Day three of practice has come to a conclusion, and players have already geared up and completed a battery of drills and workouts. Jim Schwartz, head coach of the Detroit Lions and this year’s South team, has been focusing a lot on one-on-one drills. Meanwhile, Oakland Raiders Head Coach Dennis Allen and this year’s coach of the North team has implemented more group and team work drills. The drills give coaches a way to analyze players aside from game film, and see how they practice; their effort; attention to detail; and many other factors, and to see them alongside equally talented players.
IMG Academy NFL Combine Trainees’ hard work preparing for this event is helping them to stand out, and show spectators that they have what it takes to not only compete, but to excel in the NFL. During last year’s Senior Bowl, IMG Academy trainees Russell Wilson and Kirk Cousins made an early impression as they went on to lead the North Team to victory. This year, three players are turning a lot of coaches’ heads.
QB Tyler Wilson, Arkansas - Wilson continues to show off his tremendous arm, and make his case as the top quarterback in this year’s Senior Bowl. The early buzz has been centered on his decision making and pocket presence. He is noted as staying calm in the pocket, and delivering strong, accurate passes. Wilson has made very few mistakes but like every other quarterback he had an interception. However, he displayed his resiliency by immediately striking back with a nice touchdown throw. Wilson is expected to continue to contribute to the South team’s success, and if he keeps up his stellar play teams will not be able to pass up on him.
TE Vance McDonald, Rice - McDonald is a 6-foot-2; 262-lb tight end that is dazzling scouts with his receiving and play making ability. Although he is a tight end, McDonald has been drawing coverage from cornerbacks and still making plays. One play in particular really impressed spectators when he made a catch on a deep ball, over his shoulder, with the defender in his hip pocket. The play went for a touchdown, and was one of his most exciting catches of the week. McDonald’s combination of size and soft hands present a mismatch for anyone defending him. His play has scouts keeping a very close eye on him.
LB Ty Powell, Harding - Powell was a late addition to the Senior Bowl, and many people questioned who he was. This was no surprise, considering Powell’s background. He is an explosive linebacker out of a small Division II school, Harding. However, Powell didn’t let that hinder his play. He has made sure everyone notices him by making tackles play after play. His agility and game-speed make him a nightmare for blockers. Although Powell was added to the official roster just hours before practice, he has proven he belongs in the game among the game’s elite.
The hard work these three players have put in at IMG Academy’s training facilities are paying off tremendously. The rest of their day consists of conferences and interviews. Practices will continue for both the North and South teams today (Thursday) at 9:30am sharp.