Shepherd

On Tuesday practices for the North and South teams of the Reese’s Senior Bowl started and already some players are separating from the rest and improving their draft status. Today there were several periods of practice for the North and South teams, where there were 1-v-1 OL vs DL & 1-v-1 WR vs CB drills. This allowed for players to compete against their teammates and show scouts and media things that they may not have shown in college. That being said, here are my five winners from today’s Senior Bowl practices.

1. Nathan Shepherd – DT – Fort Hays State One of the players who I had not watched tape on entering the day was Fort Hays State three technique Nathan Shepherd, but exiting it I’m anxious to dive into the Division II defensive tackle’s tape more tonight. In college, Shepherd didn’t have crazy production for his level of competition, but Shepherd had 38 tackles, 4 sacks, and 12.5 TFLs his senior year with the Tigers.

In 1-v-1 drills, Shepherd dominated his competition and was quick to get his hands up and onto the pads of his blocker, clubbing or ripping past them from there. As someone who isn’t too well-versed in the lingo of defensive line play, the main thing I took away from Shepherd today was that he played like his hair was on fire and with a high motor. If Shepherd is able to do this all week he could be the latest small schooler to see their stock grow exponentially while in Mobile, and could possibly rise into the top 100 discussion.

2. Byron Pringle – WR – Kansas State

With injuries to the likes of Georgia’s Javon Wims and Memphis’ Anthony Miller in the weeks leading up to the Senior Bowl, one of the alternates was Kansas State receiver Byron Pringle. After being arrested for burglary, grand theft and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, he lost his offers coming out of high school and went to community college in Kansas for two years. While there, he had 28 catches for 432 yards and 9 touchdowns while being a return specialist and managed to get Bill Snyder to take a chance on him.

In his two years with the Wildcats, he combined for 69 catches (nice), 1,355 yards, and 10 touchdowns, along with 1,076 return yards and two return touchdowns. After turning 24 in November, Pringle opted to declare, but due to the fact that he had his degree, he was invited to the Senior Bowl. In practice today, Pringle had arguably the play of the day, beating Georgia State corner Chandon Sullivan deep on a ball from Virginia quarterback Kurt Benkert.

Pringle impressed in 1-v-1s overall and seems to be making the plays Memphis receiver Anthony Miller would be making, if he were here and healthy, as a route runner who can create separation. If Pringle is able to replicate this all week and address some of the questions about his past to scouts, we could be talking about a draft pick on our hands.

3. Andrew Brown – DL – Virginia Virginia defensive lineman Andrew Brown played all over the defensive line at practice Tuesday, lining up at three technique and defensive end and showing the versatility that could make him a top 50 pick in the eyes of some scouts. A former five star recruit, Brown was productive in his time with the Cavaliers during his junior and senior seasons, racking up 84 total tackles, 9.5 sacks and 23.5 TFLs.

The main thing that stood out to me from Brown was his ability to time the snap and his get off so he could start the rep with an advantage on his blocker and react before his opponent. In years past we have seen players with a similar play style to Brown like Malik McDowell go in the top 35 selections, and if he can continue to win on a consistent basis like he did at practice today, he can raise himself into that conversation.

4. Trayvon Henderson – S – Hawaii

Another player who I hadn’t watched much, if any, tape on entering the North practice on Tuesday was Hawaii free safety Trayvon Henderson. Henderson was highly productive for the Rainbow Warriors during his career — keep in mind he tore his ACL during his true junior season and received a medical redshirt — totaling 237 tackles, 9 interceptions, 13 pass deflection, 5 sacks and 18 TFLs.

Henderson showed off impressive coverage skills in practice, especially his range while playing deep, locating the ball and making a break for it and getting several plays on the ball. While Henderson was not on my radar entering the week, if he continues to show these traits from the free safety spot, he could be like St. Francis’ Lorenzo Jerome was for me last season and finish high on my final board.

5. Kyzir White – S – West Virginia

The brother of Bears wide receiver Kevin White, West Virginia safety Kyzir White built a resume while with the Mountaineers with his versatility. White played in a variety of positions in a hybrid role for their defense, with an ability to demolish his opponents with his hitting ability.

During his two seasons playing with the Mountaineers, White was very productive with 152 total tackles, 3 interceptions, 9 pass deflections, 4 sacks and 14.5 TFLs. Kyzir also made a play in practice on Tuesday that is another candidate for play of the day. White recognized the crossing route, baited the quarterback (Wyoming’s Josh Allen) while waiting still in coverage, and jumped in front of it to get the interception.

We might not get to see that notorious hitting ability until the game on Saturday. Still, White should continue to be one of my favorite players in this year’s class if he continues to make plays like he did in practice today, and eventually scouts will catch on as well.

About The Author Riley Auman

Riley is a geographically challenged Astros, Suns and Bucs fan. He's a high school student and soccer player who's been following the draft closely since 2012.