DD.com Senior Bowl North Wednesday Practice Notes:
Conditions at North practice are more of the same from yesterday: cold, windy and damp (rained overnight causing wet field and ball).
This is the third time viewing the North squad and it's about time for our annual disclaimer: the players that looked poor on Monday still look poor for the most part. The players that dominated on Monday still dominate today. It's difficult to write these reports without constantly repeating oneself, so if these comments appear familiar, please excuse us.
With that being said, there were some new faces on the North team, most notably Kansas State running back Thomas Clayton. Clayton is a shifty, elusive runner who had an outstanding day, showing the speed to get to the corner, a tough task against the North linebackers. Clayton impressed onlookers with his patience letting the hole develop and following his blockers through to day light. A cynic might wonder if coming into the game at this late stage provides an advantage in terms of fatigue, however DD spoke to Clayton -- who began his career at Florida State -- and he conceded that he was in transit most of yesterday and up until 1AM yesterday evening learning the playbook, so it's questionable how well rested he really was compared to the other players.
Another new face was Delaware tight end Ben Patrick, who replaced injured Rutgers tight end Clark Harris on the roster. Patrick looked smooth and reliable, catching every ball thrown his way, even if falling to the turf while doing it. Patrick was above average in blocking and reminded this observer of current NY Jets tight end Chris Baker.
Notre Dame wide receiver Rhema McKnight had several nice grabs and has impressed coaches with his yards after the catch potential. McKnight has been operating as a punt returner, and appeared competent in that role.
Penn State running back Tony Hunt appears to be the victim of a laundry mishap as he was the only player unfortunate enough to be wearing pink practice pants. Maybe the color affected his psyche, as Hunt seemed to lack aggressive burst through the line of scrimmage and the extra gear to pull away from defenders.
More housekeeping notes, Fresno State wide receiver Paul Williams apparently has changed his jersey number, from 83 to 1. He had an excellent touchdown grab but did not really stand out today otherwise.
East Carolina wide receiver Aundrae Allison has been showing good hands, going low to dig a Troy Smith pass out of the turf for a completion. Allison is also working as a punt returner and has potential in the return game.
Hawaii offensive linemen Samson Satele has been improving over the week, looking tough in both run blocking and pass protection. Satele had at least one pancake today and is a natural athlete who has the frame to add 20 to 30 pounds in an NFL strength program without compromising quickness.
Penn State offensive tackle Levi Brown has been getting extra attention from the Bucs coaching staff, emphasizing on keeping a tight base, to better avoid overextending at the waist. Brown was very good for most of the day, but was beat badly by Notre Dame defensive end Victor Abiamiri around the edge in drills.
Defensively, Nebraska defensive end Adam Carriker continues to prove his is in a different tier of talent than his opposition and has beaten all comers handily. Carriker made a nifty play forcing a fumble in 11-on-11 drills that Utah cornerback Eric Weddle made an athletic play to recover. In drills, Carriker was loudly encouraged by North head coach Jon Gruden to really go after the simulated QB bag, Carriker responded by hitting the bag so hard that the QB's; (actually just a pad) flew right off.
Cal defensive tackle Brandon Mebane gets lower than his opposing man with regularity and he wins the battle of leverage once engaged. He displayed a nice bull rush move and can collapse the pocket on passing downs.
Ohio State defensive tackle Quinn Pitcock showed his toughness throughout the session, displaying an affinity for contact that has scouts talking. Pitcock is tenacious in pass rush drills and had his opposing man holding and grabbing to keep him contained.
Maryland cornerback Josh Wilson was all over the field in coverage and has all the raw tools that NFL coaches search for in the position. Raw is an apt word for this player however, as he can get excite and be susceptible to interference penalties.
Virginia Tech safety Aaron Rouse had an excellent interception during coverage drills that had the peanut gallery emitting ooh's and ahh's.
Related News: Cal cornerback Daymeion Hughes will not be playing in the game due to a back injury suffered on Wednesday.
DD.com comment: Hughes had a top notch week up to this point, and cover-2 teams are very interested. The severity of the injury is not confirmed, but rumored to be minor.
Draft Daddy will be at South practice this afternoon and then it's straight
to the airport. It might not be until tomorrow for South breakdown, although
we will do our best. Stay tuned for more excellent pictures throughout the
DD.com Senior Bowl South Tuesday Practice Notes:
The South practice was cold and windy with temperatures on the field 44
The unqualified star of the South practice was LSU wide receiver Dwayne
Bowe's highlights included over the middle catches in traffic and circus
tip drill catches along the sidelines. His only blunder, a dropped Kevin
Kolb bomb at the end of 11-on-11 drills will probably keep him up tonight,
but it shouldn't. He showed separation and made a lot of money, looking
very strong and crisp in routes. Few people in town have helped their
stock this week as much as Bowe.
