2016 Senior Bowl: South Practice Day One Review


Biggest winners from the Senior Bowl South Practice on Day 1 were Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen, Baylor wide receiver Jay Lee, LSU cornerback Jalen Mills, Louisville Defensive Tackle Sheldon Rankins and Clemson defensive tackle DJ Reader.

Eric Galko (@OptimumScouting on twitter) covered QB, RB, WR, LB, and DB. Charles McDonald (@SundayFiasco on twitter) covered OL/DL.


-To me, the best quarterback of the South today was Arkansas’s Brandon Allen. At the very lease, he had the best velocity of the four quarterbacks on the South roster. He’s a bit of a fastball-er too much at times, and had a slight sidearm delivery on shorter routes that may be an issue at the line of scrimmage. I had been told he struggled towards the end of practice (as I transitioned to the North for the day), but he did his best to generate some good discussion after having 8.5 inch hands in the weigh-ins this AM.

-Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott was adequate today, but his biggest concern on film as a throw was that he tends to try and place passes rather than throw with confidence and velocity on routes. His perimeter placement was an issue, and he just looked a hair off on most routes today. While I would chalk that up to just being his first day with his receivers, it wasn’t an issue for Allen and, to some extent, Jacoby Brissett.

-On Jacoby Brissett, his biggest issue is his release point. He’s a taller passer with a high release point, and his passes under 10-15 yards tend to stay too high too often. In those shorter routes, he doesn’t always give his receiver room to work upfield. It’s likely a slightly coachable fix, but it’s a concern nonetheless.


Running Backs

-I didn’t get a great look at the running backs for the South squad, but Jonathan Williams flashed a little bit of everything on day one. He’s a natural pass catcher, he’s well position in pass blocking and quick routes and he’s always in control in his vision as an upfield runner.


Receivers/Tight Ends

-Surprisingly, the receiver I came away most impressed with on day one was Baylor’s Jay Lee. Despite hailing from a spread offense, Lee looks efficient in getting off press, staying balanced through cornerback contact and finishing his route with subtle separation with his hands just before rising to the catch point. He beat James Bradberry and Jonathan Jones on two separate plays during plays just like that.

-Georgia’s Malcolm Mitchell was the best among the receivers in finishing away from his frame, reeling in two really impressive hands catches. He’s clearly an impressive athlete and a natural receiver, and in positional drills he’s displaying when he had so much promise coming into his Georgia career.

-SE Missouri State’s Paul McRoberts is one of my favorites of the receiver class, but he had an expectedly inconsistent day. He’s a smooth, efficient yet slightly slow moving receiver who relies on speed change and efficient steps to succeed as a receiver. He even admitted as much that it’s an adjustment against better quality cornerbacks. But he’ll improve as the week goes on, and he’ll leave as one of the top four or five receivers here.

-Didn’t get many notes on Oklahoma’s Sterling Shepard, as he was pretty routine and effective, but didn’t get a chance to show much other than his overall polish as a route runner.


Offensive Linemen

Graham Glasgow’s day was mixed. He looked very fluid moving in the kickslide drills, but his work against the South defensive line was a mixed bag. He faired better in the run game than isolated pass blocking, which is fairly common.

-Georgia offensive tackle John Theus did not fair well at all. Eric Striker blew through and by him. Theus really needed a strong showing this week to prove he’s worth a draft pick; he’s not off to a good start.

-Arkansas guard Sebastian Tretola had an impressive day as well. He anchored well against the heavier defensive lineman and had light feet in pass protection.


Defensive Linemen

Sheldon Rankins from Louisville was completely dominant. He showed impressive burst and athleticism, an array of moves pass rushing and versus the run, and read the offensive line play beautifully.

Jihad Ward was dominant today. He didn’t produce much at Illinois, but his potential is obvious. Rod Marinelli spent a lot of time coaching Ward up and he proceeded to get better as the day went along.

Jarran Reed from Alabama had a solid first day in Mobile. He was immovable off the line of scrimmage and showed some quick, efficient hand usage. There were a couple reps where he threw Michigan center Graham Glasgow on the ground

D.J. Reader was a late addition to the Senior Bowl and he justified his roster spot on the first day. Reader is 6’3”, 340 but moves much nimbler than you would think. His athleticism was on display in run game and pass rush one on ones.

Charles Tapper from Oklahoma showed off solid athleticism. He was able to bend around the edge against Spencer Drango a few times and showed off impressive power on bull rushes.

Shawn Oakman and Dadi Nicolas struggled tremendously. Nicolas looks clueless out there and Oakman can’t anchor against the run or rush the passer at all. Both look like fringe draftable talents.



-Like the running backs, I didn’t get a great look at the linebackers, but Oklahoma’s Eric Striker had a strong day when working as an edge rusher (especially against Georgia’s John Theus and Texas Tech’s Le’Raven Clark), and LSU’s Deion Jones’s balance and transition to explosiveness upfield was clearly on display.


Defensive Backs

-Playing a few roles for the LSU defensive secondary, Jalen Mills looked the part of an NFL ready cornerback. Possessing a similar frame to last year’s LSU second-rounder Jalen Collins, Mills was a naturally fluid corner who transitioned vertically with plus-hip quickness and in-synch body control. And either he or SE Louisiana’s Harlan Miller was the top press cornerback for either team. Miller’s length impressed as well.

-Maryland’s Sean Davis is a favorite of him, and the former safety, turned cornerback in 2015 and now back at safety had a strong day today. His experience as a cornerback appears to have helped his turn and run steps and confidence, and he was one of the better defensive backs in terms of staying low in his turn and getting vertical with control. As the week goes on, look for him to really impress in team drills.

-Samford cornerback James Bradberry played with high pad level in multiple drills, and get bullied a bit by a few receivers as they rose to the catch-point. William & Mary’s DeAndre Houston-Carson didn’t show a whole lot of fluidity in turn and run drills, and I don’t think he’s suited to play cornerback in the NFL despite playing there at a high level in 2014.

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