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Senior Bowl day one practice recap

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Winners, losers, and more!

Reese’s Senior Bowl

Day one of the 2020 Senior Bowl practice is in the books and it was… well it happened. All joking aside, the Cincinnati Bengals coaching staff put on the better show with the South squad, while the Detroit Lions stretched their way through a snoozer on the North side. Hopefully the Lions’ staff will pick up the pace now that everybody is nice and loose, but there wasn’t too much to take away from their session.

Before we get to the individual performances, the Senior Bowl took another hit when California’s rangy, track stud free safety Ashtyn Davis was flagged for medical which prevents him from participating during the Senior Bowl week.

“Ashtyn Davis wasn’t recruited to play football but found his way to becoming one of the Pac Twelve’s best defensive players as a walk on. His best fit at the next level comes as a traditional free safety that lurks over top and uses his athleticism to work in pursuit. In addition, he has matchup-specific appeal to work in man coverage from the slot… Davis has immediate upside in subpackages and as a four-phase special team player with the upside to start by Year 2/3.” – Joe Marino, The Draft Network

The Eagles have needed to find an answer at the safety position for quite some time. Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod have been a good duo together, but the third spot in their “big dime” packages have seen the likes of Corey Graham, Tre’ Sullivan, Andrew Sendejo, Marcus Epps and many others. With Rodney McLeod set to test free agency and Malcolm Jenkins’ ongoing contract dispute, the Eagles need answers more than ever.

Having to look for other answers, I was intrigued by little-known Lenoir-Rhyne strong safety Kyle Dugger. The D-II product won’t be a secret for long as he’s expected to run a sub-4.5 forty-yard dash and hit 40” in the vertical jump all while carrying 217 pounds on his 6’0” frame. Dugger is taking a significant step up in competition and there’s a question if he’ll be better suited to play weakside linebacker in the NFL. In what work he did get in Day 1 of practice, Dugger looked up to the task and showed good movement skills in coverage.

Another area of need is obviously wide receiver, where unfortunately Arizona State’s Brandon Aiyuk, like Ashyton Davis, was flagged for medical and will not participate. Florida’s Van Jefferson looked like the most detailed and polished route runner on the South squad and Texas’ Devin Duvernay’s stiffness went from a concern to a legit knock in his evaluation. On the North squad, Baylor’s Denzel Mims consistently got separation and Notre Dame’s big boy Chase Claypool (6’4”, 229 pounds) showed well.

There were a lot of struggles from both cornerback groups during the two practices, with the best performances coming from the under 6-foot trio of Notre Dame’s Troy Pride Jr., UCLA’s Darnay Holmes, and Pittsburgh’s Dane Jackson. Take that news how you like, but it would’ve been great for the Eagles to see the bigger corners ball with their need at outside cornerback. There’s still time for the others to get right but the practices are sorely missing LSU’s Kristian Fulton and TCU’s Jeff Gladney, who aren’t the biggest corners, but were undoubtedly the most talented before having to pull out.

Me & special guest Russell Brown of Cover 1 talk about all of this and more on The 2020 BGN Draft #1! Listen on the media player below or click here if the player doesn’t load. New to podcasts?! Check out our guide on how to listen and subscribe to BGN! FLY EAGLES FLY!