Skip to main content

News | Washington Commanders -

Senior Bowl notebook | Offensive line, receivers shine on Day 1

Texas' Christian Jones (70) runs off the field after a play against Louisiana-Lafayette during the second half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Texas' Christian Jones (70) runs off the field after a play against Louisiana-Lafayette during the second half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Day 1 of the Senior Bowl has officially wrapped up in Mobile, Alabama. The American and National teams both had their first practices with several prospects improving their stock among scouts.

Here are some observations from this afternoon.

-- Offensive line is one of the biggest needs for the Washington Commanders this offseason, so we'll start the notebook off by addressing that position. One of the clear winners of the day was Christian Jones, a 6-foot-5, 318 tackle out of Texas. Jones shined in pass protection, showing clean footwork, a strong punch and physicality. Jones excelled at mirroring edge defenders and keeping himself between would-be tacklers and the quarterback. He matched up against Missouri's Darius Robinson on the final rep of 1-on-1 pass protection and was not fooled by Robinson's spin move. Robinson is currently considered a Day 2 pick, but strong performances like that could cause his value to rise.

-- On the National team, there were a few offensive linemen who showed some solid traits in individual drills. Two of the players who stood out the most were Arizona's Jordan Morgan and Florida's Kingsley Eguakun. Both players had choppy, explosive feet when driving their defenders off the ball. Morgan did a nice job of sealing off a linebacker in team drills, allowing Marshall's Rasheen Ali to burst into the second level for a decent gain. Eguakun showed impressive speed on outside zone blocks that helped him reach defenders' outside shoulders and turn them upfield. Morgan's hand placement in pass protection is a question mark, though. He tends to have wider punches, which defenders took advantage of in 1-on-1 drills.

-- Moving on to the receivers, one of the most impressive players on Day 1 for the National team was USC's Brenden Rice. His 6-foot-2, 217-pound frame came in handy during 1-on-1 drills, as he had to fight through consistent contact to make catches. Despite all that, the wideout had a good day, even fighting through some jersey-tugging to come down with a catch in the end zone. The only negative rep he had all day came in team drills, when a ball slipped through his hands near the left sideline. It's been said before, but this year's receiver class is deep. Rice might be one of the more talented players in a crowded group.

-- Another receiver on the National team that kept making plays was Michigan's Roman Wilson. At 5-foot-10 and 186 pounds, Wilson is clearly a slot player, but he was an exceptional route-runner and had reliable hands. There were several plays where Wilson was wide open in the middle of the field, either because he found a hole in the defense's coverage or had a defensive back trailing him.

-- At linebacker, Cedric Gray out of North Carolina didn't flash much in individual drills but showed a natural ability to work his way through traffic to find ball-carriers in team drills. He needs to be better at finishing plays -- he had one running back in the backfield for a loss before letting him slip through his grasp -- but he has a downhill style and plays fast. Those are two traits that could create a good starting point for his development at the NFL level.

-- There are no big, bruising running backs at the Senior Bowl this year, but there are plenty of elusive, explosive scatbacks that showed out on Day 1. Two of the more prominent examples were New Hampshire's Dylan Laube and Kentucky's Ray Davis. Laube was a physical runner who knew how to follow his blockers, remain patient and wait for holes to open. When they did, he burst through them and gashed the defense during team drills. Davis could be a dynamic pass-catcher, and he showed that during 1-on-1 drills with an impressive catch near the sideline that required him to flip his hips at the last moment.

-- There was no shortage of physically dominating defensive linemen on the American roster, whether it was Texas' T'Vondre Sweat, Texas A&M's McKinnley Jackson or LSU's Jordan Jefferson. All those players had their moments, but Braden Fisk out of Florida State made the most plays. Fisk played with determination, muscling his way through double teams and powering past linemen in 1-on-1 pass-rush drills. It's just one practice, but he'll have plenty of attention from scouts if he can continue to be that disruptive in the interior.

-- Florida's Ricky Pearsall had one of the better reps during the 1-on-1 period between the receivers and defensive backs for the National team. He used a double move that left the defender trailing behind him as he made the easy catch for a touchdown.

-- Finally, Cam Hart ended the 1-on-1 period with a nice recovery after getting beat in the end zone by Javon Baker out of Central Florida. Hart was matched up against DeVontez Walker, and despite Walker trying to shake him at the line of scrimmage, he followed the UNC receiver's moves step-for-step and jumped his route for an interception.

Related Content