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2021 Senior Bowl: Recapping Day 2 of practice

Lead Draft Analyst Jacob Infante breaks down the second day of practices at the 2021 Senior Bowl.

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Practice Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

The second day of practices for the 2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl kicked off on Wednesday, and it proved to be just as exciting as the opening day.

Though there was a slightly heavier focus on special teams workouts than the previous day, the format of the practice was still fairly similar. There proved to be numerous opportunities for players at all positions to show their stuff.

Some familiar standouts from Day 1 showed up and excelled on Wednesday, as did a couple of new faces. Here are some of the key takeaways from Day 2 of Senior Bowl practice.

Senior Bowl Day 2 notes

Mac Jones stumbled out of the gate with a so-so performance on Day 1, but he certainly bounced back with his performance on Wednesday.

Jones generally looked more accurate throwing the ball, and he demonstrated more poise moving around in the pocket. His specific limitations were evident, as they have been every time he’s stepped foot onto the field. He is a talented player, though, and he showed a much more comfortable style of play with a day of practice behind him.

The quarterback play was generally pretty pedestrian, as it was on Day 1. Jamie Newman stood out among a fairly underwhelming pack, showcasing arm strength and solid intermediate accuracy once again. He had a few instances of forced reads that resulted in turnovers, but he was one of the better looker quarterbacks out there. No other quarterbacks put together truly notable performances, though.

I made it a priority to watch more offensive and defensive line workouts on Wednesday, and doing so was definitely a smart decision. The drills showcased a class of blockers who can step into a starting lineup and contribute fairly quickly.

It marked a strong showing for numerous small-school offensive linemen, as well. North Dakota State’s Dillon Radunz looked powerful at the point of attack and showed nice agility in space. Quinn Meinerz from Wisconsin-Whitewater shone again, taking reps as both a guard and a center while displaying a nasty edge and polished form. D’Ante Smith out of East Carolina was another major beneficiary of today’s practice, as he dominated on a snap-by-snap basis with power, a high motor, and good pads. The same applies to David Moore out of Grambling State, who was incredibly strong upon contact. Cincinnati’s James Hudson showcased top-notch physical tools in his practice at tackle, too.

It wasn’t just a small-schooler’s day, though: some Power 5 prospects also came to play in a big way. Creed Humphrey from Oklahoma was an immovable object at the point of attack at center, as was Kentucky’s Drake Jackson. Alabama’s Deonte Brown also proved to be powerful when engaged with defenders at the guard position.

A handful of defensive linemen were able to make a pretty big impact, too. Among them was Tulane’s Cameron Sample, who used quickness in both his first step and his hands to beat offensive linemen in one-on-one drills. A bit of a tweener as an interior-edge hybrid, Sample was able to get into the backfield regardless of where he was lined up.

Quincy Roche out of Miami (FL) was another notable talent who lived up to his early-round billing. His speed off the snap and his flexibility in changing direction and turning the corner made him a tough edge rusher to stop, particularly for Alabama’s Alex Leatherwood, who had a bit of a down day. Carlos Basham Jr. from Wake Forest was also pretty consistent in beating blockers with power.

Other edge defenders who looked good on Wednesday included UAB’s Jordan Smith and Penn State’s Shaka Toney. The interior defensive line class saw Osa Odighizuwa from UCLA put together another quality performance, but the interior offensive line seemed to get the upper hand, overall.

I didn’t get to spend as much time watching the wide receivers and defensive backs go at it again this time around, but I did catch enough of the one-on-ones to see which players generally stood out.

On the defensive side of the ball, UCF’s Aaron Robinson stood out to me. He looked like a shutdown cornerback and was able to stay physical through his opponents’ stems and knock them off their route. Tre Brown from Oklahoma was consistently able to shut down the opposition in man coverage, which was a welcomed sign for a player whose game tape had just decent physicality.

The receivers seemed to get the upper hand, though. Amari Rodgers from Clemson was fantastic, showing off sudden quickness in his cuts and great burst off the line of scrimmage. Josh Palmer from Tennessee was another receiver who was able to get open regularly with a crafty arsenal of releases, which is encouraging for a 6-foot-1, 210-pound wide-out.

From the first half of practice, Oklahoma State’s Tylan Wallace and South Dakota State’s Cade Johnson both excelled in one-on-one drills. Wallace showed why he’s highly touted as a Day 2 prospect, while Johnson showed why many around draft circles have been sleeping on him.

The remaining positions proved to be more tough to evaluate given their circumstances, as many safeties were placed in unfavorable one-on-ones with wide receivers, running backs generally don’t have much of a chance to stand out in non-game settings, and the latter case rings true for linebackers.

At those positions, though, I liked what I saw from Florida safety Shawn Davis, Missouri running back Larry Rountree III, and Houston linebacker Grant Stuard. The two defenders looked agile in coverage, while Rountree built upon a solid Day 1 with another well-rounded day.

With practices now halfway done for the week, some of the top performers of the week have started to make themselves apparent. There are still two more days of entertaining action before the Senior Bowl game itself is played on Saturday, though, so it could serve as an opportunity for several prospects to make up for lost ground.