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Senior Bowl Standouts: Who Impressed on day 1 in Mobile?

Who raised their NFL Draft stock on day one of the Senior Bowl?

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NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Practice Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Senior Bowl practices finally got underway on Tuesday and it was a good first day for the all-star game. We got to see matchups like Dawand Jones go up against Isaiah Foskey as well as other players start to showcase their talents. Players such as Cody Mauch and Karl Brooked proved that they could compete against top division I talent. There were a lot of positives from a Los Angeles Rams perspective as well.

I’ll have a recap following every day of the Senior Bowl. Here are the biggest winners from day 1.

OT Dawand Jones, Ohio State

Jones didn’t make Daniel Jeremiah’s top-50 prospects going into Mobile and in a recent two-round mock draft from The Athletic’s Nick Baumgardner, he wasn’t taken until 53 by the Chicago Bears. After the first day of the Senior Bowl, Jones should be getting a lot more respect.

As I said, the only way to describe Jones’ play on Tuesday was that he was dominant. He looks like the the biggest player on the field and at times, just makes it look easy. Jones went up against Notre Dame’s Isaiah Foskey in one-on-ones and held his own. With a good combine, Jones may sneak into the first round. Right now, he’s still a player the Rams might be able to get at 36.

iOL John Michael Schmitz, Minnesota

Most of my focus during practices were on the offensive line. With that being the case, of course I was going to keep a close eye on one of my favorite players, John Michael Schmitz. He was good in pass protection and fired off the ball in the run game.

On the play above, he showed his mobility by getting in space and playing the role of lead blocker on a screen to Tulane running back Tyjae Spears (more on him later). It was a good first day for JMS. Like Jones, the Rams need to hope he doesn’t do enough to end up being selected at the end of the first round.

RB Tyjae Spears, Tulane

The Rams could use some running back depth behind Cam Akers and Kyren Williams. While some fans may want a big bruiser type running back, Spears is a chance of pace back that brings speed and explosiveness.

He showed his ability as a pass catcher and then in the play above explodes in and out of the hole for a big run. Spears has really good burst and doesn’t need a lot of space to make something happen.

iOL Cody Mauch, North Dakota State

I would be doing a disservice if I didn’t bring up Cody Mauch from North Dakota State. Strictly a left tackle for the Bison at the FCS level, Mauch played inside at left guard on Tuesday and played really well. He may get a run at center on Wednesday.

Mauch showed that not only does he have the ability to move inside if needed, but coming from the FCS, he can also compete at a high level and win against better talent. He had a good start to his week.

iDL Nesta Jade Silvera, Arizona State

Nesta Jade Silvera was a monster in Tuesday’s practices. He constantly won in one-on-ones and then in team drills he lived in the backfield. He was good in the run game and then created interior pressure on quite a few throws.

Greg Gaines and A’Shawn Robinson are both free agents. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Rams bring one of them back. However, they should still consider adding some depth. Silvera played primarily at nose tackle on Tuesday and looked really good.

DL Karl Brooks, Bowling Green

One thing I really enjoy about the Senior Bowl is players from smaller schools and HBCUs get a chance to show what they can do against high-end talent. These players get knocked for the competition that they go up against and then have a chance to prove that they are actually just good players.

Karl Brooks wasn’t someone that I had on my watchlist, but he stood out quite a few times on Tuesday. The play above showcases the first of back-to-back plays in team drills that he absolutely blew up. Michigan’s Olusegun Oluwatimi is considered one of the top centers that will be available on day 3. Brooks hit him with the swim move and went right past him. I’m excited to see what he does the rest of the week.

EDGE Isaiah Foskey, Notre Dame

As the top edge rusher in Mobile, Foskey was someone I had my attention on all day. His reverse pancake in one-on-ones was one of the highlights of the afternoon.

Later on in team drills, Foskey forced a fumble, showcasing his ability not only as a pass rusher, but the impact that he can have in the run game. The Rams might be lucky if he lasts until 36.

Honorable Mentions

  • TE Luke Musgraves, Oregon State
  • iOL O’Cyrus Torrence, Florida
  • EDGE Will McDonald IV, Iowa State
  • DT Keeanu Benton, Wisconsin
  • DB Jakorian Bennett, Maryland

There were a decent amount of standouts on Tuesday, but it’s tough to watch and see everybody. Other players that I noticed at times and stood out were Musgraves, McDonald IV, Benton, and Bennett.

Will McDonald looked really good coming off the edge at times. He had a nice play coming off the edge where he showed good bend. Benton is a defensive lineman that stood out and looked good on opening day. Lastly, while I didn’t focus a lot on defensive backs, Bennett had a few nice plays. He locked down his receivers in coverage and had a nice pass breakup where he ripped the ball out.