2018 Senior Bowl: Wednesday Practice Report: North Team
This is Charlie Campbell's Wednesday 2018 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.
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By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell
The North team took the field of Ladd-Peebles Stadium for their second practice of the Senior Bowl. The Denver Broncos coaching staff ran the practice and will coach them all week. The Broncos staff had the players practicing in full pads. Here is a run down of the noteworthy players.
- by Charlie Campbell and WalterFootball.com Senior Bowl Reporter Andrew Scavelli.
Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield got a lot of media acclaim for his practice on Wednesday. However, a general manager of a quarterback-needy team at the end of the practice told me that Wyoming's Josh Allen was the most impressive. "Josh is head-and-shoulders above the rest of the quarterbacks here," said the general manager. "Baker was fine; he had a nice day, but he's not on Josh's level."
During one-on-ones, Allen made a beautiful throw to Colorado State wide receiver Michael Gallup, who beat Weber State cornerback Taron Johnson on a double move, allowing him to made a nice over-the-shoulder catch in the end zone for a touchdown. During 11-on-11s, Allen stood tall in the pocket to complete a crossing route to Penn State tight end Mike Gesicki with defenders falling around his legs. The 6-foot-4, 237-pound Allen also showed great mobility and a laser arm, rolling out of the pocket and throwing an out route to Pennsylvania wide receiver Justin Watson, who dropped a sure completion on the sideline. The biggest mistake from Allen during 11-on-11s came courtesy of Penn State cornerback Christian Campbell, who intercepted him on a deep ball by out-running the intended receiver who did not make a play on the ball. During the seven-on-seven period, Allen's accuracy once again was tested when a pass he threw sailed across the middle of the field and was picked off by Hawaii safety Trayvon Henderson. "That's a shame," a Giants scout said after the play concluded.
Allen had some passes off the park in the team scrimmage with an overthrow of receivers deep a long the sideline and then a overthrow on a receiver running a crossing route in the intermediate part of the field. However, he made a number of other nice throws, including a well-executed bootleg to Central Michigan tight end Tyler Conklin. Allen has some accuracy issues to improve, but teams feel that improvements will be made when Allen gets pro coaching. Through two days, Allen is doing well enough at the Senior Bowl to help set himself up to be a top-10 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
That interception of Allen wasn't the only play the Hawaii safety Trayvon Henderson made on the day though, as the Rainbow Warrior was all over the field, causing havoc. On another play, Henderson jumped an out route intended for Lazard, but dropped the interception. During seven-on-sevens, Henderson made up for that by reading Nebraska quarterback Tanner Lee's eyes and came across the body of Colorado State receiver Michael Gallup, who sat down on a hook route, and took the ball away for a pick-six.
Mayfield showed a lot of his good traits and also some of his points of improvement for the NFL. He did a nice job of protecting the football and had a number of completions to New Mexico State wide receiver Jaleel Scott on the sideline. Scott made some good catches, while Mayfield located those passes well. Mayfield also had a nice gain, hooking up with Penn State tight end Mike Gesicki on a wheel route, as he beat Brown linebacker Dewey Jarvis to get five yards of separation. Overall, Mayfield showed good accuracy throwing the ball in the short to intermediate part of the field.
In terms of points of improvement, Mayfield showed some hesitancy to make some throws into tight windows. Against the weak Big 12 defenses, Mayfield consistently had his receivers running wide open, but the windows are much smaller in the NFL and he will have to get more comfortable throwing into them. His hesitancy to throw those passes led to him tucking the ball and running more often than he should as a pro. He also has checked down the ball a lot over the past two days. It definitely is very good that Mayfield has ball security top of mind to avoid turnovers, but he is going to need to get more comfortable with teams keeping him in the pocket and forcing him to throw into tight windows.
Penn State wide receiver DaeShean Hamilton had an impressive practice Wednesday. Hamilton had a slow start, dropping a pass in the warmup period, but rebounded nicely in one-on-ones against South Carolina cornerback JaMarcus King. Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen hit Hamilton for a nice completion on an out route against King, and later in that period, Washington State's Luke Falk went after King again on the same route with the Nittany Lion receiver jumping to come down with the ball and getting both feet in bounds. During 11-on-11s, Nebraska's Tanner Lee found Hamilton on a post route down the middle of the field and the 6-foot, 202-pound receiver fended off Texas A&M safety Armani Watts to make the catch. Hamilton ran some nice routes using his quickness and technique to get separation in and out of breaks.
One player who did get the most out of the North team safeties was Wisconsin tight end Troy Fumagalli. All of the tight ends displayed impressive receiving performances on Wednesday, but Fumagalli really impressed in this area. During one-on-ones, the 6-foot-4, 247-pound tight end handily beat Texas A&M safety Armani Watts on a post route thrown by Josh Allen. In seven-on-sevens, Fumagalli showed impressive hand strength, catching a tight end seam from Tanner Lee and holding onto the ball as Purdue linebacker Ja'Whaun Bentley got his hands in between to try to disrupt the catch.
N.C. State's Justin Jones had an impressive day in the one-on-ones between the offensive and defensive linemen. He was using speed and speed to power moves to get a lot of wins against the offensive linemen. Jones used a rip move to get leverage on UCLA center/guard Scott Quessenberry for one win. On speed rushes, he flew by Iowa guard Sean Welsh and Virginia Tech guard Wyatt Teller. While Jones did well against that duo, UTEP guard Will Hernandez stuffed a bull rush cold with Hernandez's strong anchor at the point of attack. Even though Hernandez got the better of him, Jones helped himself with his performance on Wednesday.
Stanford defensive tackle Harrison Phillips had a mixed Wednesday. He had some impressive wins in the one-on-ones. He used a powerful bull rush to blow through Michigan center Mason Cole on a few reps. Phillips had Cole on roller skates as the Wolverine lineman really struggled to anchor. Versus Virginia Tech guard Wyatt Teller, Phillips didn't have the same success, as Teller was able to anchor well and stand up Phillips' bull rush. Phillips tried a speed rush versus Teller, and that was ineffective as well with Teller riding Phillips down the pocket and around the quarterback marker. Phillips is a solid nose tackle, but he has some limitations in the pass rush for the NFL.
Cole really struggled Wednesday. Not only did Phillips get wins against him in the one-on-ones, but other lineman found success going against Cole. N.C. State defensive tackle B.J. Hill used speed to fire into the backfield and then power to bull rush Cole into the quarterback marker. It was a blinding and violent rush that drew some awes from the crowd. Cole is going to need development before he is ready to take on NFL defensive linemen.
Another offensive lineman who had some problems was Pittsburgh offensive tackle Brian O'Neill. Rutgers linebacker Kemoko Turay went against O'Neill on three reps. Turay ran around O'Neill on two reps, using speed to the outside. In the middle rep, O'Neill was able to cut off the edge to beat Turay, but O'Neill still lost two out of the three. Some have projected O'Neill to go early, but team sources have told me they graded him in the mid-rounds, and that grade has been given proof in Mobile.
Ohio State defensive end Tyquan Lewis showed nice potential to move inside to tackle in a sub-package role with success rushing the passer against guards. He used speed to fire by Scott Quessenberry to win one rep. Lewis used a bull rush to plow Washington State guard Cole Madison into the quarterback marker. Lewis (6-2, 276) lacks length for end in the NFL, and if he adds some weight, he could become a three technique in a 4-3 defense. He could provide mismatch speed against guards with natural pad level. Lewis could be a mid-rounder who develops into a new position at the pro level and becomes a contributor.
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