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2024 Senior Bowl Day 2 standouts: Quinyon Mitchell earning his way into CB1 conversation

MOBILE, Ala. -- With Reese's Senior Bowl practices in full swing on Wednesday, 100-plus prospects for the 2024 NFL Draft are in the midst of a crucial job interview.'s Lance Zierlein and Eric Edholm provide a look at standouts from Day 2, as well as news and notes from the day's events.

Tune in for live coverage of Senior Bowl practice Thursday beginning at 10:30 a.m. ET on NFL Network and NFL+, and don't miss exclusive coverage Saturday of the Senior Bowl game at 1 p.m. ET on NFL Network and NFL+.

Five stars from Day 2 of Senior Bowl practice

Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo

My colleague Eric Edholm wrote about Mitchell in this space on Tuesday, but I also want to share my thoughts on him. Mitchell is a riser. He entered the week squarely on the radar for scouts with his combination of size and game film, but it's different when you see him in person. Mitchell utilizes a lot of trap coverage techniques off of press, where he makes an early leverage declaration and forces the receiver to release outside. From there, he has shown off the speed and body control to stay in phase with receivers and has the physicality to close off the catch space. During one matchup against USC's Brenden Rice, Mitchell played from trail and simply closed the distance on a post route before leaping and grabbing an interception in the end zone. He should be in the discussion for CB1 this year.

Ricky Pearsall, WR, Florida

When it comes to my tape study of this year's draft class, it's hard to find a wide receiver who is more consistent than Pearsall. He is performing at that same level this week, no matter who is guarding him. He's shown off his route-running ability and consistent hands during one-on-one drills. There might be some debates in draft rooms this spring about how to value Pearsall versus Georgia's Ladd McConkey -- one of the stars of Tuesday’s practice here in Mobile -- as slot receivers in the 2024 draft. Both can uncover at a high rate. Pearsall has the advantage in terms of size, but McConkey is the faster player.

Dylan Laube, RB/WR, New Hampshire

The New Hampshire star is gaining more fans this week. Laube carries a broad, muscular build. He showed off his speed to turn the corner during a wide-flowing run on Tuesday and beat Washington State cornerback Chau Smith-Wade on a post corner as a wideout during one-on-one drills on Wednesday. He's worked at his craft as a slot receiver, and it showed last season with 68 catches for 699 yards and seven receiving touchdowns. There is often a concern about whether small-school players will be able to handle the jump in competition in Mobile, but Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy nailed it with the invitation for Laube, as he fits right in from a talent and confidence standpoint.

Jarvis Brownlee Jr., CB, Louisville

Brownlee will have to answer questions about whether he can play with speed and poise against deep routes, but his aggression to make plays on throws over the second level showed up on tape and on the field on Wednesday. He had instances where he was basically running the route for receivers. He was all over the catch point, putting himself in better position to make a play than the receiver. Brownlee added good weight in his final college season and he's still very twitchy, as we saw on Wednesday. His hustle to swarm to the football on all plays, regardless of location, is something that teams will really like. He's still likely to be a Day 3 selection, but he could be pushing himself up the board by a round.

Christian Haynes, OG, Connecticut

Haynes was a four-year starter and team captain at UConn, so leadership and experience are going to be obvious check marks in his favor. He has average length, but he showed off his power and tenacity throughout Wednesday's practice. He neutralized power rushers and did a nice job in the scrimmage portion of the workout. Haynes did get into a post-rep dust-up with LSU defensive tackle Jordan Jefferson (who has had a good week, as well) that saw Jefferson rip Haynes' helmet off and toss it. I don't have any intel on that exchange, but I do have faith that Haynes locks into Day 2 of the draft after his work over the last two days.

Five Senior Bowl takeaways from Wednesday

1) Missouri DL Darius Robinson stacking strong performances.

Robinson, No. 32 in NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah's top-50 prospects rankings, had a good Day 1 of practice. On Day 2, Robinson might have been the best defender in the American Team session.

The 6-foot-5, 286-pound Robinson won in just about every way imaginable in the two-hour practice. He dominated one-on-one drills, dispatched run blocks in the full-team sessions and also flashed a few speed-to-power pass-rush moves. Robinson even went around Oklahoma OT Tyler Guyton -- one of the Day 1 stars who hasn't lost many battles so far -- with no problem.

Robinson models his game after the Chiefs' Chris Jones and the Raiders' Maxx Crosby.

"I love Jones' hands and power, and Maxx has that four-quarter energy," he said. "I need to tap into whatever (Crosby's) secret is."

The buzz was rising before the Senior Bowl, and it's only grown with each passing day. Robinson, who grew up just outside of Detroit, said he wants to be invited to the 2024 NFL Draft that's being held in his home state.

"That's the goal, I gotta get that invite," Robinson said. "I just want to finish off the right way this week here, test well at the (NFL Scouting) Combine and hope it can happen."

Robinson's college teammate, Missouri OT Javon Foster, has been one of the few players to slow Robinson down this week.

"I told people, Javon is the best player I've played against," Robinson said. "We know each other so well, he's attacking my weaknesses, and I am attacking his. Just making each other better every day. We've been doing that for years now."

