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Reese’s Senior Bowl Recap: Defensive Standouts

Reese's Senior Bowl Defensive Standouts NFL Between Classes via Flickr



The Senior Bowl game takes place this Saturday, but the practices and one-on-ones are all but over, and scouts and coaches around the league now go back home with more information on the players who attended.  This week isn’t as much about how they play in the game as it is about getting a firsthand look at how they perform in practices and how quickly they can pick up a new scheme, even though the scheme is very simple.  Let’s go over some of the standouts at each defensive position.

Edge Defenders

Youngstown State edge defender Derek Rivers stood out from a physical perspective from the weigh-ins.  He has outstanding length and is thickly built for the position.  He had several “WOW!” plays during practices this week but down the stretch was inconsistent.

Ryan Anderson, the edge defender from Alabama, balled out this week.  He looks uncomfortable dropping back into pass coverage but was a superb run defender and showed repeatedly that he could bend the edge.  He may have solidified his status as a first round pick this week.

The last player who really stood out to me was Texas A&M‘s Daeshon Hall.  He had numerous wow plays this week but was another guy who was plagued with inconsistency.  He has superb size and length and it’s likely that he could join Texas A&M‘s Myles Garrett and become a first round pick.


One linebacker really stood out in this group: Florida’s Alex Anzalone.  Anzalone is a former 5-star recruit whose college career was plagued by injury.  He showed a lack of experience in his key and diagnose, sometimes dropping into coverage on what was clearly a run play.  However, at his best, he has the talent to be a top NFL linebacker.  He was consistently around the ball, he picked up the playbook with ease and was moved to Mike to direct the linebackers after starting as a Will on day 1, and he had the athleticism to run downfield with San Diego State running back Donnel Pumphrey.  This guy can be special.

NFL Tickets


The most notable thing about this week was how many cornerbacks I was disappointed with.  I don’t really want to name any names, but there were several very-hyped guys who did not show well this week.  Of course, they were being asked to play in a new scheme and in press coverage, which for some of the cornerbacks was something they were not asked to do in college.

As far as the guys who I did like, Cameron Sutton from Tennessee showed he has the tools to be very competitive at the next level.  He lined up across from Alabama tight end OJ Howard multiple times and was sticky in coverage and competitive enough to knock the ball out of Howard’s hands.  Sutton does not have the length you want from a corner in the NFL but showed he can play in spite of his small stature.

Florida State’s Marquez White played extremely well both days I saw him.  He was sticky in man coverage and showed he has the ability to jam at the line of scrimmage.  He showed he could use his long arms in coverage quite a few times today.  After not seeing much of his college tape, I thought he could be a guy who does really well in the NFL.

I know I didn’t cover any interior defensive linemen or safeties.  At the Senior Bowl, I tried to focus on one group at a time and defensive linemen and safeties didn’t make the cut for me.  I will say that UConn safety Obi Melifonwu has outstanding size for the safety position.   He was extremely well built.

It was a great week and I was extremely glad I got to go. I recommend it to anyone who loves football as much as I do.  If you have any questions, reach out on twitter.