Rainy conditions: It was a cool and rainy day in Mobile on Wednesday, which means the players had to navigate wet conditions and a slick field at Hancock Whitney Stadium. It was a good opportunity to evaluate the quarterbacks and skill position players on how they handle the conditions. Let's just say there were more drops and fumbled balls today than at Tuesday's practice.
"Does it bother them?" Lions quarterbacks coach Mark Brunell said of what he was looking for from the American Team QBs in the rain Wednesday. "They want to compete and they want to get out here and show what they can do and let's see how much these conditions affect them. I thought about that earlier. How are these guys going to respond? Are they going to complain about it? Sometimes on Sunday it's like this, so you have to be able to perform in these conditions as well."
Liberty quarterback Malik Willis handled it best for the American Team, as did Pittsburgh's Kenny Pickett for National Team.
Good Day 2: Speaking of Willis, I thought he had a so-so Day 1 of practice on Tuesday, but he was much better Wednesday. He was clearly the best quarterback on the American Team for the day. The rain didn't bother him at all because of his arm strength and he did a great job using his legs to make plays. He ran two nice two-minute drills, earning a pat on the shoulder from Lions head coach Dan Campbell after the second one late in practice.
Competitive period: Duce Staley finished practice with a competitive one-on-one period on Tuesday and opened practice with one Wednesday. It pitted San Diego State tight end Daniel Bellinger against South Carolina edge rusher Kingsley Enagbare with Bellinger having to stand his ground in a pass-rush scenario. Enagbare burst off the ball in the first rep and pushed Bellinger back 10 yards before planting him on his back, much to the delight of the defensive players watching. The second rep went about the same. Clear win for Enagbare and the defense.
Competitive period II: This one was at the end of practice and involved some pass rush drills between o-line and d-line, pass coverage between a running back and linebacker and pass blocking between a running back and linebacker. Running backs Brian Robinson Jr. (Alabama) and Dameon Pierce (Florida) were the winners at running back over linebackers Jeremiah Moon (Florida) and D'Marco Jackson (Appalachian State).
Standout pass catchers: A couple pass catchers that have caught my eye the first couple days are wide receiver Christian Watson of North Dakota State and Colorado State tight end Trey McBride. Watson is a smooth route runner with size (6-4), and he's showed the last two days in the National Team practice he can play with better competition. McBride had a great catch down the seam in traffic, and he's made some splash plays these first two days.
Teaming up: Former Oklahoma defensive line teammates Perrion Winfrey and Isaiah Thomas were a handful at the National Team practice Wednesday. Thomas broke through the line, stripped a running back of the ball and recovered it in a team period. Winfrey had some good reps in one-on-one pass rush drills, and brought that to the team period with a couple nice plays of his own there as well.
Flags in the mix: The Senior Bowl had officials take part in practice Wednesday after not having them here Tuesday. It really helps in the evaluation of the defensive backs in particular. The NFL rules are much more restrictive on contact after five yards, and there were plenty of flags flying around Wednesday as the DBs get acclimated to NFL rules.