The third and final practice of the 2023 Senior Bowl is officially in the books. Thursday’s practice was cloudy and cold, and even a little foggy to start out. The threat of rain was ever present, but thankfully, held off until both practices were over. That gave the media a good opportunity for a final look at these prospects, who responded with an excellent overall practice.
Check out my immediate takeaways from practice on The Falcoholic Live:
Read on for my biggest takeaways from the third day of practices in Mobile. You can also check my Twitter timeline for the rest of my recorded practice clips.
Wide receivers, tight ends, and running backs
- After a relatively quiet week from the tight end group, Purdue’s Payne Durham had a massive day as a receiver. He caught several deep balls and was a monster in the red zone during 1-on-1 drills. Durham undoubtedly boosted his stock today.
Purdue TE Payne Durham with the catch against Cal safety Daniel Scott. #SeniorBowl pic.twitter.com/fY4e88Vs3z— Kevin Knight (@FalcoholicKevin) February 2, 2023
- Stanford WR Michael Wilson has been right on the cusp of making these recaps every day, and he definitely earned it on Thursday. Wilson has been a sharp route runner and tough cover, but the generally poor accuracy of the QBs eliminated some opportunities for great catches earlier in the week.
- It was nice to see UNC-Charlotte WR Grant DuBose have a strong final day after struggling to separate and make plays earlier in the week. He’s not quite in the same class as the top guys in Mobile, but he showed he belonged with this group with a couple of great plays on Thursday.
Nice footwork here from UNC-Charlotte WR Grant DuBose to beat Kentucky CB Keidron Smith for the TD. #SeniorBowl pic.twitter.com/XFfDFlqYob— Kevin Knight (@FalcoholicKevin) February 2, 2023
- Michigan State WR Jayden Reed has made this list every day, and for good reason. Reed made a strong case as the best receiver on the National squad once again.
Michigan State WR Jayden Reed with a great catch working against USC CB Mekhi Blackmon. Hard to tell if he got both feet down, but impressive nonetheless. #SeniorBowl pic.twitter.com/QmQJQRYc8C— Kevin Knight (@FalcoholicKevin) February 2, 2023
- I think I had bad timing whenever watching Nebraska WR Trey Palmer, because everyone I talked to in Mobile had him as a consistent winner throughout the week. Today, I clearly saw what I was missing. Palmer showed off terrific hands and athleticism on Thursday.
Nebraska WR Trey Palmer fights through the tight coverage of Iowa CB Riley Moss to make the catch, but I'm not sure he came down inbounds. #SeniorBowl pic.twitter.com/dtkPf6MDY0— Kevin Knight (@FalcoholicKevin) February 2, 2023
- My favorite running back on the National team remains Illinois RB Chase Brown, who had another excellent day as both a receiver and runner. He’s been a consistent standout throughout the week.
- Northwestern RB Evan Hull hasn’t made many plays in the run game, but is very dangerous as a check-down option out of the backfield. He’s shifty and was a very tough cover for linebackers on Thursday.
- Illinois safety Sydney Brown had a breakout performance after a relatively quiet first two days. He was given a lot of difficult man coverage assignments throughout the day, including against WRs and TEs, and had a lot of success.
Illinois safety Sydney Brown picks off the pass intended for Clemson TE Davis Allen. #SeniorBowl pic.twitter.com/Q4obDxO1pA— Kevin Knight (@FalcoholicKevin) February 2, 2023
- Cal safety Daniel Scott had a quieter day than usual, but was still one of the best DBs on the field for the National team.
- Boise State safety JL Skinner had a few impact plays in run support and was looking more comfortable in man coverage on Thursday. He’s someone with tremendous potential, and you can tell he’s been learning throughout the week.
- Iowa CB Riley Moss has been one of the best corners in Mobile thus far, and had a really strong final day. He’s sticky in man coverage and timed as one of the fastest players at the Senior Bowl.
- Stanford CB Kyu Blu Kelly couldn’t quite replicate his smothering performance from Wednesday, but is still clearly one of the top DBs in Mobile. His confidence in man coverage really stands out—you can tell how much trust he has in his technique and athleticism.
- Maryland CB Jakorian Bennett had a good final day after struggling a bit earlier in the week. Bennett gave a few receivers fits and broke up several passes throughout practice.
- Northwestern DL Adetomiwa Adebawore is such an interesting prospect who doesn’t have a clearly defined fit. He’s played entirely on the interior at the Senior Bowl after playing on the outside for Northwestern, and he’s been dominant throughout the week.
- Georgia Tech DL Keion White is undoubtedly one of the biggest winners. He’s been a handful every single day and continued that trend on Wednesday.
- Wisconsin DT Keeanu Benton had another strong day on the interior. His hand technique and burst off the line of scrimmage has been consistently impressive.
- Coastal Carolina DT Jerrod Clark has been one of the biggest surprises for me. He’s been remarkably solid as a pass rusher in addition to his talents as a traditional run-stuffing nose tackle.
- Notre Dame EDGE Isaiah Foskey had a really good day as a pass rusher, notching multiple sacks during the team period.
- Clemson EDGE KJ Henry continued to be one of the most impactful run defenders on the outside, and also had a couple of sacks during team drills.
- North Carolina OL Asim Richards turned in another good performance, playing mostly at tackle on Thursday. He’s not someone I scouted at all prior to the Senior Bowl, but he’s definitely on my list now.
- Maryland OT Jaelyn Duncan has had his ups-and-downs, but had a good day on Thursday. You can see why he has his fans: he’s got a terrific combination of size and athleticism.
