Tue, 02 Mar 2021

TWENTYMAN: Senior Bowl Day 2 observations

Detroit Lions
28 Jan 2021, 19:25 GMT+10

Tim Twentyman

O-line prospects: As promised, I took a closer look at the offensive linemen today. One of the more impressive prospects was North Dakota State tackle Dillon Radunz. He's got quick feet and anchors well. He really does a nice job with his hands. He hasn't been beat often the first couple days.

The block of day belonged to Wisconsin-Whitewater's Quinn Meinerz, who laid a pancake on Pittsburgh's Patrick Jones II - a likely Top 50 pick - in one on ones. Other O-linemen I thought had a good day Wednesday were: Creed Humphrey (Oklahoma), Trey Smith (Tennessee) and Deonte Brown (Alabama).

Mr. Hands: The Lions aren't really in the market for a tight end with a couple nice young players on the roster, led by Pro Bowler T.J. Hockenson, but one tight end who's really helped his stock this week in Mobile is Boise State's John Bates. He made my notes in both National Team practices so far. He's been making catches all over the field, and has a terrific pair of hands. He's really stood out to me at among the tight ends.

Accuracy: Mac Jones might not be the most athletically gifted quarterback here in Mobile, but the Heisman Trophy finalist has found ways to show off his best asset, his accuracy. The best example of that was Wednesday in one-on-one red zone drills with the receivers and corners. Jones threw a terrific back-shoulder throw to Florida's Trevon Grimes at the front-right pylon for a touchdown. For playing with Grimes for only two days, both players were really on the same page with that throw, and Jones put it right on the money. Jones finished off the drill with a beautifully lofted pass to the corner of the end zone where only Clemson's Amari Rodgers could catch it.

LB versatility: The more a player can do, the more teams value his services in the pre-draft process. Ohio State linebacker Baron Browning has played inside linebacker this week, but also shown an ability to rush the passer from the edge. He would have had a sack in a team period Wednesday, if defenders were allowed to touch the quarterback. He's also shown an ability to play in space. The Lions could be looking to retool their linebacker corps this offseason.

Much more crisp: Carolina head coach Matt Rhule was a little frustrated at Tuesday's American practice with the misalignments and sloppy play from his team, which is to be expected when you throw 60-plus players together and ask them to learn a new system and run through a new practice schedule in a week. It wasn't just the American team, either. I counted six botched snaps in the National practice earlier Tuesday.

But things ran much more smoothly Wednesday, and both practices were pretty crisp. A lot of the errors were cut down, which is a credit to the players and the two coaching staffs.

Officials: Both practices had officials Wednesday, and that's important to note because it's always a tough transition for defensive backs from the college game to the pros to adjust to the five-yard no-contact rule in the NFL. By nature, the college game is much more handsy on the outside than what the professional game allows. There were a lot of flags and a lot of coaching moments for the defensive backs Wednesday.

Back to back INTs: The American Team defense recorded back-to-back interceptions in a team period late in practice off quarterback Jamie Newman. First it was Florida safety Shawn Davis and then Georgia safety Mark Webb. That got the defensive players, and the Carolina defensive coaches, pretty fired up.

Catch of the Day: Wednesday's honor goes to Georgia tight end Tre' McKitty with a one-handed snag on a Jones pass across the middle in a team drill with a defender draped all over him.

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