Eight things we learned from Day 3 of Senior Bowl practices


Things we learned from Senior Bowl practice: Day 1 | Day 2


MOBILE, Ala. -- The most interesting prospect on the South team at the Reese's Senior Bowl this week lined up just about everywhere. Literally.

Reese's Senior Bowl coverage:

Photos:

Video:

Norfolk State prospect Lynden Trail caught the eye of plenty of NFL scouts during his time on the practice field, and he played multiple positions. He lined up at defensive end with his hand in the ground and stood up as an outside linebacker, trying to cover the flat against running backs and tight ends. He really flashed on Thursday, though, showing off what he could do at tight end.

The experiment paid off for those that wanted to see him at the position, and it certainly paid off for Trail, who caught a touchdown during a red-zone drill and showed he could probably be the second-best tight end (with Miami's Clive Walford being the best) at the event if he played the position full time this week.

"They did let me get a few tight end reps today, and I ended up with a touchdown, so it's a pretty good day," Trail said. "I pretty much asked for (the position change). I played both ways, so I wanted to showcase what I can do on the offensive side of the ball as well.

"I've had numerous scouts ask me if I want to play tight end at the next level, and I'm my thing is, I'm a robot: I play wherever the coaches need me to play in order to help the team win."

The 6-foot-6, 262-pounder was a top high school recruit and redshirted in 2010 at Florida before transferring from Gainesville after Urban Meyer left the program. He made his way to tiny Norfolk State and jumped onto NFL radars with two strong seasons as a starting linebacker for the Spartans.

Trail's physical stature is the first thing that stands out to people, but he's been showcasing what he can do this week against much more talented opponents than he's used to facing. In addition to the touchdown catch he made Thursday, Trail also snagged an interception when he returned to outside linebacker during drills.


» Sources Tell Us: Can Eagles resist dealing for Mariota?


"I'm not here to compete with anybody but myself. I have to make sure I get better every day," he said. "I'm here to showcase my versatility and show that I can do whatever."

Consider those boxes checked for an intriguing player who is probably rising up draft boards following a strong showing in Mobile.

Here are seven more things we learned on Day 3 of Senior Bowl practices.

In a weekly series, draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah polls five NFL personnel executives about college football's top prospects.

2. Modified gauntlet drill problematic for all but a few: Titans wide receivers coach Shawn Jefferson had a tricky drill awaiting the Senior Bowl North team receivers this week. Players were asked to weave between a line of barriers while catching passes that were thrown with plenty of velocity and coming from different directions. Nobody looked quicker or smoother in the drill Thursday than Duke's Jamison Crowder, and some had more trouble than others. Like Crowder, Stanford wide receiver Ty Montgomery navigated the drill without a drop.

3. Badgers tackle staying mum on meetings: Wisconsin OL Rob Havenstein was mum on the question of which NFL clubs have shown him the most attention. "I probably want to keep that to myself, but the experience has been awesome talking to all these teams, just to show these guys who you are as a person," Havenstein said.

4. Buckeyes' title run not slowing seniors down: Ohio State's magical run to the national title earlier this month left many wondering how players would be affected by a 15-game season coupled with more football in Mobile. Many of the Buckeyes did get some time off between the Jan. 12 championship game and practice this week at the Senior Bowl, but their extended college season might have helped them more than it hurt them. "You could feel it throughout the (run), but our coaching staff did a tremendous job keeping us fresh," wide receiver Devin Smith said. "But it does help with the conditioning. I came out here on the first day and ran around and wasn't that tired. It was an advantage for me, (CB) Doran (Grant) and (ILB) Curtis (Grant) over everyone else." Smith didn't think twice about coming down to the Senior Bowl -- he wanted to show scouts he can run other routes and isn't just a speed guy down the field.


» Brooks' mock draft 1.0: Mariota out of top 10


5. Defensive tackles see time all over the line: The Senior Bowl is a place where prospects can show teams their versatility and line up at positions different from the ones they played in college. That's certainly the case at defensive tackle, where the Titans and Jaguars coaching staffs are experimenting with their D-linemen at a number of spots. For example, Iowa star Carl Davis played this week on the left and right side of a 4-3 defense at the three- and five-technique. Houston's Joey Mbu was among those that did the same and even played a little nose guard. "I'm trying to show the versatility out here (in practice) instead of talking about it with scouts," Davis said. He's certainly not the only one.

6. Battle in the trenches draws mutual respect: The most-watched matchup this week in the trenches was undoubtedly the one-on-ones between possible top-10 pick Danny Shelton and Duke guard Laken Tomlinson. Tomlinson has handled Shelton the best of anybody on the North team and certainly has respect for the guy lining up against him. "He's a really physical cat, really low center of gravity," Tomlinson said of Shelton. "He's just a tough kid to block, honestly. That's why he's the best matchup here."

7. Injuries surface as weather gets colder: Players were bound to get hurt this week as the temperatures started to dip a bit. Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah hurt his hamstring during drills and seemed to aggravate it after making a cut during the 9-on-7 period. That's bad news for the North squad, with Michigan State's Jeremy Langford also nursing an injury. Ole Miss corner Senquez Golson injured his groin while going through defensive back drills and making a cut. There was some good news on the injury front, though. Miami linebacker Denzel Perryman said after practice that he would play in Saturday's game despite tweaking an injury to his abdominal area.

8. Auburn players see familiar face: Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn stopped by for the end of the South team's practice in order to support his six former Tigers before heading off to a booster stop and recruiting visit on an action-packed day for the SEC offensive wizard. In addition to taking some time to speak to NFL Network's Alex Flanagan, Malzahn caught some of former Tigers quarterback Nick Marshall playing cornerback. "He'll always be a quarterback in my mind," Malzahn said.

You can follow Bryan Fischer and Chase Goodbread on Twitter at @BryanDFischer and @ChaseGoodbread.