2015 Senior Bowl Practice Report

This is Charlie Campbell’s Thursday 2015 Senior Bowl Practice Report. Charlie is reporting live from Mobile, Ala., and he’ll describe what he sees at practice and whom certain prospects talk to all week.

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2015 Senior Bowl: Thursday Practice Report: South Team

By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell

The South team took the field of Ladd-Peebles Stadium for its final practice of the Senior Bowl. The Jacksonville Jaguars’ coaching staff ran the practice and coached them all week. The Jaguars staff’ had the players practicing in full pads. Here is a rundown of the noteworthy players.

  • After receivers stood out with some great practices for the South team on Wednesday, the defensive backs got some revenge in the final prep session before Saturday’s Senior Bowl. One cornerback who has competed well all week has been TCU’s Kevin White. While White isn’t a big corner, he has shown the ability to run with receivers and not allow separation. He finished his impressive Senior Bowl very well.

    In the practice, White battled well against Miami speedster Philip Dorsett. They split some reps in the one-on-ones with White making a pass break-up and Dorsett getting by him for a pass in the end zone. Later in the team scrimmage, White was able to recover after Dorsett got some separation along the sideline. Colorado State quarterback Garrett Grayson waited too long to throw the ball, and White was able to cut in front of Dorsett for an interception after the wideout slowed down for the ball. Later, White ran with Dorsett on one sideline route, and it illustrated White’s speed even though Dorsett was able to outfight him for a reception. Toward the end of practice, White had an interception go through his hands in the red zone.

    Still, White has had a good week where he has shown the ability to compete with receivers with speed and size. He could have played himself into the second day of the draft.

  • Dorsett had a mixed day. He made some nice catches and showed his play-making ability by darting into the end zone on a reverse in the team scrimmage red-zone session. However, it wasn’t a complete practice, as Dorsett had a fumble in the 2-minute drill after catching a dig from Grayson. Overall, Dorsett was one of the most impressive receivers at the Senior Bowl.

  • Another cornerback who had a strong performance on Thursday was Miami’s Ladarius Gunter. He had a pass break-up against Harding wide receiver Donatella Luckett in the one-on-ones. In the team scrimmage, Gunter beat a receiver to a slant pass to make an interception of a Grayson pass. Gunter had some other pass break-ups, including a diving defense on a pass to Kansas State’s Tyler Lockett. Gunter looked very strong in red zone defense. This was a good day for him.

  • One of the small-school players who has managed to show he is up to the challenge of a higher level of competition has been Northwestern State cornerback Imoan Claiborne. He finished his week well on Thursday. After getting beat by Lockett and Miami tight end Clive Walford in the red zone one-on-ones, Claiborne came back to make a pass break-up after recovering on a downfield pass to Auburn wide receiver Sammie Coates. Claiborne still needs some development but he was a gritty corner that held his own this week.

  • Samford safety Jaquiski Tartt is like Claiborne in that he showed the ability to compete but still needs refinement for the higher level of competition. Tartt was beaten by Walford a touchdown in man coverage in the red zone one-on-ones. However, Tartt came back back to close out the practice by picking off Alabama quarterback Blake Sims in the back of the end zone on a jump ball. Tartt will need to improve his man coverage ability on tight ends and slot receivers.

  • Miami tight end Clive Walford has had a strong week, and he finished it well despite a dropped touchdown. He was superb in the red zone one-on-ones, as he beat a number of defenders. In the 2-minute drill, he had a gain for at least 20 yards on a pass from Grayson after Walford got open down the seam. He is a mismatch weapon, and Walford gave his draft stock a real boost this week.

  • Fresno State wide receiver Josh Harper had his best session of the week. In the team-scrimmage session, Harper made a few nice receptions in traffic. He had a gain of about 25 or 30 yards after getting wide open down the seam for Alabama quarterback Blake Sims. He also showed impressive hands while snatching a pass while falling down. Harper could use a strong performance in the game on Saturday to help him.

  • Grayson didn’t finish the week in overly impressive fashion, as he had a mixed day. In the red zone scrimmage, Grayson threw a pretty touch pass to Central Florida wide receiver Rannell Hall, leading him open to the back of the end zone. Hall made a superb catch while getting his feet inbounds before falling into the paint. In the 2-minute drill, Grayson led a field goal drive with chunk gains to Coates, Lockett and Walford. He did come close to an interception on a pass that flew by Georgia linebacker Amarlo Herrera. Grayson had a few passes off the mark for turnovers, but overall, he has been the best quarterback at the Senior Bowl with a live arm and pocket-passing potential.

  • Northern Iowa running back David Johnson helped himself in Mobile. He finished the week with a good practice on Thursday. In the red zone scrimmage, Johnson charged hard up the middle a few times to score some touchdown runs. He followed his blocks well while working his way through the defense. Johnson looks like he could be a physical back and a mid-round steal.

  • There were a few linemen who had interesting days. Clemson defensive tackle Grady Jarrett went against LSU’s La’el Collins in the pass-rushing one-on-ones with Collins lined up as a left guard. That could be where he starts out his NFL career. Collins lost both reps as Jarrett used speed to dart by him on both plays. Collins came back to split his battles with Mississippi State defensive end Preston Smith. Smith won on a bull rush, but Collins was able to negate a speed rush by riding Smith around the pocket. Overall, Collins didn’t hurt himself at the Senior Bowl and basically confirmed team’s evaluations of him.

    Jarrett, meanwhile, had a quality session on Thursday. It wasn’t perfect, as Georgia Tech guard Shaq Mason got the better of him on a couple of one-on-one reps. Overall, Jarrett has helped himself at the Senior Bowl.

  • Arkansas defensive end Trey Flowers didn’t have a bad practice all week. In the first 11-on-11 scrimmage, Flowers made two big plays. First, he scooped up a fumbled snap by Sims and ran it back about 15 yards for a touchdown. A few plays later, he burned Alabama right tackle Austin Shepherd for a sack. On Sims’ 2-minute drive, Flowers combined with UCLA defensive end Owa Odighizuwa for a sack. Flowers was using his speed to beat tackles around the corner. In the one-on-ones, Flowers burned new addition Mississippi State offensive tackle Blaine Clausell on two reps. He used speed on the first and a fast spin move to the inside on the second. Flowers had a strong performance at the Senior Bowl.

  • Odighizuwa and Louisville outside linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin also played well on Thursday. Both did well in the pass-rushing one-on-ones, and Odighizuwa had sacks on Sims in the two-minute drill.

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