2019 Senior Bowl: Day 3 Practice Observations

North wide receiver Terry McLaurin of Ohio State (10) carries the ball after a reception during practice for Saturday's Senior Bowl college football game, Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019, in Mobile, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
North wide receiver Terry McLaurin of Ohio State (10) carries the ball after a reception during practice for Saturday's Senior Bowl college football game, Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019, in Mobile, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

MOBILE, Ala. — With the third and final day of practices for the 70th annual Senior Bowl now wrapped up, let’s take a look at some of the top news and notes from Ladd-Peebles Stadium:

North Team

» Two wide receivers with smaller builds who certainly did not play small this week were Penny Hart and Andy Isabella. Hart (5-foot-8, 180 pounds), was an ultra-productive receiver at Georgia State, where he left having gained the fourth-most receiving yards (2,950) in Sun Belt Conference history, and on Thursday was showing off some really solid hands to go along with his elite quickness and speed. He looks like a slot receiver, but Hart had no issues making plays on the outside during practice, showing off his ability to get separation and also win physical battles with opposing defensive backs in many different ways. Isabella, out of UMASS, was just as impressive all week, despite his 5-foot-10, 195-pound frame.

» Another wide receiver stole the show Thursday, and that was Ohio State's Terry McLaurin. McLaurin (6-foot-1, 205) drew perhaps the loudest "ooh's" and "ahh's" from the crowd when he just destroyed Texans cornerback Kris Boyd with a double move for a would-be touchdown during one-on-one drills, which was a perfect example of how McLaurin isn't just quick and shifty — he seems to be a solid route runner, too. Oh, and straight from "the more you can do" category, McLaurin was also solid as a gunner covering during kicks in special teams drills on Thursday.

» Defensively, Khalen Saunders and L.J. Collier wrapped up really solid weeks of practice for the North Team defensive line on Thursday. Saunders, coming from the interior, is super quick off the snap, but the Western Illinois product (6-foot, 320 pounds) seemed to have no issues matching up athletically and strength-wise against the offensive linemen from bigger schools across from him. Collier, meanwhile, is a little light at 6-foot-2, 280 pounds (generally speaking), but the TCU product was able to use his long, long arms to his advantage time and time again off the edge to get wins in one-on-one drills and in team sessions.

» Kansas State tackle Dalton Risner had a spirited third and final day of practice on Thursday, and not only seemed jacked up and ready to go for his own reps, but he was extremely vocal and supportive of his fellow offensive linemen during their opportunities in the spotlight. Speaking of spotlights, North Team coach Jon Gruden decided to end practice with some one-on-one reps between the offensive and defensive linemen, and Risner, who was second up, stuffed Arizona State's Renell Wren. Risner properly celebrated his successful rep with the Raiders' head coach.

» One final note on the defense, the Colts love speed at the linebacker position, and that's exactly what North Carolina State's Germaine Pratt showed on Thursday. Pratt was clocked in at 20.4 mph during one play in particular, which was the fastest speed of any player on the North team the entire day — faster than any running back, wide receiver or defensive back. Pratt was a stat-sheet stuffer for NC State in 2018, finishing with 104 tackles (11 for a loss) and 6.5 sacks.

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South Team

» Deebo Samuel secured his title of "Most Valuable Player" of the three Senior Bowl practices on Thursday. The South Carolina product just looks like he glides out there and is playing at a different level than those around him at times. Oh, and he clocked a Thursday-best 20.4-mph speed on one play in particular, showing off the wheels a little bit.

» Andre Dillard was perhaps the most solid overall tackle throughout the week in Mobile. The Washington State product displayed very quick feet and more than held his own rep after rep at left tackle against the likes of Montez Sweat, who is considered the top-overall pass rush prospect at the Senior Bowl. At 6-foot-5, 306 pounds, Dillard, an All-American in 2018, allowed just one sack on 677 pass attempts his senior year.

» A couple defensive notes to close out the day: keep an eye on Texas A&M defensive tackle Daylon Mack, who has been able to take his momentum from the East-West Shrine Game into Mobile. Mack (6-foot-1, 320 pounds) showed to be an absolute bull in the middle throughout the week, and had all kinds of power and leverage on his side as he bullied his way into, and through, the interior of the South Team's offensive line.

» And, finally, going to the secondary, Kentucky cornerback Lonnie Johnson Jr. had himself a nice day of practice overall on Thursday. Johnson consistently was a winner in his one-on-on reps against opposing receivers, but really opened eyes when he came barreling into the flat to ruin an attempted screen play. Johnson is a big corner at 6-foot-3, 206 pounds, and had 64 tackles (three for a loss), 1.0 sacks, 12 passes defended, two blocked kicks, one interception and a forced fumble in two years at Kentucky.

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