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MOBILE, Ala. — Ryan Poles and Ian Cunningham stood off to the side of one of the end zones to watch the offensive and defensive linemen participate during 1-on-1 drills on Tuesday.
The Bears’ general manager and assistant general manager had front row seats to watch Oregon center Jackson Powers-Johnson. On his first rep, Duke defensive lineman DeWayne Carter swiped Powers-Johnson’s left shoulder pad to initially get past him. It looked like Carter was about to win the rep, but then the Oregon center quickly recovered and put himself in a position bring the defensive lineman to the ground.
Powers-Johnson continued to dominate the period with two more wins in 1-on-1s and did so in front of a general manager and assistant general manager who are in need of adding a center to their team.
Powers-Johnson wasn’t the only player who stood out at Hancock Whitney Stadium for Day 1 of the Reese’s Senior Bowl practices.
Here are some of the top takeaways.
Two running backs shined
One of my favorite things about the Senior Bowl is learning about new players. It has happened every time I have come down to Mobile. After the first practice and I’m going to say this now before anyone else does, Marshall running back Rasheen Ali is “my guy.”
The 5-foot-11, 204-pound back stood out in 1 on 1s. Ali showed smooth route running and quick agility to beat linebackers in coverage. He ran a wheel route down the right sideline and beat Notre Dame linebacker JD Bertrand on the rep. He also had a nice run up the middle during the team period. Even though the players can’t tackle, he showed patience reading his blocks and burst to get a decent gain on the play.
Another running back who stood out was USC’s Marshawn Lloyd. Like Ali, he flashed during the 1 on 1s as a pass catcher. The 5-foot-9, 217-pound running back also showed his elusiveness when running between the tackles.
Towards the end of the National team practice, he lined up against Bertrand with the entire team watching and beat the Notre Dame linebacker on a vertical route in between the right hash and numbers.
- Michigan wide receiver Roman Wilson had himself a day. The 5-foot-10, 186-pound receiver consistently created separation down field from opposing defensive backs and it wasn’t just during 1 on 1s. In team, Wilson lined up in the slot and beat the nickel corner and caught a seam pass down the middle of the field. He’s someone I’ll be watching closely on Day 2.
- Florida wide receiver Ricky Pearsall also had an impressive first practice. He initially caught my eyes during the individual drills. He looked smooth working around the cones and that precise route running translated in the 1 on 1 and team period. He was able to catch a ball that was slightly behind him during 11 on 11s on a slant route. He also made a nice play downfield by swiping away a defender’s hands and then accelerating to create separation on a vertical route.
- Georgia wide receivers Ladd McConkey and Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint made some plays in the first practice. McConkey understands the nuances of route running. He consistently created separation and even turner a defensive back around on an out-breaking route. Rosemy-Jacksaint had some decent route running as well during 1 on 1s and caught a slant pass from South Carolina quarterback Spencer Rattler during the team period.
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