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Seven things we learned from Day 2 of Senior Bowl practices

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  • By Bryan Fischer and Chase Goodbread
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MOBILE, Ala. -- Michigan State wide receiver Tony Lippett is playing wide receiver at the Reese's Senior Bowl this week, his primary position with the Spartans. But after getting a chance to play some defensive back as a two-way contributor near the end of his senior season, NFL coaches and scouts have also asked him about that aspect of his game. Lippett began his college career in the secondary and said he is open to the idea of playing defensive back in the pros if that's what it takes. Lippett's pro potential as a defensive back is no joke.

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For now, however, he has flashed some impressive catches at receiver during practice.

Four NFL clubs have shown the most interest in him thus far, Lippett said.

"I spent some time with the Bucs wide receiver coach, the Vikings wide receiver coach, the Patriots scout, the 49ers scout. Those are the teams I spent probably more than 20 minutes with," Lippett said. "They like my size, and they're interested to know how I will run at the combine."

Informal interviews between prospects and NFL clubs were happening all over the practice fields Wednesday, and some clubs appeared to be more active than others.

Here are six other things we learned from Senior Bowl practices Wednesday:

2. Prewitt has high praise for opposing wide receivers: Ole Miss safety Cody Prewitt was known as one of the hardest hitters in the country during his college days and had his first chance to go full speed against the offense at the Senior Bowl on Wednesday. He has been able to get a good read on the South team's wide receiving corps during one-on-one and seven-on-seven drills and is impressed with what he's seen. "Playing the SEC, though, I'm used to the speed for the most part," Prewitt said. "Sammie Coates is a big guy, though. He's a lot bigger than I remembered him during the season."

3. Kikaha making the transition better than expected: Washington defensive end/linebacker Hau'oli Kikaha had one of the highlights of Day 2 when he put an impressive move on tight end Ben Koyack and knifed into the backfield before most scouts could blink. He's playing mostly in a two-point stance and has done a better job than expected against the run as an edge-setter. While Kikaha, last season's FBS leader in sacks (19), was expecting it would take some time to transition to the talent level at the Senior Bowl, he has handled things better than even he thought he would in Mobile. "I anticipated it being much harder, but I know it's going to get much harder," he said. "One perk of this job, though? We don't have school anymore. If you're a student of the game, it's pretty easy for you out here."


» Sources Tell Us: Inside scoop on prospects at Senior Bowl


4. Duke guard excelling in the trenches: Most people believe Washington defensive tackle Danny Shelton will be the highest draft pick among prospects at the Senior Bowl. As such, he is considered the measuring stick for players during practice, and Duke guard Laken Tomlinson has seemingly drawn the most reps against him. While Tomlinson has not been perfect, he's probably been the best of any of the interior linemen in handling Shelton during one-on-ones. Tomlinson, however, was far from the only star on Day 2.


» Six eye-catching prospects from Day 2 at Senior Bowl


5. Linebacker depth strong inside. Clemson LB Stephone Anthony appeared to struggle for much of Wednesday's practice, but several other inside linebackers showed well. Cincinnati's Jeff Luc could be the best among them, although Arkansas' Martrell Spaight, USC's Hayes Pullard and Penn State's Mike Hull all looked equally willing and able to fill run gaps with authority. Another inside linebacker, Miami's Denzel Perryman, missed practice with an abdominal injury but could return as early as Thursday.

6. Quarterback edge pronounced: The North squad's quarterbacks looked significantly better than the South's Wednesday, a factor that could play a big role in Saturday's game if the disparity continues. Baylor's Bryce Petty looked especially sharp on intermediate and deeper throws, along with Oregon State's Sean Mannion and East Carolina's Shane Carden. Meanwhile, former Auburn star Nick Marshall switched from quarterback to cornerback. Alabama's Blake Sims and Colorado State's Garrett Grayson welcomed Southeastern Louisiana's Bryan Bennett for his first practice Wednesday. Bennett is taking Marshall's spot as a quarterback on the roster and will have just two full practices to catch up with the South squad offense before Friday's walk-through.

7. Quotable: "He's fast enough, and he's strong as a bull, but he doesn't have a lot of quickness going in and out of his breaks. He needs to get a lot more fluid at changing direction, or the DBs in the NFL will close on him too fast." -- NFC area scout on Auburn WR Sammie Coates. For more scouting scoop from Senior Bowl week, see "Sources Tell Us."

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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