Senior Bowl: Palmer in hurry to show his speed

MOBILE, Ala. – Speed is something every NFL team covets.

It's also something that often leads to bragging rights among players. On an NFL field, there are big and strong guys all over the place. But the speed to take the top off a defense – or conversely stop someone from doing so – is often the most hotly contested point of contention.

Nebraska wide receiver Trey Palmer can win a lot of bragging contests.

The 6-foot, 193-pound wideout was one of the fastest players on the field this week here at the Senior Bowl and feels there's more to come.

The Senior Bowl uses Zebra Technologies to track the movement of players here via GPS. Palmer's top speed during practices was 21.15 miles per hour, the fastest of any of the offensive players on either team and bested only by South Carolina cornerback Darius Rush. Rush reached 21.65 miles per hour while practicing for the American Team, while Palmer's speed was the fastest on the National Team.

But Palmer feels he can do even better.

"4.2," he said when asked what his goal is to run at the NFL Scouting Combine later this month.

Has he ever run that fast?

"No. But you're going to see it," he replied. "Yes sir."

Lolley is a Contributing Writer/Editor and co-host of "SNR Drive" on Steelers Nation Radio. His opinions do not reflect the views of the Steelers organization.

Subscribe to the "SNR Drive" podcast here: Apple Podcast | iHeart Podcast

The 21-year-old began his career at LSU before transferring to Nebraska last season. Palmer had 41 receptions in three seasons for the Tigers, but blossomed last season for the Cornhuskers, catching 71 passes for 1,043 yards and nine touchdowns. He also excelled at returning kicks and punts.

"Route running and knowing the offense," Palmer said when asked about his attributes beyond pure speed. "I'm very versatile. I can move around in the offense. It doesn't matter, I can play anywhere."

Yes, he's extremely confident in his abilities.

That's why when it comes to wondering about who is the overall fastest player at this week's Senior Bowl, he's not concerned with it.

"No, it's just a contest with me," he said. "It's me versus me. I just want to get better each and every day."

OTHER TOP PERFORMERS: The player with the best acceleration this week was Kentucky cornerback Keidron Smith, who was timed at 5.41 yards per second. A pair of fellow cornerbacks were tied for second. Miami's Tyrique Stevenson and Stanford's Kyu Blu Kelly both timed at 5.24 yards per second acceleration.

Houston quarterback Clayton Tune reached 76.8 miles per hour to throw the highest initial air speed on a throw. Tyson Bagent of Shepherd had the best average speed on his passes, averaging 47.5 miles per hour. Bagent also threw the longest pass of the week, reaching 59.7 yards.

YOUNG AT HEART: Because many of its players go on missions for the Mormon Church, a large number of BYU players wind up being in their mid-20s when they finish their college careers and start to look at the NFL.

But BYU offensive tackle Blake Freeland is an outlier. A four-year starter for the Cougars, Freeland is still just 21 years old.

"I'm an outlier at BYU," Freeland said with a laugh. "My first year, I was starting at right tackle. Every team we played against was like, 'How old are you guys?' They were going down the line and they would get to me and I'd be, 'I'm 18.' The guy next to me is 25."

Obviously, Freeland is talented to have started as a true freshman at a school where he was competing against older, stronger and more experienced players.

Freeland officially measured in here at 6-foot-7 and ½ and 312 pounds. He started the week off playing at left tackle, but moved over to the right side for the final two days.

That ability to move back and forth on both sides could be attractive to NFL teams.

"I like left. But I'm able to play both, though," Freeland said. "It takes a little time to get used to, having been on the left the last two years, so it's a little different. But I felt like I was able to switch back and forth pretty well."

ONE SIZE FITS ALL: Northwestern defensive lineman Adebawore Adetomiwa was one of the most difficult people for offensive linemen to block all week in one-on-one drills. He explodes out of his stance and has a very quick first step.

But at 6-foot-1 ½ and 284 pounds, he's slightly undersized when it comes to lining up at defensive tackle. In fact, much of his career at Northwestern, he lined up at defensive end.

Adetomiwa has no problem playing inside or outside, however. And playing on Steelers defensive backs coach Grady Brown's defense, he's getting an opportunity to play more inside.

He had 24 ½ tackles for a loss and 12.5 sacks in his career.

"At Northwestern, I was playing a 3-technique (inside) and a 6-technique (over the offensive tackle). Here, I'm playing 5-technique in base and 3-technique in sub (packages)," Adetomiwa said. "Wherever a team feels it needs me at is where I'll be."

Related Content