No announcement yet.

2017 Senior Bowl: Underrated South WRs, North's Reddick shine on Wednesday

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • 2017 Senior Bowl: Underrated South WRs, North's Reddick shine on Wednesday

    2017 Senior Bowl: Underrated South WRs, North's Reddick shine on Wednesday
    NFL teams have different plans for Haason Reddick, and he's showing he could fit anywhere
    by Dane Brugler & Rob Rang 21h ago • 8 min read

    NFL teams value versatility. But there is a difference between being versatile and then not having a true position. Temple linebacker Haason Reddick (6-foot-1 1/2, 237 pounds) is trying to show that he belongs in the former of the two categories with his performance this week in Mobile, Alabama.

    And through two practices, Reddick, who debuted at No. 38 overall on my initial top-50 board, has lived up to expectations.

    Reddick was primarily used as an edge player this season at Temple, standing up or rushing with his hand on the ground as a defensive end. He would occasionally stand up as an off-ball linebacker, but mostly as a spy, limiting the opportunities for scouts to evaluate him in coverage.

    During Wednesday's practice, Reddick was used on rushing, blitzing and off-ball linebacker drills, showing his wide range of abilities. As a rusher, blockers had a tough time slowing him down thanks to his initial burst and flexibility to dip around the edge. He got the best of Pittsburgh offensive tackle Adam Bisnowaty on a quick inside move that left the Pitt blocker helpless to counter. During pass pro drills for the running backs, Reddick blitzed from different angles and made several of the backs attempting to slow him down look silly.

    The telling test this week for Reddick is his ability to hold up in coverage drills. It is obvious he is still feeling out the position as an inside linebacker, taking things slowly as he figures out where his eyes need to be. When asked to cover running backs out of the backfield, Reddick was a tad wild with his lower body, but even though he gave up initial spacing, his athleticism allowed him to recover in flash, knocking the ball away.

    Some teams will view Reddick as an edge rusher while others will look for him to make the full transition to inside linebacker. Regardless, he has shown this week that his athleticism allows him to be a quick study with new responsibilities.

    Temple has produced only one NFL player drafted in the top 50 over the past two decades (Muhammad Wilkerson, 30th overall to Jets in 2011), but Reddick is on his way to being the second.
    More observations from Wednesday's North practice:

    The tight end group on the South squad receives most of the attention, and rightfully so, with a roster that boasts O.J. Howard, Evan Engram and Gerald Everett. But Florida International's Jonnu Smith (6-foot-2 3/4, 245 pounds) deserves praise thrown his way for his performances this week during practice. He is an athletic route runner with a smooth release and sharp footwork in and out of his breaks to create room to work as a pass-catcher. Smith is guilty of allowing the ball into his body at times, but he also flashes the reliable hands to snatch away from his body. He doesn't have an ideal frame for the position, but has been better than expected as a blocker during drills. His draft arrow is pointing up.

    Several evaluators project Western Michigan's Taylor Moton (6-foot-5 3/8, 330 pounds) inside to guard, but he has held up well as an offensive tackle during practice. Moton started at right tackle his first two seasons in Kalamazoo before moving inside to guard as a junior and then back outside to right tackle as a senior, so he is experienced in both spots. A move inside to a smaller area will not help mask some of his issues, but he is a wide, well-built mover who can anchor and use his raw power to dominate rushers once he engages. Entering the week, Moton was viewed by scouts as a top-100 prospect, and that shouldn't change based on his practices so far.

    Just like every football field he has played on since high school, Eastern Washington wide receiver Cooper Kupp (6-foot-1 1/2, 198 pounds) isn't the biggest or fastest player at Ladd Peebles Stadium this week. But that has never stopped him from producing before, and it certainly isn't stopping him during Senior Bowl practices. Kupp is routinely creating separation from cornerbacks with field leverage and route savvy, giving quarterbacks a window to deliver a catchable pass. The NCAA's all-division record holder in receiving yards (6,464), Kupp might be a better football player than athlete, but let's not overthink this: That isn't a bad thing.

