Final 2021 Senior Bowl practices

Lisa Johnson
AFC South AFC East Reporter

By Lisa Johnson // @LJ1303

To say that Senior Bowl Executive director Jim Nagy pulled this year’s Reese’s Senior Bowl off is amazing would be an understatement. With all the covid-19 restrictions and adversities we have all had to face, it was a near miracle.

A great amount of gratitude has to be given to the Miami Dolphins and Carolina Panthers who had to put their entire staff through Covid testing and strict quarantine rules. Many of the coaches were telling me days on the field was the first time anyone had left the team hotel.

As we wrap up the senior bowl practice, there is one question that is always asked. Which player took the most of this opportunity to showcase their talents?

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Dolphins coaching staff kicks off Reese’s Senior Bowl

Lisa Johnson
AFC South AFC East Reporter

By Lisa Johnson// @LJ1303

As the 2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl got underway, Miami Dolphins Head Coach Brian Flores and his coaching staff got things started.

After a week of testing and quarantine coach Flores and the National team finally got to see some daylight. Due to strict covid protocols, all regular Senior Bowl activities had been canceled prior to both team arrivals.

Day one did however get off to a rocky start. Due to inclement weather, the Senior Bowl staff sent out a mass email that day 1 practice had been moved inside, so no media attendance was to be expected.

Soon after, the skies parted and the weather pattern changed.

The staff quickly reversed the inside order and moved the practice back out on the field. Clearing the way for media to converge back to Handcock Whitney Stadium.

Once we got inside and settled, the team had just taken the field. As teams split into groups, I noticed that Alabama’s top wide receiver and projected first-round pick, DeVonta Smith, was sporting a finger brace on his right hand. Smith has taken part in all team meetings.

When asked by the South Florida media about Smith and his smaller thinner body frame, Coach Flores was pretty quick to snap back that Smith is a tough player. The staff didn’t seem to be bothered by his size, they just wanted it to be known that he had some great college performances, especially in big games. Coach Flores also spoke to the fact that he thought Smith was a good kid.

It’s no secret that the Miami Dolphins are in need of a true #1 receiver. And if you watched any of Smith’s highlights, he is no doubt on the Dolphins draft board.

Another player that Coach Flores and this staff will have an opportunity to take a look at, is Alabama running back Najee Harris. Harris put on a show during the College National Championship game. He showed great athleticism in the running back spot.

As I watched him today, I noticed that he was an attentive young man. He was talking to coaches while seemly taking everything in. Looks like he would be a great fit in the Dolphins’ backfield. Just putting that out there!

With one day of practice in the books, Coach Flores and this Dolphins team have a great opportunity to get an edge up on the 2021 NFL draft class. Scouting is something that Coach Flores knows all too well. Before starting his rise into the coaching field, Coach Flores was an assistant in scouting.

I also got the chance to speak to Reese’s Senior Bowl Executive Director Jim Nagy.  Nagy told me how Flores excelled in the scouting world. He would even write up Nagy’s scouting reports for him.  So according to Nagy, if there is one thing Coach Flores knows, it’s evaluating talent.

So not only is Coach Flores evaluating talent, he is coaching in it. Seems to have come full circle.

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Dolphins GM Chris Grier talks draft.

Lisa Johnson
AFC South AFC East Reporter

By Lisa Johnson // @lj1303

As the 2020 senior bowl comes to a close, the Miami Dolphins took full advantage of being able to speak and watch several draft prospects as they prepare for the 2020 NFL draft.

With the Dolphins holding 3 picks in the first round, the pressure is on Dolphins GM Chris Grier and this staff to deliver. After 10 years of mediocracy, Dolphins fans have voiced their displeasure to owner Stephen Ross, who all but admitted that this year was about stripping and rebuilding a winning franchise.

We had a chance to speak with Chris Grier in between day 2 practices at Ladd Pebble Stadium. I was one of many looking for answers to exactly what positions the Dolphins could be scouting. And if you know anything about Chris Grier, well, let’s just say I wouldn’t want to play poker with him.

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Day 3 at the Reese’s Senior Bowl brings focus to the lineman

Lisa Johnson
AFC South AFC East Reporter

By Lisa Johnson //@LJ1303

It was day 3 here in Mobile for me, both practice sessions were held inside at South Alabama University due to inclement weather, and it was standing room only. We were all ushered into one end zone. I decided to stay close to the goal post and pretty much made that my office for the day!

Today’s sessions consisted of watching the big boys upfront, the offensive linemen.

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Quarterbacks take center stage at Day 2 of the Reese’s Senior Bowl

Lisa Johnson
AFC South AFC East Reporter

By Lisa Johnson // @LJ1303 

It was day 2 of practice for the Reese’s Senior Bowl. I was expecting the quarterbacks to have a better day than yesterday, maybe look a little more polished than day 1. Not to say that they didn’t perform well, it’s just that they should start to get better as they learn each of the new styles.

With the North starting out, I was hoping to see a Jordan Love/Michael Pittman Jr. show. During media day, Love mentioned to me that he has been working out with Pittman. The offense, unfortunately, broke off into two sections, so we didn’t get to watch them connect to often.

However, Love had one beautiful pass play down the left sidelines to Pittman, followed by a couple of great out routes. Love has a great arm with very good velocity on the ball but can get a bit too lively, however. Yet I feel with some quality coaching, I can see this kid having a very successful NFL career.

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It’s Media Day at the Reese’s Senior Bowl

Lisa Johnson
AFC South AFC East Reporter

By Lisa Johnson // @LJ1303 

After 2 days of formal NFL club interviews, and an introductory press conference by executive director Jim Nagy, day 3 of the Reese’s Senior Bowl brought Media Day. This was followed by this morning’s official National Scouting weight-in.

This day has to be the most productive for all media members. It’s a day that gives you a chance to ask players questions, much like a meet and greet experience. It’s great exposure for players that are expected to take their talents to the next level.

It’s one of many great things the executive director does very well; making players available to the media. In turn, it gives that player a chance to tell what they are expecting and what they want to show coaches and scouts. As we all know, the more exposure for a player, the better.

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