10 prospects who stood out on Day 3 of Senior Bowl practices
Here are 10 prospects who jumped out at our analysts during Day 3 of Senior Bowl practices, and how they graded out in our rankings and stats during the season:
1. Noah Spence, DE, Eastern Kentucky
He was probably the best player we saw in either practice on Thursday. It seemed as though any time there was a pass play during which the quarterback didn’t get rid of the ball almost immediately, Spence was in the backfield disrupting the play. As we wrote on Wednesday, we don’t have much data on Spence because he played for an FCS team in Eastern Kentucky, but he graded out well in his two games against FBS competition in NC State and Kentucky.
2. Jerell Adams, TE, South Carolina
This guy was making plays throughout Thursday’s practice, both in one-on-one drills and team drills. His teammates on the defensive side of the ball simply couldn’t cover him, and it was clear that the coaching staff was looking for ways to get him the ball — at one point, they ran a tight end screen for him. Don’t be surprised if he makes a lot of plays in the game on Saturday. The Gamecocks’ issues at quarterback limited his production in the passing game, but he still graded out very well as a run-blocker and his 10 forced missed tackles were evidence of his playmaking ability.
3. Carl Nassib, DE, Penn State
He looked very good in one-on-one pass-rush drills, beating guys to the outside with speed as well as with inside counter-moves. He has been very productive all week long, according to our practice grading, which backs up what we recorded from him during the season. No 4-3 defensive end in the country earned a higher pass-rush productivity score than Nassib, who recorded 53 quarterback pressures, including 16 sacks.
4. Maurice Canady, CB, Virginia
He was impressive during Thursday’s practice, showing well in press coverage and looking very much like a physical presence at the cornerback position at 6-foot-2, 195 pounds. He has earned the top grade among CBs during this week’s practices. However, that’s a departure from how he performed during the season, when he earned just four positive game grades all year and ranked toward the bottom of our season-long grades.
5. Cody Whitehair, G, Kansas State
One-on-one pass-rush drills are usually to the defender’s advantage, but that wasn’t the case Thursday for Whitehair. He held his own on every rep, even stoning pass-rushers on a few and leveling one with a pancake block. There’s some debate over whether he’s a tackle or a guard at the next level, after he graded out as our No. 1 tackle in 2015, but his best reps came as a guard on Thursday.
6. Jason Fanaika, DE, Utah
He performed very well during one-on-one pass-rush drills, with one ridiculous spin move to beat an offensive tackle and another strong pass rush around the edge. This week is important for him because while he graded out well for us, particularly as a rusher, he wasn’t nearly on the same level as the nation’s top 4-3 defensive ends, like Nassib, Joey Bosa, Emmanuel Ogbah and Shilique Calhoun. He also missed the most tackles among draft-eligible players at the position, with 15.
7. Braxton Miller, WR, Ohio State
For the second day in a row Miller really stood out in one-on-one drills versus defensive backs, with his overall quickness and explosiveness in and out of breaks on full display. He got open often during red-zone drills. He also displayed a lot of competitiveness and physicality. He limped off the field at one point with an apparent leg injury, so we’ll have to see if that keeps him out of practice Friday and the game Saturday.
8. Adolphus Washington, DT, Ohio State
Miller’s Buckeyes teammate also had a good showing on Thursday, displaying very good quickness and athleticism in beating blockers during one-on-one pass-rush drills. He earned the second-highest pass-rush grade in the nation last season among draft-eligible defensive tackles, having produced 48 quarterback pressures, including eight sacks. Fellow D-tackle Sheldon Day out of Notre Dame was very impressive as well, for the second day in a row.
9. Malcolm Mitchell, WR, Georgia
It just seemed as though Mitchell was quietly getting open on nearly every route he ran on Thursday, both in one-on-one and team drills. That reflected what he did on the field for the Bulldogs this season, despite having to deal with Georgia’s uneven quarterback play. He ranked 13th in our receiving grades among draft-eligible players. One other receiver from the South practice who stood out was Oklahoma’s Sterling Shepard, who consistently got open and beat his man.
10. Jordan Jenkins, OLB, Georgia
He split his time between pass-rush drills — in which he was very successful — and coverage drills with linebackers. The latter is an area in which he doesn’t have a ton of experience, having dropped into coverage just 27 times in 2015 at Georgia. He proved himself as an effective pass-rusher and run defender, however, ranking fifth among draft-eligible outside linebackers in PFF grades.