Today at the senior bowl was quite an eventful day. Keeping with my trend of having no trend with my Senior Bowl reports, I’m going to break up my overall impressions by squads because today the experience in each was vastly different.
Maybe it was because it is the morning practice, but the North side’s Day 3 was a bit of a snoozer. Instead of spending time showcasing player talents, the Vikings coaching squad spent a majority of the time doing walk-through.
The signal callers were consistently sloppy, with the exception of Kirk Cousins. He had a very good day, arguably the best quarterbacking performance that I have seen this week. Cousins was especially adept at finding the spaces in the zone defenses. There was nice pace on his throws and he seemed settled and confident. The Spartan is likely rising up many draft boards right now but I’m still not sure that I would spend earlier than a 3rd rounder on him. If someone expects him to become the face of their franchise they might be sorely disappointed. Just a sidenote but a few moments ago I walked by a man conversating with Cousins and they seemed to be doing a memory test with cards. The first card was an Ace of Spades.
Making Cousins look even better was the poor play of Kellen Moore and Russell Wilson. While it didn’t help that the Centers were having snap issues (primarily the new guy Rishaw Johnson, who got extra work after team drills) they were not looking good. His windup is long, he is robotic, and his arm strength is lacking. I was very low on Moore coming in, seeing him in person I have trouble even seeing him getting drafted.
The best wide receiver on the North side was Marvin McNutt in my opinion. He did well at adjusting to the ball in the air and finding the soft spot in the zone. Unlike some of the receivers here, he’s good at playing the ball in the air. Speaking of, T.J. Graham is one of the players that doesn’t have great aerial skills. His shiftiness and route running will need to be from the slot but he’ll need to work on his press technique. A player who stood out to me was Emil Igwenagu. His height (6’1) may be a problem at TE but he looks to have versatility and either way, has nice ball skills for a man his size. He might be this year’s Charles Clay who I loved last year out of Tulsa.
One receiver who I have a very love/hate relationship with right now is DeVier Posey. His smoothness in and out of breaks is something else but dang it Posey, catch the ball! He uses his hands but doesn’t extend them like you want and seems to lose concentration – naturally causing drops and double catches. As a result of the drops, he will sometimes take the weak way out and catch it with his body. Poseyyyy!!! *shakes fist*
After practice, I spoke a bit with Brian Linthicum. He was held out of yesterday’s practice with a right shoulder injury. Admittedly, I didn’t get to watch him much but he discussed how his one off the field incident (being arrested for a fight) was the only time he has been in trouble in his life. He seemed sincere and wanted to show this week that he can block as well as be a vertical threat.
Chris Polk still failed to impress. But I had a discussion with some people over just how much a running back can even showcase one’s self in this type of a format where there isn’t even real tackling. I can’t say that I strongly disagree.
I wish that I had a ton to say about defensive players but there weren’t many chances to shine. Jamell Fleming played tough and Leonard Johnson likes to hit. After practice speaking with Johnson’s people, they told me that they weren’t letting Johnson play press coverage enough and considering that’s one of his strength, no argument here.
Other notes that I don’t feel like putting in paragraph form:
Brian Quick doesn’t use his size to his advantage and I don’t know if he likes contact.
LaVonte David is very small, if he switched numbers with Dennard, I don’t know if many would notice.
Billy Wagner was very solid and moves well in coverage for a larger LB.
Now for some real football discussion (JK, but seriously). The south practices are much more high paced, feature more hitting, and lets the players showcase their abilities. Their coaches are also more vocal, with the exception of Mike Shanahan – who I don’t think has even talked to a player yet.
I watched the quarterbacks sparingly, but nothing that I saw stood out much though I did hear that Ryan Lindley had his best practice of the day. The feedback about Weeden/Foles was more of the same.
The players who stole the show were the cornerbacks and the two lead dogs were Brandon Boykin and Janoris Jenkins. Each of them played phenomenally. Boykin showed that the physique isn’t all show and at one point jammed Dwight Jones at the LOS so hard that Jones nearly gave up. It was pure annihilation and did I mention that he will probably run in the 4.4 range? I would confidently say that he’s looking like a 1st rounder and can’t wait to watch more tape on him. As for Jenkins, he played tight coverage all day and showed an elite closing ability. He also has swagger which you can’t teach.
As you would imagine when the cornerbacks looked this good, the receivers really struggled. Dwight Jones and Jeff Fuller got out-physicalled by small cornerbacks while failing to show any inch of separation.
One exception was Juron Criner. He has the best ball skills of the wideouts on the South team. Some of them get lost when the ball is in the air but Criner doesn’t. I spoke to a man who has known Criner his whole life who told me of his rebounding ability in basketball back in the day. I can’t see that. The concerns with Criner seem to be speed related and he is training with Michael Johnson ‘s people in Texas to work on it. Also speaking with Criner after practice, one can’t help but root for him.
Keenan Robinson showed some real explosive pass rushing ability in linebacker versus running back pass protection drills. He showcased a gorgeous swim move and showed nice hip flexion for a physical specimen and at 6’3 240 there is room to grow. As good as he looked in that drill, his teammate Emmanuel Acho looked just as bad. He was stonewalled by a running back in a drill where the linebacker has a clear advantage. He looked unexplosive.
Jake Bequette is playing outside linebacker and is not looking good.
Will Vlachos is arguably the worst player here.
Just as players are getting into the rhythm of things, the week is nearing a close *sniff*. Tune in for the final Senior Bowl Diary tomorrow!