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Senior Bowl Day 1, American Team: Risers from the first practice

Offensive linemen highlight the American Team’s practice

Connecticut v Tennessee Photo by Donald Page/Getty Images

The first day of Senior Bowl practices is now in the books. The American Team, coached by Terrell Williams (Titans assistant head coach/DL Coach), and Jets’ Defensive Coordinator Jeff Ulbrich, followed the National Team on Tuesday. You can find our summary of the National Team here.

The first day of the Senior Bowl events is usually sloppy, as players work together for the first time with playbooks they receive that week. Even so, Reese’s Senior Bowl Director Jim Nagy landed several high-profile collegiate players for this year’s event. Some of those players had a great showing on day one of practice (for both teams).

Here are five players from the American Team who made an impression in front of the NFL world in Mobile on Tuesday.

Christian Haynes, OL, UCONN

Giants fans - calm down! A UCONN offensive lineman generating buzz at the Senior Bowl isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Seriously, though, Haynes dominated one-on-ones in the trenches. Haynes is an older prospect whose first year in college was 2018.

Haynes played all 3,318 snaps at right guard in college. He allowed 12 pressures and a sack while taking four penalties in 2023. He only allowed 48 pressures and eight sacks through his 1,778 pass-blocking snaps in college. Chris Pflum did a scouting report on Haynes; here’s Chris’ projection of Haynes:

“Christian Haynes projects as a starting guard with scheme diversity at the NFL level. He could probably play both left and right guard, and could even transition to center with some development. However, teams might want to keep him at right guard, as his familiarity with the position could help him adjust more quickly to the speed of the NFL.

He’ll need to continue to work on his hand usage and placement as he transitions to the NFL. Technically sound defenders could exploit his hands when they drift wide, and potentially lead to issues early in his career. Once he finds his footing, however, Haynes has the potential to be a good starter for a variety of different teams and in a variety of different schemes.”

Does he fit the Giants?

“Yes. Haynes could step in and compete immediately for the right guard position.”

The last clip is from Week 1 of this college football season against North Carolina State. Coming from UConn, Haynes needed to make an impression at the event. Fellow UConn Husky and defensive lineman Travis Jones did just that two years ago at the Senior Bowl. The violence and power displayed by Haynes will appeal to NFL teams who may need a guard. **gestures vaguely at the Giants’ depth chart**

Christian Jones, OL, Texas

Jones had some of the more impressive one-on-one reps on Tuesday, which says a lot about the offensive line's performance. The lightness of his feet, combined with his strength and reactive quickness, was on full display in several plays.

The Longhorns’ tackle only allowed one sack and 11 pressures in 2023, with a total of 75 pressures and 13 sacks surrendered in his career. He is an older prospect, who has committed 29 penalties through his time at Texas.

Jones has experience at both left and right tackle. He has played most of his career at right tackle (2,492 snaps), but he did start at left tackle in 2021, with a total of 722 career snaps on the left side. The Giants have an outside chance of being in the market for a right tackle in the middle rounds, and Christian Jones may be an option.

Javon Foster, OL, Missouri

Foster was a Third-Team All-American and a First-Team All-SEC selection in 2023. He played 2,765 career snaps at LT and 154 at RT. He only allowed 13 pressures and a sack in 2023 but did have 10 penalties. In his career, Foster allowed 53 pressures and eight sacks with a total of 22 pressures. Here are some clips from practice:

Here is Chris Pflum’s projection about Foster translating to the next level:

“Javon Foster projects as a guard with starting upside at the NFL level. It’s difficult to say what his absolute ceiling is if he’s changing positions, but he has traits that would work well on the offensive interior.

“Teams that use a high incidence of outside zone plays in their rushing scheme might look elsewhere, but Foster might be better able execute those schemes as a guard.

“Foster has good play strength and is a tough and aggressive blocker who seems to relish contact. He’s a good run blocker, particularly in downhill schemes, and has plenty of power to hold up against defensive tackles. Foster also has the movement skills to be a good pulling guard, and while he might not be athletic enough to be a full-time tackle at the NFL level, he’s plenty athletic for a guard. Foster could also provide emergency depth at offensive tackle, though it might not be an ideal situation for a team.”

Does he fit the Giants?

“Yes. Foster could compete for, and potentially win, a starting guard job.

Tyler Guyton, OT, Oklahoma

Another offensive lineman! The American Team has plenty of good options. Guyton initially played at TCU, where he struggled to find the football field. He took his talents to Oklahoma and started right away in 2022 at right tackle. Guyton only allowed four pressures and two sacks during his first year with Oklahoma.

He then played 663 snaps in 2023, where he did not allow a sack, and surrendered just 12 pressures. He did, however, commit five penalties. Guyton earned honorable mention All-Big-12 in 2023. Here are some snaps from the Senior Bowl:

His frame, natural power, athletic ability, and ability to displace defenders are some of the reasons to get excited. He’s still raw and unrefined in some areas. If the Giants do decide to draft a right tackle, they would likely want one who is more technically sound since that right tackle would be jumbling the New York depth chart that currently has Evan Neal penciled into right tackle.

Ladd McConkey, WR, Georgia

We discussed Florida’s Ricky Pearsall and Michigan’s Roman Wilson from the National Team’s practice; both had fantastic showings. However, McConkey may have been the best of any receiver at the event on Tuesday.

McConkey caught 30 of 37 targets for 483 yards and two touchdowns in 2023. His production took a step back in 2022 because he missed the first four weeks of the season with an ankle injury. He caught 58 of 82 targets for 762 yards and seven touchdowns in 2022.

McConkey’s body control and ability to create separation through deception and agility at the top of his break is one of his best qualities.

These one-on-one drills are tailored for the wide receiver - that has to be considered - but these traits do translate in more confined areas.