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Secret superstars of the Senior Bowl, Day 1

MOBILE, Alabama — The unofficial starting point in the NFL Draft season is the Senior Bowl down here in Mobile.

Practices began Tuesday with a hodgepodge of media, scouts, and agents in attendance to watch the next potential crop of NFL talent begin to be planted. While many names are expected to be taken on the first two days of the draft, multiple players are fighting for a chance at recognition to get a shot with an NFL team. These secret superstars stuck out on Tuesday and could see their names rise up draft boards

RB Dylan Laube, New Hampshire

(Syndication: MetroWest Daily News)
(Syndication: MetroWest Daily News)

When you think of elite running back talent, I’d bet the next thought in your head isn’t “Oh yeah, New Hampshire!” And fair enough, but I’d implore you to watch Dylan Laube. Multiple times in team drills, he had people asking “Who was the running back there?” He’s a versatile guy who made splash plays in both the run and pass games today beating out linebackers in one-on-ones, while also putting together multiple good reps out of the backfield for long gains.

I’m not going to sit here and call Laube a sneaky-athletic lunch pail guy who is the first guy in and last guy out of the gym that is beloved by teammates like we do for every white dude during this process, nor will I dare mention him in the same breath as Christian McCaffrey just because he is a lighter-complexioned running back. However, could he be Danny Woodhead or Rex Burkhead? Maybe so.

WR Brenden Rice, USC

(Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports)
(Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports)

It’s hard to call the son of arguably the greatest NFL player of all time a secret, but I’ll be honest and say I had no idea Brenden Rice was Jerry Rice’s kid- nor was I alone in that. However, maybe that’s for the better. That’s a big shadow that would loom over a player, much less if you play the same position as your Hall of Fame father. In any case, Rice had a great day. He hauled in several passes in team drills and one-on-ones through contact and while being tightly covered. He seems to have that George Pickens gene where if the ball is near him, he’ll catch it.

The consensus on Rice coming into the week was that he would get drafted on day three, maybe late day two. If he keeps racking up plays like he did today, though, that conversation could shift.

OT Patrick Paul, Houston

(Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports)
(Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports)

I spoke with someone who works in player personnel, and this person told me that he believes Paul is the best pass blocking offensive tackle in this draft. Not just at the Senior Bowl, the NFL Draft, period. Better than Joe Alt and Olu Fashanu.

Paul isn’t getting the attention of the other elite tackles, but he had a great day in pass protection and individual drills. He could be a steal in the second or third round.

WR Jamari Thrash, Louisville

(Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports)
(Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports)

Thrash had a nice day of practice. He has the speed to take the top off defenses, and showcased that in team drills and one-on-ones. In terms of mid-round guys that can get open effortlessly, both underneath and deep, Thrash fits that mold.

Story originally appeared on Touchdown Wire