Day 2 Senior Bowl evaluations: South squad

While the defensive line dominated the offensive line, there was still some time for a few receivers to show some impressive skills at the South’s Senior Bowl practice on Wednesday. The Scout.com contingent in Mobile ranked and evaluated the Senior Bowl’s top players at each position Wednesday.

Quarterbacks
1. Bryan Bennett, Southeast Louisiana: Bennett was an addition to the South squad Wednesday because Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall made the move to cornerback. Bennett was one of the big surprises of the day. He throws with touch and velocity. He made nice reads and threw with accuracy on all his throws. He was hot for most of the day but did miss on some deep balls later in the day.

2. Garrett Grayson, Colorado State: Grayson had a better Wednesday than Tuesday. He’s the best pro prospect of this group. Grayson had the best pass of the day, making a beautiful seam throw between multiple defenders through a tight window, showcasing his arm strength. He threw with better touch and accuracy today but still missed on some throws. Grayson struggled when under duress in team drills.

3. Blake Sims, Alabama: Sims had an up and down day but did some nice things. He’s still at his best when on the move and throwing on the run. Sims can sense trouble and showed the athleticism to get out of trouble. He threw better on the shorter and intermediate routes once again and struggled throwing the long ball within the pocket.

Running backs
1. Jalston Fowler (FB), Alabama: After two days of practice, it’s obvious that Fowler has more burst and quickness in a larger body than one would expect from a fullback. He made a series of great plays in one-on-one passing drills, showing he can get out of breaks smoothly, create distance from the defender, and make the catch. Because he’s a physical player who isn’t shy about slamming into bodies, the open-field quickness speaks well for him. Fowler sure appears to be more than just a decent fullback. In his own words, Fowler would like to get his weight down to 250 pounds to play at his best, but he carries the current weight (264) well and has deceptive moves and quickness. He also displayed great hands out of the backfield and also versatility by taking some carries as a tailback, which he also did at Alabama.

2. David Johnson, Northern Iowa: When he goes out for a pass, look out. His break is so sharp, defenders can’t stay with him and he has exceptional hands, like that of a star wide receiver. On one play, he beat the defender so badly his need to extend to make a great catch still didn’t allow the defender time to catch him. Johnson is going to draw NFL interest.

3. Cameron Artis-Payne, Auburn: A couple decent jukes in traffic gave a glimpse of his ability to create, but he was also swallowed up at times by the defense, which outperformed the offense for much of practice. He put the ball on the ground once, too, after entering a scrum of defenders intent on the strip. There’s always the next day, but he didn’t dazzle on this one.

4. Connor Neighbors (FB), LSU: Defenders love matching him in one-on-ones because he doesn’t get consistent separation and the opposition can break up the pass plays. He’s slow out of his breaks, which suggests he’s a prototypical blocking fullback. He has yet to show he can do more than that.

Wide receivers
1. Sammie Coates, Auburn: Coates is blessed with good size, speed and athleticism. He made some nice grabs today, showing good ball skills and body control, especially near the sideline. Coates has deep speed and can really scoot with the ball in his hands. But he’s more than that and showed the ability to get off the line and into his route quickly. He works his way back to a pass and plucks the ball out of the air and away from his body.

2. Phillip Dorsett, Miami: For most of the practice session, it looked like Lockett would land at this spot but Dorsett got better and better as the day went on. He showed off his quickness at the line of scrimmage and into his breaks. Dorsett ran good routes and caught the ball very well. He had one of the top plays of the day on a long route, showing his speed and running under a well-thrown ball.

3. Tyler Lockett, Kansas: Lockett has had two solid days of practice here at the Senior Bowl. Like Dorsett, he’s a slot guy. Lockett is the better route runner of the two but not quite as quick and fast. He’s scrappy, tough and competes on every play, whether it’s blocking on the perimeter or fighting for a ball. Lockett also did some nice things after the catch Wednesday.

4. Dezmin Lewis, Central Arkansas: This small-school player really catches the ball well. He has vacuum-like hands and snatches the ball out of the air and away from his body. Lewis has good size at 6-foot-4 and good length. He’s not a burner but a long strider. It does take him time to get into his route. Lewis made a ridiculous one-handed grab on a sideline route in team.

5. Ranell Hall, UCF: Hall is another wide receiver that did better and better as the practice session progressed. He made some difficult grabs including a diving grab in one-on-one sessions. Hall looks like a good route runner with deep speed.

Tight ends
1. Clive Walford, Miami (Fla.): He turned one-on-one drills into a clinic on how to get open and make difficult catches. No defender could cover him Wednesday. He sped past any defender who tried to jam him. Twice he dove to make catches that drew applause from teammates and the crowd.

2. C.J. Uzomah, Auburn: He didn’t always get separation from defenders during drills and is not as quick out of breaks as Walford. At times, defenders were able to stop his momentum and disrupt pass plays. He did have a clean win off a cut inside and shook off the tackler after making the catch. There’s potential, but he’s a bit raw.

3. Devin Mahina, BYU: He sat out one-on-one drills for some reason, so he didn’t get a chance to show his skills until 11-on-11. Often times, he was just flaring out to the sideline and wasn’t part of plays. He had a clean win down the seam on one play, but the quarterback mistakenly tried a pass deeper down field to another target that fell incomplete. It was difficult to get a read on him this day.

