2019 Senior Bowl: Tuesday Practice Report: North Team
This is Charlie Campbell's Tuesday 2019 Senior Bowl Practice Report for the North Team. Charlie is reporting live from Mobile, Ala., and he'll describe what he sees at practice and whom certain prospects talk to all week.
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By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell
The first practice of the North team in the Senior Bowl was held in Mobile, Ala. in Ladd-Peebles Stadium. The players practicing in shells: helmets, shoulder pads, and shorts. The North team was coached by the Oakland Raiders coaching staff.
Around the NFL, there are a ton of eyes on the quarterbacks of the North team, as both Duke's Daniel Jones and Missouri's Drew Lock have the potential to be first-round picks in the 2019 NFL Draft. N.C. State's Ryan Finley also is an early-round prospect, and that trio all had a quality start to the week.
Team sources told me that Lock was the quarterback who impressed them the most. They like how he threw the ball and liked the swagger and confidence he plays with. Jones received some praise, and so did Finley for performing well. The fourth quarterback, Penn State's Trace McSorley, is considered to be a "try hard quarterback," but is obviously limited for the next level.
Lock has a live arm that is capable of making all the throws. The ball comes out nicely with good arm action, and his ball can cut through the wind. Jones had some good throws for the most part. In the seven-on-seven scrimmage, Jones had a painful overthrow of what should have been about a 40-yard touchdown, as he had a receiver streaking wide open into the end zone. Finley makes good decisions and is accurate in the short to intermediate passing game. If this week continues to play out as Tuesday's session went, Lock will have definitely helped himself at the Senior Bowl.
Boston College guard Chris Lindstrom is in the running to be one of the first guards selected in the 2019 NFL Draft, but he had a rough session in the pass-rushing one-on-ones on Tuesday. He lost multiple reps to Washington nose tackle Greg Gaines, as Gaines used a swim move and speed rush to get by Lindstrom on one snap and a power bull on another. Lindstrom bounced back in the team scrimmage as he had some nice blocks in the ground game including nasty block rocking USC linebacker Cameron Smith on the second level to spring his back for a big gain.
Lindstrom is going to need to do better in the pass rushing one-on-ones in the days to come.
TCU defensive end L.J. Collier helped himself with a strong opener on Tuesday. Collier was a good run defender for the Horned Frogs last season, but he showed some nice pass rush in the one-on-ones. He used his strength to push Washington right tackle Kaleb McGary into the turf and then closed on the quarterback to get one win. Collier manhandled Kansas State's Dalton Risner for another win.
If Collier can continue to show pass-rushing potential that could really help him to rise into being a mid-round pick.
Risner had a rough first day of practice. Along with losses to Collier, Oregon's Jalen Jelks made Risner look bad with a fast interior rush to get an easy victory in the one-on-ones. Team sources said Risner has not made a great impression on teams in the interviews. They like that Risner has a charitable foundation he is passionate about, but they also wonder how much Risner loves football. He is very enthusiastic to get into broadcasting and gives the impression that he would be fine if his football career ended tomorrow. Between that and his practice performance, Risner is off to a bad start at the Senior Bowl.
Western Illinois defensive tackle Khalen Saunders showed that he can compete with the all-stars of the power five conferences, as he had a strong start to the week. Saunders showed some good quickness to close in the pocket and finish off rushes. He had an excellent bull rush to get the better of Wisconsin's Beau Benzschawel. In the team scrimmage, Saunders exploded through the line to charge down the pocket for a sack. At 6-foot, 320-pounds, Saunders has length limitations for the NFL. But he is a quick defender with natural pad level and is a lot of weight to control. He uses those strengths to his advantage. This was an impressive start to the week for Saunders.
Ohio State wide receiver Terry McLaurin played well to open his Senior Bowl week. In the one-on-ones, McLaurin out-fought a few defensive backs for completions. He was interfered with by Washburn's Corey Ballentine but still was able to get a reception along the sideline after a juggle. He beat McLaurin after being held and had a nice win over Texas' Kris Boyd on an out route. McLaurin showed a nice ability to get separation at the top of routes using some functional strength and technique to create space after contact.
McLaurin could fit as a No. 2 or 3 receiver in the NFL. He has good hands and is physical, and he really competes.
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