MOBILE, Ala. — Tyree Jackson capped his Senior Bowl practice week with one of the prettiest touchdown passes of the day, and Anthony Johnson battled a slightly sore ankle Thursday.
The University at Buffalo’s two star players now aim toward Saturday’s college all-star game in their bid to boost their stock for the NFL Draft.
Johnson said his sore ankle has been a lingering issue.
“I’m battling through an ankle injury right now so I can’t really play as explosive as I want to,” he said after Thursday’s final practice session. “It was hurt during the season and I tried to rest it. But out here this week running routes it started swelling a little.”
Johnson participated fully in the three practice days and said he’s full go for Saturday’s game, which kicks off at 2:30 p.m. and will be televised on the NFL Network.
Johnson was disappointed by Thursday’s practice. He dropped a pass wide open over the middle during a two-minute drill. He also had a drop at the goal line, and a nifty catch in the back corner of the end zone in red-zone work. He came up hobbling once after a catch in one-on-one drills.
“I didn’t have my best day today, but I’m a competitor and I’m not going to really let this day get to me and I’m going to come out in the game and pick it up a lot more,” he said.
Johnson, who caught 25 TD passes over the past two seasons, said he was thrilled with his play in Wednesday’s session, which was held at an indoor facility and not open to fans or media.
“I felt I did great there, flying around with a lot of energy,” he said. “The new scheme, I picked that up pretty well, and it feels great to play ball again.”
Jackson, meanwhile, had a solid third practice, in which the teams wore full pads for the first time this week and did a bit more run-game work.
“I think it went well,” Jackson said. “I think the offense cleaned it up a lot, and everyone’s starting to figure out where to go.”
Jackson was sharp in 7-on-7 work in the red zone. He fired a tight spiral to South Carolina’s Deebo Samuel for a slant-pass TD in the back of the end zone. Then he fit a TD pass into a tight window in the back right corner of the end zone to Louisiana State’s 6-foot-6 tight end Foster Moreau.
Tyree Jackson with a tight window red zone TD pass to tight end in corner of the end zone here at Senior Bowl. pic.twitter.com/ERVecSBBVb
— Mark Gaughan (@gggaughan) January 24, 2019
“It was man to man coverage and when you’ve got a big body tight end like that you want to get it to him,” Jackson said. “He made a great play and a great catch.”
Jackson said he was happy with his accuracy, which is the key issue in determining where he will be selected.
“I thought during 7 on 7 and team drills it was really good,” Jackson said. “It’s a day-by-day thing. Just continue to improve.”
Late in the practice, Jackson tried to hit a fade pass in the end zone for Johnson, but the ball was a tad behind the receiver. Johnson couldn’t come down with a one-handed catch.
“We’ve got to get one in the game because I can’t go a week without throwing him a touchdown pass, we’ve thrown so many together throughout our career,” Jackson said.
After the Senior Bowl, Jackson said he will go to Dallas to participate in the All-Star Football Challenge in AT&T Stadium, which will be televised on ESPN2 at 9 p.m. Feb. 1. It’s a made-for-TV event that features 24 of the top players in the country on six four-man teams in a skills challenge contest.