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Senior Bowl: Winners and Losers of Day 1

Who did and did not stand out on day 1 at the Senior Bowl.

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Practice John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The first day of practices here in Mobile have come and gone which means every single person in attendance has created their initial impressions of the player pool and will look to build upon their evaluations throughout the rest of the week.

There were some obvious stand-outs, but for every exceptional performance on Tuesday, there was also an equally abysmal performance by someone else.

With that being said, here are my “winners” and “losers” from the first practices at the 70th annual Reese’s Senior Bowl.


DE Montez Sweat

Sweat made himself a lot of money this week before ever having to stepped on the field at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Just by standing on stage and letting himself get weighed and measured, his expected draft stock crept up. When it was announced that Sweat was a true 6-foot-6 and 252 pounds, there was an audible reshuffling in the room as the entire auditorium awed at the physical phenom.

Using those lengthy 35 5/8th-inch arms, Sweat embarrassed multiple linemen with his incredibly-effective long-arm stab. The most impressive of them all being this rep against Alabama State tackle Tytus Howard.

If there was anyone in Mobile who was “as advertised”, it was Sweat. He loo, and played, all the way up to his lofty expectations.

DT Daylon Mack

The former five-star recruit out of Gladewater, Texas finally looks to have made things click this season after two underwhelming years at Texas A&M. At 6-foot-1 and 320 pounds, Mack looks like one of the purest nose tackles in this year’s draft.

In 1-on-1’s against the offensive line, Mack had his way with whomever happened to line up against him. His most unfortunate victim was Alabama center Ross Pierschbacher. In one specific rep, Mack marched Pierschbacher four yards back before putting the linemen on his hind end.

C Elgton Jenkins - Mississippi State

While many came into the Mobile with the impression that North Carolina State center Garrett Bradbury would be the runaway favorite for top center in this year’s draft, Jenkins’ performance on day 1 may have many double-checking their evaluations.

Jenkins showed outstanding power at the point of attack and usually looked like a man among boys during his 1-on-1 reps. He showed a stout anchor and usually used his strength to settle speedier rushers down without having to move his feet all that much.

At 6-foot-4 and 312 pounds, he has excellent size for the position and will likely continue to be one of the biggest risers through the rest of the week.


QB Will Grier - West Virginia

Grier came into this year’s Senior Bowl with all the confidence in the world. According to my good friend Mark Schofield, Grier said that he doesn’t understand all the preconceived notions that he has off-the-field issues or that his arm strength isn’t up to par with the rest of the quarterbacks. He quickly followed this up with the claim that he has the best arm of the group while maintaining that he is the top passer in this year’s draft.

If he wishes to make his claim a true one, he’s going to have to come out firing on all cylinders from here on out. Grier was consistently throwing passes behind his receivers, wide open or not.

It was also quite noticeable how uncomfortable he was under center. Hopefully the former-Mountaineer can reign in some of his passes and start walking the walk along his boisterous talk.

OG Dru Samia - Oklahoma

First impressions of Samia on day one were about as mixed as they come. Since yesterday’s practice, I have seen multiple statements regarding Samia as one of the better players from the first set of practices but I have to go in a different direction. I stayed mostly with the offensive linemen through practices and I didn’t see any player more frustrated with himself than Samia.

The 6-foot-5, 304-pound guard looked overwhelmed against most of the defenders he went up against, including Texas A&M’s Daylon Mack and Florida State’s Demarcus Christmas.

For a member of the country’s best offensive line unit, it was just an underwhelming day for a guy I held in high regards coming into this week.

CB Kris Boyd - Texas

Boyd made his presence known from the start practice, especially during 1-on-1’s where he displayed some physicality that isn’t normally expected in early drills. Early on, Boyd caused an incompletion on a crossing route, colliding with the receiver and sending him spinning into the turf. He celebrated with hand-clapping and some barking, to boot.

However, Boyd spent the rest of the day get exploited by some of the quicker receivers, specifically Ohio State’s Terry McLaurin who dusted Boyd on a go-route and caught a beautiful ball in the end zone by Missouri’s Drew Lock.

Boyd has one of the better reputations among the defensive backs here in Mobile. It would not be surprising to see even more scrutiny for the former-Longhorn if he doesn’t have a bounce-back performance in today’s session.