By James Marshall
The final day of Senior Bowl practice quickly got off to a rocky start, as the busses carrying players to Hancock Whitney Stadium got into a minor car accident. Although no one was hurt from the bus bump, there were some notable injuries today, particularly at the wide receiver position. Senior Bowl standout D’Wayne Eskridge was inactive today, alongside Ty Wallace, Ben Skowronek and Sage Surratt. In practice today, Mac Jones limped off the field today after a quarterback scramble, and Quinn Meinerz had an apparent hand injury that sidelined him shortly.
We got to see a lot more Mizzou action than yesterday, primarily with Larry Rountree III. As yesterday was a day to forget, Rountree contributed a lot to the highlight reel this afternoon. Rountree put his ability as a runner on full display, hitting the holes and making guys miss in the open field. Rountree had a good sequence where he used a nice cut to make a man miss, followed up by ducking a defender in the flat off a Jamie Newman pass. Rountree often found himself going up against Paddy Fisher, both of whom had solid days. Rountree had a nice touchdown catch against Fisher but was later overshadowed by Fisher blowing up a halfback screen.
Paddy Fisher is one guy who needed to have a bounce back day from yesterday. Fisher really struggled in coverage yesterday, most notably getting beat by Elijah Mitchell. Kylin Hill also managed to bottle up Fisher yesterday in a pass blocking drill. Today, Fisher showed off his instinct and his run stopping ability, notably blowing up the Rountree screen towards the end of practice. He’s a guy who should expect to come off the board around the late third round.
Sticking with today’s winners, the special teams unit for the American team had one. Max Duffy, the 27-year-old former Australian football player, put on a clinic, booting the ball well over 60 yards on multiple occasions. Duffy’s leg strength is his biggest, as Duffy was punting the ball 55 yards in the air on almost every punt, sending a couple over 65 yards in the air.
As far as winners go for today, Richie Grant couldn’t have had a better day. The safety from the Florida panhandle pulled off a rare feat: intercepting a pass at practice this week. Grant picked off Jamie Newman in the endzone during a red zone drill towards the end of practice, causing his team to go crazy in celebration. Even after that, he had another nice pass break up on his way to a highlight-filled afternoon.
Lastly on today’s winners, the National team’s running backs showed out this morning. Rhamondre Stevenson and Michael Carter both had solid performances, although Carter had the better out of the two. He’s a versatile pass catcher who saw a lot of time on the field doing just that. He’s a decent halfback who came into this week looking to boost his draft stock. As for Stevenson, he’s not a typical receiving back, but the power halfback impressed with his awareness and vision today. Stevenson’s ability to keep his eyes on the ball as a pass catcher stood out when both Carter and Khalil Herbert had a drop.
Overall for Mizzou, today was the best day for the three Tigers players. Although Bledsoe didn’t see much of the field today, both Tiger’s DBs avoided giving up big plays. Rountree had a solid day running and catching the ball as well as pass blocking. All three were used in the American team’s punt packages, with Rountree being in nearly every play they practiced.
Notably for the Tigers, Bledsoe, Gillespie and Rountree all wore different helmets today. All three chose the block ‘M’ styling, but Bledsoe donned a black lid, Gillespie chose yellow and Rountree rocked white to compliment his jersey.
Edited by Emma Moloney