    Underrated Williams, Scott catching on for South
    Inconsistent quarterback play, a talented defensive back class and an unconventional practice led by the Cleveland Browns coaching staff has made evaluating the receivers on the South team at the 2017 Senior Bowl a little more challenging than normal, but that has not slowed down Grambling's Chad Williams or Clemson's Artavis Scott, each of whom entered the week overshadowed by "other" pass-catchers on the roster.

    Williams (6-foot and 5/8-inch, 204 pounds) was a late addition to the Senior Bowl roster, but he has made the most of his opportunity, emerging as arguably the most consistent receiver for the South team over the first two days of practice. He made one of the more impressive catches of the week on Wednesday, showing impressive timing, body control and concentration to snatch a deep ball between SEC stars Cam Sutton (Tennessee) and Justin Evans (Texas A&M) for a touchdown early in practice and has consistently made difficult grabs look easy, stretching his long (32-inch) arms to corral passes outside of his frame.

    Scouts expect players coming from small schools to be raw and Williams, unquestionably, is that, showing inconsistency as a route-runner and letting his emotions get the better of him. Williams had to be physically restrained by teammates and the Cleveland coaching staff after a brief scuffle with Miami safety Rayshawn Jenkins at the end of practice.

    Whereas Williams is fighting the "small school" label, Scott is hoping to shed the misconception that he was a secondary target for the national champion Clemson Tigers. It was an uphill battle to generate much buzz at Clemson with mega-watt stars Deshaun Watson and Mike Williams generating most of the attention, but Scott (5-foot-10 1/4, 193 pounds) has fared well, using terrific quickness and balance to generate consistent separation and the most reliable hands of any of the South's receivers. Scott also comes with impressive intangibles, earning his degree from Clemson in just three years, making him the first three-year player to ever compete at the Senior Bowl.

    More observations from Wednesday's South practice:
    While Williams and Scott have perhaps helped their cause the most among the South's receivers, North Carolina's Ryan Switzer and Texas A&M's Josh Reynolds have also fared well. Switzer (5-foot-8 1/2, 184 pounds) is arguably the quickest player attending this year's Senior Bowl, projecting as an immediate impact slot receiver and punt returner. His lack of height, however, made it virtually impossible for the South's quarterbacks to drop passes over the top when he ran routes towards the sidelines. The nearly 6-foot-3, 187-pound Reynolds is a polar opposite from a build standpoint and shows impressive quickness in and out of his routes for his frame, as well as good straight-line speed to challenge deep. He has made some splashy catches thus far this week but does not consistently play up to his height, failing to win on jump-ball situations over smaller defensive backs.

    The South's receivers generated some buzz among scouts Wednesday, but the best pass-catchers on this squad remain tight ends O.J. Howard and Evan Engram. As noted in this space yesterday, Howard is the best player on this roster. It is worth noting that he dropped two deep passes Wednesday, both of which he was unable to corral as they floated over his head (one looking back into the sun), but he has been virtually impossible for defenders to cover and made one particularly impressive catch in which he reached out, snatched a ball with a defender near and tucked it away in such a fluid motion that drew an audible gasp from scouts in the stands. At 6-foot-3 and 236 pounds, Engram is a Jordan Reed clone, and he certainly looked like Washington's Pro Bowler on one deep post late in practice against double-coverage, extending and plucking a ball that appeared out of his reach. Some see Engram as more of a slot receiver in the NFL, which is really just semantics given how rarely he was asked to block at Mississippi (like Reed).

    Longtime SEC fans may have a hard time believing it, but Tennessee quarterback Josh Dobbs threw the ball very well on Tuesday. The 6-foot-3 1/4, 216-pounder has always possessed a strong arm, as well as the mobility and intelligence scouts are looking for but he has struggled with accuracy over his career. That was not the case Tuesday, however, as Dobbs threw accurately and on time on a variety of pro-style routes, including slants, outs, post-corners and deep balls. California's Davis Webb and Tiffin's Antonio Pipkins were significantly less consistent with their accuracy on Tuesday.

