Senior Bowl practice winners

Senior Bowl Practice Winners: Thursday

  • 2021 NFL Draft
  • Austin Watkins Jr.
  • Benjamin St. Juste
  • Carlos Basham Jr.
  • carolina panthers
  • Draft
  • Grant Stuard
  • Justin Hilliard
  • Miami Dolphins
  • Mobile
  • Osa Odighizuwa
  • Practice
  • Richie Grant
  • Robert Hainsey
  • Senior Bowl
By Mitchell Wolfe January 29, 2021 0 Comment
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Thursday was the third day of practices at the 2021 Senior Bowl. Over the course of the week, we’ve listed winners from Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s practice sessions. A good amount of players on both teams sat out of practice today due to injuries. But there were still many players that stood out in practice. Like the previous articles, the winners are divided by the two teams: National (Miami Dolphins) and American (Carolina Panthers).

National

Robert Hainsey

Of the three Notre Dame offensive linemen at the Senior Bowl, Robert Hainsey clearly improved his stock the most. Hainsey came in with some size concerns, but he assuaged those in weigh-ins. Furthermore, he stood out in drills and team work repeatedly. The reason why I chose Hainsey today is that he played his third position of the week. He played right tackle at Notre Dame and got some reps there this week. He mostly played guard, but today he even got some run at center. It could be argued that Hainsey’s best reps came at center. Thanks to today’s reps, Hainsey displayed he can be an extremely versatile piece on the offensive line, immediately improving his draft stock.

Justin Hilliard

To put in bluntly, Hilliard is one of a select few linebackers at the Senior Bowl that can actually stick with running backs in man coverage. He’s experienced a meteoric rise in the last two months. Hilliard built on that rise with a great week of practice, especially today. He allowed very little separation in coverage and frequently breaks up passes as they arrive. Hilliard also showed up in run support today. Finally, he also has flashed some impressive pass rush reps, impressive for a somewhat undersized linebacker.

Osa Odighizuwa

I don’t know what ‘Odighizuwa’ translates to, but based on his performance, it should mean “strength” or “power.” Odighizuwa’s power and strength belie his relatively undersized frame. But he was nearly unstoppable in one-on-one’s, regularly walking offensive lineman into the backfield. He carried this over into the scrimmages as well, collapsing the pocket and blowing up the run scheme. Odighizuwa greatly helped himself this week and today, displaying incredible play strength and hand placement to control and then discard opponents. 

Benjamin St. Juste

St. Juste has been one of my favorite players in Mobile every day. Thursday’s practice was arguably his best. On one rep, Demetric Felton tried to use his foot quickness in his release to beat St. Juste off the line. St. Juste remained patient, then sent his hands through Felton’s chest, knocking him down. He also continuously made multiple great plays on the ball. St. Juste is elite at timing his contact with the arrival of the ball to help break up the pass. He was one of the biggest risers in Mobile this week, and Thursday’s practice was the culmination of a great week.

American

Carlos Basham Jr.

Now moving on to the National team, Basham dominated at Senior Bowl practice on Thursday. At 6’3” and 281 pounds, Basham is a bit of a hybrid player in terms of size. However, on Thursday, he displayed the requisite athleticism to succeed as an edge rusher. He repeatedly defeated offensive lineman with quickness and agility. Furthermore, Basham also achieved a goal he was working on all week: converting speed to power. Off the edge, his transitioning from explosiveness to strength looked very clean, something that will be necessary to his success at the next level. 

Richie Grant

Both UCF defensive backs (Grant and Aaron Robinson) performed very well today. But Grant elevated his game to a new level today. He repeatedly displayed excellent ball skills, recording multiple interceptions and pass breakups in one-on-ones and team drills. Grant also displayed good physicality, something I had some questions about going into the week. All in all, Grant may have been the overall winner among all the prospects on Thursday’s practices.

Austin Watkins Jr.

Watkins was a player that I wanted to keep an eye on going into Mobile. He did not disappoint. Watkins was great every single day and he even elevated his play today. His route running is crisp, smooth, and sudden. In the early portion of practice, Watkins made a great touchdown catch on a seam route during an end-of-game situation. He is a polished receiver with room to grow. 

Grant Stuard

To be honest, I felt Stuard struggled a fair bit the first two days. With his massive tuft of hair, he was always easy to find, not necessarily for the best reasons. But on Thursday, Stuard started showing up in the right ways. He looked much better stopping the run and was flying around the second level to the ball. He looked faster and more comfortable in pass coverage. Stuard even flashed some pass rush ability using quickness to surprise and defeat offensive lineman. 

The Brawl Network’s analysts left Mobile yesterday, but we will be posting more content recapping the entire Senior Bowl in the coming days, along with the Draft at large. Stay tuned!

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I cover and write about the NFL, the NFL Draft, and the Pittsburgh Steelers. I am originally from Hershey, PA and was raised a Pittsburgh sports fan. I went to Boston College for undergrad and am currently finishing a Master's degree in Sports Business at Temple University, concentrating in Sport Analytics.

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