I wanted to start with some overall thoughts on the D-line vs O-line 1v1’s I’ve watched this week…
— There were some good performances but I haven’t seen a single tackle who came close to matching Abraham Lucas for control, consistency and athleticism a year ago and nobody looked like a complete edge rusher like Boye Mafe. That’s not me speaking with Seahawks-tinted specs on — my notes from a year ago are archived if you want to check them out.
— The two edge rushers who impressed the most were K.J. Henry (fluid, athletic, more refined than others) and Will McDonald (immense upside). There have been top drawer flashes from McDonald. In a team drill he ran around Wanya Morris at left tackle like he was one of those bags they use for agility drills. If you can get him playing with consistency — he has special qualities. It’s a big ‘if’ though.
— The interior and inside/out rushers had more success. Adetomiwa Adebawore at times has looked special. His combination of long arms and a shorter frame are ideal for leverage and he has so much explosive power and quickness to complement it. He had a team-rep on Thursday that summed it up. Engage the left guard, press him, release because you’re a far superior athlete, explode to the QB. It was easy.
— Watching Keeanu Benton has been a treat at times. Based on what we saw here — and how he tests — he looks like a top-40 pick.
— I wish Nesta Jade Silvera had longer than 32 1/2 inch arms because the way he’s pushed the pocket at defensive tackle and shoved people around at the LOS has been very impressive. Maybe he can find half an inch at the combine.
— Cameron Young has been one of the standouts for me too. With 35-inch arms and a good looking, prototype frame — he was very disruptive in drills and looks like a very useful defensive tackle.
— It’s very clear Keion White has legit athleticism for his size and even Dawand Jones struggled to contain him on day one in the team reps. However, I do think he needs a bit of technical refinement. He has the potential to be a speed-to-power dynamo but he isn’t there yet.
— Steve Avila won a lot of 1v1 reps this week and to me at least looked like the most impressive interior lineman. Although he only played one day of practise, it’s hard to look beyond Dawand Jones as the top performing tackle although Jaelyn Duncan also played well even if his future is at guard. Darnell Wright, unsurprisingly, also had a very good week.
On to Thursday’s tape…
Keeanu Benton had a good win against Jarrett Patterson — faking a move to the left side then almost jump-cutting and ripping back to the right. Patterson had no answer as Benton broke into the backfield. What a dynamic, athletic, intelligent player Benton is with the perfect defensive tackle frame.
Adetomiwa Adebawore had an easy win against Cody Mauch at left tackle where he just hesitated to the outside, exploded back inside and he was too powerful and strong for Mauch. When the two met again, ‘Ade Ade’ worked to the outside and when it became obvious he wasn’t going to beat Mauch to the edge, he spun back inside to release and claim the win. The O-liners look intimidated by his strength and when he gains position he’s got the nouse to rip upwards to prevent counters and then keep the legs churning to finish. He isn’t going to be a full-time starter at 285lbs but as a rotational impact pass-rusher there’s so much to like.
Andre Carter had an easy win against Ryan Hayes with an inside move. When they faced off again he botched a Euro step and was stoned at the POA. It shows off that Carter has the tools but needs refinement. You would draft him to possibly redshirt him.
Nesta Jade Silvera demolished Joey Fisher on a rep — driving into his pads then ripping down to send the right guard to the turf.
Sydney Brown is a safety but the way he’s covered at times in 1v1’s has been impressive. Big bodies can box him out and we saw that on Thursday. Yet his quickness and agility helps him to stick in coverage. Brown and brother Chase (a running back) are both world class athletes with incredible potential. They will make a team or teams very happy. I would consider drafting both due to their extreme potential.
Nick Saldiveri played center in a team scrimmage on Thursday. He teamed up with Nick Broeker at right guard to open up a big hole up the middle for Kenny McIntosh to score a red zone touchdown. The difference in technique was very noticeable. Saldiveri’s block was a bit all over the place but he managed to barge his way through the D-line to create a lane. Broeker, on the other hand, got his hands inside on Byron Young of Alabama and just controlled his man for a really impressive win. I like both Saldiveri and Broeker as value interior options for Seattle in the middle or later rounds.
Steve Avila had a bit of a mismatch against Ali Gaye who kicked inside for a rep. Avila showed great hand placement. He was far too strong and walled off Gaye. Game over. Avila has really helped himself in Mobile and his stock was already high.
Another day, another tweet mis-judging a rep involving O’Cyrus Torrence. This is a win for Byron Young. Again, too many people on Twitter seem to think unless you rip through the block, swim and release or dump someone on their backside, it’s not a win. Look what Young does here. He gets his right arm right into the middle of Torrence’s chest and long-arm’s him into the pocket. He is literally pushing the pocket. This is what a 290lbs defensive lineman is supposed to do when they don’t have Aaron Donald’s quickness. A rep like this, in a game, moves the QB off his spot. Torrence is also grabbing onto his jersey at the right shoulder while constantly fighting to get his right hand into the chest. He’s hanging on.
Everyone in the replies is hailing it as a great rep. Do they realise it isn’t the job of the offensive guard to get pushed 5-6 yards into the backfield?
Now watch Steve Avila against Zacch Pickens. He doesn’t cede more than a yard or two in depth here. Power, strength — a nice little shove to finish. A bouncer throwing you out of the club.
I also came across this rep, praised as a ‘dominating’ win for John Michael Schmitz.
Let’s break down what happens here. Cameron Young — one of the stars of the week as mentioned earlier — doesn’t use his hands well enough initially and leans into the center. Thus, he surrenders pad level and Schmitz gets into his chest. Young then has to re-set and bench presses Schmitz to disengage using his 35 inch arms (this is why length matters). Pause the video at 0:02 seconds. Young has released from the block at that point, Schmitz is over-extended and desperately clinging on. At 0:03 Young is facing directly to the quarterback and Schmitz is facing his own goal-posts. This is a pressure or a hurry every day of the week. How on earth is this a dominating 1v1 rep for the center?
Julius Brents had a decent week and in a 1v1 against Jonathan Mingo he was with the talented receiver step for step on a deep route before breaking up a pass. On the interior, shorter routes he has had issues but anything where he needs to run downfield — Brents handled with ease in Mobile.
Mingo absolutely destroyed Darius Rush on a red zone rep. He delivered a wonderful stutter-step and shifted to the left corner pylon. Game over. Rush had no answer. Mingo moves beautifully for a big man. He also knows how to get open and has a plan.
Rush has had some good moments but also some ugly moments. A real mixed bag from him. On Thursday he had a far better time covering Andrei Iosvias. His backpedal and transition were good and when he turned to the football, he was perfectly placed to make an easy interception.
I’ll watch the game tomorrow and provide some notes before reviewing my horizontal board and producing a new mock draft.
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