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Senior Bowl: Wednesday's highlights and practice notes

Oklahoma defensive tackle Perrion Winfrey
Oklahoma defensive tackle Perrion Winfrey

MOBILE, Ala. -- Wednesday's practices were held outdoors in rainy conditions that persisted through the entire day. While that limited opportunities for big plays on the offensive side of the ball, the trench players relished the chance to battle in adverse circumstances.

Here are some highlights and anecdotes from the National and American Team sessions.

Dane Brugler from The Athletic shared his thoughts with Fran Duffy on the latest Journey to the Draft podcast, presented by Lifebrand, six standouts from Tuesday's practices:

1. DT Perrion Winfrey, Oklahoma -- The defensive linemen stood out on Tuesday and more of the same presented itself on Wednesday. And if you're talking about who stood out amongst the defensive linemen, you have to start with Winfrey, who flashed consistently throughout practice on Wednesday. He's got a quick first step, pass rush flexibility, power. Wednesday showcased what happens when it all comes together for Winfrey.

And, for good measure, from an intangibles standpoint, Winfrey brought the juice and fired up the defensive unit in the rainy conditions that lasted the entirety of practice. He was a temperature-setter and that's going to open up some eyes with the way he carried himself at practice. And this isn't some one-time deal. The power and explosiveness displayed at practice are evident on film as well.

2. DE Kingsley Enagbare, South Carolina -- He looked good on Day 1 and that continued on Day 2. Consistently quick off the ball, Enagbare attacked with power. To open the American Team practice in the afternoon, Enagbare performed in a 1-on-1 pass rush drill in front of the entire team and dominated his reps, knocking the blocker into the crowd of onlookers. He is one of the most underrated players not just in Mobile for the Senior Bowl, but for the entire draft class.

3. DT Devonte Wyatt, Georgia -- The Georgia scheme featured a lot of odd fronts and didn't give Wyatt the chance to consistently rush the quarterback. Now that he's going 1-on-1 against offensive linemen he's unleashing hell on these blockers with a combination of gap quickness, strong hands, using different moves, a motor that runs hot consistently. He just looks like a natural 3-technique.

4. DT John Ridgeway, Arkansas -- I highlighted Travis Jones from UCONN on Tuesday, so let's go for a different nose tackle here. Ridgeway is a back-alley guy, someone who I wouldn't want to run into in a dark alley. Once he gets rolling downhill, forget about it. He can lock out and drive blockers backward. He's just a bully at the point of attack. He is so naturally strong, especially when he is able to use his hands. He has a high school wrestling background. There's a lot to like about John Ridgeway.

5. DT Eric Johnson, Missouri State -- A standout at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl last week, Johnson got a late invite to the Senior Bowl. He arrived in Mobile and has been turning heads, not missing a beat from his outstanding performance in Pasadena, California. It's fitting that his Twitter handle is @TheCreature93 because at 6-foot-4, 302 pounds, almost 35-inch arms, he's quite a handful. He's got a good mix of quickness and body control, definitely someone to keep on the radar.

6. LB Troy Andersen, Montana State -- There was plenty of time during practice where he was receiving praise from the Jets' coaches. His play speed is outstanding. He checked the athleticism part. He doesn't look out of place with the big-school linebackers or even the defensive backs. The play speed and range are terrific.

Here are other news and notes from the afternoon:

1. Three players were added to the Senior Bowl roster on Wednesday -- pass rusher Sam Williams from Ole Miss, Oregon safety Verone McKinley, and wide receiver Jequez Ezzard out of Sam Houston State.

Williams is fresh off a week of a reportedly dominant performance at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. At 6-foot-3, 260 pounds, Williams terrorized opposing quarterbacks this season to the tune of 12.5 sacks.

McKinley, a finalist for the Thorpe Award as the top defensive back in the nation, was added to the American squad. McKinley started 31 games for the Oregon Ducks the past three seasons and got his degree before his senior campaign, which allowed him to be eligible for a trip to Mobile. McKinley has excellent ball skills and offers versatility as a slot corner as well as a deep safety.

Last, but not least, is Ezzard, a speedy receiver who caught fire last spring as he helped lead Sam Houston State to an FCS title. Ezzard is 5-9, 194 pounds, but he can burn defenders deep and has been reliable catching the football over the course of his time both at SHSU and at Howard University, where he started his career.

2. A running back who deserves some praise is South Carolina's ZaQuandre White. A late add to the roster, White is definitely someone who analysts think could have a more productive NFL career than he did in college.

White came out of high school as the top-rated running back in the state of Florida when he committed to Florida State, but the Seminoles quickly shifted him to linebacker. After racking up 22 tackles as a true freshman, he decided he wanted to move back to offense. After a pit stop at the junior college level, he landed in the SEC, where he was a backup in 2020 and took on more of a split role in 2021 with fellow senior Kevin Harris. White is 5-foot-11, 212 pounds, has the juice to break off big runs, makes people miss at an extremely high rate, can catch the ball out of the backfield, and has some power to his game. With just 261 career carries on his body, the arrow is seemingly pointing up for White.

3. Wide receiver Bo Melton won't wow you with long speed or hulking size, but he is so darn slippery off the line. Defenders have really struggled to lay even a finger on him when they press him, and that's shown up in team drills and 1-on-1 reps through two days.

4. Tight end Jeremy Ruckert made some nice catches down the field and has stood out so far this week. Known more for his prowess as a blocker over the course of his Ohio State career (where he can dismantle defenders at the point of attack), Ruckert's versatility has been put on display.

5. UCLA defensive tackle Otito Ogbonnia has really flashed through two days. A powerful athlete, Ogbonnia was asked to do more reading-and-reacting in college than just penetrating upfield (limiting his production), but he has explosive traits that give him both position and scheme versatility at the next level. With over 35-inch arms, he has created consistent push in the pocket and is also a standout run defender.

6. Baylor safety Jalen Pitre is one of the more unique and fascinating players in this year's NFL Draft. At just under 5-11 and 200 pounds, he's on the smaller side for the safety position despite the fact that he's played so often close to the line of scrimmage right in the thick of things. He's gotten a lot of looks as a slot corner this week for the National Team and is competing well. A terrific blitzer whose aggressiveness shows up in multiple ways, I'm fascinated to see where Pitre plays in the NFL.

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