    Unfortunately, three of the highest rated offensive linemen for the South team suffered injuries on Tuesday and reportedly will not be able to participate the rest of the week. Western Kentucky's Forrest Lamp (high ankle sprain), Utah's Isaac Asiata (hamstring) and San Diego State's Nico Siragusa (dislocated thumb) fared well prior to suffering the injuries and drew rave reviews from scouts who interviewed them Tuesday night. The injuries are not considered serious enough to endanger their draft stock. Each is a legitimate top-100 candidate.

    In 16 years of covering the Senior Bowl, I've never seen a team run a practice quite like the Browns. There are periods of time in which the club utilizes the traditional one-on-ones and scrimmages like other teams, but a disproportionate amount of time has been spent asking defensive linemen to "run the arc" around giant hula hoops, as well as receivers and defensive backs being asked to track, pick up and lift medicine balls during special teams exercises. A trick play with five receivers and offensive line split out wide was also practiced. The exercises do illustrate the athleticism and ability of players to take to coaching but the non-traditional techniques have left more than a few talent evaluators in the stands grumbling.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Nick View Post

    In 16 years of covering the Senior Bowl, I've never seen a team run a practice quite like the Browns.
    .... The exercises do illustrate the athleticism and ability of players to take to coaching but the non-traditional techniques have left more than a few talent evaluators in the stands grumbling.

    So all the scouts hate the Browns, huh?. .. .. whoa wait wait. This actually explains A LOT!


    Related Topics


    • Nick
      2017 Senior Bowl: SEC defenders, Michigan's Lewis shine in Tuesday drills
      by Nick
      2017 Senior Bowl: SEC defenders, Michigan's Lewis shine in Tuesday drills
      But no player looks like a better NFL prospect than Bama TE O.J. Howard
      by Dane Brugler & Rob Rang Jan 25, 2017 • 8 min read

      The first practice of the 2017 Senior Bowl started a tad slow as expected with the Cleveland Browns coaching staff walking the players through numerous positional and team drills. By the second hour, the pace of practice picked up, especially during one-on-one drills. And several of the SEC defenders in attendance this week stood out.

      The "other" pass rusher at Texas A&M, Daeshon Hall (6-5, 265, 35-inch arms) was unblockable for most of the day, using lateral quickness and body control to cross the face of blockers and knife through gaps. He is able to generate terrific momentum from his initial get-off to convert his speed to power and uses various spin moves to make it tough on blockers to land punches.

      A basketball player growing up, Hall is still developing his technical skills as an edge rusher and doesn't have eye-popping production. With Garrett commanding so much attention at right end, Hall should have been the beneficiary at left defensive end, but he managed only 4.5 sacks in 2016 and is still figuring out how to efficiently use his gifts to consistently disrupt the pocket.

      Even though he requires some maintenance, Hall showed in practice what he also flashed on tape -- the explosive traits to pester the pocket in the NFL.

      In the secondary, it was impossible not to notice LSU cornerback Tre'Davious White. When Browns defensive backs coach DeWayne Walker taught different drills to the cornerback group, he used the former LSU Tiger on the first rep each time because he knew he would only have to say the instructions once. A four-year starter in Baton Rouge, White carries himself like a seasoned veteran off the field and that maturity also translates to the field.

      In one-on-one drills vs. receivers, White showed terrific anticipation and balance in off-coverage, staying on top of routes and not allowing much separation. Although he might not be the best athlete on the roster, his experience (47 starts in the SEC) is definitely paying off for him.

      While watching the cornerback drills up close, I caught up with a defensive backs coach for an AFC team and asked his opinion on the group.

      "Honestly, I haven't seen a lick of these kids yet. But LSU (White) is making a real nice first impression."

      More observations on the South practice
      Alabama tight end O.J. Howard (6-6, 249, 34-inch arms) entered the week as my top-rated player in Mobile and he didn't disappoint on Day 1. He was a mismatch waiting to happen with his combination of speed, fluidity and receiving skills, including several one-handed grabs. There might be a player or two who will challenge him, but it's tough to think...
      -01-26-2017, 02:29 PM
    • Nick
      Dane Brugler’s Top 10 Senior Bowl storylines
      by Nick
      Dane Brugler’s Top 10 Senior Bowl storylines: Drew Lock vs. Daniel Jones the main attraction
      By Dane Brugler Jan 21, 2019 19

      For​ one week every January,​ the​ NFL​ invades Mobile, Ala.,​ for the annual​ Reese’s Senior​ Bowl. The​ all-star exhibition fields​ the top​​ senior college prospects for an audition in front of hundreds of NFL scouts, coaches and evaluators.

