Senior Bowl Practice Notes: North Day 3- Huff and Colter Have Strong Days
Tajh Boyd, Clemson:
-Boyd had an up and down day. He improved later in practice, but early on we saw a number of simple intermediate route throws just way off target. Boyd’s athleticism is clear and he can buy time in the pocket, but it’s tough to envision him as a starter at the next level.
Stephen Morris, Miami:
-Morris was basically the opposite of Boyd. He started out the practice really well, but as practice wore his throws seemed to get worse and worse. Footwork seemed to be a major problem with Morris today as he didn’t set his feet properly on a number of throws and he was well off target because of it.
Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech:
-Thomas was probably the best of the North quarterbacks today, though that isn’t saying much. Thomas missed on multiple throws and threw a bad pick late in practice. He’s got the size and arm strength that scouts are going to fall in love with, but can he put it all together, is the big question.
Jared Abbrederis, Wisconsin:
-Abbrederis was the best of a strong receiver group today. He is a very clean catcher and is quite smooth in his motions. He generates a lot of separation and plays the ball really well when it’s in the air.
Michael Campanaro, Wake Forrest:
-Campanaro looks the part of a classic slot receiver and he doesn’t disappoint with his level of play. He’s got really nice short area quickness, quality hands and great route running ability. He got open quite a bit today and caught just about everything thrown his way.
Jeff Janis, Saginaw Valley State:
-Janis is a small school guy and you can see at times he not the most fluid coming out of his breaks, but he’s really opened some eyes this week. He’s got great size and nice speed and has shown that he can win battles on contested throws. While he does catch the ball pretty well, he was late getting his hands up at times and that led to body catches. He’s a late round prospect, but the potential is there going forward.
Josh Huff, Oregon:
-Huff shows great quickness and deep speed and was able to get open on multiple vertical and intermediate routes. One route in particular was a 15 yard route to the corner of the end zone where Huff blew past Jean-Baptiste and was open for a TD at the back of the end zone. Despite Jean-Baptiste having a huge size advantage and a short area to defend, he was unable to jam Huff and got beat to the corner of the end zone.
Kain Colter, Northwestern:
-You have to be impressed with Colter as he makes this transition into being a fulltime wide receiver after spending most of his college career at QB. Colter is clearly not as refined as the other receivers, but despite that he’s still making some of the biggest plays among the wide receivers. He caught a deep bomb in the end zone on a diving catch against tight coverage. He also made a nice catch on another vertical route 30 yards down the field after he made a nice move to get open. Consistency is a factor for Colter though as at times he isn’t smooth with his route-running.
Jacob Pedersen, Wisconsin:
-Pedersen had a nice day showing nice soft hands and the ability to stretch the field a little bit. His blocking is strong as well, and he’s got the ability to be a nice inline tight end, a position that can be tough to find in the draft with so many college teams spreading out.
C.J. Fiedorowicz, Iowa:
-Fiedorowicz was clearly the top tight end today. He had one early drop, but other than that caught the ball cleanly and gained nice separation from the linebackers. In addition to his positive contributions as a receiver, Fiedorowicz also showed real well as a blocker and looks like a classic inline tight end.
Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Nebraska:
-Jean-Baptiste remains the top corner on the field. He’s so long and physical with receivers that it’s tough for them to typically get off the line cleanly. He’s clearly at his best in press coverage but he can help in off man coverages as well. He’s not yet the whole package, but with his size and tools some team will fall in love with him in the top 75 picks, and it will likely be in the top 50.
Pierre Desir, Lindenwood:
-Last week during the Shrine week, Desir showed impressive athletic talent, but didn’t look near ready to put it all together. Today though he opened up some eyes, running deep with receivers and not biting on double moves. With his length and athletic ability, Desir could rise quite a bit in the draft if he can prove he can put it all together.
Nevin Lawson, Utah State:
Lawson had and up-and-down practice on Tuesday, but really looked good today throughout drills. He was the best at covering guys with speed, and contesting just about every ball thrown in his direction. Lawson is really helping himself going forward and could be looked at as a slot corner at the next level.
Jimmie Ward, Northern Illinois:
Best safety as the bunch, he’s made a number of nice plays in coverage while showing nice support versus the run as well. Ward has answered the questions this week and he can definitely play at this level.
Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh:
-Donald is easily the most dominant prospect at any position on either squad. He might lose a battle or two throughout practice (the only players I saw “win” against him were Larsen, Richardson and Martin, and those “win’s” number in the single digits), but he is clearly the toughest player to block. Even when he “loses” a battle he’s fighting the entire time making it very difficult on the lineman. For most of practice Donald was in the offensive backfield so often that the coaches were probably considering putting an offensive jersey on him. It got to the point that if you didn’t double team Donald, you simply didn’t block him.
Justin Ellis, Louisiana Tech:
-Ellis is a force in the middle and typically requires double teams to get him off the ball, but as practice wore on he seemed to get sloppy with his technique and was able to be blocked more easily 1-on-1. This definitely wasn’t as strong of a practice as yesterday, or his Shrine Game week, though I don’t know if I’d put it in the negative category just yet.
DaQuan Jones, Penn State:
-Better day for Jones, he got more penetration and pressure in pass rush drills than the day before. He’s still at his best against the run where he does a nice job standing the offensive lineman up and shedding the block to find the ball carrier. He still needs to show better in the pass rush drills, but it was promising to see improvement.
Trent Murphy, Stanford:
-Murphy is clearly the most complete end here and shows a great job winning one-on-one battles with offensive tackles. While speed is obviously a big part of his game, he’s shown really nice power as well. Even when the offensive tackle gets him, Murphy does a nice job pushing him back and still collapsing the pocket somewhat.
Kareem Martin, UNC:
-Martin looks the part, and at times he plays the part, but he’s been more inconsistent than you want to see. On some plays he plays low with good burst off the line and gets nice pressure. On one play he did this versus Henderson and got to the quarterback right as he was finishing his drop, for an easy “sack”. He just doesn’t show that burst off the line every time and sometimes will play too upright. This allows him to get blocked out of the play too easily.
Cyril Richardson, Baylor:
-It was another disappointing practice for Richardson as he’s trying to learn to play with his hand on the ground and play with better leverage. He’s probably gotten better each day (I didn’t see him the first day, but reports from others were very disappointing), but he still is not where you want him to be. He did better as practice wore on and one time had a nice block on Aaron Donald, who has basically become the litmus test for which all linemen are graded upon.
Tyler Larsen, Utah State:
-One of the bigger surprises of the week, Larsen has looked really good in just about every drill. Considering his somewhat nondescript college career and below average measurements, not a lot was expected of Larsen entering the week. But he’s more than held his own versus every defensive tackle he’s faced down here. And from a consistency basis he’s given Aaron Donald and Ra’Shede Hageman the most trouble. He doesn’t win every battle versus them, but he forces them to work the hardest and saves valuable time before they wreck havoc in the backfield.
Brandon Thomas, Clemson:
-Thomas has a been a pleasant surprise this week as he’s more than held his own at tackle (and has looked good at guard as well). Thomas plays with a mean streak and has buried opponents all week. He shows really nice strength and will get looks from teams at both positions and is now looking like a lock for a top 75 pick.
Zack Martin, Notre Dame:
-Martin is the best offensive lineman prospect on either team and he showed that once again today. He plays with the whole package, quickness, power, and a strong anchor. He’s lined up both at guard and tackle and has looked good at both spots.
Jack Mewhort, Ohio State:
-I thought this was a much more consistent and all-around better practice for Mewhort today. He did a better job of sealing the edge and not giving up as many pressures and sacks. He’s still likely the best fit at right tackle in the next level, but he played both sides well and matched up with a number of quality pass rushers.
Chris Borland, Wisconsin:
-Borland is having a fantastic week of practice and is showing really well in all the drills. Yes he’s “undersized”, but he makes plays and is always around the ball. He’s been compared to Zach Thomas, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see a similar career to the former Dolphin. Borland’s instincts are tremendous and he’s looked good in coverage including a nice pick in 11-on-11 drills.
Michael Sam, Missoui:
-Sam has held his own when asked to stand up this week, and that could endear him more to some 3-4 teams who were more worried about his flexibility. Sam though is of course at his best with his hand in the dirt and blowing past offensive tackles. He does a really nice job firing off the ball and staying low. He has given the offensive tackles a lot of problems by consistently forcing them to quickly get outside. Some times the only way they can slow down Sam is to hold him.