Senior Bowl Notes: Cody Mauch, John Michael Schmitz Headline Day Two

STATE COLLEGE, PA - OCTOBER 22: John Michael Schmitz #60 of the Minnesota Golden Gophers lines up against the Penn State Nittany Lions during the first half at Beaver Stadium on October 22, 2022 in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
STATE COLLEGE, PA - OCTOBER 22: John Michael Schmitz #60 of the Minnesota Golden Gophers lines up against the Penn State Nittany Lions during the first half at Beaver Stadium on October 22, 2022 in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

The second day of the Senior Bowl practices featured great performances across the board, but most notably in the trenches.

Another day of the Senior Bowl practices is in the books. With more one-on-ones, full team drills, and special teams work, the teams are starting to come together. Among all the hubbub of the crowded day two came more winners and performances that built on the first day. Let’s get to the top performers and more notes from day two down in Mobile.

For day one notes, click here.

Trenches Headline The Day

The offensive and defensive linemen grabbed the attention early and often down in Mobile. With no Dawand Jones practicing, others had their chance in the sun. North Dakota State’s Cody Mauch was excellent on day two, showing off the functional strength in the way he anchored in pass pro, and the drive and finishing ability in run game drills. His footwork to move laterally and handle every counter thrown at him was impressive.

Another noteworthy part of the day for Mauch was the positional flexibility. Mauch played tackle for the Bison, but got in work at guard and center on Wednesday. Showing he can play all five spots would only strengthen his stock.

John Michael Schmitz also looked great in practice Wednesday in addition to the day prior. Schmitz has been lauded as a great fit for zone teams with his quicks and athleticism to work in space and the second level, but he’s also got the strength to handle things as a pass protector. He’s sound passing off stunts and finishing, and got out and dominated in space in 11-on-11 drills. It’s a wonder he didn’t declare sooner. Schmitz has a path to IOL1 in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Iowa State’s Will McDonald IV shined as a pass rusher once again on day two of Senior Bowl practices. His explosiveness and speed make for a difficult ask for tackles, and having to overset creates opportunities for McDonald to win inside. He’s done so on multiple occasions, and beat Tennessee tackle Darnell Wright on a wicked inside spin move today.

In the 9v9 drills focusing on the run game, two edge defenders stole the show. Derick Hall showed off his length to lock out and set a strong edge, both in the full run game drills and the 1v1 run game drills. Tennessee’s Byron Young also played powerful on the edge, stunning tackles and getting off blocks to disrupt runs before they got started.

Other Senior Bowl Notes

Tulane’s Tyjae Spears again did well leading the running backs for the American Team. His explosiveness and straight line speed caused some bad angles in full team drills, and he hits the hole as well as anyone.

TCU linebacker Dee Winters was phenomenal in the 6v7 and 7v7 drills, picking off a pass and forcing a fumble.

Speaking of TCU, Steve Avila got reps at both guard and center, and was impressive in both. His power reflects his size, but his mobility is surprising at first glance. He’s making money this week.

South Carolina corner Darius Rush was running routes for receivers today in 1v1s, breaking up a pair of passes by undercutting both routes. He was fluid in transitions, but his instincts and recognition skills were the highlight.

Oregon State tight end Luke Musgrave got going on day two of practices, and was a reliable target in full team drills, showing off the stride length and catch radius to be a reliable target for his quarterbacks.

Speaking of the quarterbacks, improved performances from both Jake Haener and Tyson Bagent got the attention of the scouting world. Bagent’s accuracy to layer throws in full team activities and to hit the net consistently was great. Haener made great reads and accurate throws in 11v11.

Several National Team defensive linemen stood out again on day two at the Senior Bowl. Keion White and Yaya Diaby stayed as explosive and disruptive in versatile alignments, and Keeanu Benton once again won quick. Adetomiwa Adebawore looks solid in both phases.

Maryland defensive back Jakorian Bennett looked like one of the fastest players on the field today. His ability to carry faster receivers vertically will certainly leave analysts talking, and eyes will be on him at the combine.

Stanford’s Kyu Blu Kelly had an impressive pick six in 11v11, and his instincts nearly led to another turnover.

The safeties stayed physical in 1v1s and full drills. Illinois’ Sydney Brown made a couple plays in coverage. Georgia’s Chris Smith had a pass breakup. Florida State’s Jammie Robinson made things difficult for Rashee Rice multiple times. Cal’s Daniel Scott was quite on day one, but he was impressive in single coverage and in full drills.

How Much Should We Value The WR Performances?

Finally, let’s talk again about wide receivers. It’s fun to talk about how they dominate 1v1s, but in reality, it’s built for them to win. They have the whole field to operate, and the corners don’t have their usual help.

Twitchy, explosive receivers like Jayden Reed and Nathaniel “Tank” Dell dominated today, and they should. It’s hard to deal with that type of speed, especially when they’re quick in route break transitions. Dell had Alabama safety Demarco Hellams on the ground, and Reed’s hesitation moves were impossible to cover. So, in reality, it shouldn’t be double counted. Get excited, absolutely, but they should be winning.

Michael Wilson has a Jakobi Meyers feel to him. His routes are crisp and he has an argument to be the top receiver at the Senior Bowl.

For more Senior Bowl coverage, check back in to NFL Mocks every day throughout this week, capped by a massive piece after the game, plus full winners from the week and more notes on Thursday.