The 2022 Reese’s Senior Bowl here in Mobile, Alabama is in full-swing. Today and tomorrow’s practices were lined with television cameras which was a new sight. Heavy mist turned into rain today and is forecast for later tomorrow and then all day Friday, which is usually just hats and cleats anyway.
Except for the Super Bowl coaches, just about every head coach and their assistants and team scouts are here. Numerous college coaches as well. Alabama’s Nick Saban always shows up for the first practice that has his players. Dabo Sweeney of Clemson, David Shaw from Stanford and a host of others can be seen throughout the week.
The Senior Bowl is an unofficial NFL convention. Between the morning and afternoon practices, coaches come here on their own dime and are interviewed by various clubs. When an NFL head coach gets fired, basically everyone on his staff does as well. So, a guy will show up on Tuesday in a Nike or Under Amour jogging suit, get interviewed for an assistant position, and in the afternoon will be wearing NFL attire during the afternoon practice.
This year’s game is February 5 with a kickoff at 2:30pm EST broadcast on NFL Network. Wednesday and Thursday practices will be televised on ESPNU with streaming on Fubo TV and Sling. Daily recaps will be available on NFL Network.
DBN’s Barry Shuck is at the Reese’s Senior Bowl this week taking notes on most positions of need that may be of interest.
Iowa State’s Charlie Kolar (6’-6”, 255 pounds) looked very good today as I did not see this group yesterday. Appears very strong and looked great in the running game portion of practices. Long legged athlete. Exceptional hands. I can see this player being a quarterback’s best friend on gamedays. He has developed the “post-up” which uses his body against defenders, quite nicely at that. Jeremy Ruckert (6’-5”, 250 pounds) of Ohio State also was fluid and caught every pass tossed his way. I can tell any offense that is pass-happy will love this dude.
Trey McBride (6’-4”, 260 pounds) of Colorado State just muscled everyone all day regardless of the situation as his frame has the girth to pull this off. At times, he appears to be a sixth offensive lineman, but is a gifted athlete. Very physical on routes but will need to find a way to get separation more once he turns his breaks. Very tough player and just keeps coming back for more.
Southern University’s OG Ja’Tyre Carter (6’-3”, 306 pounds) did not impress that much and was beat more often than he was able to contain. I don’t have any notes on him for Tuesday and may have been the reason why. OG Zion Johnson of Boston College is a strong guy and is having a heck of a week already. This is twice I have mentioned him because this dude is really, really good. Excellent recovery if the defender gets the best of him momentarily, and I do mean for a split second if that. Has a strong base and just out-muscles his guy. Has huge hands who is using his body to his advantage.
Fordham OT Nick Zakelj (6’-5”, 325 pounds) is having issues with the faster defensive ends. He does not take certain shots to this body well and then doesn’t recover which places the defender past him. Good foot quickness though. The first thing OT Matt Waletzko (6’-7”, 310 pounds) of North Dakota should do is visit his local buffet daily and gain some poundage to match his height. Huge wingspan but lacks leverage when he gets pushed by a stronger man. Doesn’t appear to be the strongest guy on the line which may need some time in the weight room. Was nimble in passing protection drills.
I really like OT Andrew Stueber (6’-7”, 338 pounds) of Michigan and believe he would make a great tackle at the next level. Stays square and does not seem to feel threatened off the edge. Shows great patience and has very good hand placement. Saw him at guard for some snaps, but he is clearly a tackle. Dominated in the 1-on-1’s.
Carson Strong of Nevada struggled again today. Has a big arm, got to give him that, but you can’t just chunk it downfield without any purpose. Points for showing off his arm, though. Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder shook off all the bugs from yesterday’s practice and looked good today. Was a bit inconsistent during certain drills, but has a nice touch and knows when to lay out a pass and when to outright fire it into a receiver’s hands. Has good accuracy as well.
