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Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ohio State’s CJ Stroud, Kentucky’s Will Levis, and Florida’s Anthony Richardson are almost universally regarded as the top four quarterbacks of the 2023 NFL draft class.
Yet three out of four are lower-class students. Levis has chosen not to participate in this year’s Senior Bowl as he continues to recover from injuries sustained in his final season on campus. A source went so far as to tell Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network that Levis’ decision not to attend any all-star festivities was limited to “professional suicide”.
With none of the greatest odds, Senior Bowl turned into a Heisman Trophy finalist, the NCAA’s all-time leader in passes, Louisville’s all-time leader in overall goalscoring, one of the most accurate passers in BYU history, and the first reigning All-Mountain West team. and All-AAC quarterbacks.
Despite the praise, the band got off to a slow start on Tuesday. On Wednesday, we created some separation.
TCU’s Max Duggan has a slight lead over the rest of the group over two training days. Duggan rushed the ball out, extended plays, showed anticipation, and completed a few narrow window throws. Duggan is often considered a mid-round prospect, but another strong training day combined with a solid-to-good performance in the all-star game could put him at the top of second place among inbound signal seekers.
Louisville’s Malik Cunningham could beat Duggan depending on his performance for the rest of the week. Cunningham is the most natural athlete with the best arm dexterity in Mobile. However, it has a small and thin frame (6’0″, 188 lbs).
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Cunningham didn’t take the field until Wednesday after playing in the NFLPA Game, showing the tools that will likely take on Mobile’s claim to be the best.
From there, BYU’s Jaren Hall didn’t make the kind of shots that would get the spotters’ attention. Fresno State’s Jake Haener often covers the ball despite playing with brand new teammates. So his strengths—like intuition, touch, and feel in his pocket—do not really stand out in this setting. Finally, Shepherd’s Tyson Bagent blasted balls all over the field and lacked any consistency in his placement or decision making. The Division II candidate can push the ball under the field, but the inconsistency is due to poor mechanics.
In previous years, quarterbacks have used the Senior Bowl as a stage to push themselves further up the draft boards or solidify as top contenders. As of now, this year’s crop lacks a spotlight player, but while the possibility still exists, they could be impacted both on and off the field to enter the Day 2 selection.
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– The four wide receivers continue to impress with two daily applications.
Ronnie Bell of Michigan is a very consistent ball possession receiver who routinely makes contentious catches. Jayden Reed of Michigan State acts as a deep threat on the offensive line with his twitch to beat the defenders and his creativity in his routes to be constantly on. Houston’s Tank Dell works fine on releases and runs good routes. Stanford’s Elijah Higgins, 6’3″, with his 228-pound build, seems like a nearly tight end. He also plays that way, using his body against the body of defenders who are well positioned for snaps.
– On the other side of the ball, a large number of talented defenders shone with quality play.
Among the national team, Stanford’s Kyu Blu Kelly made one of the best overall efforts with an interception to end a team session on Wednesday and another close pick at a later period. His prospects in the region are extraordinary. Riley Moss of Iowa is a terrific athlete who came in on big Wednesday with a one-on-one acrobatic tackle. He demonstrated his ability to play in man coverage from both the press and out-of-line positions.
Anthony Johnson Jr. of Virginia. The American side of the book had a good training day. He’s of great height and size (1’1″, 207lbs) and has the movement skills needed to compete. His scope was tacky with a slight mix of physicality. Julius Brents of Kansas State also has an excellent physique (6’3″) , 202 lbs) with the ability to pair with smaller, more twitchy pickups, as well as the fluidity to drop your hips and get out of breaks with little wasted movement.
– Northwestern’s Perakendeomiwa Adebawore continues to impress. The 1.82″, 284-pound defensive lineman, after playing plenty of 3-techies the previous day, rushed out and spent most of Wednesday on the defensive side to hold onto the offensive line.
– Tyjae Spears from Tulane has dynamic reversing skills. Her stop-go quickness after hitting the hole allows her runs to jump out, and she’s made a few long wins here.
– Cody Mauch of North Dakota State continues to switch positions. After playing primarily left-back during the national team’s first practice session, college left-hand interception began grabbing the ball and had multiple reps in one-on-one and center team sessions.
— Sacramento State defender Marte Mapu plays much larger than the listed measurements of 1.73 inches and 217 pounds. He flies downhill with bad intentions to dodge the blocks and blow up the games. It also has the length and fluidity to fall into coverage. and affects launch lanes.
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– Texas running back Roschon Johnson broke his hand in practice Tuesday, but continued to play throughout his injury. According to ESPN’s Pete Thamel and Matt Miller, his injury will not require surgery even though his week in Mobile is over.
– After rocking the scouting world on Tuesday, Dawand Jones of Ohio State did not attend Wednesday’s practice. The massive right-wing responder reported “concussion-like symptoms” with headaches, and medical staff suspended him from the action for precautionary reasons, according to ESPN. Jeremy Fowler. Jones’ status for the rest of the week has yet to be determined.
– Oklahoma offensive tackle Wanya Morris carefully exited the field with the coaches before the American team’s practice was over.
5 Questions with Tennessee OT Darnell Wright
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B/R: When you were young, you started at left interception, although the previous two seasons had been mostly on the right. This season, the return to the right interception has taken place. Are you more comfortable on the strong side?
DW: “I had more experience on that side. I went through two full training camps on the right intercept. That’s what I did most.”
B/R: NFL teams asking about the possibility of being a left-back and training in that position?
DW: “Either way, I hope to show that I can play both. I’ve played both before, I feel comfortable after continuing to work on both sides. My primary experience could be the right fight and they saw me there. I believe I can do both if necessary.”
B/R: At 1.99 meters tall and 342 pounds but only 21 years old, what kind of growth potential can still be found in your game?
DW: “I still think I can get stronger. Strengthening my body as a whole will come with age and time.”
B/R: Is your primary goal in this drafting cycle to show off your versatility or improve your technique?
DW: “A little bit of everything. I want to show consistency in everything I do. I think my movie shines. There’s been an upward trend over the years. It comes down to consistency that’s important to show at the Senior Bowl.”
B/R: What did it mean to be a team leader during the revival of the Tennessee Volunteers football program?
DW: “It feels good to be a part of something special that we’ve been working on for a long time. When you put all the effort into something, it’s great to reap the benefits.”
Bleacher Report hunter Cory Giddings contributed to this notebook.