Practices are over in Mobile, and Senior Bowl week is coming to a close. Many of the media members and NFL scouts take off after practice concludes on Thursday afternoon, but there is still a game to be played, which is all that most fans will get to see of the week.
In that game, there are numerous players who project as good fits for the Green Bay Packers at a multitude of positions. After seeing who impressed (and who didn’t) in practice this week, let’s take a look through the North and South rosters to find some of the top players who should intrigue general manager Brian Gutekunst and his scouting staff.
Deebo Samuel, South Carolina (#1, South team)
Samuel has been tearing it up in practice, solidifying himself as a bona fide second-day draft prospect. He had a big year as a Senior, with 882 yards and 11 touchdowns, and he’s a solidly built player who can go over the middle. However, his route-running looks terrific, something that should make him very intriguing for Packers fans, and he will likely test very well at the Combine.
Terry McLaurin, Ohio State (#10, North team)
The Buckeye wideout ranked third on his team in receiving yards and fourth in total catches this season, but his 11 touchdown catches were just one score behind Parris Campbell for the team lead and he by far led the way in yards per catch at 20. While Campbell is the more explosive player, McLaurin would be a good depth receiver and can provide plenty of experience on special teams as well.
Penny Hart, Georgia State (#18, North team)
The 5-foot-8, 180-pount Hart is almost a carbon copy of Taylor Gabriel, current Bears and former Falcons receiver. As Zach Kruse of Packers Wire astutely noted on Twitter, Gabriel’s best season came with the Falcons in 2016 with Kyle Shanahan as the offensive coordinator and Matt LaFleur as Atlanta’s quarterbacks coach. It’s not hard to imagine LaFleur using Hart similarly; he was a high-volume, high-production player for much of his career at Georgia State, with 1,000-yard seasons as a freshman and a junior.
Andy Isabella, UMass (#5, North team)
At 5-foot-9 and 186 pounds, Isabella looks the part of a slot receiver, but he has deep-threat speed. He claims that he was timed at 4.26 seconds in the 40-yard dash recently, and says that he works out with Randy Moss. Isabella had a huge year in 2018, with 102 catches, 1,698 yards, and 13 touchdowns, plus another score on the ground. Like Hart, he could be a great fit to help replace Randall Cobb if the veteran does not re-sign with the Packers.
Foster Moreau, LSU (#18, South team)
APC’s Owen Riese has been high on Moreau this week, so keep an eye on him. This group of tight ends will be overshadowed by a huge group of talented underclassmen, but Moreau sounds like he has had the best week of practice of the batch.
Donald Parham, Stetson (#49, North team)
Stetson’s build will jump out on the field — he’s a shade over 6-foot-8 and 243 pounds. Just imagine that build going up for deep balls up the seam from Aaron Rodgers.
Dalton Risner, Kansas State (#71, North team)
The versatile Risner will probably start out at tackle in the NFL, but he could definitely move inside. He’s got some nasty to him, too — a fight between him and Boston College defensive end Zach Allen was one of the top moments of Thursday’s practice.
Tytus Howard, Alabama State (#58, South team)
The former quarterback bulked up like crazy in college and is a potential top-100 pick in April. Don’t be fooled too much by this bad rep against Montez Sweat (more on him shortly) — Howard has reportedly practiced well for the most part, and that could help make him a mid-round candidate for Green Bay.
Michael Dieter, Wisconsin (#63, North team)
Although Dieter primarily played center and guard for the Badgers, he does have a year of starting experience at left tackle, which could appeal to NFL teams. He’s almost certainly going to stay inside at the next level, but his versatility should make him an intriguing pick somewhere around round three.
Renell Wren, Arizona State (#95, North team)
A huge body at 6-foot-4 and 315 pounds, Wren has been wrecking opposing linemen for much of the week. He projects as an interior penetrator, a great fit for the Packers who tend to use two down linemen on most plays.
Montez Sweat, Mississippi State (#9, South team)
The top pass-rusher this week has been Sweat, the former Michigan State transfer who has been mocked to the Packers with either one of their first-round picks at times. This week’s practices have only served to keep Sweat’s stock moving upward, and he’s getting a little bit of top-10 buzz. At 6-foot-6 and around 250 pounds, he has perfect size as a 3-4 outside linebacker, a position he’s familar with thanks to the Bulldogs’ multiple defensive scheme.
Jaylon Ferguson, Louisiana Tech (#45, South team)
The NCAA’s all-time sack leader is in Mobile, and he’s also getting some first-round buzz this week. I asked SB Nation draft analyst Dan Kadar for some breakdown about the 6-foot-5, 250-pound Ferguson:
Watching Ferguson, it’s easy to see why he finished his Louisiana State career as college football’s all-time leader in sacks. He has quickness off the snap, and that helps him beat his blocker and get to the edge. From there, his hands take over more than pure speed and athleticism. Ferguson’s smart and advanced hand usage lets him shed off blockers and get into the backfield. His best move is when he can push and extend out and pull the blocker to the side. Louisiana Tech utilized him as a stand up rusher and with his hand down. He’s much better in the latter. It hides his lack of top athleticism while also taking advantage of his power and ability to get leverage.
As a run stopper, he’s good. This is where his experience shows. He takes good angles and knows where he needs to be to set the edge. He’s not going to make a lot of run stops in space, though. General athleticism is probably Ferguson’s biggest flaw, and what could keep him out of the top 25 of this draft. He’s more of a fringe first-round type. He should help a team immediately, but his ceiling isn’t the highest for an edge player.
Johnathan Abram, Mississippi State (#38, South team)
APC’s Shawn Wagner broke down Abram recently, and it’s worth clicking over to that writeup to learn the basics on him. He’ll be one of the best safeties in Saturday’s game.
Nasir Adderley, Delaware (#23, North team)
Shawn really likes safeties, writing up a piece on Adderley this week as well. One respected analyst, Tony Pauline, does not see him as a first- or second-round pick, but another suggested that he has been playing out of position. Adderley’s best fit is probably as a deep free safety, but if he has been playing more press, that could explain his struggles in Mobile.
Rock Ya-Sin, Temple (#6, South team)
His name is amazing. He also has huge hands (10-1/4 inches) and long arms (32-3/8) for a 6-foot corner. He transferred to Temple as a senior and recorded two interceptions, and he could be in play as a top-100 pick.