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North Practice Notes Day Two: Aaron Donald and Chris Borland Shine

January 22, 2014 in 2013 Senior Bowl

This was my first look at the North Squad and I wanted to focus on the offensive and defensive lines, while trying to watch some other positions some as well. Here is my take away from the morning practice:

Defensive Line:

Aaron Donald, (Pittsburgh):

-Donald was the big winner today as he made big play after big play. He's the smallest defensive tackle here and some of the guards that he's facing out weigh him by almost 40 lbs. None of that mattered to Donald as he pushed them around with relative easy. He's so quick off the snap and does such a great job of staying low, that he blows up OL before they can anchor down. On one snap when facing double-teams Donald really showed his talent. During most double team work, it was a win for the defensive lineman if he didn't get pushed back more than a yard or two or could actually hold his ground. And the defensive linemen didn't "win" at a high success rate, typically they were pushed back quite a bit. Donald did very well throughout all these reps and really never got pushed back. On one snap though he was facing Zack Martin at guard who was going to get help from Brandon Thomas at tackle. Those are two formidable linemen, and they should have easily won or at least fought Donald to a draw. Instead he shot out of his stance and drove into Martin quickly, before he could set his feet and before Thomas could get a good angle. The result is Donald drove Martin right back into the quarterback's lap and Thomas couldn't do anything to prevent it.

Ra'Shede Hageman, (Minnesota):

-Hageman had a really good practice and if not for Donald, probably would have had the best practice of any player. He showed good power and quickness off the snap and seemed to get better with each rep. By the end of practice he was living in the offensive backfield and absolutely impossible to block 1-on-1. On one play in the Pit drills, Hageman was going 1-on-1 with Linder from Miami, and Hageman fired off the snap, stayed low and absolutely blew up  Linder. Linder was on his back and if it was a live play, the quarterback would have easily been sacked. One slight area of note is that Hageman had trouble beating double-teams. Obviously the OL is expected to win most of those battles, but even when you lose you want to give up as little ground as possible. Hageman got pushed around a little more than you'd like to see in those drills.

Justin Ellis (Louisiana Tech):

-Ellis continues to show well after his strong Shrine Game week last week. He's not as dominant as some of the linemen here, but he shows good power and really good quickness for a guy who is almost nearly 350 lbs. He was really tough for guards and centers to win 1-on-1's with and he even had some success versus double teams.

DaQuan Jones (Penn State):

-Not a great practice today for Jones (and reports were he didn't have a good Monday session), as he really made little impact throughout the day. He did do a nice job on a couple running plays in 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 work, but otherwise he was pretty invisible. He wasn't getting penetration on 1-on-1's and was just slow off the snap. In 2-on-1 work, on more than one occasion the first offensive lineman was able to control Jones without any help from his double-team partner.

Trent Murphy (Stanford):

-Murphy was the best edge rusher today, and was probably the toughest all-around guy for opposing tackles to try to block (they didn't succeed most of the time). Murphy spent a fair amount of time in the back-field and looks to be every bit the disruptor and impact player he was at Stanford.

James Gayle (Virginia Tech):

-Gayle was very smooth and fluid in drills and doesn't take any unnecessary steps when he gets after the quarterback. This allows him to win on the edge a fair amount and cause a lot of problems in the backfield. Gayle perhaps isn't the fastest defensive end here, but he plays smart and gets the most out of his skills. He definitely looks like he can develop into a starter at the next level. While his natural size and abilities make him a quality player, what really sets him apart is his effort level. He showed a non-stop motor and played every snap to the whistle, even if that meant trying to run down a player from the otherside of the field.

Offensive Line:

Tyler Larsen (Utah State):

-Aaron Donald dominated practice today, making every interior lineman (and multiple tackles who lined up inside) look foolish, everyone that is, but Tyler Larsen. Larsen was the first lineman who was able to stop Donald cold at the line of scrimmage and get the better of him. Their reps against one another were fun to watch throughout the day, and though Donald won his fair share of battles against Larsen, Larsen by comparison played him better than anyone else. Larsen also did a really good job on Ra'Shede Hageman, who struggled to get pressure when faced against Larsen.

Weston Richburg (Colorado State):

-Richburg is a tough center capable of winning one-on-one battles in the interior. He had a strong practice throughout with the only guys who gave him any real issues were Donald and Hageman.

Cyril Richardson (Baylor):

-I didn't see him on Monday, but reports were that Richardson struggled mightily in practice. Early on it looked like it might be more of the same today as he got beat badly on his first couple of reps. Richardson was playing too soft at first and was trying to just catch the defender and was typically unsuccessful in his attempts. After some work with coaches, we began to see improvement in Richardson's game. He did a better job later in practice using his hands to keep defenders to get into his body and he was able to offer some quality pass protection. Richardson also showed well in run blocking as well, getting a couple nice blocks that helped spring guys. It definitely wasn't a great all-around practice, but it was good to see how he improved and seemed to take well to coaching.

Brandon Linder (Miami):

-Linder had some nice reps early in practice, but really didn't do much after that. As practice wore on he got more and more exposed, and was just getting routinely beat by the top DT's on the team.

Seantrel Henderson (Miami):

-Henderson looks the part, but there is no consistency there. His technique throughout practice was very sloppy and he lost the leverage game far too often. There were times where he stood straight up off the snap and was just owned by the defensive lineman. He was also slow getting to the edge on a number of pass rushes and would have gotten his quarterback hit quite a bit.

