With the East West Shrine Game firmly planted in the rear view mirror, it’s on to Mobile, Alabama and the 2019 Senior Bowl!
This game is the only one left standing between us and the NFL Scouting Combine at the end of February.
The players met with the media and teams for the first time, and on Tuesday they hit the practice fields to put some film down for scouts and other personnel in attendance.
Let’s check out some of the highlights.
The @seniorbowl South team QBs (@GardnerMinshew5, @willgrier_,, and Tyree Jackson) working on snaps from under-center this afternoon in player’s lounge in preparation for tomorrow’s first practice. #seniorbowl pic.twitter.com/9oZnZF6fnC— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) January 22, 2019
Have you ever had to sit in a meeting, to prepare for another meeting? Not a presentation. But a meeting. Literally, the pre-meeting meeting. It’s fun, if you’ve never done it.
Well, apparently at least a few players see the benefits, and before they hit the practice field, some of them hit the practice....lounge?
No time is better than the present and as Jim Nagy (Executive Director of the Reese’s Senior Bowl) shared on his twitter feed, some of the South Team quarterback’s were wasting no time getting comfortable for the week ahead.
Gardner Minshew II, from Washington State was a graduate transfer who joined the Cougars after graduating in 2017 from East Carolina.
In his one season with Washington State, Minshew was the winner of the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and was nominated for the Walter Camp Player of the Year, Davey O’Brien and Maxwell Awards.
He threw and completed more passes in one year with the Cougars than he had in two-years combined at East Carolina. His 4,776-yards passing are a school and PAC-12 Conference record for a single-season, as are his completions (468).
Will Grier has been a quarterback of interest for some time now, and news he met with Raider’s head coach Jon Gruden on Tuesday will only heighten his exposure.
Grier started his career in Florida before leaving the Gators to join the Mountaineers in 2016. Due to eligibility rules for transfer students, he couldn’t suit up until 2017, but once he did he held his own pretty well.
Being named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and landing as a semifinalist for the Davey O’Brien Award is a pretty good start to a career. Finishing as a Maxwell Award and Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award Finalist - oh, and fourth in Heisman voting, is pretty solid.
He won’t be this year’s Jared Goff, and he likely won’t be called until the third round of this year’s selection meeting. But when he steps on the playing field in Mobile this weekend, people will be paying attention.
Tyree Jackson will be the quarterback who is about as tall as Brock Osweiler only with much better arm strength and athleticism.
He hails from Michigan and played collegiately for the Buffalo Bulls. He finished his career with the Bulls third all-time in passing yards, but first among the school’s quarterbacks in yards per attempt among those who threw at least 900 passes. He also finished second all-time among quarterbacks with 65 career touchdowns; sixteen of them rushing.
Benjamin Solak of The Draft Network has called Jackson a, “dark-horse candidate..” in this year’s draft class. Solak believes if any quarterback is going to shake up the group, it’s this one.
Keep an eye out for him as the practices continue, and you won’t be able to miss him when the game gets going this weekend.
Top 5 Fastest Players Today for South:— Reese's Senior Bowl (@seniorbowl) January 22, 2019
Isaiah Johnson (DB) - 21.7
Gary Jennings (WR) - 21.5
Deebo Samuel (WR) - 21.1
Travis Fulgham (WR) - 20.5
Rock Ya-Sin (DB) - 20.3
Yes, it’s cliché, but for a reason. Speed kills. Everyone wants it, but only some have it. And not all of those who have it know how to put it together with ball skills and other factors which go into having successful NFL careers.
However, before you can be a successful speed guy in the league, you have to be a speed guy.
These five were them in Mobile on Tuesday, and it’s no surprise they come from the defensive back and wide receiver position groups.
Isaiah Johnson - not the Buccaneers’ Isaiah Johnson, but Houston’s - tops my list of interesting players here. And I’m not alone.
He’s fast, tall and has long arms. He has the ability to play physical defense, and like a lot of players with solid athleticism he tends to rely on it a bit too much.
It’ll be interesting to see just how much the coaches get out of him this week and weekend. Johnson is currently projected as a fourth or fifth rounder by TDN. You can check out his profile, here.
BEST BUCS DOPPLEGANGER
WR @adamhumphries13 er... Hunter Renfrow out of @ClemsonFB fielding punts at South practice.— Carmen Vitali (@CarmieV) January 22, 2019
Got a chance to talk to him today and he and Hump are even more similar in person. Should be a very productive slot player at the NFL level, too. pic.twitter.com/XJvQZ9HEL6
Carmen Vitali might have gotten a little mixed up when she saw Hunter Renfrow fielding punts for the South Team on Tuesday.
Not only is Renfrow sporting the same orange colors Humphries did during his collegiate days at Clemson, he’s also built very similarly.
Humphries is a shade taller and a little bit heavier, but not by much.
Like the Buccaneers’ fan-favorite receiver, and second on the team in receptions in 2018, Renfrow figures to spend most of his time in the slot or on special teams.
Considering Humphries is a free-agent this off-season, and is likely to garner some attention from other teams around the league, it may come necessary for Jason Licht to find his squad a new slot guy.
Fans would be disappointed to see Humphries leave of course, but just like they fell in love with him as an undrafted free-agent, they could find love again with this late round Clemson product as well.
Oh Montez is *strong* strong pic.twitter.com/fHywgGKCkC— The Draft Network (@DraftNetworkLLC) January 22, 2019
I literally said those words when I saw this clip.
If Montez Sweat wasn’t on your radar coming into Senior Bowl practices, this should place him squarely on there.
Safe to say Tytus Howard of Alabama State is very happy there isn’t just one day of practices leading up to this game. Although, despite the fact a lot of people are going to remember this video, Howard reportedly had a fairly solid day, overall.
In the golden age of social media, one clip or tweet can get a person noticed for the right and wrong reasons quickly. Safe to say, this one is for the right reasons if you’re Sweat.
We’ll be keeping our eyes on him as the week progresses. Tampa Bay’s current stock of edge rushers leaves something to be desired, even with double-digit sack star Jason Pierre-Paul on payroll.
However, if he continues to make noise, he may not be there for the Bucs in round two, as Trevor Sikkema’s most recent mock has him going 30th to the Los Angeles Rams.
Day two will bring more news and more highlights. Keep an eye on all of the twitter accounts featured here, and come back for more as we continue to keep our gaze pointed north to Mobile, and the 2019 Reese’s Senior Bowl!