Offensive Linemen
1. Ty Sambrailo, Colorado State: One of the higher ranked offensive line prospects in Mobile, the 6-5, 309-pounder showed off his versatility on Wednesday by taking reps at both left and right tackle during team drills. The four-year starter with the Rams said he felt more comfortable with the offense on the second day of practice.

2. La’El Collins, LSU: Wednesday wasn’t a good day for the South’s offensive linemen, but the perimeter guys fared better than their interior counterparts. A projected first-round pick, Collins played well and did a nice job on Markus Golden in one-on-one drills and pancaked Preston Smith in a run-blocking drill.

3. Shaq Mason, Georgia Tech: Mason will get a lot of attention in Mobile because he’s a run-blocking guard and measured in at 6-1½ and 310 pounds. The interior linemen struggled on Wednesday, but he’s still a player to watch this week.

4. Tre Jackson, Florida State: Another guard, Jackson has similarities to Mason but is bigger at 323 pounds. His experience as a three-year starter at right guard for the Seminoles should help his standing with NFL teams.

5. Daryl Williams, Oklahoma: He passes the eye test as a bookend tackle after measuring 6-5 and 334 pounds. He started at right tackle for all 13 of the Sooners’ games and was named All-Big 12 first-team by the league’s coaches.

Defensive Linemen
1. Gabe Wright, Auburn: We highlighted the Tigers’ defensive tackle after Tuesday’s practice and then he was even better on Wednesday. The 6-3, 299-pounder dominated in the trenches.

2. Grady Jarrett, Clemson: Jarrett was smaller than Wright when he measured on Tuesday morning — at a shade under 6-1 and 288 pounds — but just like Wright the defensive tackle gave the offensive linemen fits during Wednesday’s practice session.

3. Joey Mbu, Houston: Another defensive tackle, but bigger than Wright and Jarrett at 6-3 and 312 pounds, Mbu showed flashes on Wednesday that he deserves a long look from the scouts here in Mobile.

4. Markus Golden, Missouri: Golden had some struggles in one-on-one drills, including against Collins, but continued to make plays during the 11-on-11 team period. The defensive end could have had two sacks and a forced fumble in a span of a few snaps early on.

5. Trey Flowers, Arkansas: The defensive end garnered several accolades during his four years with the Razorbacks, including twice being selected to the All-SEC second team, and has done well here. He did a nice job of setting the edge in run-blocking drills.

Linebackers
(Note: Denzel Perryman (Miami) sat out with an injury)
1. Stephone Anthony, Clemson: Although he got beat deep in one-on-one drills and tried to grab hold to slow up his assignment, but he looked much better in team drills, showing good anticipation and great recognition on several plays. He hustles to the ball, can break up crossing routes and is ready to lay a hit in the deep zone.

2. Martrell Spaight, Arkansas: Although his change-of-direction looked a bit slow, he had quick feet in individual drills and showed he can sift through the traffic to get to the ball carrier in team drills.

3. Lynden Trail, Norfolk State: It will be interesting to see where he ends up at the next level given his 6-foot-6, 262-pound frame. He looks much more like a defensive end than a linebacker. While he struggled with catching the ball in individual drills and doesn’t have great speed because of his size, he can make up for some of that with his reach.

4. Lorenzo Mauldin, Louisville: While he is a stiff runner and a little slow with his feet, he has good wing span to break up passes and plays the ball nicely in zone coverage.

5. Amario Herrera, Georgia: He can turn and run in coverage, but he will sometimes lose position on his running back or tight and can lose his balance. He got sucked in on play-action a couple times.

Cornerbacks
(Note: JaCorey Shepherd (Kansas) was hurt and didn’t practice.)
1. D’Joun Smith, Florida Atlantic: Smith appeared determined several times to beat the wide receiver to the spot and was often successful. He has great speed and extends nicely to break up passes, like he did on one out route. He did get turned around in one-on-one situations at least once.

2. Imoan Claiborne, Northwestern State: He showed good speed and was quick to close on the ball once it was in the air, displaying good anticipation. He loves to hit and was very physical on Wednesday, but during individual drills he let the ball get into his body a couple times and dropped it.

3. Senquez Golson, Ole Miss: Speed kills and Golson has it. He closes on the ball quickly, can make up ground in a hurry and can change direction on a dime.

4. Ladarius Gunter, Miami: He showed good hands, but he did get beat deep.

5. Nick Marshall, Auburn: At times, the quarterback-turned-cornerback for the Senior Bowl shows promise with his understandably raw skills, but it’s clear his mind is swimming trying to make the rapid transition to the other side of the ball. He got beat and dropped balls twice.

Safeties
1. Clayton Geathers, UCF: He was solid in one-on-one drills, anticipates the breaks and has quick feet, but he didn’t always locate the ball even when he had good position. He can run with many of the receivers.

2. Anthony Jefferson, UCLA: He was good at playing the ball, but also dropped one in individual work, when it should be easiest to make the catch. Although he has quick feet, he can get flat-footed at times. He was playing both single high and in the box.

3. Cody Prewitt, Ole Miss: He was good in run support behind the line of scrimmage, but he got beat deep as a single-high safety and wasn’t quick enough to recognize in zone coverage.

4. Jaquiski Tartt, Samford: Looked indecisive during one-on-one drills and missed a jam during one-on-one work, but he can drop down to cover tight ends.

Scout.com’s Greg Arias, Chad Jensen, Nate Latsch, Jamie Newberg, Phillip B. Wilson and Tim Yotter contributed to this report.


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