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What we learned at the 2019 Senior Bowl

Last week, I gave you my wrap up of Senior Bowl practices. Here’s what I saw from Saturday’s game in Mobile: 

• Defensive tackle Khalen Saunders of Western Illinois played well in the game. He flew back to Mobile early Saturday morning after going home to meet his daughter, who was born during practices earlier in the week. He demonstrated power to push the pocket and showed a great swim move to pressure the quarterback. 

• A number of the bigger interior defensive linemen played well. Auburn’s Dontavius Russell was able to penetrate and force a fumble. Greg Gaines is very tough to move at 6-2, 316 pounds. He moved center Elgton Jenkins into the backfield on a run, forcing a tackle for loss. Kingsley Keke made a nice play flowing down the line of scrimmage on a run play. L.J. Collier got pressure on the quarterback from the three technique spot and as a defensive end. He could be a versatile piece in the pros. Jalen Jelks flashed some pass rush and made a nice hustle play on a screen chasing down a running back. 

• Edge player Jaylon Ferguson from Louisiana Tech made a couple of plays in the game, using his power to get to the quarterback; he will look to expand his repertoire of moves at the next level.  

• Missouri QB Drew Lock should have come away with a touchdown in this game. He threw a beautiful seam ball to Terry McLaurin, but the Ohio State wide receiver couldn’t come up with it as he went to the ground. It was a laser and showed the type of arm strength and accuracy Lock flashed in college.

• Daniel Jones won the game MVP because of two touchdowns, one through the air and another on the ground. Much like he did in practices, he held the ball a bit and completed eight of 11 passes for 115 yards and the TD.

• UMass’ Andy Isabella won Team MVP honors for the North team. He showed the same quickness, speed and explosion he did during practice to make people miss and score on a screen pass. His hands were steady in the game after some drops last week at practice. He is a future impactful slot receiver in the NFL. 

• A couple of other wide receivers caught my notice in the game. Keelan Doss from UC Davis made plays in the game, showing his good route running ability at 6-3. Gary Jennings (West Virginia) and Hunter Renfrow (Clemson) showed they could locate the ball and go up and get it in traffic. Jakobi Meyers of N.C. State hustled down the field to throw a block for his teammate Isabella on one play.

• Rock Ya-Sin had a few good coverage reps at cornerback, but he was called for defensive pass interference on McLaurin. Ya-Sin was in position to make a play but he couldn’t get his head around and instead ran into the receiver. Other than the one drop, McLaurin played a strong game. 

• USC corner Iman Marshall played very good coverage on a deep ball to South Carolina’s Deebo Samuel, using perfect technique to trap him on the sideline and forcing an incompletion. 

• Right tackle Dalton Risner (Kansas State) and right guard Chris Lindstrom (Boston College) combined for some nice blocks on runs on the right side of the offensive line. Lindstrom drove a defender all the way down the field and pancaked him on one run for a big gain. Risner worked with him well on combination blocks and showed his nasty, physical demeanor as well. 

• Quarterback Tyree Jackson of Buffalo (13 of 21, 165 yards, 2 TDs, 1 Int) made some great throws, showing off his arm, but was also erratic. N.C. State’s Ryan Finley (7 of 11, 83 yards) also played well at quarterback, showing good footwork from under center and accuracy. 

• Notre Dame running back Dexter Williams had a nice cut-back on his touchdown run, bouncing outside when nothing was available between the tackles. 

• Delaware safety Nasir Adderley grabbed an interception in the game and was not shy about crashing down to the line of scrimmage on run plays. 

• West Virginia QB Will Grier had an up and down week and was four of eight passing for 61 yards in the game.

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