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Senior Bowl Day 1 Recap: South Team Standouts

Review of the first day of practice at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl-South Practice Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports

This year’s Senior Bowl South team is coached by the Cleveland Browns, and features many of the upcoming drafts bigger names such as Tre’Davious White and Forrest Lamp. The offensive and defense both ran through various individual and team drills, and came together three times for full walk-throughs with some contact.

Several players stood out for me in day one’s practice. While one certainly can’t change a player’s entire draft grade off one practice (will be sure to keep everyone filled in as the week goes along), these guys are officially on the watch list if I didn’t have them on it already.

WR, Ryan Switzer

Switzer, a North Carolina product, looked seamless going through drills and caught every ball thrown his way. His routes were crisp, and he showed more speed in and out of his breaks than most of the receiver group. Size will likely limit what he can do in the NFL (5’8, 179 lbs at today’s weigh in), but with great hands, crisp routes and a strong 1st day at the Senior Bowl, he could be improving his draft stock.

Currently, Switzer is listed as a 5th rounder by Draft Scout. A great week at the Senior Bowl is only likely to raise that grade one or two rounds, but he passed today’s eye test and that counts for a lot. North Carolina saw him produce 6 TDs and 1,112 yards receiving on 96 receptions. For his career, he also returned 99 punts producing 7 TDs and a 10.9 YPR average.

While the receiver position is arguably the greatest area of strength on the Saints team Snead still has to be signed to a new contract. Also, with Switzer’s good numbers in punt returns, this could be a player the team tries to pick up in the mid to later rounds depending on how the WR position looks for them closer to the draft.

LB, Harvey Langi

Langi is out of BYU, and actually has very little experience at linebacker. He is a converted runningback, but at 6’1 and 252 lbs he certainly fits the mold. I had to go back and look up his production and profile, and I was left wanting more. There isn’t a lot out there on Harvey, but Draft Scout does list him as a 7th round grade.

What impressed me as I watched him today were several instances where he displayed the qualities of a vocal leader that you would expect from your inside linebacker. He had a strong showing in the one on one drills as well.

Depending on who the Saints bring in to coach the linebackers, he could be a late round pick that spends time on special teams as he develops. Better tackler than you’d expect from a “new” linebacker. He’s worth watching throughout the week.

CB, Tre’Davious White

This name should come as no surprise as White out of LSU is slated as a 1st round talent (Walter Football lists him as a 1-2, however) and some mock drafts have had him going below the 20th pick. During one of the first drills of the evening, White dropped back defending and gave a “false” cushion, in where the receiver looked open on a curl route before White jumped in front of the pass and picked it off.

It was a NFL caliber play that had pens and Twitter fingers jotting down quick notes. I didn’t stick to White too much as the day went on, because I feel like we already know what he is. White is a first round talent who shows good playmaking skills. Today he demonstrated fluid hips, quick feet and great awareness.

DE, Tanoh Kpassagnon

Kpassagnon has been “my guy” ever since another writer here at CSC and I stumbled upon his film during a study session. I wanted to wait until I saw him in person to decide if what I had thought before was true. My conclusion: He is the real deal.

Measuring in at over 6’6 and 280 lbs Kpassagnon looks like he was built out of granite. Lining up primarily as a wide 9 or 6/7 on the weak side (pass rushing side), Kpassagnon spent the day going against one of the highest rated OL in the draft in Forrest Lamp. Showing great bend considering his size, he was able to get under the much shorter Lamp (6’3) to get strong leverage more plays than not.

His most impressive play of the day also comes with video footage. From the defensive end position in this drill, he drives back Lamp and tosses him to the side like a rag doll. Tanoh still is a raw talent. He has the athletic and physical ability to put himself on the same level as the 1st round grades in this draft. The catch is he is still very raw. Had moments where he would disappear, but got stronger as the day went on.

Going to school at Villanova means this is one of the first looks anyone is getting to see of him going against higher talent tackles. As of the first day, he’s catching a lot of eyes. Several teams interviewed him today, following his performance.

Forrest Lamp had a good day as well, and sits with a 1st-2nd round grade with NFL Draft Scout. With this as our measuring stick, Tanoh’s ceiling would seem very high.

DT, Eddie Vanderdoes

As expected, the line groupings for today’s team matchups favored the defensive fronts with guys like Venderdoes, Kpassagnon and others all having strong performances. Coming out of UCLA, Vanderdoes put up 1.5 sacks this past season with 27 total tackles.

During today’s practice he was disruptive, breaking through multiple doubles teams on the inside and getting contact against both runningbacks and the quarterback (two hand touching, of course. No sacking of QBs allowed). He beat Pocic out of LSU on multiple plays.

At 6’3, 320 pounds, Vanderdoes could slide in as a 1 tech DT in the Saints front, but this would mean as a back up to Tyeler Davison, or as a replacement which seems highly unlikely. The interior front for New Orleans is one of the few defensive strengths, so I don’t see Vanderdoes being on their radar, but if he is available between the 4th-6th rounds like he is predicted to be they could take a look at him.

We’ll continue to watch these five players, as well as others, throughout practice and at the game this upcoming Saturday.