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Senior Bowl Diary: Thursday

Many blue chip players displayed their talent for coaches and scouts

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: FEB 02 Reese’s Senior Bowl Practice Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Senior Bowl is a critical method for players to showcase their skills against some of the best at every position. A Senior Bowl invite is something that is later framed and hangs on a wall.

Head coaches with vacancies hold interviews during this week. Every head coach, except the Super Bowl coaches, are in Mobile, Alabama along with each team’s GM and personnel teams. So, interviews are scheduled at night at the event hotel. There are approximately 700 scouts, coaches and full media that descend upon this event.

When a new head coach is named, they decide if they wish to retain any of the former coaching staff. Usually, few are kept. This means teams like the Texans and Broncos with newly-hired head guys are doing interviews in Mobile. Makes sense because teams don’t have to fly in prospective hires since they come to the Senior Bowl in an effort to be hired to someone’s staff.

On Friday, the players will only do walk thrus and not much happens. Special teams are set up and make live kicks with gunner and blocking assignments, but no actual hitting. So today will be the last update.

Here is what transpired on Thursday:

Not that the Cleveland Browns need a quarterback, but this group here has been impressive. Jake Haener of Fresno State has been the most consistent. Who is not having a good week is Louisville signal caller Malik Cunningham.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: FEB 02 Reese’s Senior Bowl Practice
Daiyan Henley
Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Linebackers should be on the Browns list of players to bring to training camp. One intriguing prospect is Daiyan Henley (6’-2”, 232 pounds) of Washington State. He has a nose for the ball and has made some nice plays consistently. He has good speed (4.55) who played receiver in high school before he filled out. Coverage skills are outstanding as he recognizes passing plays fairly quickly.

Other linebackers who have shined are Ivan Pace of Cincinnati and (. Pace is a very good pass rusher when called upon who could be a Day 3 steal. He is polished coming off the edge and has been beating players with a variety of moves.

Oregon State TE Luke Musgrave is going to become the next big name in tight ends. The Browns should run to the podium if he is still available. He has out-shined the entire group and has great speed for a man that stands 6’-6” and weighs 250. He has a very long reach, has impressed with his blocking skills, and is simply another receiver on the field. Who does that remind you of? Travis Kelce comes to mind. Get this: they timed everybody not on the 40, but how fast each player can run. Musgrave timed out at 20.5 MPH. That number was more like receiver and corner numbers.

Another tight end who had a good day was Payne Durham of Purdue. He had a nice catch in the end zone that got the crowd cheering. He has been a good consistent blocker and doesn’t have Musgrave’s speed but runs good routes.

As far as receivers, one that stood out today was Grant Dubose of UNC-Charlotte who was mentioned in Tuesday’s diary. He dove for a ball in the back of the end zone that was spectacular. He has great feet and has been able to elude DB’s in the 1-on-1’s. He is 6’-2”, 204 pounds and is having a great week of practice. Trey Palmer of Nebraska runs crisp routes while Michigan’s Ronnie Bell has drop issues. Stanford’s Michael Wilson had a terrific day although his first two practices were forgetful.

Jayden Reed of Michigan State does not have great career college numbers but is lightning in a bottle in Mobile. Maybe M-State ran the ball mostly? He came into this week as a fourth-rounder and now will go early second round. Browns own #43. Will that be early enough? He is a burner and is tricky in his routes. All three days he has impressed.

Safety is certainly a need for Cleveland. Sydney Brown had a pick in the red zone drills and then dropped a sure interception. He doesn’t give much as far as separation and is usually around the ball. He has stood out among all safeties so far. Love the work of Georgia’s Chris Smith who could find himself in the bottom of Round 1 with his performance this week.

At defensive end, Andre Carter of Army has shown why he should be a first-round pick instead of the second-round grade he had attached coming into this week. He simply flies off the snap. His first step is incredible. I have an interview with him publishing on Friday so see what he has to say.

Another is Adetomiwa Adebarwore. He is just plain a big man who explodes off the snap. He has a great swim move and has bull rushed a few guys over the past three days.


He really knows how to use leverage and is a tough guy. His draft status has increased without question.

EDGE Will McDonald of Iowa State is just explosive. He is also a bully with the way he has handled some of these offensive linemen. High motor who just gets after it. And a plus is his 6’-4” frame. He owns his school’s record for career sacks with 34 so he has a nose for the backfield. His ceiling is endless.