MOBILE, Ala. – Missing Bronco: Western Michigan cornerback/return man Darius Phillips was hoping to impress NFL evaluators with his versatility, playmaking ability and return prowess, but he won't get that opportunity after injuring his ankle Tuesday. Phillips intercepted 12 passes in three seasons and scored 14 touchdowns (five on kick returns), but won't play in Saturday's game.
Playmaking Chip: Central Michigan tight end Tyler Conklin made a few nice plays down the field in the North practice. Conklin had 35 catches for 504 yards and five touchdowns in eight games this past season. He's projected as a Day 3 pick in the draft.
Having fun: North Team quarterbacks Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield are competitors on the practice field this week, vying for the attention of NFL decision makers, but they're also having some fun with one another. During 7-on-7's Allen threw a beautiful ball down the right sideline caught for a big gain by Colorado State receiver Michael Gallup. After the completion, Mayfield ran up to Allen and gave him a jumping back bump as it was his turn to take reps.
One-on-ones: On Tuesday, I watched the one-on-one drills between the offensive and defensive linemen, and picked out a few defenders that stood out. Wednesday, two interior offensive linemen caught my eye. Guards Will Hernandez (Texas-El Paso) and Isaiah Winn (Georgia) have been very impressive to borderline dominant the first two days at practice.
Swiss Army Knife: UCF linebacker Shaquem Griffin played DE, LB and S at the South practice Wednesday. Amazingly, the All-American hasn't been invited to NFL Scouting Combine next month. With how he's played this week, that should change.
DeLuca on the spot: North Dakota State linebacker Nick DeLuca was the right man in the right spot in two instances through the first two North practices. On Tuesday, a fumble in the offensive backfield hopped up right into his arms that he was able to return for a TD. Wednesday, he picked off a pass intended for a back coming out of the backfield and returned it for another score.
Catch of the day: This goes to Central Florida tight end Jordan Akins, who made a terrific one-hand catch right at the pylon in the end for a touchdown in a goal line team drill at the South practice.
QB play: The North team has a distinctive edge at quarterback play with Allen, Mayfield, Luke Falk (Washington State) and Cedric Wilson (Boise State) on that roster. It seems like a lot more passes have been completed at the North practice the first two days.
South quarterbacks Kurt Benkert (Virginia), Kyle Lauletta (Richmond), Brandon Silvers (Troy) and Mike White (Western Kentucky) need to step their play up.