North Team Practice Notes
The competitive, up-tempo North Team practices of Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett got the day started at Ladd-Peebles Stadium this afternoon. It was a frigid and brisk day here in Mobile, Alabama and I focused today more on QB’s, WR’s and DB’s while peeping the offensive and defensive lineman.
-Michigan State WR Aaron Burbridge’ weaknesses were exposed today. He doesn’t have enough burst to eat up yards throughout his stem or quickness to separate out of his breaks. Additionally, he dropped multiple passes in drills.
-Ohio State TE Nick Vannett looks great on the hoof and his soft, natural hands continued to be on display. Vannett has also shown the ability to find/sit down in zones to provide a security blanket to his quarterback.
-UCLA WR Jordan Payton has quietly displayed a solid skillset. A few times today he showed good route-running skills and adjusted well to the inconsistently placed footballs being thrown to him.
-Illinois DL Jihad Ward continues to display impressive traits. His freakish quickness for a man of his size is incredible and the pop that he has in his hands is second to none on either squad. He is a piece of moldable clay an organization will/should fall in love with.
-North Dakota State QB Carson Wentz showed the ability to drive the football down the field with excellent velocity today. Despite a consistent wind, Wentz’ balls were not impacted and the ball carried with zip.
-It’s hard to get over how bad Stanford Kevin Hogan’s throwing motion is. The amount of anticipation and zip required to overcome that at the next level is most likely too much for Hogan to stick.
-Minnesota CB Eric Murray is known for his physicality and that was on full display today. On the contrary, it showed up in coverage down the field as was far too grabby.
-I’ve been quiet on the Ohio State WR Braxton Miller front but he is quickly making me a believer. His athletic ability is easy to notice but I am surprised by some of the ability he has shown in terms of route-running savvy and setting up the defensive back. His hands are also impressive.
-I am underwhelmed by Cincinnati WR Chris Moore. He is slow in and out of breaks with minimal burst to the football and struggles to establish body positioning.
-Notre Dame C/G Nick Martin is one heck of a football player and is technically sound in all-aspects. He has a real chance to start quickly in the NFL with his impressive anchor and footwork.
-Ohio State DT Adolphus Washington flashed impressive quickness out of his stance that proved to be difficult for the interior offensive lineman to handle.
South Team Practice Notes
Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley sure does love to have his players stretch and practice special teams.
While those are undoubtedly important, the amount of time dedicated to those areas was frustrating to the evaluators in attendance as we endured the frigid temperatures and steady winds.
-Alabama DT Jarran Reed showcased heavy hands to compliment his powerful anchor. I wanted to evaluate his pass rushing upside this week and Reed showed hand technique and quickness that suggest he can contribute in that area.
-Georgia WR Malcolm Mitchell is a toolsy prospect that is flashing skills. He is silky-smooth and has soft hands.
-Clemson WR Charone Peake showed up at 6’2’’ with over 34” arms which provide a nice catch radius for his passer. There were multiple occasions today when Peake displayed his ability to extend his arms away from his body to snatch the football out of the air.
-Oklahoma WR Sterling Shepard is a terrific football player and I was impressed with his route-running efficiency. He consistently beat zone coverage and was able to elevate to secure the football. He is as natural as they come.
-Alabama RB Kenyan Drake’s upside in the NFL is as a third down running back. With that said, he has performed poorly as a pass protector but excelled as a receiver. It’s not fair for linebackers to cover him in space and they were exposed.
-It doesn’t look like Arkansas QB Brandon Allen has a NFL caliber skillset and looks unnatural throwing the football and commanding the huddle.
-North Carolina State QB Jacoby Brissett was erratic on numerous throws today.
-Alabama CB Cyrus Jones continues to impress with quality rep after quality rep. He is a natural cover corner.
-One of the top performers for the day was Baylor WR Jay Lee as he came down with multiple acrobatic grabs in contested situations. I am eager to evaluate his game tape.
-Baylor snapper Jimmy Landes had an extremely poor day snapping on field goals. Almost none of his snaps were on target. On the contrary, Wake Forest punter/holder Alex Kinal was exceptional handling those erratic snaps and getting the football down.
-Duke K Ross Martin nailed every field goal try including a 60-yarder on his final attempt of the session.
-I don’t believe Alabama LB Reggie Ragland is a viable pass rusher at the next level. He does not have the pass rush repertoire, bend or burst to pressure the passer and that was apparent today.
-The best player on the field today was Lousville DT Sheldon Rankins. His quickness, leverage and hand technique were overwhelming for blockers.
-Eastern Kentucky EP Noah Spence was unblockable today. His bend, twitch and flexibility in his torso is incredible.
-Texas Tech OT La’Raven Clark and Baylor DL Shawn Oakman both have all the physical traits you could ever desire in prospects but both are severely underwhelming.
-Middle Tennessee State S Kevin Byard was outstanding today. Known for his ball skills, Byard shows impressive skills for tracking and breaking on the football in the air and had an excellent interception in team reps.