Patrick Graham led the National Team through their second day of practice together for the 2023 Reese's Senior Bowl. The Raiders defensive coordinator is the team's head coach for the collegiate all-star game in Mobile, Alabama. The opportunity for him to get a close look at some future NFL talent could fare well for the Silver and Black come April when it's time to draft.
Here are a few key observations from the second Senior Bowl practice Wednesday afternoon
The National Team defense looked invigorated with Graham at the helm.
The unit had an active day getting after it on the defensive line and in the secondary. One of the main highlights from Wednesday's practice was Stanford cornerback Kyu Blu Kelly intercepting Louisville quarterback Malik Cunningham, also adding two pass breakups during practice. The cornerback, who played high school football at Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas, compiled three interceptions and 23 pass breakups in his four seasons with the Cardinal.
As for the defensive line, Army's Andre Carter II and Clemson's K.J. Henry had productive days rushing the passer in practice periods and one-on-ones. Henry was Clemson's team captain and an All-American his senior season, registering 124 career tackles (28 for loss), 13 sacks and 11 pass breakups over 48 career games.
As for Carter, he boasts the stellar combination of size, athleticism and intellect as a 6-foot-7, 265-pound outside linebacker. He's collected 19 sacks and five passes breakups in three seasons at West Point. Following Wednesday's practice, he detailed how helpful Graham has been at preparing players for the Senior Bowl.
"It's been a wonderful experience so far," said Carter. "I've learned a lot. He's shown us what teams are looking for when they're evaluating and that really helps us out."
On Graham's National Team, Jake Haener looked the part throughout the day. The Fresno State quarterback was accurate with the football and did a good job showing poise in the pocket. Additionally, he did a good job of selling the play-action with running backs Camerun Peoples and Chase Brown, equating to a few big gains to his receivers.
The main issue analysts have noted with Haener is his size, as a few believe his 6-foot-1, 195-pound frame isn't ideal for an NFL quarterback. It's not the first time Haener has heard the criticism, even saying he's modeled his game after longtime New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees – who played 20 NFL seasons at about the same height.
After transferring from Washington his freshman year, Haener threw for 67 touchdowns and over 9,000 passing yards in his three seasons as a Bulldog.