Senior Bowl Practice – Day 1 Report:
The North was the only team shown by NFL Network, but we did get a good first look at their players. Here are some quick thoughts on their first day of work:
Jake Locker can be a frustrating prospect, at times he looks like a surefire franchise quarterback at the next level, and at other times he looks pretty lost. Now the franchise moments occur more often then the disappointing moments, but it is a cause for concern that Locker isn’t a bit more polished. Locker showed a strong arm yesterday, but he also was extremely inaccurate at times. Locker is a first round quarterback and if you let him sit for a year and work with him you should be happy with the results, but he still needs to develop.
Stanzi was basically as advertised today, a mid-to-late round quarterback, who profiles as a solid backup, that could grow into a starter 4-5 years from now. He is your Matt Cassel, Matt Hasselbeck type of late bloomer. Has nice intangibles and put up good numbers, but won’t ‘wow’ you in anyone area. He was up and down today, but that was to be expected.
Kaepernick will get killed in some scouting circles as having a bad throwing motion, and it probably isn’t what I’d call ‘good’, but it is hardly a reason to cross him off your board. Kaepernick comes from an odd option offense, yet has one of the best arms in this draft class. Combine that with his excellent speed, mobility and instincts and you have a very interesting quarterback prospect. He does need to clean up his delivery some, and the center-quarterback exchange will be a process (but he didn’t struggle with it yesterday so that is promising), but looked good overall. He has a ton of upside, but probably won’t hear his name called until the 5th round.
Roy Helu Jr. RB:
Helu really impressed me, he came to the Senior Bowl in excellent shape, and showed some nice running ability and good hands. He hit the hole pretty hard and showed an extra gear. He looks to be a good balance of speed and power and should develop into an every down back.
Owen Marecic FB:
Marecic is very athletic for a fullback and should help in both the running, passing and blocking aspects on offense. Good first day for him
Vincent Brown WR:
Brown might be just 5’11″ but he caught anything thrown his way, and showed an ability to make adjustments to the ball. He doesn’t have great size and isn’t a true burner so he is kind of a ‘tweener’, but his catching ability will allow him to be a solid receiver in the NFL.
Titus Young WR:
Young is the home run hitter in this wide receiver group, as he has game changing speed and showed routinely get open down the field. He is still learning on how to make adjustments to the ball and become a more complete player, but he is a weapon who should be drafted early in the 2nd or 3rd round.
Nate Solder OT:
Solder had a good first day, and got the primary reps at LT. He wasn’t dominate and relies more on his length and long arms to wall off defenders. At times he doesn’t finish off opponents, and could struggle against strong D-linemen. Didn’t do anything to wow you, but also didn’t do anything really negative as well.
Gabe Carimi OT:
Carimi suffers from the impression that he is a right tackle only. While that is a little short-sided of an evaluation there is a lot of truth to it as well. If given the time Carimi could develop as a left tackle, but he could start from day one as a RT for a number of teams in this league. The Bengals coaches even kicked him inside to guard to show his versatility as well. I think Carimi’s future position is on the right side, but he will be very valuable there for a number of years. He is a big time power blocker, who can engulf defenders, especially in the run game. Very good first day, especially showing the willingness to kick inside and play a position that he isn’t fully comfortable with.
Castonzo is another first round quality LT, that had a good first day in Mobile. He really walled off his defender, and showed good lateral movement.
James Brewer OT:
Brewer is a poor man’s Carimi, as a guy who projects best on the right side, and even showed some ability to kick inside if needed. Brewer at times was dominate at the point of attack and really showed a mean streak, that should translate well into the running game. Brewer is working his way into 2nd round consideration and had a very good first day.
Jason Pinkston OT:
Pinkston had an up and down performance, that only looked bad because it was compared to some great ones. In individual drills he held up well, but didn’t dominate. In team drills he didn’t get the chance to showcase his point of attack skills as he was in during Kaepernick when they ran an option and a screen pass. Both times he showed some quickness to get to the 2nd level, but wasn’t a great performance. He probably projects better on the right side, and looks like a firm 3rd round pick (though likely on the later side).
John Moffitt G/C:
Moffitt has that Wisconsin mean streak that makes him an excellent drive blocker. He showed okay feet, though is much better straight ahead and in the phone booth. Like what I saw and he remains an interesting mid-round guy.
Steve Schilling G:
Schilling drew the short straw and got Cameron Jordan in the one-on-one drills, which didn’t end well for the Michigan product. He held up better against some of the lesser competition in team drills, but it wasn’t a great showing for him overall. Still has the potential to be a starting guard down the road, but right now is a late round project.
Kevin Kowalski C:
Kowalski is a guy I figured would be a 7th round draft pick, and while I wouldn’t jump him to far up based on one practice he did look very impressive. He has some of the shortest arms among offensive linemen, but he makes up for it with great strength and anchor. He doesn’t give up ground despite having defenders into his body quickly. Keep an eye on him throughout the week.
Brandon Fusco C/G:
Fusco hails from Division II Slippery Rock, but he held his own against the tougher competition on day one. He has a lot of upside, but he is a little less polished than most of the guys here. Good first day for him, one that keeps him in the late round draft discussion. He is the type of player who is a sleeper now, but should be a starter down the road.
While my main focus on day one was the offensive players there were a few defenders that stood out. Cameron Jordan and Ryan Kerrigan both had good days against a great offensive line group for the North. Rashard Carmichael made great adjustments to the ball and really had a nice day across the board. Outside of those players, there weren’t many great individual defensive performances. A lot of that has to do with the restrictions in place Senior Bowl week, no blitzing, cover one or cover three coverage, must play a 4-3 style, but a lot also had to do with the talent of the North’s offensive line.
Great first day of practice that should only get better when they are in full pads, and gain more familiarity with one another. Check back throughout the week for more thoughts on practices, players and everything else leading up to the draft.