2) Rattler finding his groove.

South Carolina head coach Shane Beamer attended practice Wednesday to watch and support his former quarterback, Spencer Rattler, and wide receiver, Xavier Legette, as they competed to improve their draft stock.

Like most of the quarterbacks on Day 1, Rattler seemed to be getting his footing underneath him, but he might have been the best of the American Team QB crop. On Wednesday, Rattler appeared to take the biggest step forward of the four American Team quarterbacks, showing more decisiveness, better decision-making and good ball placement. He even hooked up with Legette on a corner route midway through practice, one of a few nice connections between the teammates. It has been a very solid start to the week for Rattler.

Beamer coached Rattler the past two seasons after he'd left Oklahoma, and it hasn't been the easiest path to get to this point. Rattler first lost his job at OU to Caleb Williams, and after an 8-5 season for the Gamecocks in 2022, things didn't go as smoothly in 2023 during a 5-7 campaign.

Still, Beamer said Rattler has reason to hold his head high for how he played this past season.

"I was proud of him this season," Beamer told me. "We had some struggles on offense. We had six season-ending injuries on the offensive line and started two true freshmen on the offensive line in the SEC.

"But you never heard him complain. He had every opportunity to, but he didn't, and I think that earned the respect of his teammates."

Beamer asked Rattler to cut down on his turnovers from 2022, and he did just that -- going from 12 INTs to eight (on the same number of pass attempts) and from eight fumbles to six.

"Our entire offense (in 2022), not just him, we had way too many turnovers," Beamer said. "He'll be the first to tell you some of those were on him. Being smarter with the football, I thought he did a really good job of that.

"And then off the field, just the leadership aspect was big. He's a two-time captain for us, voted by his teammates. Under those tough circumstances, he stepped up, and it meant a lot to our program."

3) Buckeyes DT making his presence felt.

Ohio State's Michael Hall Jr. built off a good first day of practice, where he stood out in one-on-one drills, putting in a more complete performance on Wednesday. He had some good battles with Oregon C Jackson Powers-Johnson on both days.

"I lost a few one-on-one reps today for sure," Hall said, "but I felt like the team period I got way better for sure."

Included in that team-session success were what would have been a sack of Michael Penix Jr. in a full-contact scenario and a swatted pass against Notre Dame's Sam Hartman. On both plays, Hall used his quickness and a quality swim move to create havoc.

That's how Hall will have to win in the NFL, likely as a 3-technique. He's not the biggest interior player at 280 pounds, but he's working on adding a power component to his game.

"I'm not the strongest guy in the world," Hall said, "but I feel like my speed and just how hard to try to come off the ball, I try to generate as much speed to power as I can and just harness that lower-body strength as best I can."

With the recent success of some undersized 3-techniques in the NFL, including 2023 Tampa Bay Buccaneers first-rounder Calijah Kancey, there's a roadmap that Hall can follow to the league.

"Guys like that, like Aaron Donald, of course, that's where I think I can follow those guys," Hall said.

4) CB to watch.

If there's a cornerback who deserves a bit more attention through two days of Senior Bowl practices, it might be Rutgers' Max Melton.

"Mad Max" has been all over the practice fields Tuesday and Wednesday, registering one of the top foot speeds, as recorded by Zebra Technologies, at 20.96 mph. Melton played inside and out for the Scarlet Knights and has done the same here in Mobile. He's the brother of Packers WR Bo Melton, who came on strong for Green Bay in 2023.

Melton has given up some receptions this week, but his competitiveness has stood out. One of the biggest plays from the National Team practice Wednesday morning was Melton ripping out a fumble from USC's MarShawn Lloyd near the sideline -- and recovering it inbounds.

Melton might lack elite recovery speed, but his length (he's 5-foot-11, with 32-inch arms) will make him appealing as a versatile CB prospect. I haven't seen his name mentioned as much as others this week, but Melton has helped his draft cause.

5) Top center exits practice early.

Oregon C Jackson Powers-Johnson, who's dealing with a hamstring injury he sustained while training, departed early from Wednesday morning's practice. Powers-Johnson, Jeremiah's No. 35 prospect in the draft, appeared to help his cause with a strong showing on Day 1 and again on Day 2 before stepping away.

Other injuries from Wednesday's practice sessions included Penn State CB Johnny Dixon, who suffered a glute injury, according to a source, and Marshall RB Rasheen Ali, who left with an undisclosed injury.

Although Dixon's injury is not considered serious, requiring only stretching and icing, he was set to finish up his team interviews on Wednesday night and leave Mobile, ending his week.

Two other players who were hurt during Tuesday's practices, Washington State Edge Brennan Jackson and Michigan OL Trevor Keegan, sat out Wednesday. Both attended the National Team practice session in the morning. Jackson was seen in a walking boot, and Keegan told NFL Media that he suffered back spasms and wasn't sure what his timetable would be.

EDITOR'S UPDATE: Ali suffered a ruptured biceps tendon that will require surgery and he faces a four- to six-month recovery, NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero reported on Thursday.

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