2020 Senior Bowl: Thursday's South Team Practice Report
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell
The third practice of the South team in the Senior Bowl was held in Mobile, Alabama in Ladd-Peebles Stadium. The players practicing in full pads. The South team is being coached by the Cincinnati Bengals coaching staff.
Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert finished his quality week at the Senior Bowl with a strong final practice on Thursday. In the seven-on-seven session, Herbert was firing bullets into tight windows and also lifted in a pretty pass to LSU tight end Stephen Sullivan in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown. He had a similar well-placed ball into the corner for a scoring strike to Florida receiver Van Jefferson.
In the team scrimmage, Herbert made a number of good throws, including firing a laser into the middle of the secondary for a nice gain, but Texas wide out Collin Johnson dropped the ball. Herbert once again hit the corner post to Sullivan for a score during the red zone scrimmage. It was a well-thrown pass.
Herbert can't address the concerns with him at the Senior Bowl, as he is not answering questions about leadership, playing in big moments, and acclimating to an NFL city. However, team sources said Herbert interviewed well, so that could be just as, if not more important than his on-field performance this week.
Jefferson had a good practice on Thursday to finish a nice week of practice. Team sources have said they like his polish with his route-running, hands and instincts. In the one-on-ones, Jefferson caused a murmur from the scouts, as he juked Pitt's Dane Jackson badly to get wide open for an impressive win. On top of his ability to contribute as a receiver, Jefferson could be a core special teams contributor in the NFL. He may not have a fast 40 at the combine, and that could push him into the early rounds of Day 3, but Jefferson could be a nice value pick for someone this April.
Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts was not impressive on Thursday. Yesterday, team sources talked about how Hurts struggles to see the field well, and that was clearly visible in this practice. On many plays, Hurts stares down his primary read. Sometimes, he quickly looks to run when that read is covered. Otherwise, he keeps watching and it takes far too long for him to move his head to the middle and other side of the field. In the NFL, that is going to lead to a lot of sacks, as Hurts must get faster working through progressions and reading the defense. Given the amount of work he needs, Hurts would be fortunate to be a third-round pick.
The best defensive back at the Senior Bowl could be UCLA's Darnay Holmes. He finished his strong week with a good practice on Thursday, including a beautiful break up on a pass from Hurts for Collin Johnson in the middle of the field. Holmes had a diving play to slap it away and came close to making the catch for an interception. Holmes looks like a nice defensive back who could play some nickel corner, free safety, outside corner and tackle in the middle of the field. That versatility could lead to him being a riser in the draft process.
Some of the other highlights and lowlights of the final Senior Bowl practice included...
- Vanderbilt's Kalija Lipscomb turning a great route down the middle seam in the two minute drill to get wide open for a touchdown from Colorado's Steven Montez.
- Arizona State running back Eno Benjamin had a bad fumble when he took a stiff hit but didn't even have the ball punched at when he fumbled it away.
- Appalachian State linebacker Akeem Davis-Gaither made a nice play getting in a passing lane but he didn't finish the play as he dropped an interception.
- Florida edge rusher Jon Greenard had a sack in the team scrimmage after flying around the edge for a sack. Greenard has had a solid week rushing the passer.
WalterFootball.com will have more recaps from the Senior Bowl practices on Thursday along with a run-down of the post-practice team interviews. Follow @walterfootball for updates.
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