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2019 Senior Bowl: Recapping the first day of practice

Reviewing the weigh-ins and the WRs-DBs in the first practices of the year.

NCAA Football: Houston at East Carolina James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Day one of the Senior Bowl is in the books. The Tuesday of Senior Bowl week is always the busiest day as weigh-ins are at 7:00 am, player interviews are at 10:45 am— which I will be posting in a separate article, and the practices start at 1:15 pm.

Today, I will be breaking down notes I took during the weigh-ins as well as my observations from the defensive backs and wide receivers in the first day of practice. I would have liked to have seen the lineman but unfortunately I can only thoroughly focus on a group or two each day.

I was fortunate enough to observe the receivers alongside The Draft Network’s Brad Kelly and the defensive backs with Field Gull’s Matty Brown today. Both of them are insanely good at their position groups and helped point out anything I may have missed today.

Weigh-In Notes

  • New Mexico State linebacker Terrill Hanks was the biggest winner of the weigh-ins today. Measuring in at 6’2” 234 pounds, Hanks was 100% muscle on the stage. His arms were absolutely jacked and he looked like a pile of boulders together. For a player who is already speedy and aggressive, his physique helped him today.
  • Pass rusher Isaiah Buggs from Alabama came in at 6’2” today, which is 3 inches shorter than the 6’5” he is listed on Alabama’s website. Although it doesn’t really hurt Buggs’ stock, it is something to keep in mind when viewing Alabama’s site in the future.
  • Edge rusher Montez Sweat was an obvious standout in the weigh-ins. He came in at 6’6” 252 pounds and had arms to his knees. He looked as though he could add maybe 20 more pounds to his frame. With his length, height, and size, Sweat definitely made a lot of money at the weigh-ins today.
  • Clemson wide receiver Hunter Renfrow is TINY. When looking at film, he is obviously not the biggest player in the world but coming in at 5’10” 175 pounds was definitely a shock. Throw in that he has really small hands and some teams may be scared away from him. Luckily, once he hits the football field he is really really good.
  • Utah Safety Marquise Blair came in way smaller than I thought he would. His height of 6’1” was fine but coming in at 180 pounds with the way he plays is a bit concerning. We’ll see if his smaller frame and waist have any effect on his week here.
  • Texas Edge rusher Charles Omenihu is huuuge. He had the longest wingspan of all players today and came in at an astounding 6’5” 274 pounds. The likely first round pick is already having a huge week and met with the Colts last night.

Practice Notes: WRs and DBs

  • South Carolina Wide Receiver Deebo Samuel was insanely good today. He beat a number of corners on a multitude of different routes. He showed excellent ability to get off jams at the line of scrimmage and work his way through contact. He was very fluid and explosive. He definitely separated himself from the rest of the receivers today.
  • Cornerback Isaiah Johnson from Houston was the best cornerback I saw today. For a player who is a long 6’2”, he moves extremely well in space and transitions well. He explodes through his breaks and is fluid moving laterally. He does need to work a bit on his technique and not be as grabby man coverage, but he moved well today. I was impressed by this converted wide receiver who also showed off an impressive step-kick press move, for any of you that are fans of press coverage.
  • Speaking of Johnson, Buffalo Wide Receiver Anthony Johnson was solid all day. He excelled as a route runner, where he blended physicality and technique. He sinks his hips with ease and excels on speed outs. He was also excellent in contested catch situations as he even wrestled a few passes away from Isaiah Johnson. Overall, it was hard to not come away impressed.
  • Temple cornerback Rock Ya-Sin not only has a great name, but he had a pretty impressive day. He is a very fluid mover and sinks his hips effortlessly when transitioning. He struggled a bit mirroring receivers off the line of scrimmage and getting a hand on them in press but he showed the movement skills you want out of developmental cornerback. He was also very competitive at the catch-point today and made a few nice break-ups.
  • UMASS WR Andy Isabella was a standout. He is an absolutely insane athlete and looked super fluid when making cuts in and out of his breaks. He ran the cone drills today so quickly that I nearly missed it his first time through. For a receiver who is only 5’8” 186 pounds, moving as well as he did today was needed. He did struggle a bit in the one on ones but it was obvious who the top athlete on the field was today.
  • Penn State cornerback Amani Oruwariye had a fairly up and down day. He was beat a few times by quick feet at the line of scrimmage when trying to mirror in press but also looked good in other reps. I’d like to see him be more physical at the line of scrimmage but I love how he moves. Every turn and step is quick and agile. He is going to be a really good cornerback in the NFL.
  • NC State Wide Receiver Jakobi Meyers had himself a day. Coming into the week, he was a bit under the radar after playing alongside guys like Kelvin Harmon. He put all that to rest early with an excellent slant route on Amani Oruwariye that left a very good corner in his dust. Meyers also had a long touchdown in the team drills. Watch out Meyers this week, he is fluid and catches anything thrown his way. Big fan of his game.
  • Washburn Cornerback Corey Ballentine is not biggest name here but he made positive plays. The small school corner was tenacious in coverage and showed off some impressive fluidity in deep coverage. He located the ball well and recovered numerous times when he was beat. He is a good mover and combined with his excellent motor, I think teams will be interested in what he has to offer.
  • Last player to highlight here was UC Davis Receiver Keelan Doss. His speed was stunning at times and he separated well with his route running. There were times, according to Brad Kelly, that he was flying past Andy Isabella even on deep routes. I’d like to see him work through contact more in the next few practices but I was happily surprised with the day that Doss had out there today.

Final News and Notes:

  • Georgia State Wide Receiver Penny Hart is really small but man is he quick. In and out of every break is just pure quickness. I’m excited to see him run more through press though.
  • Clemson star receiver Hunter Renfrow was his typical self in practice. Lightning quick and uncoverable in one-on-one drills.
  • The star of draft twitter, Delaware safety Nasir Adderley, had a bit of a quiet day today. He moves well in space but my concerns still lie with his skinny waist/ legs and that he isn’t strong enough against the run.
  • Boston College Safety Will Harris caught my eye today. Good mover in space who is adapt at many different schemes. Watch out for him this week.
  • Wide Receivers Travis Fulgham (ODU) and Terry McLaurin (OSU) were both very good today.
  • Kentucky cornerback Lonnie Johnson may not be the most fluid mover but he is a long press guy. Gave receivers some fits at the line of scrimmage today.
  • Nickel safeties Jaquan Johnson (Miami) and Mike Edwards (Kentucky) both were all over the place today. Both guys are a bit small and not great athletes but they play with the aggression and competitiveness that you want in defensive backs.