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TWENTYMAN: Senior Bowl Day 1 observations

QB first look: I thought Pittsburgh QB Kenny Pickett (National Team) was the best performing quarterback from either team Tuesday. Pickett, who is projected to be a mid to late first-round pick, looked really comfortable running the offense, and I thought he was the most consistently on point throughout the course of the two-hour practices Day 1 between the six quarterbacks down here.

I thought it was a tough day for Cincinnati signal caller Desmond Ridder of the National Team Day 1. He dropped a couple snaps and was inaccurate in a number of throws in one-on-one and team drills.

View photos of the Lions arrival at the 2022 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.

Getting after the QB: I'll spend more time Wednesday watching the offensive linemen, but Tuesday I focused on the guys getting after the quarterback. Here are three defensive linemen who stuck out to me from each practice.

National Team:

  • Dominique Robinson (Miami-Ohio): Number of pass-rush moves with a really nice spin move in one-on-ones. Blew up two consecutive plays in a 7-on-7 period.
  • Otito Ogbonnia (UCLA): Power, Power and power. He was a handful on the bull rush in one-on-ones.
  • Arnold Ebiketie (Penn State): Really nice get-off with some twitch and good speed off the edge. Forced a fumble and disrupted a number of other plays in team drills.

American Team:

  • Jermaine Johnson II (Florida State): Showed off his power with some bull rushes, but also had a terrific spin move in one-on-ones.
  • Devonte Wyatt (Georgia): Really uses his leverage and strength well. Also has terrific quickness for an interior guy his size.
  • DeAngelo Malone (Western Kentucky): If teams are looking for speed off the edge, he has plenty of it.

All about competition: The Lions and the American Team ended practice with a competitive one-on-one pass-rush drill between Johnson and Kentucky tackle Darian Kinnard with Duce Staley as the judge. After each player won a rep, Staley gave the third rep to Kinnard, and the defense had to do 50 pushups. Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn said after practice he didn't agree with the winner, and jokingly thought Staley skewed it in favor of the offense. We'll see what Wednesday's competition brings.

Early absence: San Diego State edge rusher Cameron Thomas walked off the field early in the American Team practice with a Lions trainer. It wasn't clear if Thomas was dealing with an injury or not, but he did not return to the practice in pads. He's considered one of the better pass rushers down here in Mobile.

Red means stop: The defensive linemen were a little juiced up to compete at the National Team practice, and the red jersey the quarterbacks wear wasn't going to get in their way. On two separate occasions defensive linemen contacted the quarterback and put him on the ground in a team period. The Jets coaching staff was not happy and quickly had to tone down the aggressiveness upfront by the defense.

Brain trust: Lions head coach Dan Campbell and general manager Brad Holmes spent a portion of the American Team practice stationed right in the center of the field at the 45-yard line taking in the action while chatting and sharing a few laughs. Holmes said after the season that his department is in a much better spot at this point in the offseason than they were a year ago. It's a big offseason for Holmes and Campbell to improve on last year.

Speed kills: Memphis wide receiver Calvin Austin III isn't very big at 5-foot-7 and 173 pounds, but boy does his speed translate to the field. He blew by a couple defenders in one-on-one drills with the defensive backs, and he looks to have another gear not many pass catchers down here have.

Preparing for practice: It's always interesting to see how the two coaching staffs conduct their respective two-hour time slots. The Jets opened practice with a long individual portion of practice. The Lions went through a helmet-less walkthrough for the first 15 minutes before doing a special teams period, stretching and getting into individuals.

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