NFL draft buzz for WR Nathaniel ‘Tank’ Dell, LB Daiyan Henley

NFL draft buzz for WR Nathaniel ‘Tank’ Dell, LB Daiyan Henley

1) Several new positions for the top 50 prospects. analyst Daniel Jeremiah lists North Dakota State’s Cody Mauch as one of the top 50 prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft class. His move to the next level, however, could include a change of position.

Mauch played almost exclusively at left tackle for the Bison, but was moved inside this week at the Senior Bowl — in two different places. During Tuesday’s opening practice, Mauch worked primarily at left guard. On Wednesday, Mauch also took snaps at the center. Either place could be Mauch’s new home in the NFL.

“I can definitely see myself there (at guard),” Mauch said. “I thought it was actually, you know, a good day, especially for my first time on guard, and obviously (there’s) stuff to work on. So I’m excited about the start and now just to see how we can finish it.”

Mauch added that “a lot of teams like me as a guard, and there’s even a lot of talk as a center.” His performance on Wednesday was overall better than Mauch’s the day before, showing he can improve quickly after the move indoors.

2) Two injuries for the national team.

Two key national team players missed Wednesday’s training after impressing on Tuesday.

Ohio State offensive tackle Dawand Jones — the tallest player in the Senior Bowl (6-8, 375 pounds) — was feeling unwell and his status for the rest of the week is yet to be determined, reports insider Tom Pelissero. NFL network. during live coverage of Wednesday’s practice on NFL+.

Texas running back Roschon Johnson fractured his hand early in Tuesday’s practice, according to NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport. Johnson was able to play through the injury on day one but did not practice on Wednesday. Rapoport reported that Johnson “likely won’t be able to participate the rest of the week.”

3) Stanford’s Kyu Blu Kelly makes a statement on Wednesday.

One of the national team’s standout players on Wednesday was Kelly, a 6-foot, 193-pound cornerback and son of former Buccaneers CB Brian Kelly, who played for Tampa Bay from 1998-2007 .

Cardinal’s Kelly was everywhere in team drills, breaking up at least three passes and also intercepting a pass – even stealing it away from the grip of his former Stanford teammate, receiver Elijah Higgins – and sending it back for what would have was a pick-six.

“I just went over there and ripped it off,” Kelly said. “When I get the chance, I’ll make a game.”

It was a huge game for a prospect with just three career interceptions that opposing teams often avoided throwing last season.

“Twenty-five,” Kelly said, counting the number of times he’s been targeted in 10 games in 2022. “I kept counting. It wasn’t hard.”

Higgins said Kelly’s “anticipation skill” was her best trait.

“I saw him every day in training,” Higgins said. “He had way more than three choices there.”

For good measure, Kelly also landed an off-target throw while standing on the sideline – and he did so with one hand while the other held his helmet.

“I want scouts to know I have hands and I’m a playmaker,” Kelly said.

Dad was impressed. Looking out from the stands, the elder Kelly said his son was “a better version of me in every way. He’s faster than me. He’s taller. He’s smarter than me. I’m just proud.”

4) Fresno State’s Jake Haener could emerge from the QB crop.

It’s not a banner year for quarterbacks in the Senior Bowl, but it’s not a lost cause at the position. In a generation of quarterbacks that mostly range from Day 3 prospects to priority free agents, Haener might be the leader among them. He’s now stacked up solid back-to-back drives, showing decent accuracy and the ability to make plays off the structure – even in unfamiliar surroundings this week.

The Bulldogs quarterback finished his career with a bang, coming back from an ankle injury to lead Fresno State to a Mountain West title and throwing for 2,896 yards, 20 touchdowns and just three picks despite missing four games.

Haener was lucky not to miss more. Doctors initially told him it was a 10-12 week injury, which could have ended his season. In the end, he was out for a much shorter period, playing the rest of the season with an ankle he estimated to be “75-80% healthy”. The Bulldogs did not lose a single game after his return.

Was he worried about doing more ankle damage before the pre-draft season?

“I don’t play with fear,” Haener said. “You know, I try to execute and play at a high level and do everything I can to help our team get wins, but I think that’s allowed me to play from a different perspective at times. and get the ball out of my hand faster and more efficiently.”

5) Tulane’s Tyjae Spears looks sharp as a receiver.

It’s going to be hard to slow Spears’ hype train this week.

The Tulane running back was one of the Senior Bowl’s first stars, making impressive plays two days in a row. On Wednesday, Spears had some telltale plays.

He slipped on a running game during 9-on-7 work, and it looked like he might go down with no gain, but he regained his balance, shifted his weight, and took on some yardage. He also stood tall in pass-receiving and blocking drills, and had a long touchdown run late in the session.

Two things stood out: Spears looked quick at 204 pounds (after playing in the 190 last season, he said) and was good at catching the ball.

At Tulane, Spears was often an afterthought receiving option, catching just 28 passes in his first 22 college games. A two-game stretch last season against South Mississippi and Houston offered a glimpse of that ability, with Spears catching 11 combined passes for 159 yards and a touchdown.

Spears said Wednesday that he never asked Green Wave coaches for more chances as a receiver. Why? Because he said it was not his job to decide how the offense was handled.

“I never tried to put myself in the coach’s shoes because there’s so much to put into the equation,” Spears said. “I can’t just walk up to (them) and say, ‘Hey, use me (as a catcher) out of the backfield. I am not that player. I let you discover it. “

It seems that the coaches of the American team have understood this. Expect Spears to have even more chances to catch the ball during the week.

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