Day 3 of the Senior Bowl practices is in the books. It’s been a blast getting to watch some of the top players from college football compete all week. Keep in mind the Senior Bowl game will be on Saturday at 2:30 EST on NFL Network. January 28th was the last day of practices for both teams. Both teams get a day of rest, then strap on the pads, and we’ll get to see live game action Saturday.
The practices in Mobile have are honestly just as important as the game. What happened on Day 3? Let’s take a look.
Todd McShay started the ESPNU broadcast off raving about the work this week of Western Michigan WR D’Wayne Eskridge and Michigan WR Nico Collins. Both players have balled out this week with a number of impressive catches. The week was especially important for players like Collins, since he opted out of the 2020 college football season.
Injuries to note: You never want to hear about injuries but on Day 3 there were multiple receivers that had to sit out.
Notre Dame WR Ben Skowronek was seen on crutches. I’m guessing he is done for the week. I’m actually kind of happy he was on crutches because it helps to explain his subpar performance at the Senior Bowl. He just didn’t look himself out there at all. I expect more from him as a player. I’m convinced he was injured all week and just trying to play through it. I don’t have any inside information on that. It’s pure speculation on my part. I love him as a prospect even though he’s had a bad week this week. Here’s to hoping he heals up and comes back fresh and ready to go after the NFL Draft process.
Oklahoma State WR Tylan Wallace was injured and was not dressed on Day 3. I don’t have any further information/details on his injury.
Wake Forest WR Sage Surratt was injured and did not dress on Day 3.
Western Michigan WR D’Wayne Eskridge was out on Day 3. He told ESPN’s Todd McShay that it was a “precautionary” measure.
The most important injury of the day to note was Alabama QB Mac Jones. Jones made a couple of incredible throws on Day 3 before leaving the field with a bit of a foot/outside ankle issue. Somebody stepped on his foot during a play. The injury did not appear to be serious and I’m sure Jones was sitting out as a precautionary measure. Jones looked incredible again on Day 3 and I’d be really surprised if he doesn’t shoot up NFL draft boards.
I’ve gushed about him the past few days and with good reason. He threw some absolutely gorgeous passes in the red zone drills today. Not much else needs to be said about Jones but he’s going to be incredible in the National Football League. I see him as a potential Hall-of-Fame caliber quarterback that will do incredible things for whatever franchise is lucky enough to draft him.
Penn State LB Shaka Toney was also injured on Day 3. I’m not real sure what the injury was but he was bent over in pain on the sideline at one point.
Let’s take a look at some more of the players from the Senior Bowl and how they performed.
Ben Mason–FB–Michigan– The fullback is a bit of a dying breed in the National Football League. There are still a few teams that utilize the position like the 49ers and the Ravens. Todd McShay and the ESPN crew were raving about Ben Mason. He’s rated as the #1 FB for McShay. He’s projecting Mason to go in the 5th or 6th round. In the words of McShay, “He shows up and does his job.” Mason doesn’t need a lot of hype, hoopla, or carries for that matter. The dude just loves to block. Some running back in the NFL is going to be lucky to have him as his future road grader.
Ian Book–QB–Notre Dame– I thought it was interesting how Todd McShay noted that when he spoke to Tommy Rees and Brian Kelly, they both noted that Book just needed to be more decisive and just “let it rip”. He did just that on Day 3, throwing three gorgeous touchdown passes in the red zone drills. He hit Boise State TE John Bates, Arizona State WR Frank Darby, and Ole Miss TE Kenny Yeboah for touchdowns. I’m not sure how much Book boosted his stock this week, but he certainly didn’t do anything to hurt it. It’s an incredibly crowded quarterback field this year. He’s a great player who I think will surprise many at the next level.
John Bates–TE–Boise State– All this guy did was catch EVERYTHING thrown his way on Day 3. I was very impressed with his athleticism and hands. Bates was a late add to the Senior Bowl roster before the week started, so it’s safe to say he boosted his stock in the eyes of many scouts. I love the way this guy plays.
Frank Darby–WR–Arizona State– Darby just looks incredibly smooth out there when he runs his routes. He had a good day today and overall has had an excellent week. I just love the spirit that he plays the game with.
Kenny Yeboah–TE–Ole Miss– Yeboah absolutely shredded Nick Saban’s defense in 2020 to the tune of 7 catches, 181 yards, and 2 touchdowns. The problem is, he didn’t do very much in his other games the rest of 2020. He’s played very well all week in Mobile. He had a really, really nice catch in the right side of the end zone from Ian Book on Day 3. I’m very impressed with Yeboah. He’s a player that screams “tools” and “upside”. He’s got both in abundance. I’ll be very interested to watch his development in the NFL.
