2018 Senior Bowl Day 2 South: Kyle Lauletta Steps Up, and the DL Impresses

by Eric Galko

While the South roster doesn't have the same allure of the North, as none of the South quarterbacks are protected first-round picks, the talent at receiver, along the offensive and defensive line, and in the defensive backfield have continued to impress.

Day 2 South Roster Winners include Richmond QB Kyle Lauletta, LSU RB Darrel Williams, Oklahoma State WR James Washington, North Carolina A&T OT Brandon Parker, Virginia DT Andrew Brown, Clemson LB Dorian O'Daniel, and Auburn SAF Tre Matthews.

Reports from Eric Galko, Christian Page, Derrik Klassen, Dan Matney, Filip Prus, and Parker Henry

-Richmond quarterback Kyle Lauletta had the best outing among all the South quarterbacks. Showing plenty of zip on the football, he continued to squeeze the ball into tight windows. He looked plenty calm and comfortable in the pocket trusting his arm to make NFL throws. One throw in particular, Lauletta threaded the needle in the end zone, sandwiching the ball in between the cornerback and incoming safety. 

-Mike White of Western Kentucky still managed to underwhelm in Day 2 of Senior Bowl practices. He has shown to get in a habit of throwing the ball short to receivers and not showing enough consistency to develop into a good practice. He showed glimpses of impressive throws down the field while also connecting on the sidelines showing above average anticipation.

-Virginia's Kurt Benkert continues to struggle with  consistency across the board. Benkert lacks the zip to nail receivers in stride across the field resulting in many batted passes and near interceptions. The Virginia quarterback shows no consistency with ball placement leaving many throws behind receivers with little to none to gain from the catch (if caught). 

-Troy quarterback Brandon Silvers had a mediocre day. He missed some layup throws over the middle of the field and in the screen game. Silvers proves to have a quick release but ball placement has not been sharp this week so far. A middle of the road day is not bad in practices but an opportunity missed in an average South quarterback group is unfortunate.

Running Backs
-A former backup at LSU, Darrell Williams has really helped himself this week and had an impressive 2nd day of practice. He started off the day with a couple of impressive inside runs where he displayed balance and strength between the tackles. Known for his power and ability in short yardage situations in college, Williams was impressive in the passing game today. He hauled in a touchdown and displayed the ability to get open in one on ones. 

-Southern Miss speedster Ito Smith continues to display impressive athletic traits. While his straight-line speed and burst are impressive, his lateral agility popped out throughout the day. Though undersized at 5090, 201 pounds, he looked solid running between the tackles. He is projected as a change-of-pace back at the next level but he’s proven to be one of the most athletically gifted running backs in Mobile so far.

-Kansas State’s Byron Pringle was impressive all practice, he did a great job of using his acceleration and speed to get on defensive backs toes and making them open their hips before breaking off his routes, this allowed Pringle to create separation all practice long.  Another thing Pringle did well was come back to the ball on his routes eliminating the chance for a DB to get in front and make a play. Pringle is sudden in and out of his breaks which also helps him create separation.

-The UCF receiver Tre’Quan Smith was a tough cover all practice long, especially in the red zone period, Smith was very physical all the way through his routes and did a very good job using his body to box out defenders at the top of his routes. Smith showed concentration and hand strength when catching the ball, smith had some trouble creating separation but his strong hands and concentration allowed him to catch the ball despite the defender being in a good position to make the play.

Oklahoma State’s James Washington again was impressive on day two of practice, and quite frankly has been the most consistent and impressive receiver thus far this week. Washington has shown he can win with speed on deep balls, and also with physicality and strong hands on short and intermediate routes. There has not been a defensive back who has been able to really stop Washington through two practices and he is showing why he was the Biletnikoff winner in 2017.

-Oklahoma State's Marcell Ateman feasted over the middle of the field. Ateman regularly won inside and gained enough separation to present a clear window. During the red zone session, Ateman caught a touchdown in the back of the end zone after shredding the defensive back. 