Zack Martin (Notre Dame):

-Martin was the most consistent and talented offensive lineman on the North Squad. He had some struggles early in practice, but after that he was pretty good and rarely lost a battle. He was used both at guard and left tackle. He showed nice footwork and a nice anchor.

Brandon Thomas (Clemson):

-Thomas had a good all-around practice, both at tackle (where he's primarily lining up) and guard (probably the better position for him in the NFL). That versatility will be key for his draft stock going forward.

Jack Mewhort (Ohio State):

-It was an up-and-down practice for Mewhort. Early on he struggled in one-on-one and two-on-one drills (the latter of which should be an easy win) early on, showing inconsistent technique and poor footwork. Later in practice he improved in 9-on-7 andd 11-on-11 drills. He played with better leverage and didn't stand straight up nearly as often. He also showed some nice ferocity in run blocking and did a nice job just overpowering some of the defensive ends and linebackers. Overall it would probably be an average day, but consistency, particularly in his pass blocking will be something to watch.

Linebackers:

Michael Sam (Missouri):

-Sam showed a lot of explosion as an edge rusher, he was very quick off the ball and was able to get to the edge a number of times. While he didn't always get the "sack" Sam's relentless approach would have led to a number of quarterback pressures and hits. Sam showed a nice motor and was always playing 100% up until the whistle.

Marcus Smith (Louisville):

-Smith got a chance to rush the quarterback some as a defensive end and he showed some nice pass rush ability and that will likely be his position at the next level (or a rush linebacker).

Chris Borland (Wisconsin):

-Chris Borland had a really strong practice all-around. Watching him it is clear that he's a true student of the game and he shows great instincts and reaction time in both run support and in coverage. Borland was very fluid in the drills and while he's maybe a little undersized, it shouldn't be an issue that keeps him from being a very productive starter at the next level. In addition to the instincts and athletic ability, Borland did a nice job getting off blocks and getting to the football. He really looks like the complete package at ILB/MLB and could make an early impact.

Jordan Zumwalt (UCLA):

-Zumwalt is a little tighter than you'd like to see in his drop backs and transition, and at times he plays too tall and stiff, but he plays with great intensity. He's a physical player and was drawing a fair amount of praise from the coaches. While he wasn't the most athletically gifted in drills, he showed good awareness and anticipation.

Quarterbacks:

-Didn't focus on North quarterbacks enough today, but from what I saw it was a poor day all-around. Tajh Boyd was probably the best of the bunch, but that is solely a relative term. Even Boyd missed on a number of throws. The wind seemed to bother him quite a bit on throws down the field. Even on some shorter routes though Boyd's accuracy was off. Still Boyd was better than Logan Thomas and Stephen Morris who were both fairly erratic throughout the practice.

Corners:

Stanley Jean-Baptiste (Nebraska):

-Jean-Baptiste is really opening some eyes down here. He's got ridiculous size for a corner and is capable of matching up with any receiver. He's incredibly long and has a very nice wingspan that gives him a wide range to defend the receiver. That really closes some of the tight windows that quarterbacks could exploit with smaller corners. Jean-Baptiste clearly isn't as fluid as some smaller corners as he backpedals and flips his hips, but he's good for a bigger corner. He's definitely a better fit for Man press coverage, where he can use his size to completely disrupt a receiver off his route.

Dontae Johnson (NC State):

-Like many corners on the North Squad, Johnson has the length and speed you are looking for in a corner, but he's not as technically sound as some of the other corners down here. He wasn't able to transition quickly or smoothly in some drills and it allowed separation for some receivers. There is definitely potential there for him, but he's more of a project at this standpoint.

 

Senior (Bowl) Superlatives

January 30, 2013 in 2013 Senior Bowl

Tallest Player: DE Margus Hunt-

-Measuring at over 6'8" Hunt took the prize here.

Shortest Player: RB Robbie Rouse-

-Coming in at 5'5" 7/8 Rouse was the shortest player on the field, which at times helped him as it appeared defenders couldn't find him.

Heaviest Player: DT John Jenkins-

-Jenkins weighed in at 359 lbs, but actually carries it pretty well. It is easy to see why 3-4 teams would love to have him as their NT

Lightest Player: WR Marquise Goodwin

-Goodwin came in at 179 lbs, which is a little light for a receiver. Good news is he didn't struggle too much versus the press.

First Player Selected: OT Eric Fisher-

-Fisher all but solidified a top 10 spot with his great week. A couple guys could challenge him, but he could be off the board even in the top 5 in some draft scenarios.

Last Player Selected: (not counting UDFA's): P Jeff Locke

-It's tough finding a player who will go late, but still probably be drafted, Jeff Locke could fit the bill. Ryan Allen will go higher, but plenty of teams could take a look at a punter in the 7th round, particularly one who handles kick-offs as well.

Most Likely to Succeed (in Year one): OT Eric Fisher, DT John Jenkins, RB Stephan Taylor, DL Datone Jones

-These are the four players who should make the highest impact right off the bat, I think all four should play at least significant roles as rookies and prove themselves to be very effective.

Highest Upside: QB E.J. Manuel, DL Margus Hunt, OT Kyle Long, DE Ezekial Ansah

-These are the four players who could be elite stars down the line if it all comes together for them. Hunt, Long and Ansah are pretty new to the game at the upper levels, while Manuel just needs some developmental time.

