The second day of Senior Bowl practices brought rainstorms throughout the afternoon, which meant that practices for both teams were moved indoors to South Alabama’s newly constructed covered field. Which further meant that media were not allowed to observe practice, making Wednesday, both literally and figuratively, a wash.
That changed on Thursday. With zero clouds in the sky both teams got back to work outside and finished up their week of practice before Saturday’s game, the last one featuring college players competing against each other until next season.
Redskins.com is on site in Mobile, Ala., speaking with prospects and scouts and observing practice at Ladd Peebles Stadium. Here’s a recap of the third day.
--The Redskins, as has been mentioned numerous times, will likely be in the quarterback business come April when the team drafts, which means this week is a good foundation to learn as much about the quarterbacks participating as possible. Arguably the leader of this group has been Missouri’s Drew Lock, who has looked sharp in his throws throughout the three days here. A Missouri recruiting assistant showed me some footage of Lock as a sophomore dunking on a basketball court. “How many quarterbacks do you know can do that?” he asked. Not many. He’s capable of making all throws – deep fly routes, crossing patterns in tight windows – and despite his 225-pound frame, Lock is pretty mobile, and during numerous drills was able to take off and keep his head downfield for another passing opportunity.
-- Delaware safety Nassir Adderly had jumped up some draft boards this week and while he’s listed as a safety, his 6-foot, 200-pound frame suggests NFL teams may want to use him in more hybrid roles within the defense. On Thursday he played safety, but then switched into some nickel and outside cornerback, too. Coaches like his explosiveness and his nose for the football. Some suggest he’s a first-round talent but that’s unlikely considering his size and undefined role. Still, he’s someone to keep an eye on through the draft process.
“I feel like based on my skillset that’s something – I want to be someone that’s interchangeable, I want to be someone that, say a corner goes down, it’s not a scramble, I won’t miss a beat,” Adderly told Redskins.com. “That’s something that motivates me and something that I want to prove I’m valuable to a team.”
-- Another player on the North team, Ohio State wide receiver Terry McLaurin, has popped this week. He’s strong out of his breaks and has been a quarterback-friendly receiver through three days. He made one double move for a touchdown that caught a lot of the crowd’s attention early in practice, then made a nice sliding grab as Lock stepped up past a couple defenders to connect on a crossing route.
--On the South team, South Carolina wide receiver Deebo Samuel has also looked really smooth, especially in his footwork at the start of routes, and he’s capitalized when the ball’s been thrown. That’s because his breaks can sometimes cross up defenders so strongly that he ends up wide open, which is what happened Thursday in goal line drills, as Samuel ran inside then planted and cut laterally outside, breaking a defender’s knees.
--You look for energy and physicality in the secondary during the week, and that’s easy to find in Temple’s Rock Ya-Sin, an extremely muscular cornerback that seemed to enjoy going up against some of the top wide receivers in the country. He’s very physical with opponents at the line of scrimmage, locking them up and occasionally drawing a flag because of it. He shut down West Virginia’s David Sills in some goal line packages and it’s fair to say he put some strong film out for coaches and scouts to examine over the next month.
--I got a chance to speak with Kyle Smith, the Redskins Director of College Scouting, in between practices and asked what specific things he looks for from prospects at this event. While three two-hour practices don’t exactly give him the best determination of a player’s ability, Smith said he primarily looks for competitiveness, the speed and force and excitement players can exhibit when it’s their turn at the line of scrimmage. Next week, all of the area scouts will fly into Ashburn, Va., and begin pouring through their notes from the college season, starting the draft process that kicks into gear in February.