2020 Senior Bowl Practices Film Review: Day 2

RSP author Matt Waldman shares his thoughts on the second day of Senior Bowl practices.

For the sake of time, Day 2’s coverage of the South Practice will be broken up by drills and I’ll mention notable reps within these headings rather than summarize each player’s resp as I did in North Practice.

I will share my overall thoughts from the week on Thursday or during the weekend.

Pass Pro: Backs and Tight Ends

Eno Benjamin moved his feet well as a blocker and did it against a far more active and violent set of rushers on the South defense relative to the opposition the North backs and tight ends faced from its defense. Benjamin and Antonio Gibson did not handle redirects and spin moves effectively in one-on-one situations where the defenders put intense pressure off the edge to get either back moving laterally with any urgency. When forced to square off against defenders who came right at him, Gibson handled his assignments well. If an opponent could set up Gibson with an inside counter, Gibson was ineffective.

Benjamin was the better of the two in these scenarios but he often gave up depth that would have compressed the pocket and likely forced most quarterbacks off their spots.

Lamical Perine held up well against power rushes from larger defenders, anchoring well and showing combative hands that led to a couple of stalemates where the edge men gave up after multiple intense attempts to push Perine into the backfield. He also handled inside counters well and was one of the best performers from these drills today.

Harrison Bryant showed enough quickness to handle the speed rush off the edge from defensive backs but he often overextended and left himself vulnerable in ways that savvier NFL players will exploit. He was the most consistent of the tight ends in these drills today.

Stephen Sullivan did impressive work to redirect against edge rushes snuffing out defensive backs and linebackers alike during selected reps but his work against inside counter moves was a mixed bag and his results weren’t as strong with later reps as they were early on.

Josiah Deguara performed competently against edge rushers, working them around the pocket. However, he was susceptible to power rushes. Jared Pinkney displayed some sluggishness against edge pressure.

Tight End-Backs vs. Linebackers Passing Game

Bryant was smooth and extended well to the ball when forced to leave his feet on short-breaking routes. Deguara and Sullivan were the most explosive up the seam or working across the field.

Sullivan showed refinement as a route runner, using his quickness and hands to earn releases where he could stack during the stem and manipulate as he reached the top of the route. He ran a curl where he threatened the corner and then broke under the trailing defender and back to the ball for the catch.

Here was the route that set up the one I just showed you.

Wide Receivers vs. Defensive Backs

Austin Mack consistently does a good job working back to the football on timing routes, especially when he earns good separation off the line and into his stem that places a cornerback in a trail position.

Don’t tell Jauan Jennings he’s small and thin. He consistently finds a way to work past handsy-grabby defensive backs short or deep and early or late into the route. Jennings lacks that breakaway speed to pull away after earning early separation into a vertical route. Whether he even has a competent second gear to work outside might be a worthwhile question based on a couple of routes I saw today. I think he does, but those reps have me noting what I should be examining closely later on.

Collin Johnson has some quickness and precision in short spaces and with his footwork to set up opponents with stutters early into a route and a good three-step break on the curl or comeback.

Van Jefferson and Devin Duvernay ran the same route during consecutive reps–an in-cut where the began with a footwork hesitation, worked up the stem and set up the break with a footwork hesitation. Both got open. Jefferson had the lighter feet whereas Duvernay cracked the earth’s crust by comparison.

As I said on Twitter yesterday, Jefferson looks like a pro running routes against college all-stars. This was expected. What I wanted to see was ball tracking and fluid adjustments at the catch point. This play will do…

This play downfield is also a nice illustration of Jefferson’s willingness to work in traffic.

Running Backs: 9-on-7s

I’d like to see Lamical Perine take one crease and hit it hard rather than attempt that one extra cut that will run him into contact that he should have avoided between the tackles. He did this on a play from pistol.

Antonio Gibson made a good pre-snap read of the linebackers crowding the A-gaps and knew he had a backside double team that would allow him to waltz up the flat untouched if he timed it right–and he did. When he has a plan or sees the field correctly, he’s promising between the tackles. However, he’s not seeing things unfold as consistently as many starter prospects would at this time.

Eno Benjamin displayed good pre-snap skills to anticipate where the double team would work based on the defense’s pre-snap alignment. He set up the crease with a shoulder lean inside and squeezed through the opening for a big gain.

Jefferson, Benjamin, and Sullivan impressed me today. Austin Mack has done consistently good work but he dropped a slant between the corner and safety–a play he’d have to make in a game–that wouldn’t be the type of target that shows up during the one-on-ones where he excelled. I want to see him in more situations like this one because receivers that only excel one-on-one are limited options.

Rain is in the Thursday forecast so there’s a lot that will be up in the air with Day 3 of practices. It’s possible, like last year, these two practices will comprise most of our notes.

See Matt Waldman’s RSP 2020 Senior Bowl Page for a schedule and links to previews, practice reports, podcasts, film breakdowns, and commentary.

For the most in-depth analysis of offensive skill players available (QB, RB, WR, and TE), pre-order the 2020  Rookie Scouting Portfolio for $21.95 available for download April 1.  

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