Practices are over and done with at the Reese’s Senior Bowl, as dozens of draft prospects tried to take advantage of three sessions in front of NFL teams.
And while players will have one final chance to impress scouts, coaches and front-office folks Saturday at the actual game, much of the heavy lifting has already been done.
ESPN draft analysts Todd McShay and Steve Muench recently wrote about their main takeaways from the week in Mobile, Alabama.
This group of pass-catchers seems to get deeper and deeper every single day, and there’s something for everyone. There are big targets who can make plays on the outside such as Texas’ Collin Johnson, Notre Dame’s Chase Claypool and Liberty’s Antonio Gandy-Golden. Teams looking for playmakers in the slot will have receivers such as SMU’s James Proche, Texas’ Devin Duvernay and Ohio State’s K.J. Hill to choose from. Van Jefferson impressed all week with his route running. Denzel Mims and Michael Pittman, Jr., flashed.
And this is just some of the upperclassmen in a wide receiver class that already boasts many first-rounders. NFL combine numbers are going to be even more important than most years as these guys try to separate from the group.
Yeah, the depth of the wide receiver class is a big takeaway. But since Muench stole that, I’ll point out another position that impressed me: defensive line. This group is going to be better than expected. South Carolina’s Javon Kinlaw will be a force on the interior in the NFL. Penn State defensive tackle Robert Windsor has a lot of quickness. Jason Strowbridge of UNC showed great instincts and some versatility. The potential difference-makers run deeper in this draft class than perhaps we previously thought.
Each draft analyst also picked out a player that they each want to look into further as the draft draws closer.
Muench went with LSU tight end Stephen Sullivan, who had 12 catches for 130 yards inn 2019 for the national champion Tigers.
Sullivan quietly put together a strong week. He made just 12 catches this season as the backup to Thaddeus Moss [son of Randy Moss], but he does have three seasons of at least 11 receptions. After the way Sullivan played in the Senior Bowl practice sessions, I’ll be digging through that tape. He was great all afternoon on Wednesday and then did a nice job of tracking the ball for a touchdown on Thursday.
McShay chose Ohio State linebacker Malik Harrison. The Buckeyes standout had 75 total tackles, including 16.5 tackles for loss, and two fumble recoveries in 2019.
I love when a player stands out when I’m actually focusing on another position group. Multiple times this week, Harrison made plays while I even wasn’t studying the linebackers and forced my attention. He was good in coverage, and man, was he around the ball a lot. He is really intriguing, and I’ll be opening up his tape a bit more after this week. A bonus: Darnay Holmes was derailed by injuries a bit at UCLA, but the cornerback has speed and showed it off this week. His tape also warrants further inspection.
The Reese’s Senior Bowl kicks off on at 1:30 p.m. (CT) Saturday on NFL Network.