In a group of talented deep threat receivers, Oklahoma State's James Washington shined the most. There wasn't a defensive back that could keep up with him down the field. Washington regularly won his short and underneath routes, as well. 

Offensive Line
-Georgia left guard Isaiah Wynn has looked very comfortable this week kicking inside from left tackle. Wynn continues to consistently win his leverage battles and has impressed in pivoting interior lineman to create running lanes, as well as looking extremely explosive when asked to pull. Wynn is also one of the most refined pass protectors from the other interior lineman in Mobile thanks to his experience on the outside.

-Speaking of Brandon Parker, the North Carolina A&T player is making the most of his opportunities against premium competition. After an up-and-down first day, Parker steadied himself and did well to bounce back to anchor against power. Parker is an intriguing developmental prospect and a team could pull the trigger sooner than anticipated simply based on potential.

-Humboldt State OT Alex Cappa’s aggression continues to show up on every rep as he continues to play like an unchained gorilla in individual match ups. Cappa’s biggest issue thus far has been reaching prematurely and losing his balance based on excessive upper body lean, which is fixable with coaching. One thing you can’t coach someone to do is be a rude dude, and Cappa is nasty.

Defensive Line
-In a battle of length vs. length, UTSA’s Marcus Davenport had some issues bending around taller Tackles Brandon Parker and Joe Noteboom in individual drills. Davenport’s power and short area burst continue to be put on display, but he will need to become more calculated with his footwork to be more successful as a pure stand-up edge rusher if he ends up in a 3-4 defense.

 -Andrew Brown continues to show off exceptional athleticism to pair with his striking physique. The Virginia defensive end was pound-for-pound the most impressive athlete running hoop drills and has little to no wasted motion with his lateral control. Brown has also won the majority of his match ups and has played with violence and showed off his lightning hands in his individual battles.

-Clemson’s Dorian O’Daniel is a bit of a tweener at 6004, 215 pounds, but he has displayed impressive athletic traits all week and did so again today. He covers ground quickly and displayed instincts in run defense throughout the day. He has the speed to match tight ends in coverage, and he needs to continue to play bigger than he’s measured at. 

-Auburn’s Tre’ Williams has continued to struggle in all areas of the game. He had a bad play yesterday where he misdiagnosed a run and opened up a wide lane, and he wasn’t anything special in run defense today. Williams is very stiff hipped and got beat consistently in coverage today. A productive college player with a thumping body, Williams is going to need to finish the week very strong if he hopes to have his name called before late Day 3 in April. 

Defensive Backs
-Auburn’s Tray Matthews had a standout day today from the safety position.  The Auburn Saftey who is one of the more physically impressive looking players played with physicality all day in both the run and pass games. Matthews in run defense knew where to fill his gaps and did a good job of tracking the ball carrier to get in position to make the tackle and showing explosiveness when he hits the ball carrier. In pass coverage Williams working against the tight ends was physical at the line of scrimmage and had the foot speed and frame to keep up with and challenge the bigger tight ends staying in the tight ends pocket throughout the route and breaking up multiple passes during practice.

-North Carolina corner MJ Stewart, who made this list as a standout yesterday, backed up his performance again at practice today. Stewart who was particularly impressive in the slot showed patience in man coverage doing a good job of not opening his hips too early and staying square in both press and off man coverage. Stewart foot and hip quickness have stood out he is constantly moving his feet to get into position and opens his hips to run quickly reaching full speed in a few steps. Stewart has been a tough matchup for every receiver he has faced and is consistently in position to make a play on the ball. In the red zone period today he showed field awareness not giving ground mirroring receivers and being physical at the goal line eliminating throwing windows.

-Levi Wallace: Alabama's Levi Wallace is dangerously skinny, but has the technique to still stand a chance. Wallace was good when asked to run down the field and play in space, though physical receivers got the best of him. 

-Virginia's Quin Blanding wasn't getting around as well as one would hope. Blanding didn't show the speed to keep up with most other athletes on the field, and didn't have quick enough recognition to make up for it entirely. Hopefully Blanding can settle in on the final day.