The Buffalo QB is a marvel to look at and arguably won the weigh-in, having measured in at 6’7, 249 pounds.  That godly frame and his ridiculous arm talent make him a tantalizing proposition. Unfortunately, the same issues Tyree had on film showed up throughout practices. Erratic on several of his passes, Jackson looked awkward and uncomfortable for large stretches, mainly struggling with his footwork and dropbacks. Lethargic in his movements, Jackson did have moments of brilliance, specifically during red-zone work, but his transition is going to be an enormous one.

Last but not least, we have both the biggest name and biggest disappointment of the group in Will Grier. Missing passes left and right, the Mountaineer just never got in a rhythm, and his ball placement and mechanics were shotty all week. I wasn’t an overly big fan of Grier’s tape, to say the least, but even I was expecting a better performance. He was arguably the worst QB on BOTH rosters (Okay, he was better than Trace McSorley but you get the point). Of course, it’s only 3 or so hours of watching a guy so take it however you’d like. But given it backed up his film, I’m very concerned.

Deebo Samuel & Hunter Renfrow Shine:

The first two players out on the field on Day 1, Deebo Samuel and Hunter Renfrow also just happened to be two of the best throughout the week’s entirety. Fielding punts together, running routes together, and putting on ridiculous performances together, the two seemed in sync all week long. I’m pretty sure they’re the buddy-cop movie I never knew I needed.

First off, Samuel, the Top WR in Mobile, lived up to his billing and then some. Explosive, dynamic, and quick, the Gamecock looked like he was playing on an entirely different field at times, destroying 1 on 1’s and creating separation at ease. All in all, it was an outstanding performance and one I was extremely glad to see live.

For an in-depth look at what makes Deebo so special, my recent article on the Gamecock wideout is below.

https://dynastyfootballfactory.com/deebo-samuel-the-best-player-in-mobile/

The other side of the coin, Renfrow is nowhere near the physical specimen of Samuel. He looks more like a tax assessor than a football player. However, all of it didn’t matter once the former Tiger hit the football field. Displaying mouth-watering route-running, elite short area quickness and eye-popping stop-start ability, Hunter is the definition of a “Gamer” and more than showed why. I don’t care what he runs. I don’t care what he weighs. I don’t care that is hands are record-breakingly small. I want him on my football team.

Wesco Ball Out:

A prospect who I knew relatively nothing about heading into the week, Trevon Wesco, a FB/TE hybrid, made sure that wasn’t going to stay the case for long. Possessing WR type coordination, the Mountaineer was sinking his hips and exploding out of cuts brilliantly all week, all the while showing off a wide catch radius. Oh, and the dude is THICK. Call me impressed.

DL vs. OL 1 on 1’s:

I didn’t catch as much of the 1 on 1’s as I would have liked, but there were a few minor things I was still able to take away.

First off, Daylon Mack continued his Pre-Draft hype train by literally bowling through lineman at ease. He was just too powerful for most to handle, and the amount of depth he got on each rep was staggering.

Carl Granderson showed off some nice athleticism and bend on a few occasions, back to back reps against Tytus Howard sticking out in particular, but failed to set up his moves well and didn’t really have a plan on most rushes. He didn’t do much for me.

Elgton Jenkins looked terrific. His anchor was dominant per usual, and his versatility and mobility came in handy particularly in the scrimmage.

Montez Sweat didn’t bend as well as I was hoping, but his length was made clear. Had a couple brilliant rushes with deadly long arms.

Jaylon Ferguson looked kind of like “just another guy” out there. Not bad per say, but not an overly inspiring performance by the all-time FBS sack leader.

Ben Powers didn’t have my attention coming into the week, but my oh my he put on an absolutely exceptional display. Don’t remember seeing him single rep all week.  Was looking forward to watching his OU teammate Samia, but Powers stole the show.

Oli Udoh had maybe the biggest surprise of the weigh-ins when it was announced he had lost 29 pounds from his former 356-pound frame.  Judging from 1 on 1’s that seemed to have been a good business decision. Looking quick and nimble in pass pro, the Elon Tackle was moving side to side with ease and locked down the majority of rushers that came his way. He had the type of performance I think people were hoping Tytus Howard would have.

RB Notes:

Ryquell Armstead looked average for most of the practices, especially in passing reps, but absolutely destroyed the scrimmages. For 226 pounds he should not be able to move as well as he does. Exceptional lateral ability for that size.

Wes Hills ran very upright and lacked the explosion I was hoping to see out of him. He was smooth and consistent, but I wanted to see “another gear”.

Bruce Anderson had some trouble with exchanges, fumbling twice, but he looked decisive and explosive throughout practices. Also looked a lot bigger than his NDSU tape may have indicated.

Conclusion:

That’s it, folks!  Stay tuned for the rest of my Senior Bowl Coverage, and make sure to check out the “North” Recap

You can also find me on Twitter at @CDonScouting for more information regarding the NFL Draft.

cdonnick

NFL Draft fanatic and writer for @DFF_Devy #DevyWatch. Just a kid wanting his opinions heard, who happens to love his Seahawks, Jets, and Jazz. Follow me at @CDonScouting. #DraftTwitter

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