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January 24, 2017

Senior Bowl practice notes: Day 1

Eagles NFL

The Senior Bowl is here once again and, as always, it kicked off in the morning of Day 1 with the weigh-in, which is the most disturbing event of the calendar year, in which 100-plus prospects get measured on a stage in front of a few hundred scouts, front office personnel, and media, who critique their bodies.

Every year at the weigh-in, Senior Bowl head honcho Phil Savage reads off a list of players who were invited but did not attend

Players who received invites, but declined to compete:

  1. Jonathan Allen, DT, Alabama
  2. Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
  3. Pat Elflein, OG, Ohio State
  4. Wayne Gallman, RB, Clemson
  5. Kevin King, CB, Washington
  6. Jordan Leggett, TE, Clemson
  7. Cordrea Tankersley, CB, Clemson
  8. Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
  9. Dede Westbrook, WR, Oklahoma
  10. Mike Williams, WR, Clemson

That group, of course, includes six players who went to the National Championship Game, most of whom are highly likely to be high picks. Almost every one of the above players could reasonably draw legitimate interest from the Eagles. It's a bummer they're not here.

Players who are not competing due to injury:

  1. Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado
  2. Kendall Beckwith, LB, LSU
  3. Jake Butt, TE, Michigan
  4. Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
  5. Jarred Davis, LB, Florida
  6. Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
  7. Josh Harvey-Clemons, S, Louisville
  8. Cole Hikutini, TE, Louisville
  9. Bucky Hodges, TE, Virginia Tech
  10. Dorian Johnson, OG, Pittsburgh
  11. Takkarist McKinley, DE, UCLA
  12. DeMarcus Walker, DE, Florida State
  13. Tim Williams, DE, Alabama

This group contains a number of really good players, many of whom are more likely "injured," as opposed to being injured if you catch my drift.

Legitimately injured, but showed up to be interviewed by teams:

  1. Eddie Jackson, S, Alabama
  2. Chad Kelly, QB, Ole Miss
  3. Marcus Maye, S, Florida
  4. Seth Russell, QB, Baylor

Practice notes

• The biggest standout of the day was probably Alabama TE O.J. Howard, who made multiple one-handed grabs, made catches all over the field, and showed impressive ability to get yards after the catch. The Eagles could certainly draft a tight end, but Howard feels like a long shot, as he could be a first-round pick, and I can't see the Eagles taking a tight end in the first round.

• One player who got good reviews from other observers today was Western Kentucky OT/OG Forrest Lamp. I didn't see it, and came away disappointed. While Lamp had an outstanding game this season against Alabama's excellent front seven, he did not have a "first round pick" type of day against top-level competition on the first day of Senior Bowl practices. On one occasion, Villanova DE Tanoh Kpassagnon flung Lamp to the ground, drawing oohs and ahhs from the crowd. On another rep, UCLA DT Eddie Vanderdoes beat Lamp with a quick move (as opposed to a bull rush). Vanderdoes is not considered to be quicker DT, which raises concerns.

Lamp was listed as the 16th best prospect in the 2017 NFL Draft by NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah. Back in 2014 at the Senior Bowl, one of the best prospects I've ever seen in person (and easily the best that year) was Rams standout DT Aaron Donald. The only player who had a prayer of blocking him that year was Dallas Cowboys All-Pro Zack Martin, who was drafted 16th overall. Lamp had his good moments today too, but I didn't see anything close to "2014 Senior Bowl Zack Martin" out of him. Lamp may have earned that ranking from Jeremiah on film, but he'll have to have a better showing as the week progresses to prove that he's worthy of a first-round pick.

• The most likely player to be drafted by the Eagles in the first round at the Senior Bowl this year is CB Tre'Davious White of LSU. Today, White jumped a comeback route for a pick. Later, he got juked by Western Kentucky WR Taywan Taylor.

• We mentioned Kpassagnon already, who had a good day overall, as did Texas A&M DE Daeshon Hall, who sports a 6'5, 265 frame that is likely to appeal to Jim Schwartz. Hall smoked Mississippi State OT Chase Senior on a nasty spin move during one-on-ones. Hall also got the best of highly regarded OT Antonio Garcia, and the two players exchanged punches at one point. On another rep, Hall beat Lamp, and Lamp had to tackle Hall to keep him from getting the quarterback. Hall made noise (and money) today.

• Michigan RB De'Veon Smith is thought of as a very good blocker in pass protection, and he showed it today.

• One player who struggled initially in pass pro drills was Toledo RB Kareem Hunt, but he got better in that regard in 11-on-11's. On one rep, Temple LB Haason Reddick had a free run at the quarterback, but as Hunt was leaking out into the flat as a receiver, he changed course and decked Reddick, giving the quarterback more time to throw.

Hunt had a great day as a receiver, snatching the ball away from his body effortlessly while on the run and even making a one-handed grab. I'm not always a fan of Pro Football Focus' subjectivity, but they handed out booklets with some interesting stats during today's weigh-in. PFF has Hunt down for a grand total of zero drops on 41 receptions this season. He would be an outstanding fit for the Eagles.

• East Carolina WR Zay Jones put up ridiculous numbers this season, catching 158 passes for 1746 yards and 8 TDs. Jones showed great speed on an end-around. Jones is the brother of Cayleb Jones, who was an undrafted free agent in Eagles camp last year. I can say with a very high level of confidence that Zay > Cayleb.

• Eastern Washington WR Cooper Kupp has the same agent as Carson Wentz.

And here's a picture of said shirt:

Kupp had a good day today catching the football after an early drop.

• I thought the Chicago Bears ran a crap practice. It was slow, with long periods of no activity.

Players Eagles scouts spoke with after practice

Eagles scouts spoke with five players after practice:

  1. Tanoh Kpassagnon, DE, Villanova
  2. Dawuane Smoot, DE, Illinois
  3. Derek Rivers, DE, Youngstown State
  4. Ethan Pocic, C, LSU
  5. Matthew Dayes, RB, NC State

For more analysis of those five players, we wrote about them here.


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