Best Deep Ball: QB Mike Glennon

-Glennon edges out Landry Jones here due to accuracy, as Glennon showed the strongest arm consistently throughout the week.

Worst Deep Ball: QB Ryan Nassib

-Nassib just couldn't air it out at the same level as some of the other quarterbacks. That doesn't mean he can't succeed, but it means he needs to be in the right system.

Fastest Runner (RB/WR/DB): WR Marquise Goodwin

-As a former track star this is no surprise, but Goodwin can just fly down the field. I will say some corners were highly impressive with running with him, but Goodwin is my favorite for top 40 time at the combine.

Slowest Runner (RB/WR/DB): WR Chris Harper

This is tougher to judge, but Harper is more of a possession receiver and may even be better as a movement TE with some extra weight. He just didn't have the burst that the other receivers, running backs and DB's had.

Best Late Round Value Picks (Offense): WR Conner Vernon, TE Michael Williams, OL Garrett Gilkey, OL Terron Armstead, TE Nick Kasa

-All of these guys should go in the 5th-7th rounds yet should quickly be able to impact a team. Some of them have higher ceilings, but the key here is a low bust factor and an ability to contribute even if it is as a 2nd stringer.

Best Late Round Value Picks (Defense): S J.J. Wilcox, DL Cornelius Washington, LB Ty Powell, S Duke Williams, DT Montori Hughes

Similar to the offensive guys, you should find these guys on the board in the 5th-7th rounds and they should find a way to contribute early.

Players who had the best all-around week (practice and game)

Best Quarterback: Mike Glennon

Best Running back: Stepfan Taylor

Best Tight End: Michael Williams

Best Wide Receiver:  WR Quinton Patton

Best Offensive Tackle: Eric Fisher

Best Interior Offensive lineman: Larry Warford

Best Defensive End: tie Ezekial Ansah and Alex Okafor

Best Defensive Tackle: tie Montori Huges and Kawann Short

Best Inside Linebacker: Kevin Reddick

Best Outside Linebacker: Sean Porter

Best Cornerback: tie Jordan Poyer and Desmond Trufant

Best Safety: T.J. McDonald

Best Punter: Ryan Allen

Best Kicker: Dustin Hopkins

Kyle Long Discusses Being Versatile Lineman and NFL Future

January 27, 2013 in 2013 Senior Bowl

Here is my interview with Oregon's OL Kyle Long at the 2013 Senior Bowl practices:

 

Q:    What’s the best piece of advice you got from your father and brother about this process?

You can never go wrong working as hard as you possibly can and being honest with yourself.  Hard work will get you very far in this world, whatever it is you’re doing.  If you work hard and you’re professional about your business, then good things will happen.

 

Q:  You don’t have as much time on the gridiron, so what do you want to show NFL scouts this week?

I want to show NFL scouts that I’m more than just a last name on the back of my jersey.  I understand that a lot of people want to ask me about my dad and my brother because they had great success in their own right.  I’m here to prove myself as Kyle, # 74, offensive lineman.

OL Kyle Long leads block during Senior Bowl game.

OL Kyle Long leads block during Senior Bowl game.

 

Q:  You were a baseball player and have a lot of athleticism.  Was that part of the reason you chose Oregon, because they run that spread attack and you were able to showcase that some?

In looking for a school to go to, I knew that it was going to be an expedited career, it was going to be an abbreviated career.  In watching Oregon the past few years, I couldn’t think of a better offense to showcase my athleticism and to pick up the offense quickly.  Coach Kelly and Coach Greatwood gave me an opportunity and I ran with it and I’m forever indebted to those guys.

 

Q:  What would it be like to get drafted by Coach Kelly and play for him next year in Philly?

I think it would be great.  I love Coach Kelly.  He’s the kind of guy you want to go to work for.  He’s a player’s coach and he’s a winner.

 

Q:        What do you think is your biggest strength you bring to an NFL team?

My passion and I’m always striving to get better.  Also the fact that I’m raw right now – there’s a lot of potential that is untapped.  Also, you know what you’re going to get out of me on a day-in, day-out basis.  I work hard and like to get after it and I love the game of football.

 

Q:        Do you think there’s a particular type of system that you fit better in?

Not necessarily.

 

Q:        Any position that you feel is your stronger suit?

Probably offensive line. (laughter)

 

Q:        Along the line?

There’s no one position that I feel most comfortable at or least comfortable at.  I feel like that’s what, obviously makes me more attractive to a lot of teams.  Because everybody needs offensive lineman, if you’re somebody who’s played inside and outside, then it gives you more of an opportunity to play somewhere.

 

Q:        One final question.  If you did happen to get drafted by the Rams, what would that be like to go up against your brother week-in, week-out in practice?

I’m sure it would be a humbling, learning experience!

 

Q:    For you or for him?

For me!  Have you seen him play?

 

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Kawaan Short Discusses Senior Bowl & NFL Future

January 27, 2013 in 2013 Senior Bowl

Here is my interview with Purdue DT Kawaan Short at the 2013 Senior Bowl practices:

Q:        What does it mean for you to be part of the Senior Bowl process?

It means a lot.  I feel like I still have a lot of stuff to prove.  This week I’m trying to open up more eyes.  I’m trying to be more consistent.  That’s one thing I feel like I need to contribute and do right now.  So this whole week is about being consistent and standing out from others.

Kawann Short at Senior Bowl game.

Short at Senior Bowl game.

 

Q:        You had a chance to come out of Purdue last year.  What made you go back?

