Carolina Panthers

Senior Bowl notebook: Charlotte well-represented as teams practice for first time

Duke quarterback Daniel Jones, a former standout at Charlotte Latin, throws a pass during Tuesday’s practice for Saturday’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.
Duke quarterback Daniel Jones, a former standout at Charlotte Latin, throws a pass during Tuesday’s practice for Saturday’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. AP

A day that began awkwardly closed on a familiar note for the Senior Bowl’s participants Tuesday — the first official day of practice for the annual showcase.

One-by-one, players stepped on stage Tuesday morning in front of hundreds of reporters and NFL scouts, executives and coaches as their heights and weights were recorded. Players spoke with the media shortly after the awkward morning routine before shipping off to Ladd-Peebles Stadium for their first practice.

Tuesday’s practices featured the expected “getting-to-know-you” period between quarterbacks and wide receivers, but there were several takeaway from both the North and South squads:

-Arizona State defensive lineman Renell Wren was so dominant during the North team’s practice that he eventually commanded a double team. He weighed in at 6-foot-4, 315 pounds but showed off a lightning-quick first step to match his powerful frame. Given the money they have dedicated to their interior defensive line, Wren is an unlikely target for the Panthers, but he could make some team very happy.

-Charlotte is well-represented at the Senior Bowl. Duke quarterback Daniel Jones (Charlotte Latin), West Virginia quarterback Will Grier (Davidson Day) and N.C. State center Garrett Bradbury (Charlotte Christian) all graduated from high schools in the Charlotte area, and all three could be early-round picks. Jones said the NFL Draft Advisory Board gave him a first-round grade, and Grier and Bradbury are both top-five rated players at their respective positions.

-Clemson cornerback and Hough High graduate Mark Fields is also in Mobile this week. He was clocked as the third-fastest player on either team Tuesday. Charlotte 49ers offensive lineman Nate Davis is also on the North team roster.

-South Carolina wide receiver Deebo Samuel participated in practice after skipping the Belk Bowl and looked as good as ever. He got open at will, whether he ran vertical, intermediate or short routes. Massachussets receiver Andy Isabella turned heads with his footwork during the North team’s practice, and West Virginia receiver David Sills V showed off his vertical talents, beating his man over the top on consecutive one-on-one matchups.

-Several college head coaches made appearances on the sideline during practice, including Clemson’s Dabo Swinney and Penn State’s James Franklin. Swinney was there for Fields and former receiver Hunter Renfrow. Franklin was there for his former quarterback, Trace McSorley. From the NFL ranks, Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, Cleveland Browns coach Freddie Kitchens and Detroit Lions coach Matt Patricia were all in attendance.

Marcel Louis-Jacques: 704-358-5015, @Marcel_LJ

Marcel Louis-Jacques covers the Carolina Panthers for the Charlotte Observer, keeping you on top of Panthers news both on the field and behind the scenes. He is a 2014 graduate of Arizona State University and grew up in Sacramento, California.
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