So before we get to content let’s clear up what is ahead. I will NOT be assembling my usual All-Practice Team from Mobile. Primarily because I was unable to be in Mobile this year, for health reasons. TV coverage is not extensive enough to get a good read on over 100 players, at least IMO. I will compile a Game wrap up with some final thoughts on Sunday or Monday morning. I will be watching my tape of Shrine Game today with a write up hopefully Saturday morning.
I will be working on the Shrine Game wrap this afternoon. I have the game taped so I could go watch my grand daughter Morgan and her High School soccer team in a play-off Match-up for their League title last night. They lost the match 3-4 in an exciting contest. Close but no cigar, although Morgan scored 2 of their 3 goals, both on penalty kicks, each one from about 25 yards out. I would not want to get in the way of one of her kicks. Glad I made the choice to go that direction. Not even 1 TD in the SHRINE BOWL game. Amazing how devoid of Offense a Star Game can be from lack of top notch QB being present on either roster. Then again we must remember that Brock Purdy was Mr. Irrelevant in last years NFL Draft. More about the Shrine game tomorrow morning.
Let’s get on with Thursday Senior Bowl practice tidbits. A great summary point brought to our attention from Dane Brugler of The Athletic. Players in Mobile have electronic devise in their shoulder pads which basically are sending GPS tracking signals to a satellite system. The information gathered provides running speed, in mph, on players during practices. Thanks to ZEBRA, who partners with the Senior Bowl in this endeavor. Here is the list for the Top 8 recorded speeds this week in 3 days of practice.
21.65 mph/ Darius RUSH CB South Carolina
21.22 mph/ Jakorian BENNETT CB Maryland
21.15 mph/Trey PALMER WR/RS Nebraska
20.24 mph/ Tre TUCKER WR/RS Cincinnati
20.19 mph/ Tyjae SPEARS RB Tulane
20.16 mph/ ‘Tank’ DELL WR/RS Houston
20.12 mph/ Isaiah LAND ER/OB Florida A&M
20.05 mph/ Luke MUSGRAVE TE Oregon St
Two points of interest here regarding MUSGRAVE. He ran that speed weighing 255 lbs. at the Weigh In this week. Second point, to me, is that MUSGRAVE played in only the first 2 games of the season, then missed the rest with an injury. The Senior Bowl is a post injury, comeback debut. Heck of a start to his NFL Draft appearance.
I think, I believe, that JAKE HAENER is the best participating QB pro prospect here in Mobile. That is especially true in scrimmage settings. He reads the field well, even under pressure, and once he leaves pocket he is still looking for a pass completion. His arm is adequate and his FBI seems tremendous. Still Day 3, but maybe earlier now than when he showed up, Round 4.
The BROWN twins, from Illinois (and Canada) are both in town and looking good overall. Chase is the RB, SYDNEY is the S. Chase has gotten the overall higher praise of the two, coming into the Senior Bowl venue, but for me SYDNEY has been the better pro prospect of the two. Sydney has been an active and aggressive defender all week. Add him to my list of players here who really talk and act like they have a high FBI.
Another impressive DB this week has been Iowa S RILEY MOSS, who was almost here last year, but decided one more year playing for the FERENTZ family regime with the Hawkeyes program was a good idea. Now one of the dilemmas for the NFL is going to be where to play him. Is he a CB, like he has been at Iowa, or will he be more effective moving to S. His testing at the Combine may say S, based on his athleticism level. But he was so well coached at Iowa that his mind makes up for some body limitations. He has been beaten a few tines this week by receivers, but not by much. He ends up in position to contest almost every throw coming to his man in coverage. I would reckon that on at least a half dozen throws that have been completed against him were combatted til the end. He takes his craft seriously and is not likely to be outsmarted. Then again he would likely rank higher in the S group, than in a very strong CB group for this next Draft.
With all the attention going to the speed numbers for MUSGRAVE listed above, I think it is also quite noteworthy to mention that the guy just above @ 20.12 mph is an ER/OLB named Isaiah LAND from Florida A&M (or FAM-U as they say here in Central Florida), who measured in at 6’032″ and 226 lbs. That’s some high end speed for a guy of that size as well. He is really a positionless guy at this stage of the game. However, NFL Scouts are always looking for ER who can run fast and bend on the edge. LAND could be one of a good sized group fitting that description. Those that can help define an NFL position beyond just ER, will go higher. LAND will be leaving Mobile with a few more NFL eyes really studying his game tape and stats, than when he came in here.
The parade of small school OL coming to Mobile for this venue, and leaving here as serious threats to solidify spots in the next Draft continues. I have already told you abut CODY MAUCH, and his work moving into the IOL group. Now let me mention another guy, who is even bigger than MAUCH and more obscure to football fans. His name is McCLENDON CURTIS who is still making Scouts work overtime to determine his best pro spot at OG or OT. I’d say from what I have seen he’d make a great Draft Pick in Round 4 as a swingman at both spots. His size at 6’056″/330 is exceptional. His 35″ arm length is OT ideal, as is his 84″ wingspan. And his footwork is pretty darn good as well. Last year Mr. Nagy, and his staff brought in another OL from the MOCS named STRANGE, who came in unknown to most and ended up as a Round One Pick by the PATRIOTS. People mocked Bill Belichick as getting senile for that Pick, but that talk quieted when STRANGE won a starting OG spot in New England during Training Camp and was on my All-Rookie team. CURTIS could surprise this year, especially if you ask some of the DL prospects he’s been knocking around all week.
Another scout hunting ground in recent years has been identifying “outliers” who don’t have some of the measurables often considered musts in NFL scouting handbooks. Another little known player by the general public is confirmed to many watchers that he is the real deal as an Edge-Rusher and maybe then some. His name is ADETOMIWA ADEBAWORE #99 from Northwestern. He’s an outlier because he stands 6’015″, while weighing 284 lbs. He played a DE slot for Northwestern, which had a miserable season in 2022. But not ADE-ADE. His lack of height is offset to a large degree by 10 7/8″ Hands & 34″ arms, which don’t logically fit on a body with a body un Der 6’2. But he has been bending under edge blockers, and bull rushing other guys all week in practice. His high rev motor and seemingly endless energy have worn people out this week. My gut is telling me that in Round 3 there may be a panic buying spree that develops for many teams to get their hands on some Edge-Rush talent. I believe this guy may claw his way into consideration as a late Round 3 Draftee to fill that need. I think his measurements for lower body explosion & bend at Combine workouts could earn him some dollars.
There isn’t some of the usual glamour to this year’s 100+ players in Mobile, especially because the top 2 QB are not in town, in uniform. But the variety of style, sizes, and positional depth here will carry over into a hard press of medical and workout number analysis from Pro Days and Combine workouts. Per usual an awful lot of Senior Bowl players are going to be drafted this year by the NFL.