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Senior Bowl Day 2 recap: Top quarterbacks disappoint while a sleeper awakens

What you need to know from Wednesday’s practice geared toward Raiders’ draft needs

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

MOBILE, Ala. — Day 2 is in the books at the Senior Bowl as we creep closer to the end of the first major event during NFL Draft season. With two top prospects slinging the rock around this week, the quarterbacks are of course the primary focus for the Las Vegas Raiders. However, the big standout from Wednesday’s session might surprise you.

Quarterbacks

After writing yesterday that Oregon’s Bo Nix and Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. were underwhelming, today’s performance was probably worse for both guys.

Nix still seemed timid to let it rip and was spraying the ball all over the place, showing some accuracy issues. He just doesn’t seem to have the arm talent that he showed during the season. Meanwhile, Penix Jr. had accuracy issues and missed a few short, easy throws. He also didn’t handle pressure in the pocket well.

Of the two, Penix Jr. has been the better player during both practices as he’s at least flashed that impressive arm strength and made a few more eye-catching passes down the field.

Maybe it was because the top two quarterbacks in Mobile have been underwhelming so far, but the local kid from South Alabama, Carter Bradley, turned some heads on Wednesday. He was one of the few passers who was consistently willing to take some shots and dropped several nice balls in the process.

Bradley showed off some good arm talent and might be a potential sleeper in the draft class. He’s currently projected to be an undrafted free agent by NFL Mock Draft Database, but he did exactly what he needed to do as an unknown commodity; force you to turn on the tape.

Also, Bradley should have some familiarity with the Raiders as his father, Gus, was the team’s defensive coordinator in 2021.

Defensive line

NCAA Football: Kentucky at Missouri
Darius Robinson
William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

Darius Robinson from Missouri was the best or most impressive defensive lineman, in my opinion. Coming into the week, I had concerns about Robinson’s skills as a pass-rusher, but he’s won from several alignments in both the one-on-ones and full-team periods. The only issue is he doesn’t fit a need for the Raiders since he plays a similar position to Tyree Wilson as an odd front defensive end.

For a couple of players who could be scheme fits for the Silver and Black, Texas A&M’s McKinnley Jackson had a bounce-back performance and Tyler Davis out of Clemson had a strong showing. Jackson was winning as a pass-rusher in the one-on-ones and had a couple of nice stops against the run in full-team, and literally, the same thing could be said about Davis. The former Aggie would be more of a replacement for John Jenkins and Adam Butler at nose tackle while Davis is a three-technique. Both are potential mid-round targets.

As more of a side note, UCLA’s Laiatu Latu had an impressive day. Per the Las Vegas Review Journal’s Vincent Bonsignore, Latu has been in contact with Maxx Crosby and models his game after Crosby.

The former Bruin probably isn’t a draft target for the Raiders with last season’s emergence of Malcolm Koonce and his status as a top-15 pick, but Latu and Crosby would form a nasty edge rush duo if Las Vegas goes with a ‘best-player available’ approach.

Cornerback

On Tuesday, I wrote about how Toledo cornerback Quinyon Mitchell was the top player at the position, and that continued to be true on Wednesday. He picked up another interception during the one-on-ones and continued to win consistently in that drill, which favors the offense.

NCAA Football: Mid-American Conference Football Championship-Miami (OH) at Toledo
Quinyon Mitchell
Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

I’ve also been hearing that Mitchell has already clocked a sub-4.4 40-yard dash time, so his stock should continue to rise during next month’s NFL Combine and it’s looking like he’ll be Toledo’s first, first-round pick since 1993 and second in school history.

Another corner to keep an eye on is Jarvis Brownlee Jr. from Louisville. He had a few nice reps in one-on-ones where he showed good instincts by running the route for the receiver. Brownlee is currently a projected undrafted free agent but that might change with another strong performance to wrap up the practices tomorrow.

Offensive line

Oregon’s Jackson Powers-Johnson continues to impress and look like a first-round pick. I think he could be a sneaky option for the Raiders with the 13th overall selection or if the team decides to trade back. However, Powers-Johnson did suffer an injury and sat out of practice toward the end. I’ll make sure to note if he suits up on Thursday, but I’d imagine his week is over.

At Kansas, Dominick Puni played left guard in 2022 and left tackle this past season, but he took snaps a center on Wednesday and had a strong showing. That versatility could suit him well in Las Vegas as the team needs help on the interior offensive line.

Video Clips

Rounding up a few highlights from X, formerly known as Twitter.