- UT-Chattanooga OL McClendon Curtis has continued to be the most consistent interior player on the National squad. He hasn’t been flashy, but the big guard has rarely given up ground in 1-on-1s or team sessions.
- Michigan C Olusegun Oluwatimi has been the best center, by far, for the National squad. None of the other centers have been able to snap the ball, or have had issues blocking. While Oluwatimi hasn’t been an impact player, his consistency has helped him cement himself as one of the more reliable interior players in the class.
Other notable players
- Cincinnati LB Ivan Pace Jr. and Washington State LB Daiyan Henley continued to make their cases as the most impressive linebackers at the Senior Bowl, for either team.
- In a QB group that has been pretty lackluster, to say the least, Fresno State QB Jake Haener has definitely been the most consistent.
Wide receivers, tight ends, and running backs
- Tulane RB Tyjae Spears continued to wow the crowd with some terrific routes in 1-on-1s and explosive runs in team sessions. He’s the biggest winner of the running back group.
- Oregon State TE Luke Musgrave had another good day as a receiver, notching several difficult grabs and showing off his deep speed on a long touchdown.
- Iowa State WR Xavier Hutchinson was arguably the most impressive of the receivers on Thursday, with some nice route-running and a number of difficult catches in traffic. He’s definitely established himself as one of the best receivers at the Senior Bowl.
- SMU WR Rashee Rice also continued his strong week with a very good Thursday practice. He’s a more electric athlete than Hutchinson and probably has the higher ceiling as a result.
- Virginia WR Don’tayvion Wicks turned in a good day as well. While Wicks has never been the best receiver on any given day, he’s made every one of these recap articles and is clearly one of the most consistently effective receivers on a stacked American roster.
Virginia WR Don'tayvion Wicks draws the hold AND makes the catch working against LSU safety Jay Ward. #SeniorBowl pic.twitter.com/YcwZ8wl6uI— Kevin Knight (@FalcoholicKevin) February 2, 2023
- Ole Miss WR Jonathan Mingo is not someone I watched at all prior to the Senior Bowl, but he stood out once again with his combination of quick feet and physicality at the catch point.
- The biggest overall winner from the offensive line on Thursday, Syracuse OT Matthew Bergeron had a tremendous practice after turning in two solid performances earlier in the week. Bergeron blocked everyone effectively and had a few “wow” moments as a run blocker in team sessions.
- Minnesota C John Michael Schmitz has clearly emerged as the best offensive lineman in Mobile, especially after Dawand Jones’ exit. Schmitz is head-and-shoulders above the other centers, both in terms of play and attitude. He’s an obvious leader and just a really fun player to watch.
- Oklahoma OL Wanya Morris bounced back after a couple of difficult days to start the week. He looked much more comfortable playing at tackle and generally held his own against the top edge rushers.
- TCU OL Steve Avila got a lot of work at guard on Thursday and acquitted himself well. His size makes him a more traditional fit for that position and he took to it very quickly.
- Alabama OL Emil Ekiyor Jr. continued to get work at center and was impressive. His versatility could be big for his draft stock.
- Iowa State EDGE Will McDonald IV has been the biggest winner from the edge rushers at Mobile, and continued that trend with another good day on Thursday. He’s explosive, bendy, and uses his hands well. His draft stock has definitely gone up.
- TCU EDGE Dylan Horton has played a versatile role here in Mobile as an inside/outside player. He’s been good in both spots and made plays both as a run defender and pass rusher.
- Auburn EDGE Derick Hall continues to prove why he’s got first-round hype, with a sack and a TFL in the team session.
- South Carolina DT Zacch Pickens followed up a good day on Wednesday with a really flashy practice today. After a quiet start, Pickens has emerged as one of the more dynamic interior players at the Senior Bowl.
- Oklahoma DL Jalen Redmond had a quiet Wednesday after a remarkable start to the week, but bounced back with another good practice today. Redmond is a dynamic player on the interior who gave everyone not named John Michael Schmitz fits.
- Virginia CB Anthony Johnson was a bigger winner from Thursday’s practice. Johnson had a solid if unspectacular start to the week, but finished strong with a sticky day in coverage. He had multiple PBUs and acquitted himself very well against a talented WR group.
- South Carolina CB Darius Rush bounced back from a tough opening day to establish himself as one of the better corners in Mobile. He notched multiple picks on Thursday and timed out as the fastest player at the Senior Bowl at nearly 22 MPH.
- FSU safety Jammie Robinson had a quieter day after a breakout Wednesday, but remains the best safety on the American team. He also got a lot of work returning punts throughout practice.
- Kansas State CB Julius Brents was up-and-down, but his flashes are really encouraging and you have to love his blend of size and athleticism.
Other notable players
- Jackson State LB Aubrey Miller Jr. made a few plays today to stand out in what has been a quiet group outside of Dee Winters.
- Oklahoma TE/FB Brayden Willis is a unique prospect who has gotten a lot of work at TE this week. You can tell he’s still adjusting to the role, but Willis is intriguing as a potential late round/UDFA TE/FB hybrid.
- While the QB group as a whole has been very inconsistent, QBs Max Duggan and Tyson Bagent were clearly the better of the three on Thursday. Bagent might be the most intriguing of all of them due to his upside.
That’s all for our final recap! Stay tuned for my overall Senior Bowl takeaways column over the next few days, and check my Twitter for the latest practice clips @FalcoholicKevin.