Senior Bowl Blog: Thursday
North Team Practice
The crowd today at North practice was much smaller than usual as most scouts and NFL personnel have already left Mobile. The players weren’t in pads today, wearing helmets and shorts for the duration. Though there was no contact, it was a good day to examine some fundamentals of each player, like footwork, body control and hands. Here’s our notes from this morning.
LeGarrette Blount looked smooth in bag drills this morning. Good body control and quick feet made him stand out among the other backs.
Dan LeFevour was throwing the ball with more zip today than he has all week. Hopefully he can continue do that in the game on Saturday as that’s been my biggest concern with him.
Tony Pike looked smooth throwing the ball today. He showed leadership in drills, clapping his hands and yelling for the receivers to hustle up to the line. In 7-7 drills, he had some very sharp throws, including a bullet strike to Ed Dickson in the endzone.
Taylor Price is very up and down. I’m not buying into him like McShay is at this point. Though he’s flashed some potential, he’s dropping too many balls for me to consider him an early round pick at this point. He’s doing a good job getting separation in coverage and made a nice move on Brandon Ghee in 7-7 drills.
Donald Jones, the WR from Youngstown State, is someone I’m really looking forward to see playing on Saturday. He’s flashing some route running ability and is doing a good job of catching with his hands, not letting the ball into his body.
Virginia CB Chris Cook continues to impress me. He’s very physical as a corner and isn’t afraid to put his body on the line to break up the pass. Cook had a very impressive interception while covering Mardy Gilyard in the end zone today off a Sean Canfield pass.
Brandon Ghee continued his relatively solid performance getting some decent break ups in 7-7 drills.
Rutgers CB Devin McCourty looked good in press coverage today during 7-7 goal line drills. He was able to keep Jacoby Ford from getting a clean release on a few occasions.
Thomas Welch recieved praise from coaches often and displayed quick feet, good change of direction skills, and for such a tall player played with good leverage. He kept his pad level low, bent at the knees and kept his elbows in. His stock is clearly on the rise and was a great late addition.
Sam Young – In cone drills really rounded off and the Lions O-Line Coach (George Yarno) didn’t seem happy with him. He hasn’t had a very good week.
Mike Iupati – He is impressively quick for a man of his size and eally got around the cones quickly, showing great agility. His base is solid and he plays with great pad level.
Shawn Luavo – Had a poor outing this morning. In the position drills he looked very slow and was playing too far over his body (almost like he was falling forward). This is what we call a heavy-legged waist bender. He rounded off on all of the cone drills. Might be successful in a run based offense as mauling gaurd but he isn’t athletic enough to pull and is poor in pass protection.
Zane Beadles – Looked very quick and played well in the positional drills.
Ed Wang – Goofy, but in a good way. Fun guy to be around. His footwork looked a little sloppy in the cone drills. He did have good knee bend but he didn’t really drive with his legs.
Vladamir Ducasse – Didn’t really impress as much this morning as he had the rest of the week. He had slow change of direction skills in the cone drills and when asked to finish out the drill running straight ran on an angle. Still has a very powerful base and impressed overall, but agility is a question. He might be best suited as a Guard.
Eric Olsen – average morning. looked a little slow at times.
Matthew Tennant – Quick feet, solid base, good hip movement. His upper body is his only question but he does play with good leverage to make up for it.
As for teams talking to players after practice, there really wasn’t much activity for that. As stated earlier, most scouts have already left Mobile to review practice film and start their full analysis of players. I also missed the very end of practice as I was in the middle of an phone interview on ESPN Radio Oklahoma’s “Sports Morning” show.
South team practice coming up later today, but it’s expected that they’ll be in shorts as well with more fans than scouts present.
South Team Practice
The final real practice for the South team drew the usual crowd, but just the like the North practice, only a limited number of scouts attended. The South players were wearing shorts and helmets, just like the North practice and the tempo seemed just as light. Lots of work on special teams today and team drills.
Alabama TE Colin Peek and Ole Miss WR Shay Hodge didn’t participate in practice today. They were on the field with the team, but didn’t participate in drills.
Before the start of practice, USC TE Anthony McCoy was off to the side with Dolphins TEs coach George DeLeone. McCoy was getting extra instruction on the correct way to line up in a three point stance and how to explode out of that stance for blocking. McCoy later showed that he was listening to Coach DeLeone as he had perfect form in his blocking during team drills.
