The Pittsburgh Steelers got their best action on day three of the Senior Bowl.
It was another day of overcasting clouds, some wind, and a bit of chilly weather for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Senior Bowl crew. Once again, it was perfect football weather for yet another day of practice, and there was a lot to take away from this practice.
Different Practice Structures
Much of the talk during Senior Bowl week is going to be about the prospects, position groups, who are meeting with who, and what coaches are eyeing who in practice. Very little attention is given to how the two teams, the National and the American team organize and conduct practices.
From the National team, I felt Patrick Graham placed more of an emphasis on one-on-one and more about showcasing the prospects' respective talents on display for scouts. While the American team under Luke Getsy focused a lot more on team-based install periods that allowed the receivers, offensive line and quarterbacks to be a lot more in synch with each other. Definitely noticed a lot more rhythm and timing between the American team quarterbacks versus the National team as a result.
This is not to say either way is the right or the wrong way to construct practices, I just found those differences to be fascinating when transitioning over to the other teams' practices.
South Carolina Cornerback Dominates
If there was a name that made sure to leave the biggest lasting impression, it was without a doubt South Carolina cornerback, Darius Rush. Standing at about 6'2, 196 pounds, aside from one play from Johnathan Mingo, Rush simply could not get out leveraged at all.
Rush is a decently long corner who can play with a bit too wide of a base when it comes to press at the line of scrimmage, but his ability to stay in phase, play the route in trail, and work himself into the passing lane while getting his eyes back was just special on day three. He is currently among the fastest players at the Senior Bowl, measuring at 21.65 mph and you can really see that type of makeup speed on full display in one on ones.
National and American Team Centers Shine
I thought Olu Oluwatimi got better every single day this week of practice and thought he put it together on day three, showcasing why he won the Rimington Award for best center in all of college football. He did a much better job of not ducking his head on contact, and playing with better independent hand usage, which really allowed guys like Keeanu Benton, who has really relied on hand usage in these settings, to win around him.
John Michael Schmitz has looked downright dominant this week, and that did not change at all on the final day of practice. He's been showcasing that wrestling background as he's been constantly pancaking dudes into the dirt and has just refused to be driven back at all, as he's been showing really strong anchor vs power rushes.
He's also an absolute demon in space as he just moves so smoothly for a guy that size. I believed Schmitz was mostly a zone scheme fit coming into this week, but I believe he has flashed why he's much more scheme versatile than that.
Adetomiwa Adebawore's Potential is Sky High
Coming into this week, I was very cautiously optimistic about Adebawore's fit as a three-technique in the NFL due to his body type and how natural of a rusher he is on film inside. I didn't know if they were going to line him up mostly on the edge as Northwestern did, but thank goodness they didn't because Adebawore showed traits of being a dominant three technique in the NFL.
The natural leverage he possesses at about 6'2, 284 pounds is really ideal, but topping it off with a 34-inch arm length is just absurd. He wins with so much power, leverage and length that it's downright scary to think how interior guards can stop him. He's not just powerful too, he's quick and bendy for his size. I'm not into hyperbole, but I truly believe Adebawore has the traits to be among the top three techniques in the NFL. Obviously, there's still work to be done from a pass rush plan down to down, but there's a good baseline to work with already.
A lot of players were missing today on the field and were either regulated to the sideline, or were unseen at all. Players like Puka Nacua and Dawand Jones who had strong first days were once again absent. Tyrique Stevenson who went to the locker room on day two before coming back into practice was also not at practice, while the linebacker room seemed to thin out with no sighting of Dorian Williams, Marte Mapu and Dee Winters.
Have to wonder which, if any of these guys will be playing in the game on Saturday.
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