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Harris Hits: Senior Bowl Observations | Day Three


Senior Bowl week is truly Survival of the Fittest. That reared its head on Thursday as a solid handful of prospects sat out Thursday's practice. Even with a scaled down roster, work got done and I focused most of the day with the perimeter players going one-on-one with LBs and DBs. It was red zone time so let's dive into my Harris Hits for the final day of Senior Bowl practice in Mobile.

HOF WR Jerry Rice was on hand to watch his son USC WR Brenden Rice today. He was standing a few feet from me before practice when I turned around and was starstruck. I don't normally get that way, but I was dumbstruck to see Brenden's Pops. The younger Rice is an intriguing prospect and he had a strong week. He's got great size, long, LONG strides and some serious twitch and speed. He's physical and beat up some DBs in the process of doing his work. His first red zone route made me laugh, honestly. I didn't write down who the DB was but Rice ran off the ball and HAMMERED the DB, knocking him on his wallet, running a slant route and making an easy catch for a TD. His second slant route TD was even more difficult as he had to extend on a ball away from his body for another TD as he beat Oregon CB Khyree Jackson for the score.

A little later in the same drill, Rice ran a return route for a touchdown from a slot position. His change of direction was outstanding on that route. He has an intriguing set of skills to say the least.

A fellow Pac-12 prospect stood out today as well. I haven't written much about Oregon safety Evan Williams but it's not because he didn't have a strong week. He was excellent in coverage on Thursday. The first route that Williams shut down was one from Michigan TE A.J. Barner. The Indiana Hoosier turned Wolverine ran a quick out, which is nearly impossible to cover from an inside leveraged defensive back. But, Williams exploded into the area for a PBU.

On his second rep, Williams blanketed Minnesota TE Brevyn Spann-Ford on a wheel route in the back corner of the end zone. BS-F is 6-7 so a 50/50 ball with some height is pretty much a 85/15 ball for the tall Gopher TE. Williams, however, was in such great position on his coverage that he was able to climb the ladder and knock the ball away for another PBU. Williams led the Ducks with 82 tackles in his only year at Oregon, after transferring from Fresno State. He gives me a Jessie Bates-vibe and he's going to be higher in the Harris 100 than on other people's/teams' boards as I love how Williams impacts games from the safety position.

UCF WR Javon Baker has been solid all week, nothing overtly stood out, but he saved his best for the last day. On a fade route in one-on-ones, he SKIED for the touchdown catch as if he was on a trampoline. When he went up in the air, there were audible gasps and a few "HOLY SH--!" comments near me. I can still see him RISING above the defensive back, snatching that fade route for a touchdown. Throughout the week, Baker did some work from the slot in addition to some on the outside and could be a name you hear in the future.

I've mentioned UNH RB Dylan Laube all week due to his unique combination of RB/WR skills, but today he went full slot receiver and cooked dudes all day long. He went into the slot, shook a nickel DB and ran a slant route with a yard of separation for a TD. 

Rice WR Luke McCaffrey was a problem for DBs on the last two days, in particular. On Thursday, he made a great adjustment on a poor throw during one-on-ones for a touchdown. Then, later in red zone team drills, he worked his way free on a Michael Penix Jr. scramble drill for another touchdown. It's such a loaded WR group but some team is going to get a solid, all-around receiver in the youngest of the McCaffrey clan.

Rutgers CB Max Melton will leave Mobile having left an impression on many receivers. I love his feet and transitional quickness and he's feisty as all get out on receivers in man coverage. He made one heck of a play on North Carolina WR Tez Walker on a fade route in the back of the end zone. Walker reached out with one hand to bring the ball into his body but Melton chopped at his arm, knocking it away for a tremendous PBU.

Houston OT Patrick Paul just performed better and better every day, culminating with a body slam of Notre Dame edge rusher Javontae Jean-Baptiste in his one-on-one rep this afternoon. 

I'm not sure how a normal human being slows down Texas DT T'Vondre Sweat. He bent Arkansas OC Beaux Limmer in half, literally, on Wednesday then ran right through U Conn OG Christian Haynes on Thursday. The power of the 2024 version of Albert Haynesworth is insane. Watching him catch TD passes is quite the joy, as well.

Western Kentucky WR Malachi Corley decided to take matters into his own hands down on the goal line as well in one-on-ones. As he got to the top of his route near the goal line, the DB hadn't moved at all. So, Corley, well, moved him, just flat knocking him on his wallet. The officials threw flags for offensive pass interference, I'm assuming, but I LOVE his physical nature. He has to channel it properly and use it to run through DBs AFTER he has the bell in his hands. THAT'S his football superpower. Just think AFTER, Malachi, not before.

Corley and Oregon QB Bo Nix linked up for a touchdown in seven-on-seven in the back of the end zone. That connection was as pretty as anything I saw all week long. Nix didn't have the best first two days, but he seemed much more comfortable on Thursday.

Louisville WR James Thrash did something every day that caught my attention. On Thursday, Thrash stole a 50/50 ball away from Auburn CB D.J. James at the goal line on a fastball from South Carolina QB Spencer Rattler. Thrash has been outstanding all week long.

Penn State edge rusher Adisa Isaac used his patented rip move to get loose all week long. On Thursday, he ripped right under highly rated BYU OT Kingsley Suamataia for what would've been a sack. Isaac's name is one that's going to get more steam as the draft process continues.

Alright, that's going to do it from Mobile for year number 11. It was a great week with some of the best talent I've seen, collectively, at the Senior Bowl in those 11 years. Here's hoping that one or more of those prospects turn into Texans in the future. Can't wait for that to happen in about three months. See ya then…and well before that too.

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