The number one thing was my mom wanted to see me graduate, which I did last December.  I felt like I could have done better.  I got a 3rd round grade last year.  It wasn’t based off anything but just film.  I felt like this year, I knew I could come back another year and just have a great off-season and try and do what I know I could do my senior season.

 

Q:        What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten from former coaches or any players you know who have gone on to the NFL?

Just that everything is being evaluated, from the time you step out of the house to the time you step back in.  A lot of people are watching you, even though they’re not.  And just being focused and being that humble guy, it goes a long way.

 

Q:        Who would you say was the toughest offensive lineman you ever went up against?

If I had to pick one, I’d say the guy from Penn State this year.  He was real tough and he did a great job against me.

 

Q:        What two things do you want to show to NFL scouts this week?

 

That I’m consistent and that I can play in any setting that they put me in.  And that I’m a pass rusher and I can stop the run.

 

Q:        What would you say is your strongest defensive line position?

I think I’m better at nose tackle.

 

Q:        Do you have any expectations of what your bench press will be at the combine?

Nah – I don’t.  But, hey – I’m trying to push for 30 plus!

 

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Senior Bowl Game Recap: Who helped and hurt themselves

January 27, 2013 in 2013 Senior Bowl

Helped Themselves:

North:

DT Jordan Hill, Penn State:

-In a game with some bonafide defensive line stars, Hill did a good job showcasing himself. He played with really nice power and showed some good quickness getting to the quarterback on one play.

DL Datone Jones, UCLA:

Jones continued his big week with a nice game, showing both pass rush ability and run defense.

DT Kawann Short, Purdue:

-Short had a huge game showing excellent quickness off the snap and got quite a bit of penetration. Really good all-around game.

LB Sio Moore, UConn:

-Moore might have been a late add, but he came up with a great game. He showed pass rush ability, coverage ability and was good against the run. Great all-around game for him.

S Jonathan Cyprien, Florida International:

-Cyprien had a really nice game all around particularly versus the run. He had 5 overall tackles including one stop for a loss.

CB Jordan Poyer:

-Poyer had a great game in coverage and coming up against the run. He forced one interception and almost had another one himself. He played with good technique and showed some versatility as a return man as well.

QB Mike Glennon, NC State:

Glennon was far from perfect, and his first couple of series were really ugly, but he showed well later in the game. Given how the other quarterbacks fared he did enough to keep his place as the 3rd best quarterback in this class.

RB Jonathan Franklin, UCLA:

-Franklin showed good patience and acceleration, throughout the game. He didn't get many touches, but he did the most with the ones he got.

WR Marquise Goodwin, Texas:

Goodwin showed great speed, he caught the ball well and ran nice routes. He also showed some potential as a return man as well. Really good game all around.

WR Markus Wheaton, Oregon State:

-Wheaton looked quick out there and got out of his breaks with a lot of fluidity. He caught the ball well, including one very impressive catch along the sideline.

OT Eric Fisher, Central Michigan:

-Fisher showed why he was the best offensive lineman down here this week. He had a really strong game showing good form and great potential.

OL Kyle Long, Oregon:

-Long missed the two full days of pads for being sick, so it was nice to see him get a little work with live hitting. I wouldn't say he looked great, but he didn't do poorly either which is big for his stock.

South:

G Larry Warford, Kentucky:

-Warford showed really good technique and power throughout the game. He rarely let people get into his pads and showed a good anchor.

C Brian Schwenke, Cal:

-Had a really strong game, particularly run blocking, definitely looks like he can develop into a starter quickly at the next level. Really love his competitiveness and quickness.

TE Michael Williams, Alabama:

-In addition to continuing to be a devastating blocker, Williams caught a nice touchdown pass where he got by the safety. His receiving was a big question going in, and one that teams should feel a bit better about after a really solid week.

WR Conner Vernon, Duke:

-Really looked good getting in and out of his breaks, and caught the ball well. Really showed that he could be a nice slot receiver at the next level.

QB E.J. Manuel, FSU:

-Not a great game by any standard, but he showed some scrambling ability, threw a beautiful touchdown strike, and just looked far better than most of the other quarterbacks.

DL Ezekial Ansah, BYU:

-Huge game for Ansah in addition to a sack and a half, he batted down a pass and looked great in run defense.

DL Cornelius Washington, Georgia:

-Really looked good as an edge rusher, not elite, but he showed that he could be a role player at the next level.

DL Montori Hughes, Tennessee Martin:

-Small school guy had a good game on a big stage. Showed nice power and leverage.

LB Zaviar Gooden, Missouri:

-Gooden had a big interception and return and looked strong in coverage all game. He definitely appears to be a three down linebacker at the next level.

DB Robert Alford, Southeastern LA:

-Alford had a huge opening kick-off return, then looked really strong in coverage all day. Really nice performance for Alford and one that should help him move up draft boards.

Hurt Themselves:

North:

LB Ty Powell, Harding:

Powell lit it up this week in practice, but he struggled at times today in pass coverage showing just how raw he is, and potentially exposing him as a role player only.

CB Dwayne Gratz:

-After a solid week of practice, Gratz was in poor position throughout the game, and looked very overwhelmed.

QB Ryan Nassib, Syracuse:

-Nassib came in with high expectations, but didn't come close to living up to them. With so many other quarterbacks performing poorly or just slightly above average he had a chance to really shine, but just didn't do it. His interception was a really poor throw/decision.

