The Senior Bowl practices took place this past week, with the game itself taking place on Saturday. The North Team, led by the Oakland Raiders’ coaching staff, defeated the South Team, led by the San Francisco 49ers’ coaching staff, by a score of 34-24.
Last year, we were consumed with how the quarterbacks performed. This year, not so much (maybe it has to do with some guy named Baker Mayfield). Nonetheless, here is a recap of some Browns-related nuggets from the week.
1. Some Recognition for Baker Mayfield: On Friday, the Senior Bowl named the Browns quarterback their 2018 Rookie of the Year! A video message from Mayfield played at the event:
Congrats to @browns QB @bakermayfield for being named 2018 @seniorbowl Rookie of the Year. A year ago, Mayfield came to Mobile projected as a mid-first round pick and he left with momentum toward becoming the No. 1 overall pick. Some player today will have a life-changing day! pic.twitter.com/4tgnKIkoKo— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) January 26, 2019
GM John Dorsey also talked about his advice for teams with respect to their draft interests, even if it’s for the No. 1 pick: why show your cards? Dorsey knew he wanted Mayfield in October 2017, but never tipped his hand.
2. Freddie Kitchens Busy Jumping Right In: According to Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer, Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens spent about an hour talking with Dabo Swinney on the sidelines of the Senior Bowl. The two have long been friends, and Swinney is happy to see Kitchens get an opportunity.
“I’m really happy for him and it’s kind of neat,” Swinney said. “He got the job as an interim in his role, did a great job and enough to where they’re giving him a shot, and that’s kind of how I got the job. I was an interim, and took advantage of it, and I don’t have any doubt Freddie will do the same.”
As far as coaching goes, Kitchens said he can’t wait until this coming Monday, when he will get to be with his full coaching staff for the first time. He didn’t attend the Senior Bowl last year because he was a new hire as the Browns running backs coach. The big thing that changes from a scouting perspective for him is that his eyes are opened to every position now: “I am evaluating defensive guys and offensive guys; receivers, tight ends, line, evaluating different positions,” said Kitchens.
Kitchens also talked about his motivation for hiring Alabama defensive coordinator Tosh Lupoi as his defensive line coach:
3. Players Loosely Connected to Browns: It is not a major tipoff if scouts for a team meet or talk to a player. However, it is still fun to read about. According to Walter Football, here are three players the Browns’ scouts were seen having some conversation with:
- WR Terry McLaurin - Ohio State
- LB Sutton Smith - Northern Illinois
- LB Otaro Alaka - Texas A&M
Even with the Browns having a solid end of the year for its group of receivers, McLaurin had a great week, no doubt improving his stock.
One of the coolest things I saw at @seniorbowl was Ohio State WR Terry McLaurin uncover in 1-on1s & make catches & then explain some of his route work to DBs between reps in order to help him. Three DBs dapped him up after 1-on-1s finished. I e never seen that there before.— Lance Zierlein (@LanceZierlein) January 25, 2019
4. A Personal Campaign? Usually, you hear about these things at the NFL Combine, but it’s never too early to start campaigning for a certain team, right? WR Andy Isabella, a native of Mayfield, Ohio, made it clear to media that he is a Browns fan.
UMass WR Andy Isabella (Mayfield, Ohio, native) makes it clear he's a Browns fan during Senior Bowl media availability Tuesday.— Nick Shook (@TheNickShook) January 22, 2019
Isabella says he can run a 4.26, and lots of projections this week labeled him as a great slot receiver at the NFL level. Here his is burning a defensive back during a practice:
If you don't get your hands on Andy Isabella, you're toast pic.twitter.com/XGWMe3KVG6— Mike Renner (@PFF_Mike) January 24, 2019
Another receiver to not sleep on is WR Penny Hart. He is only 5-8, 180 lbs, but is physical and very quick at the line of scrimmage:
Adderley is one of the best DBs in Mobile and WR Penny Hart got him pretty good with that controlled burst.— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) January 24, 2019
Twitchy + Crafty = Hart pic.twitter.com/6P6B9RLINY
5. Some Help in the Trenches? The Browns could be in need of some help in the trenches on defense. Look no further than DT Khalen Saunders out of Western Illinois, who was beating top offensive linemen with dynamic moves — a pretty impressive feat for a 320-pounder.
Khalen Saunders with the club/swim for the sack pic.twitter.com/KiwYPdhJlt— Ty Wurth (@WurthDraft) January 26, 2019
Khalen Saunders has often been too quick and powerful in 1v1s for OL this week and it shows up there on the sack. He is going to put a lot of stress on IOL to anchor and stay square. Love his energy and tempo.— Joe Marino (@TheJoeMarino) January 26, 2019
The other prospect who delivered was DE Montez Sweat out of Mississippi State. Scouts were curious to see how he would do against top talent, and he was impressive:
Browns fans, let us know your impressions from Senior Bowl week!