It was a wet, sloppy day in Mobile, Ala., for the second day of the Reese’s Senior Bowl’s practices.
Heavy mist, turning to rain, moved in just before the practices started making things miserable for just about everyone. It was feared that conditions might force the teams would have to move practice indoors, limiting media access. However, they were able to stay outside and practice outside.
While the conditions were less than ideal, that just gave NFL evaluators a chance to see how the players were able to operate in the face of adversity.
It’s likely that there were some New York Giants on the field for the American Team, so let’s see who rose to the occasion.
Enagbare gets things started with a bang
The day got started with a couple one-on-one call-out reps between an unfortunate tight end (Daniel Bellinger) and South Carolina EDGE Kingsley Enagbare.
Enagbare dominated both reps, first by throwing Bellinger to the ground on the first rep, then by shoving him about 15 yards into the backfield with a long-arm move on the second. Shortly after that, Enagbare showed some pretty violent hands on a club-move drill.
He showed up throughout the drills, playing with power, quickness, and strength throughout.
Jermain Johnson II showed up, too
The American Team’s offensive line had its work cut out for it against their defensive counterparts. Even undersized (6-foot-4, 239 pounds) Virginia Tech EDGE Amare Barro was getting in on the action.
Florida State EDGE was the other pass rusher besides Enagbare to show up on just about every rep. Johnson is long, very quick off the edge, and can win with his athleticism or power.
In fact, I think the offensive tackles are still getting used to Johnson’s play strength.
The American DL is whooping the OL. Not a fair fight pic.twitter.com/Ns7o2lsUHr— Billy M (@BillyM_91) February 2, 2022
We got nose tackles
The Giants could well find themselves in need of a new nose tackle this off-season. And there were a couple who jumped off the screen.
The first was LSU’s Neil Farrell Jr, who spent a lot of time behind the line of scrimmage.
Farrell is a stout defender at 6-foot-3, 338 pounds, but he flashes some impressive quickness for a player his size. One of the commentators compared him to former Giant Dalvin Tomlinson “but twitchier”. I’m not sure if Farrell has Tomlinson’s instinctive understanding of leverage, angles, and balance, but he was impressive.
The other nose tackle who stood out was John Ridgeway III out of Arkansas. Ridgeway doesn’t go in for quickness in the same way that Farrell does, but he makes up for it with crushing power.
Do you like mid-late round IDL? I do too — keep an eye on Arkansas’ John Ridgeway III. Nice strong rep vs the run here (#98) pic.twitter.com/evOBbYU0ha— Robert Schmitz (@robertkschmitz) February 2, 2022
This is a deep and talented defensive line group, which could serve the Giants well if they need to replenish their depth chart.
Malik Willis is answering questions
Willis was the QB I was most interested in watching this week. We already knew he has a strong arm and plenty of athleticism. But he has a reputation as a boom-bust passer who could deliver game-changing plays for your offense — or the opposing defense. He only has two years as a starter in Liberty, and much of his inconsistency is likely due to inexperience
Willis had a good day in the rain in Mobile. He showed off his live arm, with the ball visibly leaping off his hands (a stark comparison with Sam Howell and Bailey Zappe).
Malik Willis hits Greg Dulcich deep off the boot ↩️ pic.twitter.com/eDTpVAFIBj— Luke Carr (TD4LC) (@LukeCarrNFL) February 2, 2022
He also showed some good touch on passes that needed precise placement despite the adverse conditions.
Gonna dive back into tape for a bit here and wanted take a look at some of the #SeniorBowl QBs. Here Malik Willis (#Liberty) makes a nice throw outside numbers placed perfectly past the defenders reach! pic.twitter.com/6Ok0n1x2II— Ben Glassmire (@BenGlassmireNFL) February 2, 2022
I was also impressed with Willis’ demeanor on the field in between drills. He was clearly having fun, but also seemed to take coaching easily and well.
Dameon Pierce is making money
The 2022 running back class isn’t exactly overflowing with stars, particularly in comparison to last year’s class. But that just opens the door for some less heralded players to rise up draft boards by taking advantage of the draft process.
Florida running back Dameon Pierce is a stout, stocky runner at 5-foot-9, 220 pounds, but he has great quickness and patience behind the line of scrimmage.
He also showed some good things down the field in the passing game.
Florida RB Dameon Pierce adds onto his strong performance today pic.twitter.com/4CgOCtjjxK— 4th and JAWN (@4thandJawn) February 2, 2022
Pierce probably won’t be drafted very highly, but he’s a name to keep track of through the middle rounds and can help an offense in a variety of situations.