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2021 Senior Bowl

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Notebook: Observations from Day 2 at Senior Bowl


Here's what we saw at practice on Day 2 of the Senior Bowl. And in case you missed it, click here for Day 1 observations.

National Team Practice

* There are a few small-school offensive linemen on the National Team who warrant a closer look. Division III guard/center Quinn Meinerz reminds me a lot of Nick Gates, though it might be because of his long hair, belly shirt, and ability to play multiple positions. He has not been overwhelmed by players from bigger schools this week, and has even held his own against Levi Onwuzurike in pass protection at guard and center. He has also been physical and chippy in run blocking situations. He could be an interesting developmental player at 6-3 and 320 pounds.

* Two other players to watch are offensive tackles Dillon Radunz (North Dakota State) and Spencer Brown (Northern Iowa) who only played one game between them this season due to the pandemic. Radunz (6-5, 304) and his 33.25-inch arms had some impressive reps in the first two days of practice. Brown has some work to do on his technique, but his measurements alone (6-8, 314, 34-inch arms) make him a player worth watching. He has improved as he has gotten more reps this week.

* Notre Dame's Daelin Hayes was mentioned after Day 1 and had a couple more sacks, including a strip-sack, in team drills on Thursday. But he isn't the only Golden Domer playing well on the defensive line. Ade Ogundeji (6-4, 256) has shown burst and athleticism in pass rush situations. He has won at defensive end and defensive tackle in 1-on-1s to get to the quarterback.

* Ohio State edge player Jonathan Cooper (6-2, 254) got very low in his stance at the line and had a very strong burst at the snap. He has some juice as an outside pass rusher but he has not been able to break free once offensive linemen have gotten their hands on him. Pittsburgh's Rashad Weaver (6-4 265) flashed an inside spin move to get to the quarterback.

* After a strong first day, cornerback Tre Brown had an interception during 1-on-1s, jumping in front of Frank Darby on a throw to the sideline. Brown is very physical in his coverage, which could draw flags in the NFL. Washington's Keith Taylor Jr. also broke up a pass during the team portion of practice and Oregon's Thomas Graham had some good reps against a very talented wide receiver group.

* Wide receiver D'Wayne Eskridge continues to get open in a variety of ways. He has the quickness to get a clean release and separate at the top of his routes. He also has a track background and the ability to run away from cornerbacks down the field. He has been one of the most difficult covers this week.

* Nico Collins is a bigger wide receiver at 6-4 and might lack the sudden quickness that some of the other smaller wide receivers have, but he makes up for it with his deep speed, length and the ability to track and catch the deep ball. He made a very tough contested catch over cornerback Tre Brown on deep ball for a touchdown, and another over Benjamin St. Juste during 1-on-1s.

* Demetric Felton continues to be a very difficult cover for defensive backs. He won deep on a double move that left the player trying to cover him in his wake twice. Oklahoma State's Tylan Wallace has been getting and make plays in 1-on-1s. Cade Johnson made a very difficult one-handed catch while getting his jersey pulled off his shoulder pad on a deep pass from Mac Jones.

American Team Practice

* The pace and intensity of a Matt Rhule practice is obvious. He is very involved with the players, yelling reminders to try to strip the ball and not run out of bounds, or just testing his players on things like down and distance. As a former offensive line coach, he was also deeply involved in coaching up his players during offensive and defensive line 1-on-1s. Rhule was mic'd up during ESPNU's coverage of practice. The team wasted no time between plays and tried to maximize their time on the field.

* Practice started with a "move the ball" drill where the offense tried to drive and score against the defense in a competitive drill. Mac Jones played well, and finished the drive with a perfectly placed pass to LSU wide receiver Racey McMath. He had to place it slightly behind the receiver to keep the ball away from the defensive back. In the final team portion of practice, Jones threw a perfect pass to tight end Tre' McKitty who made an excellent one-handed catch for the second consecutive day. Jones makes quick decisions and is extremely accurate with the ball, even if he does not have elite arm strength.

* Wide receiver and defensive backs 1-on-1s had some repeat performances from the day before. Aside from a few drops between them, Clemson's Amari Rodgers and Cornell Powell continued to get open, as did Florida's Kadarius Toney. Rodgers and Toney both play bigger than their size and are able to win in compressed areas and down the field. According to ESPN's Todd McShay, Toney played through a rib injury on Wednesday. Powell doesn't pop athletically but looked like a smooth and polished route runner.

* One receiver not mentioned in yesterday's report was Tennessee's Josh Palmer (6-1, 210). A slightly bigger wide receiver, Palmer might not have the quickest twitch but he has been able to win on deeper routes down the field and has flashed some big-play ability.

* Georgia cornerback DJ Daniel (5-11, 183) played tight coverage throughout the day and never let much space between opposing wide receivers in 1-on-1s. He got a little too physical on a skinny post was flagged for pass interference.

* Central Florida's Aaron Robinson is showing well with extremely physical coverage, though team's will have to take a long look at his diminutive 30-inch arm length. It could limit him to slot responsibilities in the pros.

* UAB linebacker Jordan Smith (6-6, 255) has flashed a couple of impressive pass rush moves, and could be a fit as a situational pass rusher at the pro level. He ran right around the tackle with a quick dip move to get to the quarterback.

* Miami's Quincy Roche (6-2, 243) had two consecutive impressive reps rushing the passer. First, he beat Alex Leatherwood with an outside move, and then on his next rep he won with a quick counter on an inside rush to get a straight line to the quarterback.

* Carlos Basham (6-3, 281) had an effective inside pass rush for a sack during 1-on-1s and his strength is apparent as a defensive end who is going to have flexibility to move inside in the NFL. Florida State's Marvin Wilson (6-3, 319 pounds) also flashed power with an impressive bull rush during a 1-on-1 series.

* East Carolina's D'Ante Smith (6-5, 294) is an interesting prospect with 35.25-inch arms. He has not looked out of place through two days of practice in Mobile, Alabama.

* Florida defensive back Shawn Davis grabbed an interception on a Jamie Newman thrown ball that went a little high. On the next play a Newman pass was deflected into the air by LSU safety JaCoby Stevens and into the arms of Georgia defensive back Mark Webb for a turnover. Webb was one of the few players able to cover Amari Rodgers well during 1-on-1s.

* Tulane's Cam Sample had a quick interior rush that would have resulted in a sack. Florida State's Jamarius Robinson also had a strip sack during the team portion of practice.

Catch up on all the action with must-see photos from the 2021 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.


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