Last week I gave you my Senior Bowl winners on the offensive side of the ball, this time I’m back with the winners on the defensive side. Again, I would like to take a moment and thank Jim Nagy, the executive director of the Senior Bowl. In the past the event was just the practices and the game, Jim has taken the Senior Bowl to the next level. Jim has added a parade where the players throw out autographed mini footballs, a concert, a tailgate before the game and a fan event where you can meet your favorite players. The Senior Bowl is a great event for anyone to attend, whether you’re a casual fan or trying to break into the football world.
Edge: Bradlee Anae, Utah
Bradlee Anae might walk out of the Senior Bowl as the biggest riser. Not only did Anae flash during the Senior Bowl practices, he put on a show during the actual game. I try not to focus too much on the game as most of these players have only practiced in a new scheme for a week, regardless these are impressive reps from Anae.
Utah Edge Bradlee Anae showing some versatility early rushing from the 2 point and with his hand in the dirt.
He uses his hands so well. Some of the best handwork in this class. pic.twitter.com/nTuqhA8WE2
— Zack Thomas (@NFL_Zack) January 25, 2020
In this next clip you will see Anae use the “Chop-rip” move. He “chops” the offensive lineman’s arms down, and then rips through with the same arm as he rounds the edge.
My guy Bradlee Anae with a slap and rip on Colton McVitz, excited to see where he falls in my updated positional rankings. pic.twitter.com/dBmgLJEp66
— Andrew Harbaugh (@MandrewNFLDraft) January 23, 2020
Here Anae is quick off the line and avoids the chip block from the tight end. He is able to quickly disengage from the tackle and pulls up from what would have been a sack (tweet is a part of a thread, so look at the second tweet).
Bradlee Anae had a great day of practice yesterday. He was constantly beating tackles on the edge. Here he beats Charlie Heck, who was beat consistently pic.twitter.com/MBQmvAfBFF
— Tyler Forness (@CCSTheRealForno) January 23, 2020
Edge/ Linebacker: Josh Uche, Michigan
Josh Uche is another player that had a great week at the Senior Bowl. Uche is what we call a “tweener” player. This means that due to his size, evaluators don’t know where to play him. Uche showed flashes at both positions in his time at the Senior Bowl, but his best work came from the edge. This rep amazed me when I saw it, look how fast Uche reacts to the ball being snapped.
— Selyan (@selyan_fb) January 25, 2020
When studying edge rushers there is one skill set that every evaluator covets over anything else…bend. This rep from Uche is a perfect example. Uche is able to get below Charlie Heck’s arms, maintain his balance and get around Heck. This rep from Uche is very impressive and will leave many people craving this ability.
Josh Uche gets so low on Charlie Heck in this rep.
Heck is 6’7”. I don’t care how low he gets, he can’t beat Uche going that low. pic.twitter.com/t0x0SIKaVS
— John Vogel? (@johndavogel) January 23, 2020
Because of his size, many don’t know where to play Uche. The benefit of going to the Senior Bowl is that they will have you practice at multiple positions if you are a “tweener” player. Some consider Uche an edge rusher, others consider him an off-ball linebacker. Uche showed flashes in both position groups, here he is locking down tight end Brycen Hopkins, who is TE 1 in this class for many.
Michigan’s Josh Uche locking down Purdue’s Brycen Hopkins? pic.twitter.com/Zk3Iwr9t78
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) January 22, 2020
Interior Defensive Line: Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina
Kinlaw was easily the most hyped player going into the Senior Bowl, and he did not disappoint. Kinlaw captivated the entire audience at the Senior Bowl from day 1. From his pure stature to his amazing life story, all eyes were on him. Early into day 1 it wasn’t hard to see why. In this rep Kinlaw is gets past the offensive lineman before they could establish their hands.
Pass Rush 1v1
John Simpson vs Javon Kinlaw. Kinlaw has dominated today. pic.twitter.com/oIGa9rk50c
— Matt Valdovinos (@MVScouting) January 21, 2020
In this rep watch the power behind Kinlaw’s initial contact. He has so much power that hes able to drive the offensive lineman back and not allow him to establish his hands. Then it is easy for Kinlaw to gain leverage and get past him.
— Austin Silvey (@SilveyESP) January 23, 2020
I was floored when I saw this rep, this is a perfect example of just how strong Kinlaw is. Kinlaw engages the offensive lineman and gets on hand to hold onto the o-lineman’s shoulder pads. Kinlaw establishes an anchor so strong that he doesn’t get moved at all, despite having only one hand engaged.
— Tyler Browning (@DiabeticTyler) January 23, 2020
It seems he suffered a minor knee injury, so he only practiced two days, but I wish a speedy recovery to Javon Kinlaw.
Interior Defensive Line: Jason Strowbridge, North Carolina
Jason Strowbridge might have been my favorite player down at the Senior Bowl. The morning of weigh-ins I was sitting next to one of my good friends and he asked me if I had watched Strowbridge yet. I told him that I haven’t, he just smiled and told me to watch him this week, he’s good. Let me tell you, my friend was not wrong Strowbridge is very good. I don’t believe he is first round good, I believe his target range his end of the 2nd/3rd. Strowbridge has a high motor and very active hands and his hands pack some power, in fact just look at the clip below.
