MOBILE – The Senior Bowl practices have concluded in Mobile, and the only thing left for the players to do is strap it up on Saturday and play the game.
The key part of the week for NFL talent evaluators were the three days of practices and player interviews.
So who stood out during practice this week? Here are 10 who caught my eye:
1. Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
It was a good group of quarterbacks down at the Senior Bowl, led by the Heisman Trophy finalist Jones. There were a group of six quarterbacks here in Mobile vying to be the fourth or fifth quarterback taken in the draft, and then assert themselves in the pecking order after that. Jones showed off terrific poise and accuracy, and was probably the most consistent of the bunch throughout the three days of practice.
2. Quinn Meinerz, G/C, Wisconsin Whitewater
The Senior Bowl is a great opportunity for small-school players like Meinerz to show NFL talent evaluators they can play with anyone. Meinerz didn't look out of place at all. In fact, he was one of the more consistent interior linemen all week. He was strong in pass-rush drills and a road grader in team run drills.
3. Richie Grant, S, UCF
Grant has 10 interceptions and five forced fumbles over the last three seasons, and he showed off some of that ball hawking this week. He showed some cornerback-like cover skills in one on ones and found the ball a couple times in team drills too. He recorded a couple interceptions in team drills this week. He might even be able to play some nickel in the NFL, that's how good he was this week.
4. Carlos Basham Jr., edge rusher, Wake Forest
Basham got an opportunity to face single blocking all week – something he didn't see a whole lot of this season – and the versatile pass rusher took advantage of it. He's got a good blend of speed, power and quickness, and played up and down the line of scrimmage this week with a lot of success.
5. D'Wayne Eskridge, WR, Western Michigan
The Western Michigan University product stood out the first two days before sitting out Thursday's practice for undisclosed reasons. He's only 5-foot-9 and 188 pounds, but his speed and quickness really jump out. He'll likely run the 40 in the 4.3 range whenever he tests pre-draft, and that speed really carries over to the field. He was consistently gaining separation in one-on-one and team drills.
6. Dillon Radunz, T, North Dakota State
Another small-school guy who did well for himself this week. He measured in at 6-foot-5 and 304 pounds, and was an anchor on the outside most of the week. A few speed rushers gave him problems here and there, but that technique can be cleaned up. He was never overpowered and was really stout all week.
7. John Bates, TE, Boise State
Every time I looked up during the National Team practice I spotted Bates making a big play. He was a security blanket over the middle for the National Team quarterbacks, and he made big catch after big catch in all three practices. He's a big target at 6-foot-5, 259 pounds, but is a really clean route runner with good hands. I bet if there was a chart for most receptions in team drills this week, Bates would be high on that list.
8. Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
Toney may have crept his way into the first round of the draft with his performance this week. He's a slippery slot receiver who showed speed and elusiveness. He's another guy expected to run in the 4.3-range. Like Eskridge, that speed transferred to the field this week.
9. Quincy Roche, Edge rusher, Miami
Underclassman teammate Gregory Rousseau gets all the headlines out of Miami, but Roche did a really good job this week putting himself on the radar of NFL teams. He's got terrific speed and quickness at 6-foot-2 and 243 pounds, and found himself in the backfield a lot this week both in one on ones and team periods. Some will question his size, but Roche got results and was in my notes from all three days of practice.
10. Jabril Cox, LB, LSU
I thought Cox was pretty good in coverage drills and was a handful for the running backs and fullbacks in pass protection drills. Cox has a nice combination of size (6-2, 233) and speed, and he plays well in space. He recorded three interceptions and defended five passes for the Tigers this past season. That part of his game really stood out this week.