NFL

Inside Senior Bowl Day 2: Trench Matchups, Turnovers

It’s been a busy day in the world of the Bucs with quarterback Tom Brady’s retirement. This immediately shifts the organization’s wants and needs towards free agency and conscription as they search for its replacement. Outside of the Brady news, it was also the second day of training in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., where many big plays were made.

Here are Pewter Report’s observations from day 2 of the practice sessions.

Bad QB play for two straight drills

Whether the Bucs decide to field a quarterback in this year’s class or not, it probably won’t come from a player in the Senior Bowl. Simply put, the quarterbacks’ performance was poor to average at best. Quarterbacks have missed many pitches in the one-on-one drills when receivers were able to create separation. Throws even looked bad in warmups when throwing in the air, making it harder to judge wide outs.

Heisman finalist Max Duggan made some good throws down the middle and Shepherd’s Tyson Bagnet held his own against better competition. But overall with past Senior Bowls having seen Jalen Hurts, Justin Herbert and Kenny Pickett in recent years, the talent has left a lot to be desired this week.

Day 2 Outliers

Run back

Tulane’s Tyjae Spears continued to display a quick burst between tackles on Wednesday. Every time he touched the ball, he immediately found the hole to cut through and ran onto the field with no one to stop him.

It wasn’t just his running that caught our attention. His one-on-one reps lined up against Jackson State linebacker Aubrey Miller Jr. were a testament to his strength. After being put down by Miller in one of their first replays, he fought back against one of the more physical defenders in Mobile in the next snap.

Of all the running backs on both sides, Spears stood out the most. He has the vision to find the right path and make the defense pay off, as shown in this run:

Seeing him as a receiving threat from the backfield was also promising.

Wide receiver

Houston’s Tank Dell makes it as a standout in the Senior Bowl again after another stellar performance. His running route is exceptional as he puts defensive backs in a blender. While it’s hard to do, Dell makes it look easy when it executes its roadmap.

Ole Miss wideout Jonathan Mingo was a bit quiet on Tuesday, but stepped up during Wednesday’s practice. He made some great moves against Kansas State corner Julius Brents, who was one of the best corners this week, to beat him deep for a touchdown. Mingo also made some nice contested catches that afternoon.

Other wideouts who made some good plays included Nebraska’s Trey Palmer, Michigan’s Ronie Bell, Michigan State’s Jayden Reed, and South Alabama’s Jalen Wayne.

offensive line

The national team entered the field to practice first, and Michigan offensive tackle Ryan Hayes put on a show. His highlight was playing one-on-one with the event’s most talked about edge rusher, Isaiah Foskey, and knocking him to the ground. Hayes played both sides of tackle and was not pushed back at all. He was solid at blocking his pass as you can get.

No one likes a smaller school offensive lineman like the Bucs do and Cody Mauch, a guard from the state of North Dakota, fits the mold. They also enjoy finding their boys at the Senior Bowl. Mauch made quick work of Army’s Andre Carter in individual drills and brought him to the ground in a dominant fashion. From both individual and team drills, Mauch has an in-your-face intensity to his game, but it doesn’t cross the line and can disappear when the game is over. He has already shown strong play this week.

When the U.S. team was on the field, Florida offensive tackle Richard Gouraige really fought. It wasn’t necessarily the cleanest outing, but what stood out for Gouraige was his ability to recover and stay with a play even when he got unbalanced. Not every rep will be won cleanly, but how you recover is also important.

Another shoutout during this week of the Senior Bowl is Alabama offensive lineman Alex Steen. He won most of his matchups, showing both physicality and the finesse of good technique. What really got him back on this list was his ability to play different positions on the line and find success in any role.

Defense line

Wisconsin’s Keanu Benton was one of the most impressive defensive linemen in the Senior Bowl. He came in to show he could be more than just a run stuffer. Pewter Report spoke to him before he started practicing, and he said he wants to have “more moves in the room” and expand his “toolbox”. In this piece, he showed off his swimming move to get into the backfield quickly:

Benton also had a Hall of Fame spectator, as Warren Sapp, Bucs’ legendary defensive tackle, watched as he went through drills.

Northwestern Adetomiwa Adebawore continues to capture the attention of all who watch the Senior Bowl practices. He has a lot of speed and power that showed in Wednesday’s practice. In the individual fights against the offensive line, he won most of his matchups.

Louisville’s Yaya Diaby demonstrates the ability to succeed in all areas of the game. While some players may only excel as a pass rusher or run stopper, Diaby does it all. On Tuesday, he was more involved in stopping the run, but on Wednesday, Diaby went after the passerby and threw linemen at the roadside.

Rand Rusher

Two edge rushers flew during practice. One was Auburn’s Derick Hall, who has been consistent in the backfield, attacking the quarterback with a combination of speed and solid technique in his quick passing moves. The other was Kansas edge Lonnie Phillips Jr. He had a great jump off the ball in his individual matchups to the point where he would get past the lineman without hitting him. Phillips would back that up with another strong bull rush, proving he can be physical too.

Linebackers

Despite his short stature as an inside linebacker (5-11, 229), Aubrey Miller Jr. impress in the Senior Bowl drills. He is a man with a lot of power and a real tackler. His highlight was hitting the ball from Georgia as he ran back Kenny McIntosh’s hands after leaving it at the line of scrimmage:

Another little school gem was Marte Mapu, Sacramento State linebacker. The athleticism and rush were off the charts for Mapu, he had a fantastic pass breakup as he jumped as high as he could to get his hand on the ball. Later on a botched play where the running back broke a run all the way upfield, Mapu sprinted after him and was able to knock the ball out for a fumble while others had given up play.

If Miller wasn’t the top linebacker of both practices at the Senior Bowl, it sure was TCU’s Dee Winters. This player has speed, speed and more speed and he turned the ball even faster than on consecutive plays. Winter showed the ability to drop back into zone coverage, read a play and break the ball when he had an interception in 7-on-7 practice. Seconds after he forced a fumble on a separate play, it was recovered by Miami cornerback Tyrique Stevenson.

Corner kicks

After practicing the day before where he couldn’t make the interception, that largely changed for Stanford’s Kyu Blu Kelly. Needing a little warm-up first, he made an incredible one-handed catch as a bystander on the sidelines.

Stanford CB Kyu Blu Kelly

Stanford CB Kyu Blu Kelly at the Senior Bowl – Photo by: USA TODAY Sports

Not long after, Kelly was involved in a rep where he yanked the ball out of the wide receiver for an interception and brought it home for a pick-six. A few plays later, he came close to yet another interception in the same drill. Kelly’s anticipation is extraordinary, which is exactly what you need to be a next level corner kicker.

Protections

Florida State safety Jammie Robinson is on the Pewter Report player list and has been solid in his Senior Bowl appearances thus far. He made a really good pass breakup with tight coverage on a receiver. It’s hard to part with Robinson when he faces him in a match during these drills.

#Senior #Bowl #Day #Trench #Matchups #Turnovers

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