WR Denard Robinson, Michigan:

-Despite a high number of snaps he was fairly ineffective. He couldn't consistently gain separation, and muffed a kick-off.

OL Ricky Wagner, Wisconsin:

-Looked very slow and unable to anchor throughout the game. Really poor all-around show, though he did finish a couple of nice run blocks.

OL Justin Pugh, Syracuse:

-Pugh struggled to anchor throughout the game, giving up quite a bit of pressure including a sack. In the run game he was better, though a couple of times missed his assignment despite being in proper position.

South:

QB Landry Jones, Oklahoma:

-This game saw a lot of lackluster quarterback performances, but Jones had the worst day. He looked very uncomfortable back there and was wildly inaccurate. His decision making was very poor and really could only complete the screen passes.

OL Dalton Freeman, Clemson:

-Gave up far too much ground/penetration throughout the game, does not look like he can anchor effectively.

LB Nico Johnson, Alabama:

-Looks to be just a 2-down linebacker at the next level, really didn't show up well in coverage, and had the quarterbacks been more accurate would have given up far more yards/completions.

LB Chase Thomas, Stanford:

-Thomas didn't look like he could cover effectively, he did better versus the run, but the real question with him was defending the pass.

S Robert Lester, Alabama:

-Didn't look great in coverage, gave up way too much ground. A nondescript performance was the last thing he needed.

S Bacarri Rambo, Georgia:

-Had an interception, but that was more right place, right time than anything special he did. He got lost too much in coverage, and took poor angles to the ball carrier.

 

Senior Bowl Preview: Who and What to Watch

January 26, 2013 in 2013 Senior Bowl

The first thing to remember when watching the Senior Bowl game today is that this is just a very small portion of the scouting process. The practices, the interviews, and even the weigh-in all play a much bigger role than their performance in the game in evaluating a player this week.

This is due to two main reasons: 1. the sample size in the game is extremely small, quarter backs may be lucky for 10-12 attempts in this game, compared to practice when they were throwing the ball probably 50-60 times (at least). 2. the game is more restrictive in terms of what you can do from a defensive perspective, where as in practice you had guys blitzing more or playing press coverage making things much more difficult. Now that is not to say that you can't watch this game from a draft perspective to gain some insight, but don't focus on the results.

Two years ago Jake Locker had better "numbers" than Collin Kaepernick, but if you watched the game and saw that Locker got a lot of "yards" from the screen game and Kaepernick's interception wasn't his fault. Scouts watch these games based on what actually happens in the play not what the play results in. A quarterback who throws a perfect pass but is intercepted because it bounced off the receivers hands, is going to be viewed far more favorably than a quarterback who throws a seven yard slant that the receiver runs for 80 yards for the score with.

Saying all of that there are still some great stories and players to watch:

South quarterbacks and receivers versus the North defensive backs:

The corners and safeties on the North squad have been far better this week than the South squad so this could be a wake up call for some of the South's top signal callers and receivers. Any time you see Terrence Williams or Quinton Patton lined up versus Jordan Poyer and Desmond Trufant it should be a fun battle to watch.

North Offensive Line versus the South Defensive Line:

The lineman battling in practice.

The lineman battling in practice.

Eric Fisher, Kyle Long, Justin Pugh and company could have their hands full with Ezekial Ansah, Malliciah Goodman, Montori Hughes and John Jenkins. It should lead to some really good match-ups and it will be interesting to see who gets the better of it.

Return Men, who can get the job done:

Both squads feature a number of receivers, running backs and defensive backs who will look to increase their value in the return game. A lot of focus will be on North receiver Denard Robinson, but expect a couple of other guys to look even better. RB Kenjon Barner and WR Marquise Goodwin from the North are two to watch, while on the South team look for DB Robert Alford and DB B.W. Webb to shine.

5 Players to Watch South Roster:

QB Tyler Wilson, Arkansas:

Wilson has had a big week so far and it would be nice for him to cap it off with a strong game. He's shown a nice accurate pass and has been better than expected with his footwork. Wilson has worked his way up into the 2nd round range and could continue to see his stock rise.

RB Stepfan Taylor, Stanford:

Has arguably had the best week of any player on the South squad and I'd expect him to keep it up today. Running backs are one position that can get a pretty fair look in these games (rule changes don't impact them as much), so it should be an intriguing test. He's shown great burst and vision throughout the week and I'd expect a big game for him.

Taylor cutting through the line at practice.

Taylor cutting through the line at practice.

WR Quinton Patton, Louisiana Tech:

Patton wasn't as heralded as some other receivers down here this week, but he really was on par or better than the majority of them. Look for him to be a favorite target of the South quarterbacks this game.

OL Larry Warford, Kentucky:

Warford really showed well in practice versus the likely first round pick John Jenkins all week and has one more chance to wow scouts. I expect him to have a big day against a pretty formidable North defensive line.

DL Montori Hughes, Tennessee Martin:

Every time you watched him this week you came away more and more impressed, I would expect that to continue in this game. He's a big physical kid, with great power and quickness.

5 Players to Watch North Roster:

WR Marquise Goodwin, Texas:

Not a high profile guy coming into this week, but he showed excellent speed. Expect him to fly around the field and come up with some big plays.

OL Eric Fisher, Central Michigan:

Kyle Long and Eric Fisher of North offensive line.

Kyle Long and Eric Fisher of North offensive line.