Malik Willis of Liberty is interesting to watch. He had a good day despite the rain and wet conditions. He has a live arm and has displayed good running abilities. The biggest name in this game, Kenny Pickett from Pitt, hasn’t looked good at all in both days. Has struggled to find his accuracy in the long ball but did find some consistent passing in the short game.
If there is a wet ball excuse, Boise State’s Khalil Shakir would need to use those mulligans because he couldn’t catch anything in the drizzle. Someone please tell him football is a weather game. Nevada’s Romeo Doubs had the same issues. Christian Watson of North Dakota State had a fine day and caught even the wild throws. He is best at long balls on a slight slant but is not the fastest guy. Biggest disappointment so far has been Alec Pierce of Cincinnati who has minimal speed or quickness and just appears tight on every passing play. Too many drops as well.
The most impressive in two days has been Troy Andersen (6’-3”, 242 pounds) from small school Montana State. Tough as nails against the run and will absolutely stick. What team doesn’t want a sure tackler? Did well getting back into coverage as well. Amazing how much ground this guy will cover on any given play. Nice shed blocks in run defense. Love this guy. Cincinnati’s Darrian Beavers (6’-4”, 255 pounds) was exceptional today as well. He is force when called upon to blitz and can go sideline-to-sideline with good speed. Change of direction needs work but he is also physical and aggressive.
Wyoming’s Chad Muma (6’-3”, 242 pounds) was outstanding on Tuesday and then was just so-so today. Has a good build and is very muscular. Excellent tackler, but had issues in certain coverages. Good run defender. Jesse Luketa (6’-2”, 261 pounds) of Penn State is having an excellent week yesterday and added to that today. He is definitely an outside linebacker. Very, very quick and makes decisions almost instantly. Has had minimal issues shedding blocks when rushing the pass.
Oklahoma’s Brian Asamoah (6’0”, 222 pounds) is a bit light and has struggled in coverage against taller tight ends. Can close ground quickly and is a good athlete. Nice leverage adjustments and transitions well as the play evolves.
Jalen Pitre of Baylor had a great second day. He is very athletic and is quite adept to run defense. This week will only help his status. Consistently hugs his receiver and is able to locate the ball in flight quickly. I like this kid. JoJo Domann from Nebraska looks solid and can a rise in his draft stock. Has quickness and a roaming defender. Consistent hot motor player.
DE Boye Mafe from Minnesota is a one-man wrecking crew. He dominated yesterday and had numerous pops today that had everyone looking over to see. Somebody needs to snatch this guy early. DE Dominique Robinson from Miami of Ohio regressed a bit today but overall looks good. What did show today was his inability to push asided bigger (and stronger) tackles. Cincinnati DE Myjai Sanders is another man who can dominate. He took over the 1-on-1’s. Saw him up on some plays as a linebacker.
Alabama DT Phidarian Mathis showed solid improvement from Tuesday’s practice. He has unusual quickness from a man this big (313 pounds) and is very strong. Ohio State EDGE Tyreke Smith can penetrate and then get pushed aside. DT Perrion Winfrey of Oklahoma was difficult to move and provided excellent run defense. He has great hand placement and is very physical. Caused a fumble today and has a non-stop aggression towards the ball carrier. May be a late first rounder.
South Carolina EDGE Kingsley Enagbare won consistently in the 1-on-1’s including a club move that decked his offensive counterpart. Has great strength. DE Jeremiah Johnson of Florida State had his second straight good practice. He is very quick off the edge and wins with power and speed.
I like DT Neil Farrell of LSU quite a bit. He is a stout guy (6’-3”, 338 pounds) but has some quickness to him that at first you didn’t see coming. Great with leverage at the point of attack and is able to move bodies with his strength. Is a hustle guy.
Iowa State kicker Andrew Mevis is making just about everything. He has a smooth approach. They call him “The Mevii” for some reason. He made several kicks from 50-yards that went into the stands with plenty of leg. Punter Jordan Stout of Penn State has been consistent. Yesterday was an ideal day to kick whereas today the elements eliminated anything. He was named Big 10 Punter of the Year and averages 46.5 yards per punt.