      The Senior Bowl game is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 26, at 2:30 p.m. ET at Ladd-Peebles Stadium and will be aired on NFL Network. However, it is the daily practices throughout the week that truly matter for the NFL evaluators in attendance.

      The North Team will be coached by the Oakland Raiders and the South team will be coached by the San Francisco *****.

      Below are 10 storylines to track during Senior Bowl week.

      10. Washington State’s Andre Dillard is the top offensive lineman in Mobile — does he live up to that high billing?
      Evaluating Washington State offensive linemen can be a difficult task with the wide splits and the quick-strike design of the offense. Nonetheless, left tackle Andre Dillard is one of the most impressive blockers I have studied on tape this fall, projecting as the top senior offensive lineman on my draft board.

      With his light feet, body flexibility and core power, Dillard is rarely beat around the corner, maintaining his balance in his movements. His lack of length is a concern, but he uses quick reflexes and a violent swipe to eliminate the reach of rushers. Dillard’s ability to process and play under control will be vital traits during practice drills.

      A strong week in Mobile could help Dillard go from a possible first-round pick to a probable first-round pick. But it won’t be easy going up against the quarterback assassins on the South squad like Old Dominion’s Oshane Ximines, who also is looking to prove why he belongs in the top-32 discussion.

      9. Premium pass rush talent ready to steal the show
      Regardless of the names on the back of the jerseys, the quarterbacks are always the main attraction at all-star games. However, the quarterback hunters off the edge like Ximines will attempt to change that this week during Senior Bowl practices.

      The NCAA’s all-time sack leader, Louisiana Tech’s Jaylon Ferguson, surpassed Terrell Suggs’ record with 45 career sacks and is looking to make it back-to-back years with a first-round Conference USA pass rusher (Marcus Davenport). It is easy to spot Ferguson on film because he is routinely the first defensive lineman out of his stance, using his quickness, motor and length to get blockers off schedule. If those traits show during practices, he will cement top-40 status in the eyes of some scouts.

      Although he is a better run defender than pass rusher right now, Boston College’s Zach Allen has the violent hands and contact balance to win off the edge. He projects as more of a base...
      -01-22-2019, 05:05 AM
    • Nick
      CBS Sports 2018 Senior Bowl Articles and Practice Reports
      by Nick
      Senior Bowl 2018: Winners and losers from Tuesday's weigh-in at Mobile
      Chris Trapasso Jan 23, 2018 • 3 min read

      Senior Bowl festivities kicked off early Tuesday morning with the perpetually awkward weigh-in session in which all participants walk across a large stage and get measured in front of hundreds of team employees and media members.

      And while draft-stock fluctuation will mostly occur during the week of practices and the game on Saturday, there were some winners and losers from the Mobile weigh-in, as the physical measurements remain an important part of the pre-draft process.

      Heights are listed in "6023" form, with the last number representing eighths of an inch. So, 6023 would be 6-foot-2 and 3/8 of an inch.

      Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA

      Weigh-in: 6057 / 259 / 34" arms

      Some believed Davenport's listed size at 6-foot-7 and 255 pounds was slightly exaggerated. Turns out, it wasn't stretched that much. Combine his nearly 6-6 frame with long, 34-inch arms and you have one enormous defensive end.

      Perspective: Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter measured in at 6051 and 251 pounds with 34 1/2-inch arms at the 2015 combine.

      Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, OLB, Oklahoma

      Weigh-in: 6013 / 243 / 34 1/2" arms

      For an "undersized" outside rusher, Okoronkwo measuring in at over 6-1 and north of 240 pounds is important. For many teams, those are the thresholds for edge-rushers. Beyond that, Okoronkwo's 34 1/2-inch arms are tentacle-like. Relatively speaking, the Oklahoma star is still on the smaller side of the outside pass-rusher spectrum, but his length can be likened to other, much bigger NFL pass-rushers.

