What if I told you that in an already deep underclassman group of wide receivers, the senior crop at the Senior Bowl is collectively great, if not better?
Wide receivers on the North and South teams have dominated the majority of Senior Bowl practices. With Thursday being the final day of Senior Bowl practices, that trend doesn’t seem like it will change. That’s no shade to a defensive back group that has seen its fair share of victories in one-on-one drills, team scrimmages, and special teams drills but the creme de la creme in this group are pass catchers an in no particular order. I’m capping them at four because these players have been the standard for their specific group on their team.
- Michael Pittman Jr, USC
- Antonio Gandy-Golden
- K.J. Hill
- Denzel Mims
- Van Jefferson
- Jauan Jennings
- Collin Johnson
- Brandon Aiyuk: Medically red-flagged early in the week. Would’ve been higher but still a top-flight receiver.
These four have made cornerbacks look foolish and made impossible catches in tight coverage as well as winning off the line of scrimmage with violent hands, quick feet, and abnormal body control. They all win their own way but all seven of these receivers are playing their way into first and second-round status. Anyone who falls to the third round is practically a steal with this group. The speed and separation have been shocking to see at times. The blocking drills were won predominantly by receivers on Wednesday. Where they fell short as a group was during team scrimmages as defensive backs had the benefit of a nasty pass rush and mental errors from some of the quarterbacks.
The overall fluidity of the practices slowed down as players dropped passes and got beat on their routes. The special team standouts from start to finish have been SMU receiver James Proche and Pittman Jr. Proche made great plays in team scrimmages when given a chance but his value in this game will be much more prevalent as a returner. Pittman Jr. has a noted special teams background pedigree from his days at USC. The coaches from both teams as said by a mass number of players implemented a huge playbook and the second practice indicated that more players have come around to understanding it. The one-on-one battles have truly been the best part of the Senior Bowl practices.