Jason Strowbridge made money. pic.twitter.com/U2AACLqP54
— Jared Stanger (@JaredStanger) January 25, 2020
Here is another great example of Strowbridge using his hands. He never lets the center; Nick Harris establish his hands. Strowbridge then dips under the centers hands and gets dragged down on what would be a holding call.
Jason Strowbridge showing those active hands. Beats OC1 Nick Harris. pic.twitter.com/Qi2ZP5YEJc
— Travis Wingfield (@WingfieldNFL) January 22, 2020
Strowbridge is another on of those “tweener” players, his two positions are Edge, and IDL. I personally like him best at IDL, but he showed the ability to win on the edge. Here you will see him lined up on the edge and he is able to rip through the tackle’s grip and get to the qb.
Jason Strowbridge vs Matt Peart pic.twitter.com/V6fNkCHEki
— Matt Valdovinos (@MVScouting) January 24, 2020
Corner back: Troy Pride Jr., Notre Dame
Troy Pride Jr. is another player that boosted his stock down in Mobile at the Senior Bowl, and this rep is a perfect example as why. This is one of my favorite reps from him, Pride stays attached to the hip of the receiver through the stem of his route and keeps a hand on his back. Because of his hand being placed on the relievers back he can tell when the receiver is going to break. Pride then jumps the route and is in perfect position for an interception (if the ball was thrown on target).
Troy Pride, man. He's been having a great week pic.twitter.com/R98ZYf6PCm
— Billy M (@BillyM_91) January 23, 2020
KJ Hill was one of the most difficult people to guard in 1 on 1’s down at the Senior Bowl, Troy Pride does a great job against him here. Pride deflects the pass as its arriving.
Troy Pride Jr bringing it against KJ Hill pic.twitter.com/kvS1Z6peAV
— Cyril Zackary Penn IV (@cyrilpenn4) January 23, 2020
Here are some more examples of Pride’s great week. In the first example he stays perfectly square with the receiver and has great position as the receiver cuts in. Pride then times the pass break up perfectly. In the second rep Pride is attached to the receivers hip once again. As soon as the receiver turns his head to look for the pass, Pride does the same and forces another pass break up. In the 3rd rep the receiver attempts a stop and go, he and Pride are in a constant hand battle. The receiver attempts to get back outside but Pride re-routes him inside forcing the receiver to be out of position for the pass.
Notre Dame cornerback Troy Pride Jr. had himself a DAY in Mobile, some really impressive reps in one-on-ones. pic.twitter.com/yHlQnQGwNL
— Austin Gayle (@PFF_AustinGayle) January 22, 2020
Corner back: Dane Jackson, Pitt
Dane Jackson is someone who pleasantly surprised me at the Senior Bowl. He is a very fluid in his movements and close on a receiver in a flash. This is a fantastic rep from Jackson, he stays square with the receiver and as the receiver breaks so does Jackson. He sees the receiver’s eyes go back for the pass and Jackson immediately closes the space and forces a breakup.
Dane Jackson basically synchronized with the receiver in his break pic.twitter.com/PHW1eHPpoz
— Matt Minich (@CoachMinich) January 22, 2020
Here is another great rep from Jackson. I think most of his work will come from the slot at the next level, but here he is on the outside. Jackson gets a hand on the outside of the receiver and uses it to propel himself in front of the receiver to force the deflection.
Massive stock up for Pitt CB Dane Jackson this week. Been feisty and physical all week. He’s showing out and it’s going to pay off.
— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) January 23, 2020
Slot corner is becoming an increasing valuable position, and Dane Jackson could be a great asset for a team in need of one. Jackson is able to sink his hips in the break allowing for great explosion out of it, close the gap on the receiver and for the pass break up.
Dane Jackson was the best from the slot CB. pic.twitter.com/GowznBViHo
— Jared Stanger (@JaredStanger) January 25, 2020
Safety: Kyle Dugger, Lenoir-Rhyne
Kyle Dugger is one of the top small school prospects in this draft class. I had watched a few games of his coming into the Senior Bowl and was very excited to see him. A potential top 50 pick, Dugger did not throw away his opportunity on the big stage. In the clip below Dugger, does get a little bit of jersey, but look at his ability to close on the ball. Not many athletes have the ability and it is making evaluators fall head over heels for him.
Yes, Kyle Dugger gets a little bit of jersey here, but that's not what is important here.
Look at the ground he's able to cover between the hashes to jump this route. A team is going to fall in love with his potential. pic.twitter.com/5Y3LSkvkT1
— Dalton Miller (@DaltonBMiller) January 25, 2020
In this rep Dugger gets outside leverage on the tight end. As the tight end attempts to break out on his route, Dugger remains in perfect situation to force a difficult throw.
Lenoir-Rhyne’s Kyle Dugger is putting on a show. pic.twitter.com/3REKmo4Aw7
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) January 25, 2020
Not only is he exceptional in coverage, Dugger displayed the ability to rush the passer. Here is a swim move he used on one of the tight ends in practice.
- Robert Windsor, Interior Defensive Line, Penn State
- Neville Gallimore, Interior Defensive Line, Oklahoma
- Marlon Davidson, Defensive Line, Auburn
- Kenny Willekes, Edge, Michigan State
- Darnay Holmes, Cornerback, UCLA
This is my last Senior Bowl article for the year and a sad realization I must wait until 2021 for the next Senior Bowl. Once again big thank you to Jim Nagy, and I can’t wait for next year!