Houston quarterback Kevin Kolb also looked
crisp and polished, throwing tight spirals as well as some nice intermediate
and deep routes. He had some difficulty throwing on the run but to say
Kolb is playing better than any quarterback on either roster is not an
overstatement. Whether this translates into big time dollars on draft
day remains to be seen but he is making his impression and teams are noticing.
Florida wide receiver Dallas Baker has good
break-back onto the ball in the timing comeback routes and looked active
and sharp in skeleton passing drills. Auburn wide receiver Courtney
Taylor also excelled during these timing drills, effectively catching
the ball along the sidelines.
UTEP wide receiver Johnnie Lee Higgins looked
very fluid, fast with sure hands; while he didn't make any really spectacular
plays,he didn't make many mistakes either, and pending workouts could
factor into the first day of the draft.
Among the running backs, Florida State running back Lorenzo
Booker was hard not to notice; Booker eludes defenders, and has
the speed to make opposing defenses pay for their mistakes. Booker was
employed as a kick returner and looked more than serviceable in the role.
On the downside his blitz pickups will require some work at the next level.
Auburn's Kenny Irons reminds this observer
very much of current Atlanta Falcon Jerious Norwood. Irons has burst through
the hole and can really get going upfield. He had a tough fumble during
seven on seven drills but punished himself with 50 push ups immediately
following; this was a throwback move that showed character and discipline.
Alabama fullback Le'Ron McClain has been
an imposing figure this week, dominating backers to create space for the
running backs. McClain is a physical specimen who can downhill block with
gusto, a player that clearly enjoys contact.
Oregon State's Joe Newton was a polished
route runner and competent receiver, looking good catching passes both
over the middle and in the flats. His natural height helps the quarterbacks
find him in tough situations.
Along the offensive line, Tennessee's Arron Sears
had an up and down day. He showed very good push upfield but made a pretty
major gaffe in running drills when the entire team ran right and he pulled
left. Sears played at guard exclusively and could get overextended at
times in pass protection.
Contrarily, Texas lineman Justin Blalock
played both guard and tackle, and put in a pretty solid day of work against
the South defensive line. His height may limit him to emergency tackle
at the next level but he is an intelligent aggressive player that is proving
that he belongs.
Arkansas tackle Tony Ugoh impressed a lot
of onlookers. Ugoh often shut down his opposition, operating efficiently
without tight end help. Ugoh has the raw tools for left tackle but he
requires coaching to improve the technical aspects of his game. With the
supply of the left tackle market so barren, Ugoh has become a hot property
USC center Ryan Kalil did more than an adequate
job, stalemating his man on most occasions. He's got a nice base and good
hands in pass protection.
Defensively, the leader of the pack was Mississippi linebacker Patrick
Willis. Willis was a terror against the run and had a beautiful
interception in coverage drills. He was a worker in agility exercises
and displayed top notch body control.
Another gulf coast player who attracted significant attention was Mississippi
State defensive tackle Antonio Johnson. Johnson
displayed above average explosion, good feet and was stout against the
run. Additionally, Johnson seemed to legitimately try hard and was very
coach able. Johnson picked up the instructions of the 49ers line coach
quicker than his peers and is comfortable doing the dirty work to occupy
blockers. Possibly an ideal fit with several of the league's 3-4 defenses.
Texas defensive end Tim Crowder showed very
good flexibility, agility and speed, maybe the best South defensive lineman
in these valuable categories. He has pretty good pass rush moves and several
times threatened to disturb the quarterbacks in 11-on-11 drills. (For
those that were not aware, no matter how badly a defender beats his man,
these players are not allowed to touch the QB or in any way interfere
with the play during Senior Bowl practices).
NC State defensive tackle Demarcus "Tank" Tyler
is an interesting prospect. Unlike Crowder, he is not especially flexible.
However he is very wide and surprisingly quick for a player of such bulk.
Tyler flashed on 11-on-11 and was most impressive stringing out the run
down the line of scrimmage. This is a player whose stock will be largely
affected by workout numbers, as there is a chance he has rarer size/speed
ratio than most.
Georgia defensive end Quentin Moses struggled
initially in pass rush drills, but as the coaches worked with him, warmed
up, his talent became apparent. Moses can get around the field quickly
and impressed onlookers getting high in the air to break a screen in 11-on-11
Oklahoma State defensive lineman Ryan McBean
is another player that got better as the practice progressed. At the start
of the hour, he was showing little progress in technique drills, despite
coaching attention. By the end of the hour he was beating highly touted
interior offensive linemen badly in 11-on-11 drills and smoothly recovering
a fumble on the run. He could be a diamond in the rough.
