Thursday saw the final day of practice at the 2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl. With practice actually having more importance from a scouting perspective than the game itself, our team of NFL Draft analysts has been providing their Senior Bowl top performers, risers, and players who have increased their NFL Draft stock this week. Here are the prospects who caught their attention on Thursday.
Risers who improved their 2021 NFL Draft stock from Thursday’s practice at the Senior Bowl
The Senior Bowl is an annual college football All-Star game, showcasing the top NFL Draft prospects who have completed their college eligibility and intend to make the step up to the NFL.
The game and the week of practice preceding it are a key part of the NFL Draft process, giving players the opportunity to improve their stock. The 2021 Senior Bowl will be no different in this regard.
PFN Draft Analyst and NFL Insider Tony Pauline’s Senior Bowl top performers and risers
Larry Rountree III, RB, Missouri
Larry Rountree was good every day, but I believe Thursday was his best practice of the week. He’s incredibly quick but also patient and showed terrific vision. Rountree is a multi-cut ball carrier who sifted his way through the traffic on Thursday, finding ways to pick up yardage. He caught the ball well, and I was pleasantly surprised by his blocking.
Kylin Hill, RB, Mississippi State
Kylin Hill worked all three days of practice and was consistent, so he deserves to be listed as one of the Senior Bowl risers. His footwork and ability to create yardage was much better than anyone expected. He showed a burst through the hole and a toughness to his game.
John Bates, TE, Boise State
John Bates is not the fastest, quickest, nor the prettiest athlete on the field. Rather, he is a damn good football player and was efficient and productive in every area of the tight end position on Thursday.
He showed himself to be a terrific blocker and consistently controlled opponents at the point of attack. At the same time, he caught just about everything thrown at him. A late addition to the Senior Bowl, he increased his NFL Draft stock in Mobile.
PFN Draft Analyst Ian Cummings’ Senior Bowl top performers and risers
Adrian Ealy, OL, Oklahoma
Adrian Ealy certainly helped his NFL Draft stock with a great practice on Thursday. Early on in the week, Ealy had a visibly better physical tool chest than other linemen. He moves well for his size, but today, Ealy built on that physical foundation. He absorbed opposing explosions well, playing with excellent leverage for his size.
Ealy generated a lot of power in run blocking and absolutely bulldozed Tarron Jackson on one rep, wrenching him across the field. There has been impressive offensive line play across the board at the Senior Bowl, but Ealy was one of the top performers today.
Ta’Quon Graham, DL, Texas
Ta’Quon Graham has been listed under Senior Bowl “sleeper” status for two days, but he was one of the top performers on Thursday. Graham elevated his NFL Draft stock as one of few who’ve managed to beat Creed Humphrey this week. He showcased impressive initial burst and length to wrench by the Oklahoma interior lineman.
Graham also beat Jaylon Moore with impressive methodical hand usage. Additionally, he displayed good leverage versus the run. He needs more strength to disengage against anchors in pass defense, but Graham saved his best for last after tantalizing onlookers early.
Cam Sample, DL, Tulane
Cam Sample was one of the big Senior Bowl risers on a day where he was nearly unblockable in one-on-one drills. The Tulane defensive lineman is incredibly dense. Yet, he also showed off his explosiveness and quick reaction off the snap. He beat Jack Anderson with violent hands and bested Deonte Brown with a relentless swipe.
Sample ate highly-rated Kentucky center Drake Jackson for breakfast. He aggressively sought out leverage all day as a pass rusher. Additionally, he held his own in run defense. Not only was he one of the top performers at Senior Bowl Thursday practice, but he had one of the strongest performances all week on the defensive line as his NFL Draft stock continues to rise.
PFN Draft Analyst Jarrett Bailey’s Senior Bowl top performers and risers
Keith Taylor, DB, Washington
One of the Senior Bowl risers today, Keith Taylor seemed to be making plays all day. He had two nice pass breakups in the end zone. The first PBU was on Dez Fitzpatrick. The other was on another one of the Senior Bowl top performers, Frank Darby.
Additionally, he showed great form in squaring up on the receivers in the screen drill. It was a solid day from Taylor overall. He came in as the lesser rated of the two Washington cornerbacks but has improved his NFL Draft stock this week.
Frank Darby, WR, Arizona State
The ball just found its way to Frank Darby all practice, helping him increase his NFL Draft stock. One of his more notable plays was in one-on-ones in the red zone, where he tried to shake Ambry Thomas, who stuck with him pretty well. Nonetheless, Darby made a good leaping catch over the hands of Thomas and got the feet down for the completion.
He also got the best of Camryn Bynum in the end zone and had a touchdown in a scrimmage where he dove in after breaking a tackle. Darby was the loudest guy on the field, he brought loads of energy today, and was one of the top performers in the final Senior Bowl practice before Saturday.
D.J. Daniel, DB, Georgia
Georgia cornerback D.J. Daniel had a few excellent reps, specifically in seven-on-sevens. The play went on for a good bit, and Daniel stuck to his man like glue, earning the audible praise from his teammates that could be heard throughout the stadium.
He is quite sticky and showed promising ability to keep up with his man. Like Taylor above, Daniel has more highly- regarded teammates but has grabbed the opportunity to improve his NFL Draft stock here in Mobile.
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