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Senior Bowl Diary: Thursday

NFL coaches and scouts have an up close look at prospects

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Practice Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

This is not the last day of practice, just the last day of any type of contact. Fridays are busy with walk-thrus and then different fan-based activities.

The game will broadcast this Saturday on NFL Network with a kickoff at 2:30 (EST). The entire coaching staff of the Carolina Panthers and Miami Dolphins are this year’s NFL representatives, and you see their team logos at every glance.

2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl Practice
Mac Jones
Photo by Senior Bowl/Collegiate Images/Getty Images

The starting lineup is usually decided by Friday’s helmet and shorts day, but all players play in the game. The starting QB, this year will probably be Mac Jones of Alabama and Sam Ehlinger of Texas or Notre Dame’s Ian Book, usually will play into the second quarter, but there have been times where this ends up being the entire first half while the other two come in and play a quarter each.

Let’s just get to the linebackers. One name that has stood out is Jabril Cox of LSU. If an LSU linebacker sounds familiar, the Browns drafted former teammate Jacob Phillips in the third-round last year. He has pretty good coverage abilities but is not the fastest to the ball as evidenced by his 4.63 time in the 40. Cox (6’2” - 233 pounds) is a smooth natural mover. His hands are being talked about as an issue as they measured 8 3/4”, but so far has not stopped him from knocking down passes – even those intended for speedier RB’s. Round 3-4 sounds about right for him.

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Other LB’s of note are Paddy Fisher of Northwestern, South Alabama’s Riley Cole and Virginia’s Charles Snowden. Cole is a player that the defense doesn’t have to take off the field in any situation and gets to the ball quickly. Snowden is a pure athlete first, then a football player. Very good getting back into coverage and nice instincts deciding whether it is a run play. Fisher started the week slow and has good size (6’4” - 239 pounds). Has a nose for where the play is about to unfold and takes good angles when trailing. Hard hitter. Cole is versatile and appears he can play either side or the middle. Was hoping to see Chazz Surratt from North Carolina one more time, but he sat out. Tuf Borland of Ohio State had a good day.

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Practice Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Do the Browns need to draft a safety? They are here in Mobile, Alabama. Richie Grant of UCF is a fine athlete and has impressed all week. Today he came up with a pair of picks and several pass breakups. No receiver has been able to shake him. Coming into the week was a 4-5 round guy, but he will elevate up. Last year, another safety, Kyle Duggar, had the same story. The Patriots took him in the second-round.

Other defensive backs that look good have been CB Benjamin St-Juste of Minnesota and Florida State safety Hamsah Nasirildeen. St-Juste had several pass defenses and used the jam to keep his receivers close early. Probably a Day 3 prospect. Nasirildeen has ideal size (6’3”, 213 pounds) and is very physical. Can blitz, play as a TE neutralizer and should be available as a third-rouinder.

As far a defensive line, Cameron Sample just keeps getting mentioned here. He practices hard and has exceptional speed. His best game is against the run. When rushing, he definitely depends of the bull rush. Has been put inside during the week as well so add versatility to his resume. Carlos Basham from Wake Forest is in a class of his own. Tumultuous and just a beast. Constantly won in the 1-on1’s. Other defensive linemen who had a good day are Eierson Smith of Northern Iowa, Wyatt Hubert from Kansas State and Ohio State’s Jonathon Cooper.

If the Browns are looking for a young backup OT, perhaps Cincinnati’s James Hudson will suffice. Hudson is aggressive but raw. Will need some time to develop, but has the size and arm length to get it done. Grambling State’s David Moore is an excellent guard prospect but is short (5’10”) but very powerful. He has had an excellent week against some tough defensive linemen and shined. OT Dillion Radunz of North Dakota State elevated his draft status into the second round with an excellent week of work. Radunz (6’6”, 304 pounds) is an excellent run blocker which plays into Cleveland’s offense. May need to add more weight and should become a good swing tackle at first.

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Practice
Linebacker Justin Hilliard of Ohio State (6) drills against National running back Khalil Herbert of Virginia Tech (25)
Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

I can see Florida WR Kadarius Toney paired with Jarvis Landry and OBJ. Wow, that would blow the lid off any defense. To say that he has had a nice week is not stating just how good this dude is. He has exceptional speed, will gain separation and is deceptive. Is projected to be available in the mid-20’s and the Browns draft at pick Number 26. Just sayin’. Tennessee receiver Josh Palmer is another player who will make a very nice, affordable pro. He had a good week and showed an amazing catch radius. Same can be said for Shi Smith of South Carolina.