Just a tremendous all-around week for him, look for him to continue his dominance and to cement a top 15 pick status after this game.

DB Desmond Trufant, Washington:

He had a big week with a lot of highlight plays, will really like to see him versus Patton and Williams and what instincts he shows on the field.

DB T.J. McDonald, USC:

Really had a quiet, but strong week, showing nice coverage and decision making. I'd expect a big hit or two something that he really couldn't showcase in practice.

DL Margus Hunt, SMU:

One of my personal favorites, he had an up-and-down week, but the potential is there. I could see him making a flashy play or two, and don't be surprised if it is a blocked FG/extra point.

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Senior Bowl Rising and Falling: South Team

January 26, 2013 in 2013 Senior Bowl

Rising:

QB Tyler Wilson, Arkansas:

-Wilson proved to be the South's top QB this week by showing poise and awareness in the pocket, while also displaying a strong, accurate arm. In addition, he had nice footwork and touch on his throws.

RB Stepfan Taylor, Stanford:

-Taylor showed both good burst and vision this week in both the running and passing game. He didn't show any weaknesses in his game this week, and Senior Bowl week has helped him rise up draft boards.

WR Quinton Patton, Louisiana Tech:

-Patton may not be the most physical receiver in Mobile, but was very fluid, had nice awareness, strong hands and showed excellent quickness. While most scouts thought Terrance Williams was the #1 receiver on the South team, Patton made sure people took notice of him and is drawing more attention.

TE Mychal Rivera, Tennessee:

-Rivera may not wow you in any one area of his game, but caught the ball well this week and shown he has an upside.

OL Brian Schwenke, Cal:

-Schwenke showed a lot of nice traits this week that you look for in a lineman: technically sound, good anchor, nice feet, a little movement to block out in space. Solid lineman and had a good week in Mobile.

DL Montari Hughes, Tennessee Martin:

-Temporarily sidelined with an injury, Hughes still came back to practice and proved himself. At 6'4" 328, he's a force out there and it showed. He was in the backfield quite a bit and really finished plays well. Really impressed by his work ethic and dedication.

DB B.W. Webb, William & Mary:

-A small school standout that had a nice week.  An all-around good defensive back that showed the ability to reroute receivers and not be fooled by double moves.

Falling:

QB Landry Jones, Oklahoma:

-Jones came to Mobile with a lot to prove to scouts, and fell short of proving he could play well from under center and make progressions. His deep ball is pretty, but rarely on target. He excelled more in the short passing game, but if the 1st or 2nd read wasn't there, he was in trouble.

OT Oday Aboushi, UVA:

-There were high hopes for Aboushi this week, but he seemed to struggle overall and looks to be falling down draft boards. Hopefully he plays better in game action Saturday.

LB Chase Thomas, Stanford:

-I was able to interview Thomas this week and liked his enthusiasm. Unfortunately his play this week didn't match and wasn't as high as most expected.

DB Bacarri Rambo, Georgia:

-Rambo had a poor week, as he would look good in individual drills, but struggle when going up against the receivers  He was biting on the double move and really struggling in coverage all week.

DB Robert Lester, Alabama:

-Lester was a bit of a disappointment this week as he was inconsistent and while he didn't necessarily struggle in any one area. He didn't show dominance either.

 

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Senior Bowl Rising and Falling: North Team

January 25, 2013 in 2013 Senior Bowl

Rising:

QB Mike Glennon, NC State:

-Glennon cemented his status as the best quarterback down here in Mobile, and could be now firmly in the first round discussion.

RB Johnathan Franklin, UCLA:

-Franklin has had a really nice week and in a running back class that has been pretty up in the air this year, he has put himself in the discussion for being one of the top 5 backs in the class.

WR Aaron Mellette, Elon:

-Came in with a lot to prove coming from a small school and has shown himself to be up for the challenge. He's been able to match-up with anyone in terms of size, speed and route running. He should be moving up draft boards to the top 100 picks.

WR Marquise Goodwin, Texas:

-Everyone knew Goodwin would be fast, but people might not have known he'd be this fast. He's also been very impressive in his route running and with his hands, two areas that were question marks coming in.

WR Aaron Dobson, Marshall:

-Dobson didn't have big numbers at Marshall, but showed this week that he wasn't the reason his stats weren't better. He had a strong week all-around and very much helped improve his draft stock.

WR Markus Wheaton, Oregon State:

-Wheaton didn't have as good of a week as some players on this list, but he has been steadily climbing up draft boards. This week he checked off speed, quickness, and 6' size in the boxes of what G.M.'s are looking for. He also had some of the more memorable acrobatic catches this week as well.

TE Nick Kasa, Colorado:

-Kasa was a bit of an unknown heading into this week. He's a former DL who moved to TE two years ago. While he seemed to do okay, no one knew just how real of an NFL prospect he was. Against top notch competition Kasa proved himself as a blocker and more importantly as a receiver.

OL Eric Fisher, Central Michigan:

-Had probably the best week here of any player and will likely be rewarded with a top 10 selection. He can definitely handle the blindside and should be the highest drafted player from this game.

OL David Quessenberry, San Jose State:

-Quessenberry showed great versatility throughout the week working at tackle, guard and center. He probably fits best as a tackle and looks like he could start early on the right side. He was considered more of a late round guy prior, but now legitimately could go in the top 100 picks.

OL Brian Winters, Kent State:

-Winters had such a good week of practice that even though he moved off the tackle position he increased his draft value. He was a 4 year starter at tackle, but took the transition to guard very well this week showing a lot of upside.

