Senior Bowl: Day 1 Observations – South Team

Defensive Backs Have a Day

Emory Hunt

Senior Bowl practices got underway Tuesday afternoon in Mobile, AL. It was an overcast day that turned rainy at parts during the South practice, so the field, and ball conditions were a factor as practice went on. But, that didn’t stop a lot of guys to make their presence felt during the 2-hour workout.

Secondary Stands Tall

During the WR/DB 1-on-1 period, the South team secondary balled out. Led by Temple Corner Rock Ya-Sin, the corners and safeties really did a great job frustrating the South receivers throughout the drill. Immediately you became impressed with the excellent footwork and press skills of many of the defenders. Ya-Sin, Kentucky’s Lonnie Johnson Jr., and Isaiah Johnson of Houston, really stood out in this capacity.

Jackson Working Through Changes

Tyree Jackson (Buffalo) was a late add to the game, as he declared later than most for the NFL Draft. Coming into this week, it was well known that this was a huge opportunity for him to showcase his skills and hopefully answer some questions about his game overall. He answered a big question during the media session earlier in the morning. Jackson brought up working with QB coach Jordan Palmer for his draft prep, and Palmer wanting him to focus on his lower body mechanics, which will help him improve his overall passing. Jackson stated that to expect his mechanics to be slower than normal during the week of work, as he’s working through changing, or emphasizing correct mechanics, to improve his accuracy and placement in the shorter-to-intermediate areas of his game.  I’d say the instant results were great as he had the best day of the South Team QBs throwing the football. Jackson was accurate, decisive and the placement was where it needed to be. Also, the benefit of having such large hands helped him out as the day went on and the weather started to deteriorate. It’s going to be interesting to see how he stacks good performances after one another, because if he can, then his stock will definitely soar after this week.

Mountaineers Show Up and Show Out 

I thought the collective group of West Virginia Mountaineers participating this week on the South squad had an impressive Day 1. QB Will Grier was able to show really good velocity on his passes. Wide receivers David Sills and Gary Jennings showcase excellent speed and acceleration. Both also were able to get past and stack defensive backs throughout the day. And tight end Trevon Wesco had a pretty solid day in 1-on-1s. I was impressed with his ability to work himself open. Defensively, LB David Long was impressive during team periods, taking proper, and aggressive angles to the football. So, needless to say, the boys from Morgantown came into Mobile on a mission.

Practice Standouts

WR – Deebo Samuel (6’0 210), South Carolina: Samuel was one of the only receivers to have sustained success throughout the day. He was also able to win vs Rock Ya-Sin, who was in the midst of pitching a shutout. What stood out yesterday about Samuel was his suddenness. That was my major takeaway. He was Jarvis Landry-like in that regard.

OT – Tytus Howard (6’6 311), Alabama State: Outside of one viral rep against Mississippi State’s Montez Sweat, Howard more than held his own throughout the day. During 1-on-1s, he was able to effectively handle bull rushes and speed rushers throughout the period. He has a powerful and patient punch, and move really well laterally for a bigger lineman.

RB – Ryquell Armstead (5’11 215), Temple: Armstead caught the ball well in 1-on-1s, and really showcased his value during the team periods. There’s no wasted movements when he gets the ball in his hands. When he sees it, he hits it at full speed.

DE – Jaylon Ferguson (6’5 252), Louisiana Tech: Ferguson plays a pro game in my opinion. I like how strong and stout he is at the point of attack. He has a good initial punch that puts him in a position of control often. He was excellent throughout the day.

TE – Josh Oliver (6’5 250), San Jose State: Oliver had the best day of the Tight Ends in my opinion. He caught virtually everything thrown his way, from many different platforms. We saw him catch the ball over his shoulder, falling away, outside of the framework of his body. Very impressive start to the week for Oliver.

Practice Highlights – Day 1

WRs/DBs 1-on-1s


OL/DL 1-on-1s


Day 1 South Team Takeaways

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