South Carolina defensive lineman Javon Kinlaw showed why he’s considered the best player in Mobile at day one of the 2020 Senior Bowl practices.
For all but two NFL teams, it’s draft season and the NFL Draft always starts in Mobile at the Senior Bowl.
One of the great events on the NFL calendar, the Senior Bowl is an opportunity for great prospects to prove they are the best of the best as well as a chance for lesser-known prospects to prove they belong in the conversation.
The NFL world has descended upon Mobile for the week of football festivities, and it should come as no surprise that it took basically no time flat for South Carolina defensive lineman Javon Kinlaw to blow everyone away.
In fact, Kinlaw’s impressive Senior Bowl audition began with his weigh-in, where he blew people away with his size and length.
If those measurements don’t make a ton of sense, in that format, they mean that Kinlaw checked into the Senior Bowl at over 6-foot-5, 315 pounds, 10 1/8-inch hands (huge), 34 5/8-inch arms (also huge), and an 84-inch (7-foot) wingspan.
These are jaw-dropping numbers for an interior defensive lineman who looks this quick off the ball.
Not only is Kinlaw the highest-graded overall player in Mobile right now, he’s also this year’s awesome story. Every one of these players undoubtedly has a great story, but Kinlaw’s story of being homeless growing up puts his ascent to college football stardom in a different perspective.
Kinlaw continued to win the day by talking about wanting to show young men that ‘it’s okay’ to be a good father, and talked about a number of other things from his days at JUCO to his aspirations of being even more impactful than the likes of Aaron Donald at the NFL level.
He came across with confidence, humility, and a great personality. He may not get drafted as high as Oregon QB Justin Herbert, but he will likely be the highest drafted non-quarterback from Mobile. He might go higher than Herbert anyway.
Wide Receivers show out
It’s not uncommon for wide receivers to put defensive backs on skates in one-on-one drills, but the receivers obviously have to have the chops to do it at this stage.
We saw it from a number of guys on Tuesday, including Ohio State’s KJ Hill and Florida’s Van Jefferson.
For those who are fans of teams in need of strong route runners, you won’t find many in this draft better than Florida’s Van Jefferson, the son of former NFL wide receiver Shawn Jefferson.
Route running is in his DNA.
Justin Herbert impresses on the mic
Everyone who has watched any Oregon game over the last four years knows that Justin Herbert’s arm talent is not going to be an issue for him in the NFL.
What a number of people do have questions about are his intangibles and he did an awesome job handling some difficult questions from the NFL Network crew.
Herbert also looked good throwing the ball in practice, which isn’t all that common because guys are coming in with zero chemistry.
Herbert is working with the Cincinnati Bengals coaching staff and the Bengals obviously have the top overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Showing up to an event like this and not big-timing it is something — right or wrong — that scouts will actually like a lot about Herbert.
In my eyes, it’s a huge plus for him. He has four years of tape at Oregon to show what he can do and plenty of coaches who can speak to his leadership abilities. He’s coming to Mobile for a week of practice to prove that he’s a team-first guy and not a me-first guy, and he’s not above the process.
LSU center Lloyd Cushenberry is a fourth-year junior participating in this event not long after his team put on a dominating performance in the National Championship game.
Some already feel like Cushenberry is the top center in this draft and a top 50 overall player, but he showed well in the first few practices and has a chance to establish himself at the top of a deep interior offensive line class.
Pittsburgh cornerback Dane Jackson was one of a couple of defensive players to show out in drills, but how about the advanced metrics going on here?
Shoutout to Nagy and the Senior Bowl for tracking that. That’s an outstanding number and it’s a great highlight for Jackson, who was outstanding in one-on-one drills, in particular. He was running routes for the receivers and just ripping the ball out of their hands.
In a class that’s not overly deep at cornerback, at least at initial glance, he could wind up making a lot of money this week.
Washington OT Trey Adams has a long, unfortunate history of injuries in college, and he’s going to miss Senior Bowl week with a hamstring injury.
Despite the fact that it’s a minor injury, the narrative on Adams at this point is a lack of availability. If you’re an NFL team, how can you justify taking this guy in the top 100 at this point? He was once considered a potential top OT and first-round prospect. I would expect unless some team has multiple picks late on day two that he will end up a day-three guy due to injury and durability concerns.
Wisconsin LB Zack Baun is working with the Detroit Lions’ staff and obviously a Patriots disciple in Matt Patricia. What the Patriots have become known for over the years is valuing defensive front seven players with tremendous versatility, and Baun is a borderline first-round player who potentially could help a team as an off-ball linebacker and edge rusher.
As it turns out, Patricia and the Lions’ staff had Baun working as an off-ball linebacker at practice at times, despite the fact that he primarily played off the edge in college for the Badgers. He could be a fun player to watch as we get closer to the 2020 Draft in terms of being a versatile threat for defenses needing off-ball linebackers.