Day Two Experience
Day two went a lot better for both the teams and the spectators. Tuesday was one of the warmest practices in Senior Bowl history with some of the strongest sun I have seen in late January. The number of farmers and sunglass tans walking around Wednesday was almost laughable. The weather was a brisk 55 and helped elevate the play on the field and the viewing experience.
The weather wasn’t the only thing that elevated the level of play on Day Two. During media availability, I got to talk to Patrick Graham, Raiders’ defensive coordinator and National Team head coach. He expressed that his message to his players after Day One was to calm down. Graham said nerves were at an all-time high for both squads, which was affecting the level of play on the field. He reminded them that they were all chosen to be here for a reason and that is that they are all great players. He told them to relax and forget about everything; at the end of the day, it’s just football.
This speech resonated with the teams as we saw some of our best football yet on Wednesday. The quarterbacks weren’t afraid to sling it and push the ball down the field. This led to a much better evaluation of both the wide receivers and the defensive backs. And let me tell you, the wide receivers have their work cut out because this is a very talented group of defensive backs.
On day one I spent most of my time observing the running back group so on Wednesday I made an effort to pay specific attention to the wide receivers and tight ends. By sitting higher in the stands, I got a better feel for this group. My first thought is that the superb corners and some subpar quarterback play are hurting these players. Like everything in player evaluation, context does matter. Let’s look at some players that stood out on Day Two of Senior Bowl practices.
Jayden Reed, WR, Michigan State
One player making money here in Mobile is Michigan State wide receiver, Jayden Reed. He consistently won in one-on-ones yesterday and pulled in several impressive catches. He has a great first step and can gain separation within the first three yards of his route. This skill catches the scouts’ eyes as he can fit any offense in the league. A player I look forward to breaking down more of when I get home.
Michael Wilson, WR, Stanford
One of the two Stanford wide receivers impressed on Wednesday’s practice. Michael Wilson, just like Jayden Reed, consistently gained separation in the one-on-one drills with only a few steps. Measuring in at 6’2” he is also one of the bigger receivers here. He mentioned in interviews that he is aware that Pac-12 schools don’t get a lot of views due to the late start times of their games, but he was excited when he received his invite to get his skills in front of a larger audience.
Luke Musgrave, TE, Oregon State
Oregon State tight end Luke Musgrave has been dealing with a knee injury that kept him out since the Fresno State in September last season. I talked to him at media availability Wednesday morning and asked about the rehab process and how it’s been coming along. He expressed that he has been working hard on rehab, but it was a tough road. Musgrave also admitted that he didn’t feel 100% on Day One of practice but looked 100% on Day Two. He told me that the best way to get into football shape is by playing football and he looked back in shape. Luke had several highly contested catches in traffic during the two-minute drill.
News & Notes
Several players who were in Mobile for Day One weren’t here for Day Two of practice. Roschon Johnson, unfortunately, broke his hand on Day One at practice. He battled through the injury to finish the day, which I am sure the coaches appreciated. His week in Mobile is done, but he should be ready for the combine. In his stay, Texas Tech running back SaRodrick Thompson Jr was flown in at the last second to complete that running back group.
BYU WR Puka Nacua was another notable name that wasn’t on the field for Day Two. I have searched far and wide and still can’t find any information. The only two possible scenarios are that he was injured or received word from a team that he was being drafted highly. Based on his play Day One, I would not be surprised if it was the latter.
I’m reporting live all week from the Senior Bowl! Want exclusive access to my rookie rankings and those of over twenty fellow analysts? Subscribe to the #NerdHerd, where you get exclusive content, dynasty/rookie rankings, and DynastyGM! If you want 15% off ANY SUBSCRIPTION, USE PROMO CODE “LUNA” or CLICK HERE.
I hope you enjoyed this piece in our Draft Nerds series. Be sure to check back often, as we will cover all 32 NFL franchises. For more content like this, follow me on Twitter @DanT_NFL. DMs are always open for questions, comments, or craft beer recommendations!