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Senior Bowl notebook: Top 15 performers

— By Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com —

It is always tough ranking players based on practice and potential, and with more deserving bodies than slots. But for the sake of exclusivity, below are the 15 players, in descending order, who had the best week of Senior Bowl practices in Mobile, Ala., this week and helped boost their NFL profile:

15. Isaac Yiadom, CB, Boston College
A good-sized athlete (6-foot-1, 187 pounds) with long arms (32 1/4 inches), Yiadom stood out in one-on-one drills against wideouts, especially in press. He showed patient feet to match receivers off the line and stay attached at the hip vertically, turning his head to find the ball. Yiadom was considered a mid-round draft pick based on tape and he only helped himself with his play during practice.

14. DaeSean Hamilton, WR, Penn State
While the drops are why he isn’t higher on this list, Hamilton deserved a spot as he routinely created separation due to his savvy route running. At 6-foot-1 and 202 pounds with 4.55 40-yard-dash speed, he doesn’t have dominant physical traits, but his body control in-and-out of his breaks and crafty footwork to set up defensive backs was a common theme in each practice.

13. Alex Cappa, OT, Humboldt State
As expected for a Division-II blocker, Cappa had some technical and pad level issues vs. the top pass rushers in Mobile. But just like his tape, his aggressive nature helped compensate for his mechanical flaws. With his movement skills and passion for finishing on every snap, Cappa didn’t look out of place against top competition, showing mid-round potential.

12. Brandon Parker, OT, North Carolina A&T
After an impressive weigh-in (6-foot-7, 303 pounds, 35 3/8-inch arms), Parker held his own against the top senior pass rushers in the country. He was aggressive with his punch while shuffling his feet to ride rushers past the corner. Parker’s large wingspan (85 1/4-inches), wide base and coordinated feet are great foundation traits for a NFL team to develop. Scouts thought top-100 was possible for him during the season and he has lived up to those expectations.

11. Trayvon Henderson, SS, Hawaii
Every year, prospects will out-perform expectations and send scouts back to the game film — Henderson is one of those players from this year’s Senior Bowl week. He looked comfortable moving in reverse and showcased a secondary burst to close on routes and make plays on the ball in coverage. Henderson made money this week.

10. Jaylen Samuels, RB, NC State
A do-everything weapon in college, Samuels lined up strictly at running back during practices and out-performed the other backs on the field. As expected, he did his best work during pass-catching drills as none of the linebackers could stick with his route quickness. Samuels and his versatility has him destined for the second day of the draft.

9. DJ Chark, WR, LSU
With the erratic passing game at LSU, Chark couldn’t consistently show off his athletic skill-set in college. However, that wasn’t the case in Mobile, making several big catches up and down the field. He is clearly unrefined in some areas, but his speed and body control allow him to make easy adjustments on the football. Chark’s draft arrow is pointing up.

8. Da’Shawn Hand, DL, Alabama
It wasn’t the most consistent week of practices for Hand, but his flashes were impressive enough to put him this high on the list. He was one of the few defensive linemen to get the best of Georgia’s Isaiah Wynn during one-on-one drills, displaying active hands and flexible hips. At 6-foot-4 and 282 pounds, some teams see a tweener, but as one scout put it to me “he can hog molly blockers inside or outside.”

7. Shaquem Griffin, LB, UCF
Just like he has done his entire life, Griffin again surpassed expectations during Senior Bowl practices. During team and individual drills, he rushed off the edge, dropped in space and did a little bit of everything — and did it all well. Coming into the week, Griffin was considered a draftable player and his play in Mobile only confirmed that. He will be a special teams demon and valuable sub-package linebacker in the NFL.

6. James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State
Washington was one of the prospects with the most to gain this week, and Oklahoma State’s all-time leading receiver didn’t disappoint. Despite measuring a hair under 5-foot-11, his 210-pound frame and 34-inch arms were positive numbers. And during individual drills, Washington showed improved releases and route-running to create separation with more than just speed. With all the talented wideouts in Mobile, Washington stood above the rest.

5. Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
Mayfield was the top Senior Bowl quarterback coming into the week and he leaves as the top Senior Bowl quarterback. He started slow at times during practice, but once he settled in, the Heisman Trophy winner showcased his quick release, accurate placement and patented athleticism to extend plays. Mayfield didn’t do anything to hurt his status as a top-20 prospect.

4. Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, DE/OLB, Oklahoma
At only 6-foot-1 and 243 pounds, Okoronkwo is immediately viewed as a “tweener” by many, but his competitive drive fits any scheme. He lined up primarily with his hand on the ground during practices and used his natural leverage and 34 1/2-inch arms to put blockers on skates. After his productive 2017 season and Senior Bowl practices, Okoronkwo has made a strong case to be a top-five pass rusher in this class.

3. Will Hernandez, OG, UTEP
If not for Isaiah Wynn’s dominating week, Hernandez would have been the top offensive line prospect in Mobile this year. Tipping the scales at 340 pounds, he carries his weight extremely well to stay light on his feet while relying on his power and nasty attitude to control the point of attack. Hernandez cemented his status as a top-50 draft pick.

2. Nathan Shepherd, DT, Fort Hays State
One of the top non-FBS prospects in the 2018 draft class, Shepherd stood out immediately with his nimble lower body and powerful upper body. Unfortunately, he broke his hand during Wednesday’s practice, but his performance through two practices was enough to create top-100 buzz among scouts.

1. Isaiah Wynn, OG, Georgia
After starting all 15 games last season for the SEC Champions, Wynn made the expected move inside to guard during Senior Bowl week and was dominant. His initial punch, hip sink and balance while mirroring rushers allowed him to control the point of attack. There aren’t 32 better prospects in the 2018 NFL draft than Wynn, giving him a realistic chance at the first round.

Dane Brugler

Dane Brugler is a Sr. Analyst for NFLDraftScout.com, distributed by The Sports Xchange