      Perspective: At last year's combine, Cardinals' first-round pick Haason Reddick measured in at 6012 and 237 pounds but only had 32 3/4-inch arms.

      Uchenna Nwosu, OLB, USC

      Weigh-in: 6020 / 245 / 33 1/2" arms

      Nwosu is the other "smaller but productive" outside linebacker in this class with fringe first-round talent and collegiate film. For him to hit 6-2 and 245 pounds is a huge win for him. His 33 1/2-inch arms mean he has enough length to keep offensive linemen off his frame.

      Perspective: Von Miller's official size at the combine was 6025 and 245 pounds with 33 1/2-inch arms.

      Levi Wallace, CB, Alabama

      Weigh-in: 6003 / 176 / 33 3/8" arms

      Ok, so Wallace could stand to gain some weight at the next level. And he will. That won't be a problem for an NFL strength and conditioning program. But those arms will be tantalizing to many scouts, general managers, and defensive coordinators. Length at the cornerback spot is often seen as the catalyst for plays on the football. Wallace snagged three picks and knocked down 15 passes in 2017. ...
      -01-28-2018, 05:30 AM
    • Nick
      2019 Senior Bowl Winners & Losers
      by Nick
      2019 Senior Bowl week winners and losers: Sweat, Samuel, Lock improve stock; Grier among those to struggle
      While it was a big week for some players, others failed to take advantage of a prime opportunity to impress
      By Ryan Wilson
      CBS Sports Writer 1m ago • 8 min read

      MOBILE, Ala. -- The practices are over, the general managers, scouts and coaches have left, and all that remains is Saturday's Senior Bowl game. And while the players here still have much to prove when the ball kicks off at 2:30 p.m. ET, the scouting departments of all 32 teams will pour over the hours of practice footage in the coming weeks as they formulate their draft boards.

      With that in mind, here are some of the players that did the most to help themselves this week.

      Players who improved their stock

      Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State

      It sounds like a broken record at this point in the proceedings but Sweat has been lights out from start to finish. He came into the week with gaudy college numbers -- he logged 22.5 sacks and 30 tackles for loss his last two seasons -- but the big question mark about Sweat's game was if he had the flexibility to consistently beat offensive tackles around the edge.

      Well, he answered that question and plenty of others in Mobile.

      We've had Sweat as a late first-round pick in our mock drafts dating back to October but if the next few months play out like Senior Bowl week, he'll be a top-15 selection. He's been that good.

      Deebo Samuel, WR, South Carolina

      We loved Samuel in 2017 when he got off to a red-hot start but a broken leg ended that season. He flashed some of that talent in 2018, when he played in 12 games but had just 62 receptions for 882 yards. Good numbers, for sure, but just not great. He can line up outside, in the slot, in the backfield, he can run the jet sweep, return kicks -- anything a coach could dream up. Samuel can run every route and he does it aggressively, but scouts have expressed concerns about his deep speed.

      Samuel, for his part, isn't worried. "Today I was smoking," he told us after Tuesday's practice, regarding his ability to blow past defensive backs in one-on-one drills. And he wasn't joking. According to the Senior Bowl, he was one of the fastest players on the field that day, hitting 21.1 mph. As it stands, Samuel is a second-round pick, but if he continues to tear up the predraft circuit -- the combine, pro days and private workouts remain -- he could work his way into the first round.

      Drew Lock, QB, Missouri

      Lock may have had the smallest hands among all the quarterbacks at the Senior Bowl but it certainly didn't affect his ability to spin it better than anyone else here. The Tigers standout got off to a slow start to his senior season, going 0-3 at one point with one touchdown and five interceptions. But over the following...
      -01-25-2019, 02:16 PM
    • Nick
      The Official 2016 East-West Shrine Game Thread
      by Nick
      The East-West Shrine game is scheduled to take place on January 23rd after a week of practice that hardcore draftniks follow to get information on depth players in the 2016 NFL Draft class.

      Rosters for the EW Shrine Game cane be found here:

      Will do my best to post practice reports as they come in next week!
      -01-11-2016, 04:16 AM