It’s only fitting that Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith is in Mobile, Ala., this week for the Reese’s Senior Bowl. Smith is one of several top-tier wide receivers who are here to show the NFL coaches and scouts in attendance what they can bring to the table at the next level. Sure enough, the concentration of talent at the position is bringing out the best. Several receivers have stood in in the first two days of practice.
Wake Forest’s Sage Surratt is just one of the receivers that Mike Tannenbaum and others were impressed with. Surratt was one of four receivers the 33rd Team called out as Day 1 risers – along with Clemson’s Amari Rodgers, UAB’s Austin Watkins, and South Carolina’s Shi Smith.
Even more receivers drew some attention on Day 2. Tennessee’s Josh Palmer showed strong route-running ability, while Marquez Stevenson of Houston flashed great burst at the line of scrimmage.
National champs well represented
Alabama head coach Nick Saban was on hand, happy to see a bunch of his former players practicing in front of the NFL scouts.
And speaking of former Tide standouts, running back Najee Harris showed the NFL coaches and scouts on hand that he’s ready to be a factor in the passing game…
On the opposite end of the spectrum from the Alabama players is University of Wisconsin-Whitewater guard Quinn Meinerz. The 6-3, 320-pound D-3 player is making the most of his chance to compete with elite players. He impressed us the past two days with his motor – going 100% on every snap. Meinerz has shown flashes of power and leverage. Moreso, he has shown natural leadership on the field. Extremely impressive.
The need for speed
The Senior Bowl is a perfect opportunity for a player like Notre Dame receiver Ben Skowronek. The 6-3, 220-pound Northwestern transfer has already shown he has the size and ability to be a strong blocking receiver. This week is Skowronek’s chance to show he has some speed as well. If he can do that, he would prove to be a player that could get some early playing time with a team like Baltimore or Cleveland, switching from blocking at the line of scrimmage to making plays downfield.
As good as advertised
One player who doesn’t have a whole lot to prove this week is Wake Forest edge pass rusher Carlos Basham. Not surprisingly, Basham impressed from the get-go when practice began Tuesday. His high IQ, physical playing style, and ability to win 1-on-1 matchups will continue to show in the days to come.
UCF safety Grant on the rise
Draft guru Dane Brugler of The Athletic identified Central Florida safety Richie Grant as a player to watch this week, and we can see why. Grant brings the physicality on every rep. He is a former wide receiver who shows the ability to attack the ball and cover a lot of ground. Add his physicality to that, and you have a complete player.
UCLA’s Felton catching on
As if there weren’t already enough good receivers in Mobile this week, UCLA running back Demetric Felton is showing scounts he might be ready to make a position switch. Feltom is lining up as a WR this week in practice. He was previously listed at 200 pounds, but weighed in this week at 189. You can already see the slimmer frame impacting his explosiveness during his route running. Felton will likely be a slot WR at the next level.
Looking up for Uphoff
Illinois State safety Christian Uphoff could be a riser after these Senior Bowl practices. We were worried about his ability to hold up. He had been listed at 195, but he weighed in this week at 213 and looks extremely strong in and out of his cuts.
Caught on camera…
Texas A&M offensive linemen Carson Green and Dan Moore Jr. getting in some pre-practice warmups:
While Notre Dame offensive linemen Aaron Banks and Robert Hainsey put in the extra work after practice…