Texas safety Michael Griffin had an excellent
day, displaying great hip switch and closure on the ball. While in most
players it would be concerning to see a loss of two inches from listed
height to recorded height, with Griffin he actually better fits the profile
of successful NFL safeties at 5'11" rather than 6'1".
Auburn cornerback David Irons was one of
the few players on the field who managed to hang stride for stride with
Dwayne Bowe (on a go route no less) and for that he gets a serious DD.com
tip of the hat. Also blocked a FG at the end of practice, a nifty hustle
Texas cornerback Aaron Ross looked speedy
and had good range in coverage. Ross also looked good as a kick returner.
Tennessee cornerback Jonathan Wade also got
around the field nicely and had an acrobatic interception during coverage
drills. Both players will be seriously considered by corner hungry teams,
of which there is no shortage in the NFL.
Post Practice interviews, teams that were seen talking to players:
Cleveland Browns: DL Ray McDonald, DB Michael
;CB Jonathan Wade
Carolina Panthers: CB David Irons
Philadelphia Eagles: OL Mansfield Wrotto
Baltimore Ravens: OL Justin Blalock
Pittsburgh Steelers: OT Tony Ugoh
San Francisco 49ers: DT Antonio Johnson
Miami Dolphins: LB Earl Everett
Kansas City Chiefs: OT Tony Ugoh, CB David
Irons; DE Tim Crowder, DB A.J.
New Orleans Saints: DT Tank Tyler
Washington Redskins: PK Nick Folk
DD.com Senior Bowl North Tuesday Practice Notes:
Today the last shall be first, so here are post practice interviews, teams that were seen talking to players:
New England Patriots: DE Lamarr Woodley Minnesota Vikings: RB Brian Leonard, LB Stewart Bradley San Diego Chargers: WR Paul Williams, LB Lamarr Woodley Philadelphia Eagles: CB Marcus McCauley Carolina Panthers: DE\LB Anthony Spencer Cleveland Browns: LB Stewart Bradley, CB Leon Hall, CB Daymeion Hughes, OT Levi Brown Washington Redskins: CB Marcus McCauley Baltimore Ravens: RB Kolby Smith,WR David Clowney Kansas City Chiefs: RB Tony Hunt
Weather in Mobile is cold but without rain, and the practice was crisper as a result. As is often the case in these exhibitions, the defense maintains an advantage until the offense gains some cohesion and installs the plays. Everyone was wearing full pads today and the sounds from player collisions resonated through the stadium.
The most talented unit on both sides of the ball might be the North defensive backs. They are fast and quick, and have been harassing the North wide outs all week. As mentioned yesterday, Cal cornerback Daymeion Hughes has great hands and excellent quickness. The North used him at kick returner, along with Tech wide receiver David Clowney.
Fresno cornerback Marcus McCauley seems to be getting stronger with each practice, especially notable was his closing and recovery speed, both of which cannot be coached. He as well as Michigan cornerback Leon Hall displayed smooth ball skills during drills, using their hands rather than trapping the ball.
Maryland cornerback Josh Wilson continues to improve as the coaches work with his technique. This is a player for whom it is apparent the coaches see a lot of potential.
Utah defensive back Eric Weddle has the skills to play corner, and had an above average day, delivering a nice pop in run support during 11-on-11 drills. To a slightly lesser extent, Syracuse defensive back Tanard Jackson also has the range to play corner, and with the way the league is evolving, thatís a quality scouts love in safeties.
In the linebacking corp, Nebraska linebacker Stewart Bradley showed improved aggressiveness, especially stuffing the run. This was a player who looked more comfortable in full pads, there was no pulling up upon reaching the ball carrier today. He also shows nice lateral speed for both outside contain and coverage purposes.
Penn State linebacker Paul Posluszny continues to lead the North defense, and is making an early bid to be this yearís version of Houston linebacker Demeco Ryans Ė a player who may or may not astound in workouts but is at home between the chalk lines.
Michigan linebacker Prescott Burgess showed good pursuit upfield against the run and his toughness is notable. Fellow Wolverine David Harris continues to bring the lumber on the interior, and along with Pittsburgh linebacker H.B. Blades, it is daunting to run inside on this group. All are talented players who will help some team at the next level.
Along the defensive line, Nebraskaís Jay Moore displayed excellent edge rushing skills and pretty good outside contain. Coaches seem to be impressed with his work ethic and intensity. Heís a guy that isnít incredibly flashy but brings his hardhat and lunchpail every down.