Michael Carter–RB–UNC– Michael Carter has had an amazing week at the Senior Bowl practices. He’s blessed with natural hands coming out of the backfield. When you combine that with his speed and acceleration, it’s a lethal combination. ESPN analysts could not stop raving about Carter and I agree with them 110%. This kid is going to be a special satellite back at the next level.
Benjamin St. Juste–DB–Minnesota– He made a couple of really nice pass breakups today. I’ll be honest I wasn’t really impressed with the American team’s defensive backs this week. St. Juste played very well today.
Sam Ehlinger–QB–Texas– Sam Ehlinger has made some solid plays this week but man was he awful today in red zone drills. He looked like absolute garbage in the red zone area. If I’m a team interested in Ehlinger, that’s a major red flag for me. The red zone area is the most important area of the football field for a quarterback. If you can’t do well in the red zone, I do not want you on my roster. Period.
Chazz Surratt–LB–UNC– There’s an old saying in football that film doesn’t lie. It’s true. Chazz Surratt is easily one of the most complete linebackers in the 2021 NFL Draft class. Todd McShay couldn’t stop raving about him enough and I totally understand why. Surratt can cover, he can come up in run support and make tackles, and he’s incredible at rushing the passer. Simply put, there’s nothing on the football field that this guy cannot do. He’s the total package in every way, shape, and form. He didn’t dress out on Day 3, but he’s worth mentioning because he’s so good.
Adetokunbo Ogundeji–DL–Notre Dame– I don’t have a ton to say about Ogundeji but that he’s been impressive this week. Analysts were talking him up a lot today on ESPNU.
Damar Hamlin–S–Pittsburgh — Todd McShay was talking a lot about Hamlin, saying he really likes Hamlin’s football intelligence and instincts. Coach Narduzzi told McShay the Pitt coaches put a lot on Hamlin’s plate and he handled it very well. McShay is projecting Hamlin to go somewhere around the 3rd or 4th round.
James Hudson III–OL–Cincinnati– He’s one of the most impressive offensive linemen I’ve watched in the Senior Bowl practices all week. Hudson III is excellent at finishing his blocks and making sure he takes his man to the ground. I love the tenaciousness he plays with. I don’t have any particular play to single out with him. It’s easy to see he’s going to be a really, really good player in the National Football League. I’ve seen enough.
Tre’ McKitty–TE–Georgia — Georgia doesn’t utilize the tight end very much at all. So while his college stats aren’t very good, McKitty is making the most of his opportunity at the Senior Bowl. He made one of the best catches of the week yesterday. The stud tight end hauled in a perfectly thrown ball by Mac Jones with one hand. He made another really nice catch across the middle on Day 3 practice. He’s a really impressive player that has turned a lot of heads this week. If any NFL team out there wants to acquire a super talented tight end at value, McKitty is your guy.
Kellen Mond–QB–Texas A&M– He’s far too inconsistent to be a quarterback in the National Football League in my eyes. While he made a couple of good throws on Day 3, most of his throws were off target. He loves using his legs when things break down in the pocket. Mond is a far superior runner than he is a passer of the football. He would need a ton of development and even then, I don’t think he’s ever going to be very good in the NFL. He might want to give “The Rock” a call and see if he needs XFL quarterbacks.
Jamie Newman–QB–Wake Forest– He has maintained a positive attitude throughout the week, which is to be commended. However, attitude alone will not win you football games in the National Football League. Newman had a fumble on a drill on Day 3. He also had a pick six to UCF DB Richie Grant. It stings my heart to see Newman play like he has this week. It was predictable. It was an incredibly long layoff without football for him. He also struggles mightily to see the middle of the field.
It’s been a humbling and humiliating week for Newman, to say the least. I think he will really regret not coming back to college football for one more season to develop his game. The value of that extra year of development for somebody like Newman cannot be understated. We’ll see how his career pans out.
Josh Palmer–WR–Tennessee– Josh Palmer has made himself a lot of money this week and he had another really nice catch on Day 3. He’s been impressive in a lot of the drills and certainly one of the more impressive receivers at the Senior Bowl.
Trey Smith–OL–Tennessee– I’m amazed that Trey Smith isn’t being touted as a top 10 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Apparently he has a serious medical issue that is scaring teams away from him. He’s got a blood clotting issue, which needs to be checked out by the different teams’ medical staffs. He’s 6’6, 330 lbs. and is a true “dancing bear” out there. He is the best offensive lineman I have watched all week at the Senior Bowl practices and I simply can’t say enough good things about him. He’s shut every single defensive player that has gone up against him down. He seems to glide across the turf and is incredibly well balanced. I love Trey Smith and he’s one of my favorite prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft, regardless of position. I don’t care about the medical issues, his talent is undeniable. His mother died when he was 15 years old, so he’s been through a lot. He’s a heart-warming story and incredible player.
