Chargers’ Senior Bowl Notebook: Day 3 standouts

Over 100 of the top senior prospects and at least three Chargers personnel staffers are in Mobile, Alabama this week for the Senior Bowl. Thursday marked the third and final day of practice for both rosters leading up to the game on Saturday.

Here are my notes from both practices Thursday.

My biggest standout was Northwestern defensive lineman Adetomiwa Adebawore. After two days of solid play, Adebawore blew up Thursday’s session on every single rep. He won two straight one-on-one reps before the groups took a water break. When the players returned, Notre Dame offensive lineman Jarrett Patterson went to line up at center before Adebawore called him out and told him to move to guard so they could go against one another. He then beat Patterson both times and earned a celebration with his fellow defenders. Once team period began, Adebawore beat North Dakota State OL Cody Mauch with an inside swim to force a run stop.

Adebawore is a bit undersized for a defensive lineman, coming in at 6’1 ½”, 284 lbs. But with 34” arms and the power profile to match, the Northwestern defender is an intriguing potential 4 or 5 tech at the next level. If the Chargers feel like they need to beef up their pass rush presence from the interior, Adebawore could be someone they take a long look at early on Day 3.

I thought Fresno State QB Jake Haener was the best passer of the day and probably the best of the week, considering how poorly the quarterbacks have played in Mobile. In one on ones, Haener was by far the most consistent as far as ball placement went, especially on end-zone corner routes to the back pylon. When they moved to flatter routes to the front of the end zone, Haener struggled with his ball placement a bit, but still less than the other two QBs on his squad.

When team period began, Haener again delivered a nice ball to the back pylon that was equaled by a nice catch by Purdue tight end Payne Durham while being hit by two defenders. Durham took a huge shot, losing his helmet in the process, but held onto the ball for the touchdown.

Michigan center Olusegun Oluwatimi had his best day of the week in my opinion. After struggling with more powerful rushers all week, Oluwatimi held his own against some of the best performers at the Senior Bowl. Bowling Green defensive tackle Karl Brooks had nothing for him on their reps. Wisconsin DT Keeanu Benton initially pushed Oluwatimi back, but he recovered nicely and was able to reset his anchor to win the rep.

Oluwatimi is an athletically limited center who will always have his issues against more powerful NFL players. For that reason, he’ll likely be available well into Day 3. If the Chargers want an intelligent developmental center behind Corey Linsley, Oluwatimi could be in play.

People have been speaking highly of Illinois RB Chase Brown, but I have some real questions about what his utility on passing downs is going to be. I thought he consistently struggled to find his hands in pass protection drills and looked incredibly uncomfortable catching the ball out of the backfield. Brown was named the National team RB of the Week by the linebackers he went up against, but I have a feeling that had more to do with his powerful running style than his overall game.

On the flip side for Illinois, safety Sydney Brown has looked like a missile closing on the ball all week. The twin brother of Chase, Sydney’s closing speed has stuck out on nearly every rep in Mobile. Without live tackling, Sydney has been forced to pull up, but in live-action, there have been a number of times where you can tell that he’s seconds away from detonating on a ball carrier. For a Chargers team that needs to add tackling ability on the back end, Brown could be an option late on Day 2 or early on Day 3 to add to the mix alongside Alohi Gilman and JT Woods opposite Derwin James.

South Carolina cornerback Darius Rush finished out a great week on Thursday with a dominant performance against the American team wide receivers. In one on ones, Rush undercut an out route intended for Princeton’s Andrei Iosivas, then won a battle with SMU’s Rashee Rice, who came into the week billed as the top receiver in Mobile. The South Carolina corner showed a ton of patience and ample route recognition abilities before showcasing his 21.65 mph speed to close on a throw for an interception during team period.

Rush has made himself a lot of money this week, but his fit with the Chargers remains unlikely because of his position and play style. LA is mostly set at cornerback with JC Jackson, Asante Samuel Jr., and Michael Davis, and Jackson and Davis have the same physical style as Rush off the line.

Quick hits:

  • Stanford’s Elijah Higgins worked at tight end and Florida A&M’s Isaiah Land worked at inside linebacker, both for the first time but at positions they’ll likely play in the NFL.

  • Georgia kicker Jack Podlesny struggled, pushing four kicks wide right of the uprights. It looked like he was trying to generate too much power while sacrificing his form.

  • Shepherd quarterback Tyson Bagent only throws fastballs at this stage of his career. If he wants to stick in the NFL, he’ll need to refine his touch.

  • Tyjae Spears had the rep of the week on a whip route against Pitt LB SirVocea Dennis. The Tulane RB dipped completely under Dennis and left him in the dust, causing a huge celebration from his offensive teammates.

  • Virginia wide receiver Dontayvion Wicks had his best day, showing nice short area burst and polished route running. The concern with Wicks has always been his drop rate, and he had a couple plays he couldn’t finish on Thursday.

Story originally appeared on Chargers Wire