DL Datone Jones, UCLA:

-Jones was one of the best defensive linemen on either side of the football this week and really helped his draft stock. He's a bit of a tweener, but has the frame to add more weight to play the 5 technique in a 3-4 or play as a base end in a 4-3. He may be getting some first round consideration at this point.

DL Alex Okafor, Texas:

-Okafor had a really nice week and looks to be every bit the edge rusher that his potential always dictated. He showed nice burst/leverage and should be firmly in the top 25 picks right now.

DL Kawann Short, Purdue

-Short had a big week showcasing himself as one of the better defensive tackles in a very strong tackle draft. He showed nice power and should be off the board in the top 2 rounds.

LB Ty Powell, Harding University:

-A small school guy, Powell had a big week and showed himself capable of playing with anyone. He has nice pass rush potential and could fit well in a 3-4 system.

LB Kevin Reddick, UNC:

-After a questionable senior season Reddick needed a big week and that is exactly what he had. He showed excellent leadership on the field and has been solid in coverage.

DB T.J. McDonald, USC:

-McDonald is another player coming off a down year, but he's made up for it this week in Moblie. Some may knock him for the lack of big plays, but he's been really good in coverage, locking down on receivers and tight ends, and that is what coaches want to see.

DB Desmond Trufant, Washington:

-Trufant has had a big week making exciting play after exciting play. He should be shooting up draft boards.

DB Jonathan Cyprien, Florida International:

-Cyprien really looked good this week despite not having the same hype level as a number of prospects here. He showed really nice range and can definitely make his presence felt with his hitting ability.

Falling:

QB Zac Dysert, Miami OH:

-Dysert came to Mobile with high hopes, but too many mistakes plagued him this week. He's going to fall to the 4th-5th round range and may slide even further if he can't improve by the combine.

WR Denard Robinson, Michigan:

-Robinson came into this week trying to answer questions about his conversion to wide receiver, but unfortunately the result isn't the answer he was hoping to give. He struggled all week to catch the football and run routes. On top of that he was unable to effectively catch kickoffs and punts, making it extremely unlikely that he'd be able to offer any production as a rookie.

OL Hugh Thornton, Illinois:

-Thornton looked to be one of the better guard prospects heading into this draft with a solid mid-round grade, after getting manhandled a number of times by the North's top tackles, he will likely slide to more of a later round guy.

OL Ricky Wagner, Wisconsin:

-Wagner had the chance to come here and prove his doubters wrong, but he was unable to do that with a poor showing all week. He had some positive moments, but he doesn't look to be an early starter at even RT and will slide to the last couple rounds of the draft.

DL Brandon Williams, Missouri Southern

-There was a lot of hype surrounding Williams, but the production this week didn't warrant it. He'll still get drafted due to his upside, but he should probably not go in the top 5 rounds.

DL Michael Buchanan, Illinois:

-Buchanan was hoping to work his was into the top 3 rounds and possibly even the 2nd round with a good week, but he was just far too inconsistent. He looks to be just a pass rush specialist, which is nice, but unless he shows he can be elite in that role he's not getting drafted in the top 100.

DB Blidi Wreh-Wilson, UConn:

Wreh-Wilson came in with high hopes, but he had a poor showing this week and really hurt his draft stock. He looks to be a late round guy for me as he allows way too much separation.

DB Phillip Thomas, Fresno State:

-Thomas was a guy who was really trending upwards prior to the draft but he just didn't look good this week. He got beat far too often in coverage, particularly when he was asked to man up on a receiver or tight end. His reaction time also appeared slow, and cost him on other plays as well.

 

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Senior Bowl Practice Report Headquarters

January 25, 2013 in 2013 Senior Bowl

Fanspeak.com and our resident NFL Draft expert Steve Shoup have been down in Mobile, AL all week bringing your comprehensive coverage of the Senior Bowl week and its practices. You may have read some of our Practice Reports during the week. But we thought we'd make things easy for you as you prepare for the upcoming Senior Bowl!

Here is a Master list and links to each North & South Practice Report from every day this week to track how players are doing and which ones to watch in the Senior Bowl game this Saturday:

Monday's SOUTH Practice Report

Monday's NORTH Practice Report

Tuesday's SOUTH Practice Report

Tuesday's NORTH Practice Report

Wednesday's SOUTH Practice Report

Wednesday's NORTH Practice Report

Thursday's SOUTH Practice Report

Thursday's NORTH Practice Report

Fanspeak's SENIOR BOWL Page!

 

Senior Bowl South Team Practice Report – Day 3 Led by WR Terrance Williams

January 25, 2013 in 2013 Senior Bowl

South Team Practice Report from Wednesday. North Team Practice Report here!

Quarterbacks:

Landry Jones, Oklahoma:

-Jones didn't help himself again with a poor overall performance in practice. He struggled with his footwork coming from under center and didn't look too comfortable throwing intermediate or longer routes. He has a nice deep ball, but it was rarely on target. He was much more precise on shorter quick passes, but got uncomfortable quick when his first or second read weren't there. Too many times when you saw a poor throw he was the culprit.

