MOBILE, Ala. — As Senior Bowl Director Jim Nagy says, the draft starts in Mobile. The Senior Bowl got off to a start on Tuesday as the National and American teams had their first day of practice. Some star, highly sought after players took the field while others were looking to prove themselves. Who are the losers and winners of Day 1?
Winner: Creed Humphrey
One of the biggest, if not the biggest winner of the day was Oklahoma’s, Creed Humphrey. Vying for the top center spot in the 2021 NFL Draft, Humphrey put on a show on Tuesday. In one-on-ones, Humphrey stonewalled everyone he faced on the day. Top defensive lineman Levi Onwuzurike was forced completely into the left guard after Humphrey overpowered him. It was a dominant performance. In the team session, Humphrey executed excellent reach blocks and appeared comfortable moving laterally. He is not the best athlete, but it certainly seems he is more than functionally fine. Humphrey will make some team happy once drafted, and it could be Pittsburgh.
Loser: Alex Leatherwood
Leatherwood is a tough evaluation. There were some obvious issues that would plague him regardless. A good weigh-in showing that Leatherwood had 34-inch arms meant that length was not an issue. However, in one-on-ones, Leatherwood was beaten multiple times. He was lunging forward, got ran through due to high pad level, and his hand usage was erratic and inconsistent. Leatherwood appeared stiff in his lower half, which was always shown on tape. The point is he looked more like a guard than a tackle on Tuesday. That will be a discussion to revisit this entire draft season, and today only fueled those flames.
Winner: Dillon Radunz
The North Dakota State tackle only played one game over the past year, but there was no rust on Tuesday. Radunz appeared to be right where he belongs. Strong hands, nimble feet, and smooth movement in the open were all on display in both the one-on-ones and the team session. Radunz cleared out an entire side on a zone run in the team session. In one-on-ones, Radunz stymied most of his opponents’ thanks to his athleticism and patience. After his hype had cooled off during the fall, he is doing a nice job to raise it once again.
Loser: Deonte Brown
Another surprise, Brown appeared overpowered and unsure of himself all day. Brown’s anchor was inconsistent and he played with poor pad level in the entire one-on-one period. There were flashes on tape where he could get stunned, but never anything that substantial as it was on Tuesday. That being said, his tape at Alabama was impressive and he was learning center from former teammate Landon Dickerson. There are some positives for Brown, but he will want to improve throughout the week.
Winner: Demetric Felton
Perhaps the most impressive running back on the day, Felton’s versatility was on full display to scouts on Tuesday. He burned Tre Norwood on a corner route twice with crisp routes and releases. It was showcasing a running back with slot receiver skills could burn even experienced defensive backs. Felton’s stock and buzz are only growing as he continues to prove his value to teams in the modern NFL.
Loser: Robert Rochell
Jumping up to compete against the best senior receivers the country had to offer, Rochell did not stand out in a good way on Tuesday. In one-on-ones, he was repeatedly beaten to the inside with an inconsistent trigger and a lack of eye discipline. Rochell seemed to be lost and never felt comfortable in the drills against the receivers. It led to Rochell having a down day and appearing as if he did not belong despite good measurables and obvious great athletic traits on film. In order to increase his stock, Rochell must be better during the rest of the week.
Winner: D’Wayne Eskridge
A quick, twitchy slot receiver, the cornerbacks had no answer for D’Wayne Eskridge today. While there were other receivers that did put on a show in the one-on-ones, it is hard to argue that Eskridge had a bad day. In fact, Eskridge was repeatedly running crisp routes and beating guys off the line with releases easily. His diamond release and hand-fighting with Camryn Bynum to open up on a slant were impressive. Eskridge put his skill set on display and could be a Day 2 pick when all is said and done.
Loser: Shawn Davis
The Florida safety was coming into Mobile and trying to prove himself and his pedigree but was repeatedly beaten in coverage all day. In one-on-ones, Davis looked uncomfortable and clunky when trying to transition and flip his hips. In 7-on-7s, Davis did not appear to process route combinations well enough to make significant plays on the ball. It all culminated in a mediocre and underwhelming performance for Davis on the day.
Winner: Jaylon Moore
The other Western Michigan player at the Senior Bowl proved he was worthy of far more buzz than he came into the Senior Bowl with. Moore, who flew under the radar, appeared athletic and polished against anyone and everyone he faced on Tuesday. Moore was natural in his pass sets and his hand placement barricaded anyone in one-on-ones that tried to beat him in any significant manner. With a strong week from here on out, Moore can raise his stock significantly.
Loser: Spencer Brown
Brown came into the Senior Bowl with a bastion of hype thanks to intriguing tape and athleticism at Northern Iowa. It was impressive tape that genuinely deserves lots of buzz and attention. However, Brown’s first day in Mobile was one to forget for the offensive tackle. Brown was consistently oversetting to the outside and being beaten to the inside. Furthermore, he seemed to not be able to anchor down and handle bull rushes consistently. If he wants to get into the Day 2 conversation, Brown must improve over the rest of the week.
Winner: Patrick Jones
One of the most athletically gifted edge rushers in Mobile, Patrick Jones proved that pedigree and hype on Tuesday. Despite some defeats, Jones consistently showed multiple methods of victory including speed rush, a club-rip back to the inside, and even a successful bull rush. Jones will skyrocket his stock with a good week in Mobile and good testing, and Tuesday was a strong start to that.
Alan Saunders of Steelers Now provided reporting from Mobile.