2018 Senior Bowl Day 3 North: Jaylen Samuels, Kemoko Turay Stand Out
The last day of fully padded practice, Thursday at the Senior Bowl is the last opportunity for players to impress NFL teams and potentially earn higher draft grades.
The Thursday North practice "winners" were North Carolina State's Jaylen Samuels, Miami (FL)'s Braxton Berrios, Army's Brett Toth, Virginia Tech's Wyatt Teller, Rutgers's Kemoko Turay and Hawaii's Trayvon Henderosn
Reports from Eric Galko, Christian Page, Derrik Klassen, Dan Matney, Filip Prus, and Parker Henry
-Wyoming QB Josh Allen continues to showcase a strong arm, and his passes are by far the most audible when the WR catches it. His back corner fade pass to Justin Watson in 7v7s drew gasps from all in attendance, and then he followed it up with a precisely placed bucket throw to Durham Smythe on a Seam. However, when Allen misses a throw, he misses it badly, and his processing continues to be delayed.
-Contrary to Allen, Sooners Baker Mayfield looks like a computer going through reads and looks completely comfortable in the pocket with his progressions. His footwork is crisp and his accuracy on the move to his right has been surgical. He seemed to be developing some nice chemistry with Penn State TE Mike Gesicki throughout practice.
-While Washington State QB Luke Falk’s anticipation and timing remains on display, his placement and trajectory on fade passes in 1v1 red zone drills was a pleasant surprise. Falk’s biggest issue throughout the day was sluggish footwork on shallow drops, and he will need to consolidate his strides as he continues to adjust to snaps from under center.
-Nebraska QB Tanner Lee was late on several throws today, including some shallow Outs in Red Zone drills, one of which was intercepted at the pylon. Lee’s placement on Fades was the most erratic of the bunch, but he showed good placement driving balls in the middle of he field to make some nice completions inside the numbers.
-NC State's Jaylen Samuels has expectedly been the most impressive, complete running back here (followed closely behind by Kalen Ballage). But Samuels especially got to show off his route separation and overall comfort as a pass catcher. In-season, Samuels was compared (very optimistically) by scouts to Aaron Hernandez, Jordan Reed, and David Johnson. He's not quite any of those playres stylistcally or upside-wise, but the versatility is what stands out. He didn't get a chance to show he's a dominant back at NC State, but he's showing that he's an NFL starter here at the Senior Bowl.
-Arizona State's Kalen Ballage has continued to impress on Day 3, a consistent theme all week. Ballage flashed in college, but between being under-utilized and having a unique body type for the position, he was never able to captailize on his clear potential. Here, he's shown outstanding pass catching comfort and extension, plus bend for a taller running back, and multiple areas for easy improvement. The one thing Ballage needs to show scouts is his initial vision and gap anticipation. It's an area that, in film review of the week, he's struggle with a bit, and wasn't great today either in team drills.
-Braxton Berrios showed plenty of route creativity today in one on ones. He continues to show a plethora of ankle flexibility easily changing direction with quick hips. With a diving snag and a couple of sideline catches, the Miami receiver had plenty of opportunities to showcase his body control through the catch and he did not disappoint. He won more than a couple of contested battles and was a reliable receiver in the redzone reps. Berrios dealt with some easy drops earlier in the week but managed to put that behind him to finish with a strong practice.
-Allen Lazard had a better day latching on to tough catches with a few snags in the end zone. He fumbled after a 15-yard post pattern in seven on seven drills. Lazard remains heavy-footed and that won't get better. He doesn't have the burst to pop out of his breaks which may be the reason for having to grab so many contested catches this week.
-Boise State wideout Cedrick Wilson looked strong today in the end zone. He consistently caught the ball away from his body coming away with tough catches. Wilson maintained control in agility drills and consistently caught the ball within the drills. He worked out as a kick returner with one rep in which he went the wrong direction, according to the coach.
-DaeSean Hamilton somehow improves each day though already putting together back-to-back stellar practices. Hamilton showcased his high-pointing ability displaying strong mitts and concentration. He creates plenty of space with subtle quickness out of his breaks with controlled and effective movement skills. He suffered one notable drop today in the redzone allowing the ball to make its way into his chest.
-Army tackle Brett Toth has really settled in as a pass protector as the week has gone on. His progression since the first day of practice has been impressive and he’s shown flashes of starting caliber skills at times in Day 3. He has strong hands and has played with better bend on the last day of practice. His footwork was a little sloppy on Tuesday and still needs work but his base looked significantly improved today. Toth is still prone to overextend at times but he has really taken strides this week.
-Pittsburgh tackle Brian O’Neill came into the week with lofty expectations but he has struggled throughout the week and those struggles continued on Day 3. He was thrown down to the ground by Kemoko Turay in the first session on 1 on 1’s and struggled to win a single rep in Thursday’s session. Ohio State’s Jalyn Holmes beat him with a swift inside move and OU’s Ogbonnia Okoronkwo put him on skates at one point with his bull rush. He looks the part and has impressive showings on film, but he is looking closer to a 3rd-4th round pick than a potential first rounder as the week ends.
-Virginia Tech's Wyatt Teller had his best practice of the week so far. He's had some issues with hand placement and decisiveness earlier in the week, but his confidence and composure has clearly been helped and he struck initially with great power. He's a tough, acive, physical interior guard who makes up for a lack of elite athleticism to outwork his opponents, and with his hands in better position today, he was able to show it in practice.
-Rutgers edge rusher Kemoko Turay was downright unblockable today. He has had impressive flashes all season and checks off the physical boxes, but he wreaked havoc all day vs. both left and right tackles. He’s always been able to win with his quickness but he displayed a different level of strength today, and had an impressive play in 1 on 1’s vs. Pitt’s Brian O’Neill where he spotted O’Neill over extending and ripped him to the ground with ease. He’s put together a nice week and could be pushing his way into a late Day 1/early Day 2 selection.
-Ohio State’s Tyquan Lewis continues to impress. He has put together a strong week and has displayed the same versatility in Mobile that he did in Columbus, lining up from everywhere from 0-technique to 7-technique. He has a nice blend of speed and power and has been a consistent performer in 1 on 1 pass rush.
-North Dakota State's Nick DeLuca has been the best of the linebackers here in Mobile in large part thanks to his coverage range, and he's shown that off today. Working as a nickel linebacker might be his best NFL fit, and it's clear he can reach his drops smoothly and with confidence.
-Brown linebacker Dewey Jarvis has struggled in coverage this week, which is to be expected after playing defensive end his entire career. But he's improved each day, including today with a handful of nice zone drops and added comfort in space. There's a lot to like about his NFL projection, and he's proved that, if he continues to develop fundamentally, he'll be an NFL draft pick. His issues are purely technical and anticipatory, not athletic.
-It was a rough going for Dubuque CB Michael Joseph today, who looked better yesterday. Joseph struggled in red zone work. Joseph wasn't able to locate the ball as cleanly as one would hope, nor was he as sticky in coverage as he had shown previously.
-Hawaii's Trayvon Henderson is the best safety in the North group, and showed it during today's practices During red zone drills, Henderson snagged an interception out of the tight end's hands on a seam route in the end zone. Henderson was noticeably beat once by Mike Gesicki, but was otherwise impressive.
-The nature of these Senior Bowl practices being pass-heavy hurts West Virginia's Kyzir White. White was lacking in coverage today, only being able to keep up if he was grabbing onto receivers and tight ends. White is primarily a run defender and it showed today.