Former QB and current WR from UAB, Joe Webb, was doing a good job in team drills today. He’s pretty physical and has a good frame at 6’3″ 223 lbs. Webb uses his body well to shield the defender from the ball, something that some receivers never develop. He’s still very raw and it shows. He took an awful angle to try and block for Dexter McCluster on an outside run.
Tim Tebow continued to be unimpressive to me. Though he’s got a handle on the snaps now and his footwork is looking pretty good, there’s just nothing that wows me about his passes. Tebow will occasionally throw a very pretty deep ball, but it’s the routine throws that he has the most trouble with. The out passes take a tremendously long time and he missed on a few easy short throws today. On the other hand, Tebow threw an absolute strike down the seam to Anthony McCoy in team drills and did an excellent job in play action passes….especially ones that led to bootlegs. Tebow was also seen joking with Florida State CB Patrick Robinson, jokingly blocking him well after the play.
Jarrett Brown and Zac Robinson both seemed pretty timid throwing the ball today. While the South team secondary does a great job in coverage, both Brown and Robinson held onto the ball too long and didn’t attempt tight throws. I also wonder if Brown sees the whole field while he’s out there as he missed open receivers on several plays today. Jarrett did have a nice strike to Andre Roberts for a touchdown, splitting two defenders in tight coverage.
Miami TE Jimmy Graham had a nice catch in the end zone during goal line drills, but dropped an easy one later in practice. He looked exceptionally fluid, catching balls and running precise routes.
There was a lot of trouble with the South defensive ends today against the outside run. George Selvie, Cameron Sheffield and CJ Wilson did poor jobs setting the edge against the rush and staying at home. Selvie bought a great play action fake from Tebow, allowing the QB to roll easily to the outside. Cameron Sheffield got caught chasing the ball up field and was burned on a reverse.
Anthony Dixon of Mississippi State stuck out today among the South team running backs. Dixon looked pretty nimble hitting the hole and squeezing through tight gaps.
Antonio Coleman sniffed out a trick play in which a toss to Brandon Tate was meant to be thrown back to quarterback Zac Robinson. Coleman didn’t buy it and stayed right beside Robinson, forcing Tate to stop his throw and attempt to run with the ball.
Riley Cooper caught some good passes today along the sidelines, but he appeared to cut his route short on a deep pass from Jarrett Brown that looked very catchable. Riley made some plays later in the practice, especially in the end zone. Cooper does a good job fighting for the ball when it’s in the air.
Tulane WR Jeremy Williams muffed a kickoff return in drills.
In 7-7 drills, Patrick Robinson looked pretty sharp. He stayed tight in coverage on Joe Webb, tipping a Zac Robinson pass into the air and then intercepting it. However, he also was burned by Riley Cooper in the corner of the end zone where he didn’t turn back and look for the ball while it was in the air, allowing Cooper to make an easy catch.
Trevard Lindley has yet to impress me this week. Joe Webb made him look silly on a comeback route that was easily caught.
Dekoda Watson made an outstanding play on a pass while covering Jimmy Graham, breaking up a pass from Zac Robinson in the end zone.
Dexter McCluster continues to impress. Even though he’s already short, he still runs low to the ground, making him an even smaller target to tackle. McCluster completely disappears behind offensive lineman, making it very difficult for the defense to see him. Dexter also is showing just how fast he really is, when running at 3/4 speed, he still out runs his blockers in kick return drills.
Harry Coleman does a nice job coming up in run support for a safety. He can make his way through traffic and find the ball carrier pretty well.
Auburn RB Ben Tate dropped a very easy short pass today, making me wonder even more about his abilities to catch out of the backfield.
Punter Matt Dodge was getting great hangtime and height on his punts. He’s had a quiet, but solid week.
John Jerry was listening well to coaching in the positional drills and rarely made the same mistake twice. However, he does look a little weak in the lower body.
Mike Johnson looks very strong and compact, received a lot of praise from the coaches.
Chris Scott got some praise as well for his knee bend and punch.
JD Walton impressed yet again. He displayed nimble feet, great knee bend, and a really strong first punch. He has made himself a lot of money this week.
Selvish Capers looks very athletic and has a great kick slide. He looks comfortable, but his run blocking and push is still questionable.
Just like in the North practice, most players didn’t meet with scouts afterward today. However, I did overhear that JD Walton, the C from Baylor, has a private meeting with the Indianapolis Colts tonight.
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