Day 2 of all-star game practices are frequently the most important of the week - not only is it another opportunity to evaluate players, but seeing how they've reacted and adjusted to the events of Day 1 shows their football character.
Let's take a look at my notes from practice on Sunday to see who did just that.
First things first, the Chargers continued to have a large scouting presence at practice on Sunday. Two scouts stuck in a spot with a wider view of the field, likely evaluating wide receivers and defensive backs. Senior director of college scouting Kevin Kelly was also spotted along the sidelines. LA does not frequently make their presence known at other events given the smaller size of their staff, so the fact that they're so visible in Las Vegas is something worth keeping an eye on down the line.
One of the standouts of the day was Purdue linebacker Jalen Graham. After being pulled aside to receive some extra coaching from the Patriots staff, Graham flipped a switch and showed the ability to apply coaching right away. It was obvious he was paying attention when other players in his group were being coached up as well, applying those lessons to his next rep in a drill and receiving some vocal praise from the staff. As an example: the linebackers spent much of the early part of practice working on a rip move on the tackling sled, but without generating much satisfaction from the coaches. New England's staff made more clear what they were looking for, and then Graham executed a picture-perfect rip move in team period to force a run stop.
If you're looking for the linebackers with the best movement skills in Vegas, I'd direct you to North Carolina State's Drake Thomas and Boston College's Jaiden Woodbey. Thomas was another standout on the day, frequently finding the range to hold contain on the outside and showing good awareness in coverage. Thomas is on the smaller side, but that could actually endear him to a Chargers team that needs their linebackers to be mobile. Woodbey was a bit more up-and-down. The converted safety is still working on his instincts at linebacker, and that was fairly obvious in the lateness of his trigger on Sunday.
A Division II school in New York, Pace has never produced an NFL player. When offensive tackle Jacky Chen was invited to Las Vegas, most people outside league circles had never heard of him. But through two days, Chen has mostly held his own, and some scouts have gone as far to say that he's "everyone's favorite" undrafted free agent prospect. The Setter had a great rep on Sunday against Pitt edge rusher Habakkuk Baldonado, a Saturday standout.
On the East side, the linebacking group had a rough end to their weekend. Falcons linebacker coach Frank Bush was all over the group, reminding them that "you are who you put on tape" and that Sunday's session was "a job interview, not practice." Arizona State's Kyle Soelle looked the best of the group, maintaining a steady but not remarkable presence and taking a leadership role amongst the other linebackers.
For Tennessee's Jeremy Banks, Vanderbilt's Anfernee Orji, and Florida's Amari Burney, things were a bit more inconsistent. Banks hit hard in one on one drills with the running backs and team period, but those violent collisions often still resulted in him being unable to disengage from blocks. He lost the final rep of one on ones to Fresno State RB Jordan Mims, forcing the linebackers to do push-ups. Orji brought a similar physicality, but dropped a few balls during drills and was pulled aside for additional coaching on more than one occasion. Burney had to have a fire lit under him to start practice, then was injured in one on ones and limited for the remainder of practice.
Some quick hitters from the rest of practice:
Georgia Tech LB Charlie Thomas has his fans in league circles, but he's a lighter player without elite movement ability. I wonder how such a player fits in today's NFL.
Watching Bill Belichick coach these prospects up is one of the cooler sights on a football field. Belichick spent three or four minutes educating an entire group of players on punt gunner technique on Sunday.
Minnesota CB Terell Smith had a few nice reps in team period, while Hampton WR Jadakis Bonds continued to have a few issues reeling in the ball.
Louisville EDGE Yasir Abdullah, South Carolina State WR Shaq Davis, Fresno State WR Jalen Moreno-Cropper, and Louisville CB Kei'Trel Clark all had a few reps that drew my attention away from other parts of practice on Sunday.
Story originally appeared on Chargers Wire