DEEP FRIED DRAFT
It was a Chamber of Commerce type of day in Mobile for the first day of practice for the 2018 Reese's Senior Bowl. Crisp blue skies, sun shining bright, and balmy temperatures in the upper 60's. The format was a little different this year. After the weigh-in this morning, the "Meet the Media" portion of the day started. I had the privilege of doing a brief interview with over 20 prospects at this year's game. After that, it was a drag race down Government Boulevard to get to Ladd-Peebles Stadium for the opening of South practice. Both practices were over saturated with special teams and install work, but we were forewarned of this by game director Phil Savage this morning. The next two days should provide a much more spirited go of it. All things considered, I thought the Texans (HC Bill O'Brien) ran a smoother practice than the Broncos (HC Vance Joseph).
In his annual “State of the Senior Bowl” speech, game director Phil Savage listed the players who declined their invitation for either injury or just didn’t want to play.
The declined/non-injury list includes Lorenzo Carter (EDGE/Georgia), Bradley Chubb (EDGE/NC State), Rashaan Evans (LB/Alabama), Sam Hubbard (EDGE/Ohio State), Josey Jewell (LB/Iowa), Mike McGlinchey (OT/Notre Dame), Quenton Nelson (OG/Notre Dame), Billy Price (C/Ohio State), Braden Smith (OG/Auburn), and Courtland Sutton (WR/SMU).
The injured list includes Anthony Averett (CB/Alabama), Duke Ejiofor (EDGE/Wake Forest), Royce Freeman (RB/Oregon), Maurice Hurst (DL/Michigan), Anthony Miller (WR/Memphis), Timon Parris (Stony Brook), Dante Pettis (WR/Washington), and Martinas Rankin (OT/Mississippi State).
Deep Fried Draft will have you covered all week!
1/23/18 SOUTH PRACTICE
As I always do at the Tuesday practice, I concentrated on the skill positions and coverage drills. The South team quarterbacks are lagging way behind on the hype train (and rightfully so if we are being honest), but I thought Virginia QB Kurt Benkert had a solid day of practice. He got through his progressions well and hit some deep shots to Byron Pringle (WR/Kansas State) and one to D.J. Chark (WR/LSU). Pringle beat Alabama corner Levi Wallace on both of his long balls. Chark looked great getting in and out of his routes. It is always fun watching the quarterbacks who come from shotgun oriented offenses try to take snaps from under center. Some may have never done it at all! Kyle Lauletta (QB/Richmond) and Mike White (QB/Western Kentucky) both had snaps hit the turf. The tight end class here is fairly loaded and South Dakota State TE Dallas Goedert is the King of the Mountain. It started at the weigh-in when he dispelled any notion that I had of being shorter than he was listed. Goedert measured in at 6'4", weighed in at 26o pounds, and had 10 1/8" hands. He smoked Darius Leonard (LB/South Carolina State) on a route over the middle. Goedert checked out of practice early unfortunately with what may be a hamstring injury. No word yet on if he will miss the rest of the week. UMASS TE Adam Breneman also was sporting an ice pack on his leg during practice as well. Indiana TE Ian Thomas had a rough go of it today and that is describing it kindly. Thomas was glacier-like with his movements in and out of his breaks and had several drops. UCF WR Tre'Quan Smith showed good footwork on a deep comeback route. The biggest concern with Rashaad Penny (RB/San Diego State) coming in was his pass blocking and he did nothing today to erase those concerns. Penny was on the business end of devastation by Auburn LB Tre' Williams in the pass pro drills and in the 11-on-11 portion. Southern Miss RB Ito Smith was another "Weigh-In Winner" this morning. Smith measured in at 5'9" tall, which was expected. What wasn't expected was him weighing in at 201 pounds and looking jacked. Speaking of jacked, Smith jacked up Virginia LB Micah Kiser in a pass protection rep. Clemson LB Dorian O'Daniel was a huge surprise for me today. He looked solid as a pass rusher but he made some money in pass coverage. He was all over the TE's and RB's he covered in space. North Carolina A&T OT Brandon Parker is a very large man. He weighed in at a massive 6'7" 303 with 35 3/8" arms. His problem is his ability to bend. That became readily apparent when UCF LB Shaquem Griffin went around him like a motorcycle racer in a Grand Prix. I can't leave out the special teams portion of practice. Auburn kicker Daniel Carlson nailed three straight 52-yard field goals. M.J. Stewart (CB/North Carolina) and Rashaad Penny were both taking reps at punt returner.
South team practice will resume at 3 pm tomorrow
1/23/18 NORTH PRACTICE
All eyes were on the quarterbacks of the North team. And I mean all eyes because there wasn't a whole lot of chatter about anyone other than Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield and Wyoming QB Josh Allen. Mayfield was sluggish early including throwing a pass behind Jaleel Scott (WR/New Mexico State) on a deep in route. He threw a laser that cut through the wind on a corner route to Central Michigan TE Tyler Conklin. He was running shadow drills behind everyone else after he was done with his reps. Allen had some accuracy issues throughout practice. He had several drops as well. Tanner Lee (Nebraska), Luke Falk (Washington State), and Baker Mayfield all had issues with the center exchange. Mayfield and Falk took extra snaps after practice to try to work through it. I found it interesting that Wisconsin TE Troy Fumagalli and Tyler Conklin were repping at fullback in some drills. They both let some passes get into their chest. The best WR for me on the North team today was Jaleel Scott. For a bigger receiver, he has nimble feet and gets out of his breaks smoothly. Allen Lazard (WR/Iowa State) and DaeSean Hamilton (WR/Penn State) had some drops early but bounced back as practice went along. Arizona State RB Kalen Ballage looked outstanding today with one exception. In a receiving drill, he shook Citadel LB Myles Pierce out of his shoes on a dig route and then proceeded to drop the ball. In a team drill later he showed explosion to the outside, beating everyone to the corner. Myles Pierce had a really rough day overall. Jaylen Samuels (RB/NC State) did a good job following his lead block and cutting into the open field. Penn WR Justin Watson made a sweet one-handed catch on a deep ball. Isaac Yiadom (CB/Boston College) showed good ball skills on a deep ball. South Carolina CB Jamarcus King showed the best of the North team corners to me (yeah but Brian you are a Gamecocks homer, blah blah blah). King locked down DaeSean Hamilton on back-to-back reps and Allen Lazard on another. Weber State CB Taron Johnson got burnt on a few reps. During the special teams segment Darius Phillips (CB/Western Michigans), DaeSean Hamilton, Allen Lazard, Cedrick Wilson (WR/Boise State), and Braxton Berrios (WR/Miami-FL) all took turns fielding punts. Florida CB Duke Dawson missed the weigh-in and practice with an illness. No word on his status for the rest of the week.
The North team will be back at practice at 12:30 pm tomorrow.
2018 Senior Bowl: Day One Recap (1-23-18)