Senior Bowl Day 2 Crimson Tide Wrap-Up
A cloudy, windy day in Mobile, Alabama made for a great second day of Senior Bowl practice at Hancock Whitney Stadium Thursday afternoon. With a day to acclimate under their belts, the five participating Crimson Tide NFL Draft prospects put their skills on display yet again and came away with a mostly successful day.
We'll start with Najee Harris of the National Team, as he was the first on the field. It was more of the same for the Crimson Tide's all-time leader in rushing yardage and touchdowns as he warmed up and participated in light individual drills.
Harris stuck around the action most of the day and kept his shoulder pads on, but once the contact began in more complex drills, Harris was often seen speaking with coaches and teammates.
Harris met his former head coach Nick Saban on the field at the end of practice and spoke with him for quite some time. Saban appeared to ask about the ankle that's disrupting Harris's reps, and Harris seemed to indicate its annoyance.
There's no official word on whether Harris will suit up Saturday. Tomorrow's practice could tell the story on the situation. Harris's body language throughout the day is high energy though, and it's obvious to everyone he wants to participate despite his lingering injury.
Before Saban left the field, Mac Jones trotted out of the locker room and spoke with his coach for a few minutes before the American Team's practice got under way.
Jones had a much improved day Thursday, eliminating the over throws seen on the first day of practice. Just sitting in the stands I could here fellow media members murmurs of how much more comfortable he looked compared to the day before.
His throws were overall much more accurate throughout the day. The Panthers coaching staff opted to open the day with a full team scrimmage. Jones finished the drill with Deonte Brown and Alex Leatherwood helping to form the offensive line in front of him.
Thursday's Mac Jones was much closer to the Mac Jones Alabama fans were used to, hitting receivers in stride and displaying the pocket awareness that helps fight the lack of mobility question.
That said, his offensive lineman began to let him down in the final team scrimmage to close practice, particularly his left tackle, Alex Leatherwood.
Leatherwood had an up and down day. In some tighter inside drills he looked out of balance as a run blocker, but in both full team scrimmages he was more than competent. In one-on-one pass protection he won more battles than he lost. But the final scrimmage saw him allowing quite a bit of pressure in the quarterback's face.
The Senior Bowl has been adamant that Leatherwood will stay at left tackle throughout the week. Still, it doesn't look like he'll be the starting left tackle on Saturday and if he continues to struggle, expect the rumblings for him to move to guard to continue to grow louder as we move closer to draft day.
As for his teammate Deonte Brown, he had a phenomenal day. I overheard countless people in the media area gushing over his size and pass blocking ability. The pass blocking comes as more of a surprise, and he certainly wasn't the best interior lineman out there in this regard. However, in every drill he was more successful than not.
He was violent, quick to the point of attack and controlled his assignments throughout the day. Brown's stock is probably the highest it can be, but that's just fine for him, as he's one of the better guards in the draft class.
Thomas Fletcher was flawless all day. He took the first team reps on special teams and there's little to worry about in this regard. He'll continue to impress and aim to be the seventh long snapper drafted in as many years in the NFL Draft.
The 2021 Senior Bowl can be seen on NFL Network Saturday, January 30 at 1:30 p.m. CST. The event is sold out due to COVID-19 protocols and restrictions. Tide 100.9 will be on location throughout the week, providing practice, game and press conference coverage.