His Husker teammate Adam Carriker simply outclassed the competition all day long, and is clearly helping his stock. Carriker threw most of the North linemen (and tight ends) around like rag dolls and was proficient in shedding his man and keeping the line at point of attack. Some sites have this player as a second rounder (or later) let me say right now, thatís not gonna happen. Carriker will be a factor as early as the middle of the first round, and word around the campfire is that Steelers scouts are especially taken with this player.
Purdue defensive end Anthony Spencer looks speedy around the edge, and even though is giving up a lot of weight to the North tackles, fights through their mass on the way to the quarterback. This player seems more ideal as an outside linebacker than as a ďhand on the groundĒ defensive end. As an aside, Spencer is sporting a spiffy mohawk this week, and that scores big style points with the DD.com staff.
Cal defensive tackle Brandon Mebane continues to impress with his low center of gravity and motor. This player routinely gets under the pads of his opposition and is always going forward, even if he has to claw the turf with his fingernails to do so.
Ohio State defensive tackle Quinn Pitcock had a better day than yesterday, displaying excellent inside pass rush moves. David Patterson also had an improved day, but seemed to run out of gas as the practice progressed.
Along the offensive line, the nastiness of James Marten has great appeal to the NFL staff in attendance. He had a scuffle with Patterson that got the crowd interested early. This is a player who is unique in the sense that he looks more comfortable playing left tackle than right. He gets beat on occasion but adjusts and improves by the next rep.
Penn State tackle Levi Brown seems to be the beneficiary of some quality coaching tips, as his technique was markedly improved today. Especially notable is that he didnít get overextended and played within his base during drills. Brown has as much physical talent as any player on the roster, once he learns how to control it, could be a top notch tackle. He is a force on running downs and can wash his player past the hole with ease.
Ohio Stateís Doug Datish worked mostly at guard and had some noteworthy moments, including a pancake during drills. West Virginiaís Dan Mozes bounced back from a tough Monday session with an above average practice today, looking stouter during drills and keeping his feet more.
In the wide receiver corps, East Carolinaís Aundrae Allison made two very nice over the shoulder intermediate grabs and showed good adjustment to the ball in the air. He is a player who has deceptive speed, and it will be interesting to see him workout.
Fresno Stateís Paul Williams has big hands and aggressively breaks to the ball, but his straight line speed needs to be proven before he can move higher on draft boards.
Finally, the quarterbacks looked better today as a whole. Ohio Stateís Troy Smith had several good balls, but seemed to display happy feet at times, and will tuck and run if not able to find receivers.
One draft "insider" told us some N.F.L. scouts where a bit miffed at the fact that two long snappers have been invited to Mobile. While N.F.L. teams realize the importance of long snappers, these scouts would've preferred to see those two spots go to regular offensive and defensive position players.
DD.com Comment: We think the Senior Bowl folks did a good thing by inviting these long snappers. It seemed the kickers and punters were having an easier time showing off their skills to N.F.L. scouts with full time snappers available to workout with them this year. The long snappers, by the way, are Brett Goode of Arkansas and Nick Leeson of Virginia Tech.
Louisiana State University safety LaRon Landry,
a likely first round pick, has opted out of practicing and playing in
DD.com Senior Bowl North Monday Practice Notes:
Conditions at Ladd-Peebles Stadium were rainy and damp. This led to many fumbles and drops, and the day belonged to the defense, to the great chagrin of Jon Gruden. Gruden made his unhappiness with the offense well known.
Cal defensive tackle Brandon Mebane looked the best out of the North defensive tackle crop. He was violent and stout at the point of attack, showing nice upfield burst. He broke through double teams and beat his man all day long.
For a player not known as a pass rusher, Nebraska defensive end Adam Carriker displayed an impressive array of rush moves (swim, rip, push-pull) and looked good in drills. The North seem to be taking a play out of the Huskers book by playing Carriker at tackle, where he was equally disruptive.
Louisville defensive tackle Amobi Okoye looked good in pass rush drills, often embarrassing the interior player he was going against. He showed violent hand-play and nice explosion, beating his man twice in a row. Not sure how draft experts can project such a player to nose tackle, he appears to be more of a 3-technique pass rusher.
Michigan defensive end Lamarr Woodley had an interesting day, looking violent in pass rush and getting involved with Boston College offensive tackle James Marten in some extra curricular activity after the whistle. Marten plays with a nasty streak, which the coaches seemed to enjoy. Not a world beater but his stock is on the rise.
