With their football futures on the line, the South team took to the practice field with seemingly boundless energy to impress their potential employers. Players who typically have success in the Senior Bowl are able to gel with their newfound teammates, and quickly assimilate what the coaching staff asks of them in what can be perceived as a hostile environment.
Below I will name the players that have achieved the aforementioned tasks necessary to have a successful Senior Bowl Week:
Running back David Johnson of Northern Iowa showcased very good vision and outstanding hands out of the backfield. At six-foot-one, 224 pounds, Johnson is an intriguing prospect who runs routes as well as almost any receiver on the South roster. Johnson reads leverage exceptionally well and excels at making adjustments at the top of his routes. He is certainly a player to keep an eye on the remainder of this week.
Cameron Artis-Payne showcased trademark quickness, which has become synonymous with running backs from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania over the years. Artis-Payne has proven that he is a tremendous player with the ball in his hands; but he must prove that he is a capable blocker who also has the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield to be worthy of recent Ray Rice comparisons.
Josh Harper exhibited very good hands and body control while Phillip Dorsett ran crisp routes that consistently awarded him separation from defensive backs. Dorsett isn’t the best of the bunch in terms of catching the football, but he has improved immensely in that area. Tyler Lockett showed supreme quickness in and out of his breaks, as he was one of the few to perfectly execute the “speed-out” without taking false steps.
Dezmin Lewis out of Central Arkansas impressed many with his footwork and how fluid he is at six-foot-three, 215 pounds. He possesses the ability to highpoint the football, and he might have the greatest sense of awareness along the boundary of any wide receiver on the South roster. Clive Walford effortlessly separated from linebackers during one-on-one drills. There wasn’t a single linebacker on the South roster that was able to keep up with him during team period.
Joey Mbu and Gabe Wright’s reps when taking on multiple blockers were suboptimal at best. Both Mbu and Wright are best suited as penetrating defensive tackles in a 4-3. When asked to do what fits their skillset, they were very disruptive.
Ladarius Gunter expressed his desire to get better transitioning out of his backpedal, and today he took one step toward reaching his goal. He looked very fluid while keeping pace with Lockett and Phillip Dorsett. His size and athleticism is a rare combination at the cornerback position.
While Cody Prewitt must do better to eliminate false steps in his transition out of his backpedal, he presents tremendous value as an in the box safety in the NFL. Prewitt is very instinctive and is able to quickly find the ball carrier in the run game. In the right scheme with a center-fielding free safety, Prewitt can be a day-one starter at the next level.
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