2020 Senior Bowl: Thursday's North Team Practice Report
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell
The third practice of the North team in the Senior Bowl was held in Mobile, Alabama at South Alabama University. The players practicing in full pads. The North team is being coached by the Detroit Lions coaching staff.
Utah State quarterback Jordan Love is the top trigger man on the North team, but he had another uneven practice on Thursday. Love showed off he has a strong arm and is able to loft in passes downfield with some good placement at times, but he definitely needs refinement for the NFL.
In the team scrimmage of the two-minute drill, Love made an awful pass for an interception. Ohio State linebacker Malik Harrison backpedaled down the middle seam, and Love threw the pass right to him. Harrison tipped the ball to himself before controlling it for an interception. Perhaps a receiver ran the wrong route, but it was a terrible throw otherwise, as there wasn't a wide out within 10 yards of Harrison. Regardless of the route, that play further enforced the field vision problems that Love has.
Love came back to make some nice plays in the red zone scrimmage, lofting a touchdown pass in the corner of the end zone to a tight en with a perfectly placed pass that dropped right into the hands of his receiver. Shortly later, Love showed his feet and athleticism on a zone read run, darting into the end zone. Love had some other good passes in the seven-on-seven scrimmage, showing the arm and accuracy to beat coverage.
There is no doubt that Love has a very good skill set with special arm talent, but his field vision is a serious weakness at this time. He is going to need developmental time in the NFL and should not be forced into the starting lineup immediately. Team sources were saying that Love is not ready to start, and his career would be better off if he started out as a backup.
TCU running back Darius Anderson has had a good week of practice. The runner known as "Jet" has lived up the nickname with a quick first step, a burst to the second level, and agile moves in the open field. In the run scrimmage portion, he had a nice cut to dodge a defender and explode downfield. Anderson had a touchdown run in the team scrimmage, darting through a hole and getting into the end zone before the defense could close. He did have a pass bounce off his hands in the flat a few plays later, but it was a poor throw form Washington State's Anthony Gordon being low and away from Anderson.
Overall, Anderson has helped himself this week. He could be a nice value pick in the middle rounds who is able to contribute as a solid backup running back, third-down option, and change of pace behind the starter.
Team sources have told me that Liberty wide receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden has helped himself this week. Entering Senior Bowl practices, Gandy-Golden had speed concerns as teams liked his size and aggressive style of play, but the question of if he could run well enough was weighing down his draft grade. Going against better competition, Gandy-Golden has ran better than expected, showing enough quickness to get some separation. With his big size and catch radius, Gandy-Golden has mismatch potential and could be a real red zone weapon. If Gandy-Golden runs fast at the combine and in pre-draft workouts, he could rise over the weeks leading up to the draft.
Kansas offensive tackle Hakeem Adeniji has struggled some this week, and that continued on Thursday. Adeniji got bulled in the one-on-ones on a few plays and knocked backward in the run scrimmage. Adeniji has some quickness and athleticism, but he has to get stronger for the NFL. Improving his base and ability to anchor is necessary for him to develop into being a competitor for playing time. Adeniji might be better off moving to center.
Two cornerbacks who really struggled this week have been Wake Forest's Essang Bassey and Nebraska's Lamar Jackson. Bassey is short and slow, which makes for a bad combination for a NFL cornerback. Jackson has size and some straight-line speed, but he gives up separation over the top and struggles to stay with receivers out of their breaks. Both Bassey and Jackson look like late-rounders, and both of them will have to be stars on special teams to make a NFL roster in 2020.
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