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Daniel Jones, Ryan Finley among five stars from Senior Bowl

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  • By Daniel Jeremiah and Chase Goodbread NFL.com
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MOBILE, Ala. -- After a week of practices here in Mobile, 100-plus prospects for the 2019 NFL Draft capped off a crucial job interview in Saturday's Reese's Senior Bowl. NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah and Chase Goodbread provide a look at standouts from the game, as well as notes from interviews with players and coaches.

Five standouts from the Senior Bowl game

Daniel Jones, QB, Duke: This was the best Jones has played all week. The Raiders' coaching staff, which coached Jones' North squad, did a good job of getting him on the move when he started the second half. That helped him get into a rhythm, which was good to see. There was a lot of pressure on him going into the game after an uneven week of practice and I thought he rose to the occasion on Saturday. -- Daniel Jeremiah

Ryan Finley, QB, N.C. State: Finley was probably the most consistent and effective of the quarterbacks today. He had a really good game, and was solid in practice during the week. He was accurate, poised and made good decisions.

Now, he doesn't have a huge arm, but teams that have met with him here in Mobile have really liked him. Given how precise he was and how quickly he was working through progressions, I thought Finley had the cleanest game of the Senior Bowl passers. -- Daniel Jeremiah

Khalen Saunders, DT, Western Illinois: Saunders had the first sack of the game, which wasn't a surprise given how well he's performed all week long. He showed his quickness and was disruptive, recording another pressure later in the game. He reminds me of the way Antwaun Woods played for the Dallas Cowboys this season. I can envision Saunders doing similar things at the next level -- he can hold up at the point of attack and give you a little quickness up the middle. He had as good a week as anybody here. -- Daniel Jeremiah

Andy Isabella, WR, UMass: He had some drops during the week and was a little disappointing in practice. But like his North squad teammate Jones, he saved his best for last, leading all receivers with seven catches for 74 yards and a touchdown on Saturday. He was good after the catch, putting his toughness on display. The team that drafts him is going to love using him on fly sweeps and bubble screens -- just get the ball in his hands and watch him go. -- Daniel Jeremiah

Charles Omenihu, DE, Texas: He has some physical traits that you love, including rare length, and he played really hard today. Some of his big plays were made off of effort and just not quitting on the play. He's not a finished product, but there's a lot to work with, and he helped himself in Mobile. -- Daniel Jeremiah

Bonus: There are a few other guys that I have to mention here. Delaware S Nelson Adderley picked off Buffalo QB Tyree Jackson and made a couple really good tackles in the open field, as well. ... Two former USC Trojans -- CB Iman Marshall and OT Chuma Edoga -- were probably the most consistent guys here all week. They both played well on Saturday. ... Last but not least, UC Davis WR Keelan Doss finished strong after a nice week of practices. He's so smooth, as he showed while making four grabs for 55 yards. -- Daniel Jeremiah

POSTGAME INTERVIEW NOTES: What we learned from Jon Gruden, Drew Lock and more

Gruden's take on QBs: North squad coach Jon Gruden had no shortage of quarterback talent to evaluate this week with Finley, Jones, Missouri's Drew Lock and Penn State's Trace McSorley on his roster. He mentioned a few of them in his postgame remarks.

-- On Lock: "He's exactly as advertised. I thought he had a touchdown pass dropped. He's the real deal -- he's got a great future."

-- On Finley: "(He) is a guy that just grows on you. He doesn't make mistakes. He was a prolific passer at N.C. State. Not a lot of people know about him nationally, but he threw for almost 12,000 yards and a lot of touchdowns in Raleigh."

-- On Jones: "He struggled a little at the end of the first half in the two-minute drill, but you see the arm he possesses, and you can see the mobility. ... He threw two interceptions in 7-on-7 in practice, which is uncommon, but he came back the next day better." -- Chase Goodbread

Learning the hard way: In-helmet communication with a coach is new to Senior Bowl quarterbacks, as it isn't allowed in the college game, and Lock had an interesting first go with pro technology. During a first-quarter drive in which Lock made some impressive throws, he at one point covered his earholes and looked to the sideline to signal a problem.

"We called plays all week verbally, just standing next to each other. And (in the game), it wasn't the normal headsets they use in games -- it was coming from a walkie-talkie coming into our ear," Lock said. "If you didn't enunciate really sharply, you really couldn't hear anything. A couple times I had to cover my ears, looked over, and they knew to say the play again. You can get 75 percent of the play and miss one part, and you don't want to miss that one part."

Lock, who started the game for the North, finished 9 of 14 for 57 yards, and will take away the experience of one game with in-helmet communication.

"It was definitely different. I think it was kind of cool. You don't have to have a wristband, you don't have to look over for signals, you're in the huddle and everyone's waiting for you," Lock said. "I loved being in the huddle and being able to look guys in the eye." -- Chase Goodbread

Sticking with it: Delaware S Nasir Adderley got an early feel for what it's like to have an NFL logo on his helmet. He and two other North squad captains, N.C. State C Garrett Bradbury and Notre Dame LB Drue Tranquill, were given Raiders helmet decals by the Raiders' coaching staff before the game. He picked up a third one for a big play in the first half -- Gruden said he's always liked the college tradition of helmet stickers for playmaking, and brought the tradition to the Senior Bowl.

"I'm leaving it on my helmet -- it's mine to keep. I love the coaching staff -- they're about their business," Adderley said. "They wanted to win this. They said from the beginning, we're here to beat the South. That's it."

Adderley added a fourth-quarter interception to seal a 34-24 win for the North. He was one of the top draft prospects in Mobile and is keenly aware of the buzz that he could be a first-round pick.

"It's all talk until it happens," he said. "I try to just keep my foot on the pedal and tune out all that outside noise." -- Chase Goodbread

Talking a big game: Kentucky CB Lonnie Johnson Jr. doesn't lack for confidence.

After an impressive practice week, Johnson made four tackles in the game Saturday and afterward, said he's come away from the Senior Bowl with a conviction that he's the best cornerback in the 2019 draft.

"I feel like I'm the best corner in the draft. That's what it is. I can tackle, I can cover, and some guys at my position don't even want to tackle," Johnson said. "I stood out. I'm 6-3, I'm 210 pounds, and I'm going to run 4.4 at the combine, so y'all can take it from there."

Johnson said he sensed a good connection with the Chicago Bears in formal interviews this week. -- Chase Goodbread

Follow Daniel Jeremiah on Twitter @MoveTheSticks.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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