COSTA MESA, Calif. -- The athleticism and energy of USC Trojans linebacker Uchenna Nwosu jumped off the screen during Senior Bowl practices this week, qualities the Los Angeles Chargers could use at the second level of their defense.
At 6-2 and 245 pounds, Nwosu has the versatility to create pressure off the edge, hold up as an edge defender in the running game or drop into coverage. During his final year with the Trojans, Nwosu recorded 75 tackles, including 11.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks, and had 13 pass knock downs as one of the defensive captains at USC.
Nwosu is one of several NFL prospects I watched this past week during the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, the East-West Shrine game and practices for the Senior Bowl who could make sense for the Chargers.
Here are some other players who caught my eye.
B.J. Hill, DT, North Carolina State: At 6-3 and 321 pounds, Hill showed speed, power and quickness as an interior pass rusher during one-on-one pass rush drills, something the Chargers are looking to add to the roster during the offseason.
Jaleel Scott, WR, New Mexico State: For a guy at 6-5 and 216 pounds, I was impressed with Scott’s ability to get off press coverage, something every receiver has to do in the NFL or you can’t play at that level. He’s an unpolished route runner and a bit inconsistent making contested catches, but I believe those things can be improved through reps and coaching. Scott has a unique skill set and fits the prototype of a big receiver Philip Rivers likes to throw to.
Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma: Mayfield showed the best accuracy and anticipation as a thrower of all the quarterbacks I watched during the Senior Bowl practice this week. And he measured in at just over 6-feet tall, which is good enough for me because of his movement skills.
Will Hernandez, OG, UTEP: Road grader. At 6-2 and 340 pounds, Hernandez will be a road grader in the running game, but held up better than expected during one-on-one pass protection drills.
Kyzir White, S, West Virginia: At 6-2 and 220 pounds, White brings size to the safety position. And ESPN NFL analyst Matt Bowen, who played safety for seven seasons in the NFL, identifies White as a fit in Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley’s Seattle Cover 3 scheme. Bowen: “White stands out during individual drills in the secondary with that long, athletic frame, and he's probably best suited to play in a zone-based defense. Think of the three-deep shells we see in Seattle or in Los Angeles with the Chargers. White can be that rolled-down strong safety to impact the run front or drive on the ball. He's a thumper on contact, an inside rover like a Kam Chancellor or Keanu Neal.”
NFLPA COLLEGIATE BOWL
Mathew Gano, OT, Wesley: At 6-4 and 305 pounds, Gano played both left guard and left tackle during the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl and excelled at both spots. He did a nice job of combo blocking in the running game and showed good footwork as a pass protector on the edge at left tackle.
Antonio Guerad, DT, University of Central Florida: at 6-4 and 310 pounds, Guerad finished with 1.5 sacks and three combined tackles. Guerad flashed potential as an interior pass rusher at the next level.
Luis Perez, QB, Texas A&M Commerce: Perez finished 8-of-10 for 69 yards in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, but had two fumbles, including one that led to a score. Despite the turnovers, at 6-3 and 220 pounds, I thought Perez played with poise, showing good throwing accuracy, touch and anticipation. Perez earned the 2017 Harlon Hill Trophy as the Division II College Football Player of the Year. The San Diego native completed over 70 percent of his passes for 4,678 passing yards and 44 touchdowns, leading Texas A&M Commerce to a Division II championship.
Martez Carter, RB, Grambling State: Carter was the leading rusher in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, rushing for 53 yards on 10 carries, and also had three catches for 24 yards. At 5-9 and 205 pounds, Carter rushed for 906 yards and also caught 28 passes for 351 receiving yards and three scores at Grambling State. He runs low to the ground and has some juice once he gets to the second level of the defense.
EAST-WEST SHRINE GAME
Daurice Fountain, WR, Northern Iowa: Fountain totaled three catches for 61 yards and showed the ability to make defenders miss after the catch. Fountain also had a 30-yard punt return.
P.J. Hall, DT, Sam Houston State: At 6-1 and 310 pounds, Hall showed some ability to push the pocket as an interior pass rusher. Hall totaled 42 career sacks at Sam Houston State.
Phillip Lindsay, RB, Colorado: Lindsay led all rushers in the East-West Shrine game with 51 yards. Lindsay has some elusiveness, but at 5-8 and 190 pounds, size could be a concern at the next level.
James Looney, DT, California: An undersized defensive tackle for the Bears, Looney had a tackle for loss and made a couple splash plays defensively.