This is Charlie Campbell's Tuesday 2017 Senior Bowl Practice Report for the North Team. Charlie is reporting live from Mobile, Ala., and he'll describe what he sees at practice and whom certain prospects talk to all week.
The North team took the field of Ladd-Peebles Stadium for their first practice of the Senior Bowl. The Chicago Bears coaching staff ran the practice and will coach them all week. The Bears staff had the players practicing in shells: helmets, shoulder pads, and shorts. Here is a rundown of the noteworthy players.
Indiana guard Dan Feeney had a rough senior year, as he missed time with a concussion and was forced to play some right tackle because of other injuries on the line. He had a solid start to the week on Tuesday. In the pass-rushing one-on-ones, Feeney had a nice win over Iowa defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson, mirroring a speed rush. In the run scrimmage, Feeney was tough opening holes and getting a push.
Johnson wasn't great in the one-on-ones, but he did well in the team scrimmage. He collapsed the pocket in a burst on a screen pass to get a sack of Colorado quarterback Sefo Liufau. He also had a hard hit on De'Veon Smith at the line of scrimmage to snuff out a rushing play. Johnson had consistency issues in college, so it will be important for him to execute complete practices on Wednesday and Thursday.
USC defensive tackle Stevie Tu'ikolovatu is a load as a nose tackle, and he overwhelmed a lot of the interior linemen in the one-on-ones. Tu'ikolovatu beat them with a bull rush. He didn't have other moves, but he didn't need to on many snaps. Tu'ikolovatu rolled through Baylor center Kyle Fuller on multiple reps. Tu'ikolovatu would fit best as a zero technique in a 3-4 defense.
Ohio defensive end Tarell Basham had a nice start to the week. He did well in the one-on-ones with a bull rush through USC tackle Zach Banner. Basham also used a bull rush to beat Toledo tight end Michael Roberts. In the team scrimmage, he pushed through Bucknell's Julien Davenport to get a sack and showed some coverage on Michigan running back De'Veon Smith in the flat. It will be interesting to see if Basham can continue to improve in the full pad practices.
Notre Dame defensive end Isaac Rochell did a nice job on day one in the pass rushing one-on-ones. He used speed to get upfield and strength on a bull rush. Rochell did well against Michigan guard Kyle Kalis.
Illinois defensive end Dawuane Smoot and outside linebacker Carroll Phillips had impressive starts to the week. Both were disruptive against the run and the pass. In the run scrimmage, Phillips had a nice tackle for a loss on a zone run where he knifed through the wall to stuff the back in the backfield. Phillips was more impressive in the pass-rushing one-on-ones, as his speed was a problem for offensive linemen. He used a rip move to the inside to beat Western Michigan right tackle Taylor Moton. Phillips used a spin move to get free of Moton, but the big tackle dragged Phillips to the ground in an obvious hold. Phillips swam by Kutztown's Jordan Morgan for a win. Bucknell's Julien Davenport stuffed Phillips on an inside rush, but Phillips also had a nice win in pass coverage, running with Toledo tight end Michael Roberts to prevent separation. He also had a loss trying to cover Florida International tight end Jonnu Smith.
Overall, Phillips flashed his speed and athleticism to get after the quarterback. Phillips, however, has real off-the-field issues and his team interviews will be equally important for his draft stock.
During the team scrimmage, Smoot had a good run fill to close the hole on De'Veon Smith. Smoot also ripped at the ball, but Smith had good ball security. In the pass rushing one-on-ones, USC offensive tackle Zach Banner lost, as Smoot used a rip move to the inside. Smoot had other nice rushes, and this was a solid start to his week.
This is summary of notes shared with WalterFootball.com from multiple team scouts from across the NFL:
- Temple linebacker Haason Reddick received acclaim from scouts for his start to the week. Reddick looked quick, instinctive and physical.
- Sources say that Wisconsin running back Corey Clement looked quick for a big back running routes.
- Team contacts say that Syracuse wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo showed excellent ball skills in the one-on-ones.
- Sources say that Toledo tight end Michael Roberts didn't look bad as a combo tight end. Teams had some speed concerns about Roberts entering the Senior Bowl.
- Temple guard Dion Dawkins and Western Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Moton are said to be "massive athletic cats."
- UConn safety Obi Melifonwu impressed teams with his physical skill set. Melifonwu is a size and speed freak.
- One NFC scout said that Eastern Washington wide receiver Cooper Kupp displayed some savvy route-running. Surprisingly, the normally sure-handed Kupp had a few drops in the positional drills. He did better in the one-on-ones.
- Sources say that Michigan cornerback Jourdan Lewis had a nice start, as he is a real competitor despite being undersized. Lewis showed fluid hips and quick feet to run with receivers. In the one-on-ones, Kupp and Lewis had some excellent battles. Kupp beat Lewis on a slant, but on a route down the sideline, Lewis ran with Kupp to slap a pass away. Lewis also had an impressive win, blanketing Louisiana Tech wide receiver Trent Taylor to force an incompletion.