This is Charlie Campbell's Tuesday 2017 Senior Bowl Practice Report for the South 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 South team took the field of Ladd-Peebles Stadium for their first practice of the Senior Bowl. The Cleveland Browns coaching staff ran the practice and will coach them all week. The Browns staff had the players practicing in shells: helmets, shoulder pads, and shorts. Here is a rundown of the noteworthy players.
Alabama tight end O.J. Howard could be the first Senior Bowl prospect selected in the 2017 NFL Draft, as Howard has top-20 potential. He proved it on day one with a tremendous practice. Howard showed his speed and athleticism to get separation with excellent hands, catching the ball away from his body. As a senior, Howard was vastly improved as a route-runner and blocker, and that could be seen in this practice. If Howard performs like this on Wednesday and Thursday, he could be voted Senior Bowl MVP.
The other tight ends on the South were impressive as well. South Alabama tight end Gerald Everett and Ole Miss tight end Evan Engram have been compared to Redskins standout receiving tight end Jordan Reed throughout the fall. Both players showed why on Tuesday. Everett was quick, athletic, and dangerous as a receiver. Engram worked the defense over on a deep slant in the team scrimmage for a gain of about 25 yards. Both of them were getting separation with their quickness and route-running. Everett and Engram will never be forces as blockers in the NFL, but they can be mismatch weapons in the passing game.
Western Kentucky guard/tackle Forrest Lamp had a strong start to the week, and he could be the best offensive lineman on either team. Lamp held his own at tackle in the pass-rushing one-on-ones and looked even better at guard. During the team scrimmage, Lamp had an impressive block on Texas A&M's Daeshon Hall to spring his back for good yardage. Some teams might try to get away with Lamp at tackle, but he could be more effective and a special player at guard.
While Hall was blocked on that play, he had a nice start to the week. During the team scrimmage, Hall had an impressive sack, as he flew into the backfield with some serious speed. There is no doubt that Hall has a good skill set with size and speed. The questions on him are a lack of production and consistency, so performing well each day is important.
Tennessee cornerback Cam Sutton missed the majority of his senior year with an injury, so there were many eyes on him to see how he would perform in Mobile. Sutton had a strong first day and played well overall. He is a feisty corner who competes well.
The Senior Bowl quarterbacks are an unimpressive group, and Cal's Davis Webb is definitely the best of the bunch. He has the strongest arm with some pocket presence. Webb is coming from a gimmick college offense, so showing growth this week with making progressions and quality decision-making would be huge for his evaluation.
Texas A&M wide receiver Josh Reynolds had a rough first day. Early on, he lost his footing on one play and had drops on others. In the team scrimmage, he got no separation on a deep ball while being covered by Tennessee State's Ezra Robinson. Texas A&M safety Justin Evans came over the top and the defenders both knocked the pass away. Reynolds didn't show a great effort to come back to the pass, as it easily could have been intercepted.
LSU cornerback Tre'Davious White had a mixed session. Early on in the one-on-ones, he was beaten for completions by North Carolina's Ryan Switzer, Grambling's Chad Williams, Western Kentucky's Taywan Taylor and Clemson's Artavis Scott. White looked gassed as he had his hands on his hips and was huffing and puffing. He came back to play much better in the back half of practice with tight coverage to force multiple incompletions in the seven-on-sevens. Perhaps White was just working off some rust in the early going.
Auburn defensive tackle Montravius Adams and Chattanooga's Keionta Davis were impressive in the pass-rushing one-on-ones with multiple wins.
The linebackers on the South team also had some impressive play. Florida's Alex Anzalone had some hard hits and big run fills. Alabama's Ryan Anderson was dishing out some punishment to the backs and was excellent in smothering a screen during the team scrimmage. Anzalone was very injury prone in college so he needs a strong week of practice.
The following bullet points are a summary of notes shared with WalterFootball.com from multiple team scouts from across the NFL.
- Sources say that O.J. Howard had perhaps the best performance in day one of the Senior Bowl.
- Gerald Everett impressed team sources as a receiver, which was expected.
- The physicality of Ryan Anderson was obvious throughout his senior year, and was on full display on day one of the Senior Bowl.
- Sources say that Davis Webb is physically impressive. They want to see him show improvement with decision-making and working off of his first read as those were negatives on his report from his senior year.
- Teams felt that Daeshon Hall had a solid start, and they feel he is athletic for his size.
- Chattanooga defensive end Keionta Davis impressed teams with power at the point of attack.
- Sources say that Auburn defensive tackle Montravius Adams flashed to them in the pass rushing one-on-ones.