The population of Mobile, Alabama hovers somewhere around 195, 111, just a shade under 3 times the full capacity of Hard Rock Stadium. This week the home of Apple CEO Tim Cook and rapper Rich Boy serves as the backdrop to pigskin networkin, BSing among colleagues, and finally evaluations of participants taking part in the Reese's Senior Bowl on Saturday afternoon.
Regarded as the most well put together college all-star showcase each season, there's a reason why there is more buzz surrounding Senior Bowl week than any other college showcase. Miami has a rich tradition of not only draft success, but have sent many a player to this event, starting with Art Davies in 1950, Tony Chickillo ('83), Randall Hill ('91), Reggie Wayne ('01), Jimmy Graham ('10) and 2015 that seen: Phillip Dorsett, Ladarius Gunter, Denzel Perryman and Clive Walford participate.
The current group of Canes set out to improve their stock is made up of CB Corn Elder, FS Rayshawn Jenkins and G Danny Isidora, all of whom represent the South, and The U of course, during well spectated practices leading to Saturday.
What matters most in these NFL prospect games are not the actual game themselves, instead it's the performance during practices that hold a bit more weight. It's one of main reasons why NFL Network carries them live instead of another re-run 'Tackle My Ride'.
All three Canes have been preforming solidly in practices during the week, and with a good performance in game action on Saturday should make themselves some extra jellybeans, perhaps changing initial impressions of those who place a low grade on their stock.
Entering the week all three Canes were projected in mock drafts to go in or around the 3rd round.
Corn Elder posses great coverage ability and has the rare ability from the corner position to be a reliable tackler. When the rankings first began to appear it was pretty clear looking at the names above him why Elder was being counted out, which is due to his height at 5'10". Corners that defend in-between the hashes and boundary tend to be 5'11" and 6'0" in today's game. Elder is likely to kick inside as a nickel corner, which he has begun to do this week and will do on Saturday.
It hasn't been roses for All-ACC guard Danny Isisdora. Ranked in the top 10 at his position heading into the week, he's faced stiff competition from some big interior defensive lineman during practices this week. A few occasions he found himself bull-rushed back into the imaginary QB. Other times instances he was able to anchor himself well to standup to those "bullies".
Miami safety Rayshawn Jenkins -- Read the QB's shoulders/eyes, downhill break on the ball. pic.twitter.com/PPj9wErrUW— Matt Bowen (@MattBowen41) January 25, 2017
Unlike other "all-star" events in other sports, the gridiron equivalent tends to waver between friendly competition (Pro Bowl) and just another game opportunity to showcase yourself (Senior Bowl). Rayshawn Jenkins has bought in wholly in the week being a competition. He’s got that ideal size at 6'2" and weighing in around 220 pounds that lends to the notion of him lining up at either safety position moving forward. Over the week Jenkins has covered tight ends, showing off his strong fundamentals in reading plays and holding his own in a fist-fight against a Grambling State WR who messed with the wrong one, both in that particular situation and reality (he just mad at The U, it happens).
These Canes alums and many more NFL hopefuls will have their final shot to put forth good film to the evaluators during the actual Senior Bowl game, happening Saturday January 28th at 2:30 pm EST live from Ladd-Peebles Stadium. The game will be aired on NFL Network, meaning you will likely have to buy your own chocolate bar, unlike those in attendance.