In-depth analysis: Senior Bowl 2018 - Defense

Here's part two of our position-by-position review of this weekend's Senior Bowl, a game that ended in a 45-16 blowout for the South team. Today we're looking at the defenses from both teams.

Defensive Interior

Having stood out at the East West Shrine Game, Texas defensive tackle Poona Ford had another good game with a sack and a fumble recovery. Virginia's Andrew Brown also held up well inside and batted down a pass.

Perhaps the best interior lineman on display was Stanford's Harrison Phillips. His flashiest moment was this quarterback hit off a spin move:


Edge defenders

Marcus Davenport drew a lot of attention at the weigh-in but was up-and-down in practice. However, he was trending upwards by the end of the week and he carried that over to the game with this early sack:


Davenport was impressive all day, despite tweaking an ankle. He also had a pressure off the edge that led to an interception and scored a second half touchdown on a fumble return.

Oklahamo's Ogbonnia Okoronokwo was the most impressive and productive rusher off the edge though. He didn't play that much but still had several pressures including one strip sack where he blew past his man on the inside and another sack on this rush around the edge:


The Ohio State pair - Tyquan Lewis and Jayln Holmes -combined for three sacks and 10 total pressures with Lewis also adding a tackle for loss against the run. Holmes had this impressive sack off a spin move:


USC's Uche Nwosu had an active game off the edge, setting the edge well to lead to a fourth and short stop and generating pressure a couple of times, including on this play:


UCF's Shaquem Griffin drew a lot of attention during the week for dominating in practice despite the fact that he lost his left hand when he was four. In this game, he didn't generate any pressure but had an active game, showing off a relentless motor in pursuit. He did give up a touchdown in coverage though.

It's also worth mentioned Alabama's Da'Shawn Hand, who Romeo Crennel singled out as someone who had been impressive all week with his ability to win one-on-one match-ups. Hand got hurt early so didn't do much in the game, but he's a former top high school recruit in the nation so he's obviously talented. However, he's a projected late-rounder due to off-field concerns and injury-affected production. A big combine or pro day could send his stock soaring.

Finally, Marquis Haynes from Ole Miss showed impressive burst and get-off as he blew by his man for the strip sack that led to Davenport's touchdown.


SC State's Darius Leonard had a huge game with 14 tackles including a few run stops. Leonard impressed all week with his length and instincts.

Michigan's Mike McCray also had a good game. While he wasn't statistically productive, with just two tackles - one of which came on special teams - he broke up two passes. One saw him jar the ball loose with a hit on the receiver and the other came on this excellent play:


BYU's Fred Warner made some flashy plays but also allowed Rashaad Penny to get behind him for a 73-yard touchdown. Vanderbilt's Oren Banks didn't have a great season but showed he can make some plays if kept clean in Saturday's game, including a couple of tackles for loss.

Defensive Backs

The two top cornerbacks in practice all week have been North Carolina's MJ Stewart and Boston College's Isaac Yiadom. In this game, they gave up just one catch for four yards between them on seven targets. Stewart impressed with his ability to play in the slot and in press coverage.

South Alabama safety Jeremy Reaves had a big game with an interception, a 4th down run stuff and a special teams tackle. He added couple of pass break-ups, including one on a two point conversion and another here:


Virginia's Quin Blanding is another good prospect at the safety position and he impressed on this play:


Other safeties that made an impact were Louisiana Tech's Secdrick Cooper, who intercepted a pass and Hawaii's Trayvon Henderson who came up into the box to make 10 tackles, including a handful of stops near the line.