Man, the sun was shining today! Who else has a sunburn? I sure do, and it was worth it. Despite the chilly breeze that haunts Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama, the third and final day of the Senior Bowl practices took place. From watching the high energy North team to the South team try to master their craft within their techniques, it was a good day of practice.
As my colleague, Jordan Reid is writing about the North team, and how their practice went, I have to say a few things about that practice. First off, we need to see Dalton Risner give Jon Gruden a little shove to get the people going. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, look no further.
— Reese's Senior Bowl (@seniorbowl) January 24, 2019
We might not agree with trading away Khalil Mack, but that video above is something I can support. Dexter Williams (RB from Notre Dame) was one of the standouts for the North team. He was jump cutting his way through the offensive line and showing some solid burst, all day. He had quite the day and overall, a solid week to put himself ahead any running back in this group at the Senior Bowl.
As for the South team, the energy left the field once Gruden, his staff and players left it. But it wasn’t a graveyard, there were some moments that got the scouts in the stands going but also the players on the field. Let’s start with one of the biggest climbers of the group:
Deebo Samuel, WR South Carolina
It was a great week for Deebo Samuel who is going to get every slot receiver comparison thrown his way. From Golden Tate to Percy Harvin, it’s going to be fun. Overall though, he showed out and was playing with a chip on his shoulder the entire week. Outside of some offensive and defensive lineman, he did the most for his draft stock this week.
South WR Deebo Samuel (South Carolina) showing some moves in one-on-one red zone. pic.twitter.com/dygTs03Brq
— Matt Maiocco (@MaioccoNBCS) January 24, 2019
As you can see from the play above, Samuel and Lonnie Johnson Jr., (DB from Kentucky) are messing around with each other before the snap. He turns Johnson inside out and then forces him to draw the penalty because it was an obvious win for Samuel. The very next play is even better, despite being the same route. He hits Isaiah Johnson (DB from Houston) with a pivot route and makes an easy catch for the touchdown. Whether he was running vertically up the field or corner routes, Samuel was making plays and turning heads and the third day of the South practice was no different.
Gary Jennings, WR, West Virginia
It was a good week for Jennings. He’s not the flashy player on the field, but that’s never really been his game to begin with. He checked in at 6’1″ and 213 pounds with 33″ inch arms and 9 1/2″ hands.
Gary Jennings doing a nice job getting open and getting two feet down pic.twitter.com/krHiCVBYbm
— Nick Faber (@NickFaberNFL) January 25, 2019
There won’t be many plays where he takes over the game with his speed but he pays attention to detail within his routes. The initial press from Rock Ya-Sin (CB from Temple) is good but falls behind Jennings once he breaks to the sideline, and then Jennings heads back to the middle of the end zone for the quarterback to find him. He’s made some nice catches along the sideline this entire week, including a fade route in the end zone where he got both feet in bounds. It’s been a good week for the former West Virginia receiver.
Elgton Jenkins, OC, Mississippi State
Outside of Deebo Samuel and some other receivers, nobody has done more for their draft stock than Elgton Jenkins. He was fantastic on the first practice of the week, looked consistent from the parts that I saw of the second practice and finally, the third practice was another good one for him.
I 👀 you Miss State C Elgton Jenkins pic.twitter.com/qbzMkBAtUH
— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) January 23, 2019
Teams view him as a center, and he saw plenty of action there but there were times that he played left guard and moved around the line of scrimmage. Realistically, he’s been popping with strong hands, consistently a wide base and winning at the point-of-attack. On top of all that, he’s proving what kind of power he possesses as you can see from the play above. There’s no doubt that he’s making his name known in plenty of scouting departments everywhere.
Lonnie Johnson Jr., DB, Kentucky
More often than not, I’m watching offensive and defensive lineman. However, on this third day, I wanted to pay attention to some of the wide receivers and defensive backs. Lonnie Johnson Jr., from Kentucky, certainly caught my eye during portions of the third practice for the South team. He checked into the Senior Bowl at 6’2″ and 210 pounds with a wingspan of 77″ and 32 1/4″ arms.
— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) January 24, 2019
Down the field, he tends to grab and get physical and it looks like he’ll struggle against the more shiftier receivers. However, he looked relatively fluid during some of the defensive back drills and was showing off his length at coming over the top of routes run by his coaches. With so many teams in need of press corners and the want for longer defensive backs, he could certainly find himself a role at the next level.
Some other notes:
- Foster Moreau, TE, LSU – He made a good diving catch in the back of the end zone and had a good catch over the middle of the field. There was certainly some intrigue from scouts when he checked into the combine at 6’4″ and 252 pounds with an 80 7/8″ wingspan.
- Jimmy Moreland, DB, James Madison – He looked fluid during parts of his coverage. For the most part, he was making it difficult for Hunter Renfrow and other receivers in the slot. Meanwhile, he was returning kicks and showed some burst with the ball in his hands.
- Dennis Daley, OT, South Carolina – Before the Senior Bowl, Daley flashed on film. He showed plenty of flexibility within his lower body and was consistent with his hand placement. On the third day, he showed some good lateral movement with his ability to transition his weight from his post foot to his set foot.
- Travis Fulgham, WR, Old Dominion – Every time I watched, Fulgham was making plays. I haven’t watched him until this week, and he’s been impressive. He was winning every rep in the red zone and looked extremely crisp in all of his routes. He should certainly be a small-school player to gain more buzz after the third day at the Senior Bowl.
After practice, I got to talk with a few players but one interview stood out and that was Daylon Mack from Texas A&M. The defensive tackle had a really good week of practice and even finished the third day of practice without a jersey because it got torn during the one-on-one drills. You can listen to the interview above and for more 2019 NFL Draft content, follow me on Twitter @RussNFLDraft!
(Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)