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2023 Senior Bowl

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Senior Bowl Notebook (Day 2): Analyzing the line of scrimmage


Day 2 of Senior Bowl practice is in the books and today's report will be more focused on the players up front. But first, there's some injury news to address from Mobile, Ala.

* After an initial scare going down with a lower-body injury on Tuesday, Kenny McIntosh was back at practice and confirmed the issue on the first day of practice was cramp-related. It was an unseasonably hot day with bright sun and temperatures in the 70s on Tuesday, so it isn't a surprise there have been some cramping issues the first two days of practice.

* Massive Ohio State right tackle Dawand Jones (6-8 , 375 pounds) had a dominant practice for the National team on Tuesday, tossing around people in one-on-one drills throughout the afternoon. But he missed Wednesday's practice with an injury. According to Senior Bowl Executive Director Jim Nagy, there's a chance he might participate again later in the week.

* The same cannot be said for Texas running back Roschon Johnson, who suffered a hand injury and will not be able to participate the rest of the week. Johnson has been stuck behind the consensus top running back in the draft, Texas teammate Bijan Robinson, but scouts are still enamored with his size (6-0, 225), power and explosiveness.

* The National team rotated two of their smaller school offensive linemen to different positions throughout practice. Cody Mauch (6-4, 305) from FCS powerhouse North Dakota State was seen at all five offensive line positions throughout the first two days of practice. He showed agility and strong fundamentals throughout. Tennessee-Chattanooga offensive lineman McClendon Curtis (6-5, 331) played every position but center and showed off his power at each spot with strong play.

* BYU offensive tackle Blake Freeland (6-7, 312) had some good reps, as did Maryland tackle Jaelyn Duncan (6-5, 298). Duncan played well at left tackle and was also given the opportunity to play some right tackle with Jones not available to practice.

* On the defensive line, Wisconsin tackle Keeanu Benton showed power, explosiveness and agility in his first two practices and was constantly in the backfield. He dominated one-on-ones. Georgia Tech defensive lineman Keion White (6-4, 280) also flashed his skills and won a good share of his reps. Northwestern defensive tackle Adetomiwa Adebawore had some positive moments on the field, as did Notre Dame edge rusher Isaiah Foskey (6-4, 262), and Louisville defensive lineman Yaya Diaby (6-3, 264).

View the best practice photos from 2023 Senior Bowl Week in Mobile, Alabama.

* The defense made a couple of memorable plays during Tuesday's practice. Cal defensive back Daniel Scott jumped a route by Stanford wide receiver Elijah Higgins during one-on-ones for an interception. At 228 pounds, Higgins might be used as a "move tight-end" in the NFL. Illinois' Sydney Brown played well in coverage throughout and had a pair of pass break-ups, showing impressive speed for a safety (5-10, 213).

* Stanford cornerback Kyu Blu Kelly (6-0, 193) was jumping routes all practice long. He had an interception near the sideline that would have went for a Pick-6 during team drills and came close to grabbing another.

* The American team featured some very strong offensive line play (especially in the middle) that opened up some huge rushing lanes for running backs Kenny McIntosh and Tyjae Spears. Both had long runs up the middle, with Spears displaying his quickness, speed, and vision to get through the hole and to the second level.

* Florida guard O'Cyrus Torrence (6-4, 337) looks like one of the strongest players in Mobile. Once he gets his hands on you its hard to get away from him, and he is a people mover in the run game. TCU guard Steve Avila (6-3, 332) is also a mauler in the run game, and he showed some athleticism to get to the second level. Syracuse offensive lineman Matthew Bergeron (6-4, 323) was used all along the offensive line and effective both days in walling-off and moving defensive linemen.

* Minnesota center John Michael Schmitz (6-3, 306) was also consistent over the first two days of practice, and looks like the most effective center in Mobile. Tennessee offensive tackle Darnell Wright has also been solid at handling speed rushers on the edge.

* The player who gave Wright the most trouble on Wednesday was Iowa State edge rusher Will McDonald. He is only 241 pounds but - at 6-3 and with 35-inch arms - he is a problem pass rusher. He is explosive, quick, and flexible which gives bigger offensive tackles something new to look at. TCU edge rusher Dylan Horton (6-3, 265) also had some strong pass rush moments throughout practice.

* Nathaniel Dell (5-8, 163) continues to separate more consistently than any other receiver in Mobile. He is quick and fast. But the American defensive backs stole the show on Wednesday. After grabbing an interception on Tuesday, South Carolina defensive back Darius Rush (6-1, 196) broke up a couple of passes and showed recovery ability. Georgia safety Christopher Smith (5-10, 188) continues to be very sticky and looks more like a cornerback in coverage than a safety. Lanky Julius Brents (6-2, 202) continues to cover well, even against smaller and quicker receivers. He has excellent movement skills for a man his size.

* TCU linebacker Dee Winters (5-11, 223) had an interception in practice, anticipating a throw over the middle.

* Oregon State tight end Luke Musgrave (6-5, 255) continues to show off his impressive movement skills, though its also easy to notice some rust. He has not played football since September, when he suffered a knee injury that ended his season.


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