E.J. Manuel, FSU:

-Manuel had a really strong day overall, he showed good mobility in the pocket to buy time and still deliver a strike on the move. His footwork wasn't perfect, but it wasn't bad and allowed him to throw a number of strong accurate throws down the field. A couple times in 7-on-7's and team drills he made some poor decisions or was inaccurate with his throw, but he had a very good practice overall. I thought he rebounded nicely from a poor Tuesday practice and his potential is very apparent. You will need to have some patience with him, but you could find a good quarterback if you handle him correctly..

Tyler Wilson, Arkansas:

Wilson probably had the best day of any of the signal callers. He did throw a bad interception late during team drills, but that was really his only blemish of the day. He showed good poise and awareness in the pocket and displayed a strong accurate arm on a number of throws down field. Overall he did a really good job of placing the ball in the strike zone of his receiver and away from defenders. Wilson definitely opened some eyes with this practice and if he keeps it up this week could move up some draft boards.

Running backs:

Stephan Taylor, Stanford:

Taylor had some concerns about speed coming into the draft process, but showed good burst today, both in rushing and receiving. He might not be the fastest running back, but it didn't appear to be a liability for him either. He showed good vision finding his hole and finding it quickly. I really liked his decisiveness, which is an underrated trait for the next level. Taylor was also really impressive catching the ball as well, he was good in space and ran crisp routes getting separation from the defender.

Tight End:

Vance McDonald, Rice:

McDonald is an underrated tight end, but had a really strong day that could start pushing him up draft boards. He did everything well today. He ran good solid routes getting separation from both safeties and linebackers. He caught everything that he got his hands on and displayed nice speed. He also did well as a blocker in team drills, showing nice two-way ability.

Michael Williams, Alabama:

Williams isn't the fastest tight end you will every see, but that doesn't mean you can ignore him in the passing game. Linebackers struggled all day to cover him as he used his big frame to shield them from the ball, and displayed nice strong hands. Williams really excelled in the blocking game though as he was essentially a 6th offensive linemen out there. He swallowed up both defensive ends and linebackers with ease.

Wide Receiver:

Conner Vernon, Duke:

Early on Vernon had a strong practice showing nice quickness and getting in and out of his breaks. Latter in 1-on-1's and 7-on-7's he struggled on a couple reps, not getting off a jam and double catching a ball, but overall it was another really solid day for Vernon, who has made the most of this opportunity.

Quinton Patton, LA Tech:

Patton had a really strong day, he was very fluid and showed nice short area quickness. He also showed nice awareness and strong hands. Patton made a number of highlight reel catches and is challenging Williams for the best receiver on this squad.

Terrance Williams, Baylor:    

Terrance Williams running routes at South practice.

Terrance Williams running routes at South practice.

Had by far the best practice of any receiver. Only guy who was consistently able to get behind the coverage and gain separation throughout the practice. He made a number of highly acrobatic catches and tracked the ball well on long passes. Williams looks to be the whole package and will definitely be someone to watch going forward.

Offensive Line:

Larry Warford, Kentucky:

Warford had the best all-around day by any offensive lineman, he was quick off the ball and showed a good anchor, rarely letting anyone push him back or control the point of attack. He also showed surprising quickness for his size and handled speed well. He just battles thoughout and is great watching him due to his technique and anchor.

Lane Johnson, Oklahoma:

Really thought he had a great all-around practice, he lined up at both tackle spots and really showed quick feet and a nice sound base. He anchored well and didn't allow much penetration. He wasn't as good versus the run, but it was by no means a bad showing.

Defensive Line:

Ezekial Ansah, BYU:

Up-and-down practice, looked very quick in individual drills and and 1-on-1's, but struggled some in team drills he didn't win as many battles as you'd hope. Showed some natural bust and edge ability, but needs to get more wins with that talent level. He did show better awareness than you'd expect for a guy who has such little football experience.

John Jenkins, Georgia:

Jenkins was a monster in middle, nearly impossible to block 1-on-1, and  disrupting a number of plays with his penetration. He plays with excellent leverage, and despite his size he's very quick off the ball getting into defender's pads. Watching him face off with Larry Warford is one of the best match-ups you will see.

Malliciah Goodman, Clemson:

Goodman was very impressive today, got off the line quick and was perhaps the 2nd toughest defensive lineman to block after Jenkins. He showed a good ability to rush the quarterback and nice recognition against the run.

Defensive Backs:

Robert Lester, Alabama:

Lester looked good early on in practice in both individual and 1-on-1 drills, but disappeared or struggled later. He didn't match-up well with tight ends, and really didn't excel in any one area. He was pretty inconsistent in the team drills, with one rep showing nice recognition and back peddle and then the next rep missing his assignment. Overall below average day.

Bacarri Rambo, Georgia:

Rambo looked flawless in the individual position drills setting the bench mark everyone else was compared to, but he all but disappeared once he started going up against receivers/tight ends. He still made a play or two, but overall he was late recognizing a number of passes, and took bad angles to the ball. Given how he started and his overall hype it was a poor overall showing. It's getting to be groundhogs day with Rambo as each day he starts off well and then all but disappears.

J.J. Wilcox, Georgia Southern:

Wilcox has gotten better each day, he's not fully there yet, but he's doing better in 1-on-1's and team drills. He really struggled in the positional drills, especially with his ability to flip his hips and his back peddle. While there is some legitimate promise there, he's very much a developmental prospect.

Leon McFadden, San Diego State:

McFadden had one of the better performances today among defensive backs. He was very fluid in the drills, displaying good speed and quickness. He really excelled when faced with receivers. He showed physicality and great reaction time, and was constantly the toughest draw for a particular receiver.

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