Firstly, kudos to the NFL Network. For the last couple of years they’ve reduced their Senior Bowl coverage to basically an hour long highlights show. This year, there was four hours of live coverage and I was able to make some notes. It should be pointed out though, I need to wait for full 1v1 reps to emerge on YouTube to get a full picture. So these are just my initial observations.
I’ll start with the players I thought stood out the most, beginning with Georgia receiver Ladd McConkey. He looked so quick getting into his routes and then had the speed to separate on the break. He showed good hands, especially when diving flat out to make one catch. He made Kam Kinchens look silly on one 1v1 (Kinchens is very overrated though). Sometimes at Georgia it was hard to get an angle on McConkey’s ceiling but on this showing, he has everything required to be a dynamic receiver who can consistently get open and comfortably find a home in the top-50. Michigan receiver Roman Wilson also looked smooth, fast and was difficult to cover.
Baylor defensive lineman Gabe Hall is a frustrating player to talk about. He has everything you want physically and today at the Senior Bowl he just looked on a different level at times. His arm-over move was deadly. He varied his attacks, showing a push-pull and a nice sidestep too. He then took his fine play into the scrimmages, winning the first rep with a great move on a run stop. He’s always been an outstanding athlete but he isn’t consistent and doesn’t play with enough fire. The upside is huge and this was a great start for him but let’s see it every day this week.
Oregon center Jackson Powers-Johnson looked in control, showed great footwork and handled all of his 1v1’s brilliantly. He bossed Tyler Davis on one rep, engaging and absorbing the pressure, winning the power battle and then dumping Davis to the turf. JPJ, on this evidence, looks like a clear top-50 talent. It was a fairly faultless day for him. I also really liked LSU center Charles Turner’s performance. He kept trying to push in to get more reps. This guy loves the game, he’s athletic, he’s nasty. He’s a great talent. He kept jumping in at guard or center and stole a couple of extra reps. I’ve had him in round two for months.
Toledo cornerback Quinyon Mitchell looked really sharp during scrimmages. He was consistently breaking on the ball, getting a hand in to break-up passes. He’s just quicker and more instinctive than your average DB and he played with a confident swagger to match the athleticism. He looked like a first round pick today. Another cornerback, Notre Dame’s Cam Hart, had sensational coverage on a route vs Tez Walker. He held position all the way on the rep, turned his head around at the right time and got an interception. Hart looked smooth, well-sized and athletic.
Regulars will know I’m a big fan of Texas A&M defensive tackle McKinley Jackson. He was too powerful for Christian Haynes, shoving him into the backfield on two 1v1 reps. Then he just drove the center deep into the pocket on his next rep. As I’ve said for a while, he’s an absolute beast. He gets his hands inside, attacks the blocks and drives interior linemen backwards. A top player who consistently manhandled opponents today.
Texas tackle Christian Jones had a bit of a slow start but then exploded into life. He’s big and athletic but his legs looks very lean. He struggled moving inside to guard, showing stiff footwork and he was too upright. He moved back to tackle after and looked a lot more comfortable, with four consecutive reps where he showed excellent footwork, agility and hand-placement — dominating his opponents. He really showed off his potential today at right tackle.
Other players who shone at various times included Missouri tackle Javon Foster showed show very impressive hand-usage, locking into blocks and finishing. He lost a rep to Alabama’s Justin Eboigbe though who was one of the winners of day one himself. It’s a shame Eboigbe doesn’t have ideal length because he has everything else in his frame to play a role quickly. He was athletic, had a good arm-over move and is well sized.
Oregon State tackle Taliese Fuaga looked tremendous — starting his day with an easy win against Laiatu Latu. He took away the inside-counter and just shut the rush down. He’s so powerful, so big. On a later rep he initiated initial contact and just dominated and controlled his opponent. Any time you get try to get into his body he’s just too strong and he’s agile enough to redirect and keep his feet churning. He screams top-15 pick. Washington right tackle Roger Rosengarten also enjoyed a productive first day in 1v1’s and scrimmage.
Now onto the players I thought struggled a bit. Arizona O-liner Jordan Morgan needs to shoot his hands inside better because his hand-placement was a bit wild. LaDarius Henderson the Michigan LT had a difficult first day. I think he’s more of a guard but his effort and intensity looked off. Wisconsin lineman Tanor Bortolini really struggled and Houston left tackle Patrick Paul was pushed backwards by undersized Alabama EDGE Chris Braswell, which wasn’t a good look in 1v1’s.
TCU’s Brandon Coleman didn’t look that comfortable kicking inside to guard which is a surprise. He struggled vs power and movement. He had a rep against Darius Robinson at left tackle where he looked far more comfortable and won by locking on early and finishing. He also lost a rep badly to Jordan Jefferson of LSU (who had a good day, I need to watch more of him), being drive backwards into the QB.
T’Vondre Sweat was too big at Texas and he still is.
Tight end Ben Sinnott had a couple of frustrating drops. He has better hands than he showed today.
Those were my notes — I’ll have plenty more as the week goes along.