Senior Bowl practice wrapped on Thursday, and the headliner quarterbacks didn't disappoint in their last preparatory session before the game.
Stealing the show, however, was Allen Lazard, the big receiver from Iowa State. His large stature and high-pointing prowess lead to a variety of splash plays, mostly in the end zone. Virginia defensive tackle Andrew Brown capped off the best week of anyone in Mobile with more consistent penetration into the backfield.
Here are my observations from Thursday's practices.
- Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen had his steadiest practice and stood out among quarterbacks on the North squad during the final session before the game Saturday. He didn't make any "wow" throws, but, more importantly, didn't make undrafted free-agent type tosses either. In red-zone work, he had nice touch on a fade to the back corner of the end zone and zip on a score on a weakside sprint out to the front left pylon. He did have a pair of overthrows on passes into the end zone, but neither were egregiously off-target.
- Rutgers outside linebacker Kemoko Turay exhibited hand use in Mobile he didn't show on film during his collegiate career. Turay beat steady Oregon offensive tackle Tyrell Crosby and Pittsburgh offensive tackle Brian O'Neill two times each using a swipe move and a surprisingly powerful bull rush. He's a speed-to-power rusher and had a fine week.
- Iowa State wideout Allen Lazard was the most impressive player -- for either team -- on Thursday. He made an outstanding back-shoulder catch for a touchdown early in the session and finished with three more dazzling displays of his high-pointing ability. He also created separation on a dig route in team work and was found by Baker Mayfield. In the red zone, he also made a tough grab on a slant against tight coverage. Lazard has a fun combination of size, leaping ability, strong hands, and deceptive athleticism.
- Mayfield was his typical, consistent self, and worked wonders near the end zone. However, as was the case yesterday, when his first read was covered he hitched, looked uncomfortable and either threw the football away, scrambled, or dumped it into the flat to a running back four or five seconds after he received the snap.
- Stanford defensive tackle Harrison Phillips toyed with offensive linemen in one-on-one drills, using his immense strength to push back blockers. In team drills, he utilized his go-to swim move to win at the point of attack.
- On the topic of hand use, Oklahoma outside linebacker Ogbonnia Okoronkwo was masterful getting offensive linemen off-balance with his long arms in both one-on-one and team drills. He beat Crosby on a few reps. Army offensive tackle Brett Toth was the only player I saw stymie Okoronkwo on one snap.
- Penn State wideout DaeSean Hamilton had some issues with drops throughout the week. His route-running was spectacular though. He's a tremendous salesman on routes with multiple cuts. The Nittany Lions star also possesses the quickness and speed to separate on a regular basis. He left Boston College cornerback Isaac Yiadom -- who was super sticky in coverage all week -- in the dust on a post corner in team drills.
- Both NC State defensive linemen, Justin Jones and B.J. Hill, remained incredibly sturdy in the middle. They're both strong bull-rushers with heavy hands. Iowa offensive guard Sean Welsh was put on skates by Hill in a one-on-one rep. Hill even deployed a quick spin move -- impressive at his size -- in the middle that nearly beat UTEP offensive guard Will Hernandez.
- UCLA center Scott Quessenberry was the only interior offensive linemen who held Hill in check.
- Boise State wide receiver Cedrick Wilson was the recipient of a fine throw through traffic from Allen in the red zone and extended above his head for a grab from Nebraska quarterback Tanner Lee.
- After two days of underwhelming play -- particularly relative to the massive amount of buzz surrounding him in Mobile -- UTSA pass-rusher Marcus Davenport was a monster Thursday. He beat TCU offensive tackle Joseph Noteboom a handful of times for would-be sacks, got his hand on a throw after another pressure and late in the practice actually fell into Richmond quarterback Kyle Lauletta for another sack.
- Georgia offensive guard Isaiah Wynn was again dominant in one-on-one drills regardless of who he faced. Alabama defensive lineman Da'Shawn Hand actually had a nice week ... when he didn't match up with the former Bulldogs star.
- Defensive tackle Andrew Brown from Virginia continued outstanding play that'll lead to arguably the highest draft-stock rise of any player in Mobile this week. He not only won with burst off the ball but utilized a super-quick swim move to get into the backfield with relative ease on more than one rep. He seems to be at home on the inside as an attacker as opposed to eating blocks on the outside of the defensive line.
- Darious Leonard, a linebacker from South Carolina State, was excellent in a variety of coverage drills. He blanketed every running back he saw, both down the field and on out-breaking routes to the flat. I counted three pass breakups. His athleticism makes him an enticing prospect.
- Vanderbilt linebacker Oren Burks showed his run-defense chops with a rapid fill on an inside run by LSU back Darrel Williams
- Georgia State cornerback Chandon Sullivan had a pair of pass breakups and maintained tight coverage for the vast majority of practice Thursday.
- Outside linebacker Shaquem Griffin of Central Florida wrecked Humboldt State offensive tackle Alex Cappa late in the practice with a tightly-wound spin move that would've led to a sack. Griffin is a no-nonsense stand-up rusher on the outside.
- LSU wideout D.J. Chark had no problem creating separation Thursday -- a theme of the week for him -- as he reeled in a few grabs in both one-on-one and team drills.
- Oklahoma State receiver Marcell Ateman high-pointed to reel in a touchdown in red-zone work and actually fought through a pass-breakup attempt.
- Ole Miss outside linebacker Marquis Haynes' active hands were impactful yet again. He had a would-be sack in team drills and ripped his way to a win in one-on-one drills.
- At the quarterback spot, Lauletta was the best North Team quarterback, as he got the ball out of his hands quickly and his accuracy didn't waver much. Western Kentucky's Mike White was the North squad's second-best signal-caller Thursday.