This is Charlie Campbell's Thursday 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 final 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 full pads. Here is a run down of the noteworthy players.
Thursday was an impressive practice for East Carolina wide receiver Zay Jones. The quick receiver Jones made some superb catches and showed off his speed to get separation from defensive backs. During the one-on-ones, Jones made two phenomenal plays against Lamar cornerback Brendan Langley. The first one came as Jones ran a go route down the sideline. He showed a burst deep downfield to get some late separation while making a reaching catch. Shortly later, Jones made an excellent adjustment to the ball to haul in an over- the-shoulder reception.
During the team scrimmage, Jones ran away from West Virginia cornerback Rasul Douglas to get open, but a late throw by Pitt's Nate Peterman allowed Douglas to recover with a breakup. Jones also got open quickly on a dig route, but once again, the ball wasn't thrown on time, as Douglas drove down hard to slap the pass away. Even during the individual drills, Jones was showing off strong hands with speed in his routes. Jones has definitely helped himself this week, and he could be a valuable slot receiver as early as next fall.
Eastern Colorado wide receiver Cooper Kupp finished off his strong week of practice. He did well in the one-on-one and team scrimmage. However, there was one pass that was behind him that he tipped in the air for an interception by Nebraska safety Nate Gerry. It wasn't Kupp's fault, but hitting it down would have been the safer play to avoid the turnover. Kupp got away with a push off on Rasul Douglas to make a nice gain on a dig route in the team scrimmage. After his strong Senior Bowl, Kupp should go on the second day of the draft.
Iowa cornerback Desmond King had a solid day and did well running with receivers overall. He had an impressive pass breakup while blanketing Syracuse wide out Amba Etta-Tawo. King did have some issues covering Kupp, however. King would fit best as a cover safety, but in that role, he needs to add some more strength to tackle.
Michigan wide receiver Amara Darboh had an eventful day. He was guilty of some early drops in the individual portion of practice, but Darboh did better in the one-on-ones. He ran away from Douglas to get open for one win and then outfought Douglas on a jump ball to make a reception. Having a fast 40 time at the combine would be really helpful for Darboh.
UConn safety Obi Melifonwu has had an excellent Senior Bowl, and he was impressive on Thursday. Melifonwu is a big safety who can be the eighth man in the box, but he showed impressive range in the team scrimmage. The Bears staff had Meilfonwu being the lone deep safety on a lot of plays, and he covered a lot of ground. Even though Melifonwu is big, he is not stiff as an athlete, showing some ability to open up his hips and run. After his week in Mobile, there has been some buzz about Melifonwu having late first-round potential.
Toledo tight end Michael Roberts has some fans in the scouting community. He is a tough blocker and on Wednesday he showed that he can do somethings as a receiver with a nice performance in the one-on-ones. He got separation from Saint Francis safety Lorenzo Jerome on a dig route and then turned upfield for some yards after the catch. Some team sources think Roberts could be the best blocking tight end at the draft, and his Senior Bowl has been a net positive for him.
Ohio defensive end Tarell Bashem hasn't been a highly hyped Senior Bowl performer, but he's had success in each practice in the pass rushing one-on-ones. Bashem used a quick spin move to get to the inside of USC tackle Zach Banner to get a win. Bucknell offensive tackle Julien Davenport was the next victim of Bashem's spin move. He could be a nice developmental pass-rusher as a day-three pick.
Western Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Moton has impressed team sources this week, and he had a quality performance in the final session. He did well to stop a bull rush from Notre Dame defensive end Isaac Rochell, as Rochell couldn't only get a little push of Moton. Michigan defensive end Chris Wormley did get a win over Moton by using strength to get leverage to the inside with quickness to close. Overall, the Senior Bowl should solidify Moton as a day-two prospect.
Wormley could easily be a first-round pick with his size, quickness, and versatility to play a wide variety of positions on the defensive line. He had another good practice with multiple wins in the pass-rushing one-on-ones to finish off his week in impressive fashion.
Illinois defensive end Dawuane Smoot had an impressive win with a rip move and speed to the inside to beat Temple's Dion Dawkins. That play was further proof that while Dawkins played tackle in college, he should move to guard in the NFL.