Quincy Roche–DE–Miami– Louis Riddick couldn’t stop raving about Quincy Roche of Miami. I totally understand why. Roche is an amazing, amazing football player. His lightning quick first step allows him to breeze past opposing tackles with ease. He’s dominated all week as a pass rusher. He also demonstrated on Day 3 that he doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty and defending the run. He split a double team on a running play and made the tackle. His helmet popped off on the play. He’s tough, tenacious, and an incredibly well rounded defensive line prospect. I think Quincy Roche is going to be a really, really good player in the National Football League. I’ve watched a ton of his games this year for the Miami Hurricanes. He’s undoubtedly one of my favorite defensive end prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft class.
Grant Stuard–LB–Houston– He plays like an animal out there. He had two really nice tackles on Day 3. He plays with a high level of energy when he’s on the field. McShay was talking about him like he’s a Day 2/Day 3 prospect in the draft. I like the way he plays. It’ll be interesting to watch his career develop.
Noah Gray–TE–Duke– Noah Gray made a name for himself and in a big way on Day 3. He had the best catch of the day and maybe even the entire week of the Senior Bowl practices. It was a beautiful one hander across the middle. You can check out the catch here: Devin Jackson on Twitter: “#Duke TE Noah Gray with perhaps the catch of the Senior Bowl here. ?: @BillyM_91 https://t.co/0A9HWQiqac” / Twitter He also had a really nice touchdown dive on one play, where he extended the football out in mid-air diving for the pylon. This kid is really athletic. There were some really interesting and exciting tight end prospects in Mobile. Gray is one of them, for sure.
Carlos Basham, Jr.–DL–Wake Forest– Boogie Basham, Jr. made another great play on Day 3 in one on one drills. It’s safe to say that he solidified himself as one of the top defensive lineman at the Senior Bowl this week. He’s explosive off the line and has extremely good hand placement to allow him to shed blockers.
Hamsah Nasirlideen–DB–FSU– He had a really nice pass breakup in one of the red zone drills. Nasirlideen has great size as well. The corners on the American Team just seemed to be more skilled and aggressive this week. I was definitely more impressed with their work in the red zone drills today. Players like the FSU product are exactly why.
Kylin Hill–RB–Mississippi State– He looked very speedy and explosive up the middle of the defense today in team drills. He made a couple of nice runs. It was a very solid Day 3 for Hill.
Wyatt Hubert–DE/LB–Kansas State– Hubert looks like a really tough, disruptive linebacker. He’s really good at getting in the backfield and stripping the football from the quarterback once he gets there. That’s important. Coaches would much rather their linebacker punch the ball out than lay a huge hit. If you’re good at forcing turnovers, you’re going to have a spot on any roster. He’s had a very solid week of practice.
Larry Rountree III–RB–Missouri– I keep wanting to call him Roundtree, but the kid has made a name for himself this week. His senior tape shows a super explosive, speedy running back with incredible contact balance. His ability to spin away from tackles in the open field is impressive. He earned praise at the end of practices from Senior Bowl Director Jim Nagy. The kid looks like an NFL caliber running back, no question.
Elijah Mitchell–RB–ULL– Mitchell looked very speedy and explosive once he hit the hole during practices today. I like his balance and center of gravity. I also love the way he carries the football. His ball position displays very good football fundamentals. ULL wanted him to come back for one more season, but he decided to enter the 2021 draft. Louisiana Lafayette’s running game was really good this season and players like Mitchell were a big reason for that. He’s got really good vision, speed, and balance when he runs the football. It’ll be interesting to see how his career progresses in the NFL.
Austin Watkins, Jr.–WR–UAB– Watkins, Jr. is a very intriguing prospect who a team could get much later in the draft. He had a really nice catch across the middle on Day 3. He hauled in over 1,000 receiving yards in his junior year and he’s definitely got some impressive tape. Under the radar players like him are what the Senior Bowl is all about.
Amari Rodgers–WR–Clemson– Rodgers’ hands seem so effortless and so natural to me. The ball just sticks to his hands. He made a catch in a red zone drill on Day 3 where the ball just stuck to his hands and didn’t move an inch. I love watching him play and can’t wait to watch him ball out in the NFL.
Cameron Sample–DL–Tulane– Cam Sample has just been very active and disruptive along the defensive line all week. His play earned the attention of NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks. His hard to not see Sample out of the corner of your eye every time he’s along the defensive line. He’s incredibly active and demonstrates a non-stop motor. I think he’s one of the better under the radar prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft class.
One final note is Matt Rhule of the Carolina Panthers spoke highly of Amari Rodgers, Trey Smith, and Mac Jones. It’s not surprising but notable.
Be sure to check back on Saturday for a recap of the Senior Bowl game, and check out breakdowns part one and two, as well as my quarterbacks breakdown part one here.