Thursday’s practices were without pads and both teams took it easy, using it more as a walkthrough than an actual practice. We saw some nice situational work, but without hitting it was tough to get much from it. Most teams weren’t even in attendance today, though the Packers were well represented with their G.M. Ted Thompson not missing a minute of it. Given the lack of intensity, I’m going to combine the practice notes, with a focus pretty much solely on the receivers, quarterbacks, defensive backs and linebackers:
Keith Wenning (Ball State):
-Wenning had a good overall practice once again. He throws with nice touch (though needs to be more consistent with it), and did a nice job in the red zone drill fitting the ball in a number of tight windows. His footwork was sloppy, though some of that has to be on the poor field condition of the West practice. You can tell it got Wenning out of rhythm a couple times when he slipped and didn’t fully reset his feet. Still it was a good day for him, and he should get some developmental late round attention from some teams.
Jimmy Garoppolo (Eastern Illinois):
-It wasn’t Garoppolo’s best practice today, and definitely a noticeable step down from yesterday. It wasn’t “bad” in the grand scheme of things, but his accuracy was noticeably off and he forced a couple of throws. On two throws today, he missed wide open check downs, and instead forced the pass deep. Both passes were well off target and fell incomplete. While you want to see Garoppolo’s arm, it’s not helping that he’s missing easy short passes and instead is overthrowing his receivers by 10 yards.
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-Mathews was really good today, and had nice touch on his throws throughout the practice. He did a nice job of getting rid of the ball quickly, which is something he didn’t do as well with yesterday.
Matt Hazel (Coastal Carolina):
Hazel had a great all-around practice today, making numerous highlight reel catches, to go along with a strong performance on his regular routes as well. Hazel has probably made more big plays over the last two days than any other prospect has (at any position) over the course of the entire week.
Jeremy Gallon (Michigan):
Gallon is very smooth in his motions and doesn’t waste a lot of steps getting in and out of his breaks. It’s the crispness of his route running that could give him a shot of an NFL role in the slot.
Allen Hurns (Miami):
-Hurns brings deep speed to the table, but it is unclear if he brings much else. He didn’t have a particularly strong practice, dropping one bad pass and not being able to win on a couple contested ones.
Chandler Jones (San Jose State):
-Chandler Jones showed good burst today, but he did struggle some to catch the ball as well as he had earlier in the week.
Seantavius Jones (Valdosta State):
-Jones may have had his best practice today. We saw better hands, with him not only catching more passes today, but also Jones extending his hands and not trying to body catch everything. He used his size well in the red zone drills and was able to convert a couple of TD’s.
Bene Benwikere (San Jose State):
-Benwikere showed up really well today, using his physicality to his advantage. In the red zone situational drills, Benwikere was probably the toughest corner, receivers had to go up against. He fought them constantly and won quite a few battles.
Carrrington Byndom (Texas):
From an instinct/speed standpoint Byndom had a nice practice, but one of the things that was worked on today was situational drills, specifically red zone coverage. Despite facing mainly smaller receivers, Byndom had some issues winning battles. Many times he was in the right position, but he just couldn’t outmuscle the receiver. One time on a slant to Seantavius Jones (the lone bigger receiver on the West squad), Bydom saw that it was an inside slant route tried to jump it, but Jones ripped the ball away and got the score.
Sean Parker (Washington):
-Parker had a really strong practice today, particularly during team drills. He really showed nice recognition in coverage and came up and knocked a couple passes away. In one-on-one match ups he wasn’t as strong, but he still held his own.
Phillip Gaines (Rice):
Gaines quietly had another really solid practice. He shows solid deep speed, but he really thrives when he can get physical with the receiver as the ball is coming in. He breaks up a lot of passes this way and does a nice job not letting receivers get a clean catch.
Andre Hal (Vanderbilt):
-Hal continues to show some of the best instincts of any corner down here at the Shrine game. Rarely do you see a mis-step from him or him biting on a double-move. He had another strong practice matching up against the East’s top receivers and really limiting them or forcing them to make difficult catches.
Max Bullough (Michigan State):
-Bullough continues to impress with his coverage ability. He makes up for his lack of fluidity with great instincts that leads to a number of broken up passes, and good coverage plays. He’s far from perfect, but Bullough has alleviated some concerns about his lack of athleticism.
Tyler Starr (South Dakota):
-This was probably Starr’s worst day of practice as he simply got lost too many times in coverage and didn’t also seem to know his responsibility. On the plus side, he shows really nice athletcism to correct for his mistakes and was still able to break-up a couple of passes that initially looked open.
Devon Kennard (USC):
-Despite not a lot of experience in coverage, Kennard looks pretty good out there. He transitions well and stays with his man. He gets a little lost at times in zone coverage, but he’s quick to make corrections and has speed to get back to his spot.