Tue, 21 Mar 2023

TWENTYMAN: Senior Bowl Day 2 observations

Detroit Lions
02 Feb 2023, 19:25 GMT+10

Tim Twentyman

QB visit: Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker isn't taking part in on-field drills at the Senior Bowl this week because he's rehabbing a torn ACL, but he is taking part in meetings and team interviews. Hooker spent some time talking with Lions assistant GM Ray Agnew after Tuesday's American Team practice. Hooker is projected to be a Day 2 draft pick. I caught up with Hooker on Wednesday and asked him how he'd feel about joining a team with a veteran quarterback like Jared Goff he can learn behind.

"Don't mind at all," Hooker said. "I'm going to be able to come in and soak up as much information as I can, not just on the field but off the field as well. Coming in with a vet in front of me would be awesome. Being able to just dive in and learn what he knows. I want to be able to be pushed and compete in a positive environment."

Cover skills: Teams looking for a productive linebacker with good cover skills will love the 1-on-1 tape of Washington State's Daiyan Henley, who is coming off a season in which he recorded 106 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 4.0 sacks and an interception. He runs really well at 6-foot, 230 pounds. He broke up four straight passes against the running backs in 1-on-1 drills at Wednesday's practice, including a deep ball where he turned his hips seamlessly and ran with Illinois' Chase Brown step for step.

Play of the day: This belongs to Stanford cornerback Kyu Blu Kelly, who ripped a ball out of a wide receiver's hands along the sideline and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown. Being the last play of a team period, the entire National Team defense ran to the end zone to celebrate with him. Interestingly, Kelly's father, Brian, was a starting cornerback for the Lions during the 2008 season.

Deep threat: Michigan State wide receiver Jayden Reed was a handful all day Wednesday for any defensive back trying to cover him. He recorded three deep touchdowns in 1-on-1 drills and put together a second strong practice in a row. He's helping himself this week.

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Standing out: Two defensive linemen who stood out during Wednesday's National Team practice were Wisconsin's Keeanu Benton and Georgia Tech's Keion White. Both were terrific in 1-on-1 drills and made plays in team periods as well. Benton, an interior defender, had 10.0 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks this past season. White had 14.0 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks playing both on the edge and inside. White began his career at Old Dominion as a tight end.

Injury report: It's too bad we won't see Texas running back Roschon Johnson the rest of the week. He broke a bone in his hand during the first National Team practice on Tuesday.

Stepping up: Linebacker Aubrey Miller Jr. is trying to follow in the footsteps of Lions sixth-round pick James Houston and get drafted out of Jackson State. Miller, an undersized linebacker at 5-foot-11, 229 pounds, has shown some good things the first couple days at American Team practice. He filled a hole nicely in a team run period on Wednesday laying a big hit on Georgia running back Kenny McIntosh that jarred the ball loose.

Big Play Spears: Tulane running back Tyjae Spears has had a really nice first two days of practice, but he really showed out Wednesday at the American Team practice. He broke off a long touchdown in a team period late in practice. He was also a big part of the passing game in 7-on-7 drills and held his own in RB-LB pass-block drills. This is a great class of running backs in the draft and here at the Senior Bowl, and Spears is really helping himself this week.

Clutch catches: Oregon State's Luke Musgrave has been the best tight end over the first two days. The American Team ran a team period at the end of practice Wednesday where the offense had just 35 seconds on the clock and the ball on their side of the 50, needing a touchdown. Musgrave made a nice catch along the sideline for a big gain and caught a ball for a first down over the middle to keep the drive on schedule.

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