It was a thrilling day of Senior Bowl practices here in Mobile, AL. At a balmy 68 degrees and with a shining sun, the players, coaching staffs, and media members rolled out for what can only be described as a practice session for the ages. Here's what I saw.
1. The fight for QB1
The day started out with a bang, as Missouri QB Drew Lock immediately challenged Duke QB Daniel Jones to a QB1 face-off. They stood on opposite sides of the 50 and threw buzzwords at each other. "Just wanna do what I can to help a team compete," Lock told Jones. "I'm just ready to come in and get to work." Jones fired back. "Anywhere I go, I know that I can be successful," Lock responded, voice strained with exertion. "If a team drafts me, they're gonna get a competitor," Jones answered, sweat pouring down his brow.
The standoff took a fateful turn when Lock fired the silver bullet. "I know I'm the best quarterback in the class."
There was an audible gasp from the crowd.
After that terrible, awesome moment, they engaged in further QB-fisticuffs: They stood tall in the pocket, frozen in mid-release, to see who had that quintessential look of a pro-quarterback. They called for huddles and timed how quickly they gathered the team together; how neatly the huddle was formed. On the whiteboard, they drew squiggly lines and used as much useless jargon as possible.
But the battle was won once one 21-year-old decided for all of the NFL teams that no, actually he is the best QB in the class. It was the death knoll; the final blow.
2. Stock up/stock down
So many players did so many things, that stock is flying around left and right. It's like a dang teeter-totter out here, team. Let's list the highest impact plays.
- Gotta start with Montez Sweat. The Mississippi State EDGE did exactly what he's done all season: he won with power, length, and initial explosion. Oooh baby! Did it look like everything we've already seen on tape, or what? He's a riser for sure.
- A big faller has to be CB Amani Oruwariye, who got burned in one-on-one coverage by the North team wideouts. Oruwariye is going to be used primarily as a zone coverage defender at the next level, so how he performed in man coverage with absolutely zero help matters a great deal for his stock.
- The rise of Charles Omenihu, Texas DT, continued. Omenihu was a player who we knew was super big before the week even started, but boy-o, once we got official measurements, well he just had to be a riser then. When something is really good, it's important to count it twice, so as to emphasize just how good it is.
- You know who else is rising? Dax Raymond. The Utah State TE is a player that most everyone hasn't heard of at all. But -- hear me out -- the rest of the TEs are equally anonymous, but are from bigger schools, so if they were any good, we would have heard of them by now. Same thing applies to Donald Parham, the Stetson TE, who is also super huge -- so the Omeinhu blurb applies. They gotta be risers -- they can't be from small schools and not be risers.
- EDGE Jaylon Ferguson won the outside corner on OT Dennis Daley, except it happened about 15 yards downfield. Feruson was credited with a win, because we've heard his name before. EDGE Jonathan Ledbetter won the outside corner on OT Andre Dillard, and it actually happened at a reasonable depth of the pocket. Fortunately, nobody noticed it or will discuss it at all.
- All of the QBs did badly, because I saw the clip in which they missed a throw, on Twitter. They also all did well, because I saw the clip in which they hit a throw, on Twitter. So.
3. Other notable moments
- Jon Gruden rode out onto the practice field on a unicorn. "You know what? I really like this mount." He told media after the practice. "That horn sure is something, huh?"
- Kyle Shanahan, on the other hand, really upped the ante. He grabbed an NFL Network camera and cursed his heart out. Had to be restrained by the end of the tirade. Cussed almost as fluently as he rips through a wordy West Coast play call.
- Andy Isabella grew 8 inches overnight. He's 6-foot-4 now. Trust me: I'm also 6-foot-4, and I stood next to him, and we're the same height -- I'd know. Round 1 player.
- Rock Ya-Sin looked basically immobile today. Juan Thornhill was up, then down -- but overall I think he was pretty sharp. Isaiah Buggs was a pest, Ben Powers looked strong, and Demarcus Christmas was present.
- And this one you won't believe: Khalen Saunders, the 320-pound DT out of Western Illinois? He did a backflip! A whole backflip! At his size, it was certainly the most unbelievable thing I saw at practice. Pretty much everything here is markedly more plausible than that.