Notre Dame defensive end Victor Abiamiri had an above average practice, garnering praise from the coaches during rush drills. This player seems to be on the rise, and attracted attention from several scouts after practice (see below for notes on teams talking to players)
Purdue defensive end Anthony Spencer displayed excellent pressure around the edge, setting up his man from play to play and often getting the better of the opposition.
Penn State linebacker Paul Posluszny was excellent in pursuit, stuffing the run on several occasions during 11-on-11 drills, and earning the praise of the Bucs coaching staff. The Poz also showed nice sideline to sideline speed in coverage. He is just a natural football player and itís apparent to everyone.
Pitt linebacker H.B. Blades and Michigan linebacker David Harris were very stout against the run, often meeting the runner behind the line in full team drills.
In the defensive backfield, the star of the show was Cal cornerback Daymeion Hughes, who showed very good quicks, nice reaction and instincts. Hughes was all over the North wide receivers in coverage and had several pretty breakups.
Fresno State cornerback Marcus McCauley also had a very good day, showing good hustle during INT drills. Maryland cornerback Josh Wilson displayed superior straight line speed.
During skeleton drills, Utah cornerback Eric Weddle had very good acceleration and change of direction, as did Syracuse cornerback Tanard Jackson. Both worked in at safety
Offensively, as was stated earlier, it was an extremely sloppy performance. There were some highlights however, starting with Louisville running back Kolby Smith. Smith really covers ground running north/south and showed toughness in finishing his runs.
Rutgers running back Brian Leonard looked good in receiving drills, showing soft hands and above average lateral quickness.
The Quarterbacks, as a group did not excite, with Michigan State quarterback Drew Stanton the most efficient out of the three. His passes were often crisp and accurate, hitting his receivers in stride.
On the other end of many of his passes were brought in by two targets: David Clowney of Virginia Tech and Jason Hill of Washington State. Both players caught more with their hands than bodies and could cover a lot of ground after the catch.
Iowa tight end Scott Chandler made several pretty catches and by the end of the session was earning vocal praise from the North coaches.
On the offensive line, Penn State offensive tackle Levi Brown had an up and down session Ė at times he looks like a top 10 pick, at others he looks like he should be picked later. Brown needs to work on his consistency but in terms of size/speed ratio is the most impressive of the North offensive linemen.
Hawaii guard/center Samson Satele had his positive moments, holding his blocks well and neutralizing the rusher.
DD has other offensive line comments, but as they say, if you donít have anything nice to say, donít say anything at all. Hopefully the offensive line gets better as the week goes on.
The weather had the players scrambling for the locker rooms but several
teams did conduct interviews with players on the field:
Miami Dolphins - QB Drew Stanton N.Y. Jets - DE Jay Moore Houston Texans - LB Paul Posluszny Atlanta Falcons - DT Amobi Okoye Tampa Bay Bucs - WR Jason Hill Kansas City Chiefs - CB Daymeion Hughes Cleveland Browns - DE Victor Abiamiri, DT Quinn Pitcock.
DD.com Senior Bowl Weigh-In Notes:
Players who may have helped their stock: South:
L.S.U. wide receiver Dwayne Bowe (6022, 222) appeared very cut/built and measured tall.
Texas defensive back Michael Griffin (5114, 195) looked built. Loss of 1 listed inch maybe a plus.
Miss State defensive lineman Antonio Johnson (6027, 302) was big and stocky, one to watch this week.
Arkansas offensive tackle Tony Ugoh (6054, 301) looked strong, built and thick in the lower body.
Ole Miss linebacker Patrick Willis (6010, 240) looked jacked up and menacing, despite 1 inch short.
Texas defensive back Aaron Ross (6004 191) appeared cut and solid.
Notre Dame defensive end Victor Abiamiri (6044, 271) looked extremely built, cut and athletic.
Michigan cornerback Leon Hall (5110, 194) impressed scouts with his muscular, cut ďVĒ frame.
Fresno State cornerback Marcus McCauley (6005, 200) looked tight, cut and built for speed.
Penn State linebacker Paul Posluszny (6012, 237) looked natural but was in great shape.
Nebraska linebacker Stewart Bradley (6038, 256) had natural build with potential for growth.
Louisville running back Kolby Smith (5112, 214) was very cut but with thick hips and legs.
Hawaii center Samson Satele (6022, 294) appeared naturally athletic for a man his size.
Michigan State quarterback Drew Stanton (6027, 226)
measured tall enough and looked tight.
Boston College offensive tackle James Marten (6073, 303) measured 2 inches taller than listed.
Rutgers running back Brian Leonard (6010, 224) slimmed down to better project as a running back.
(DD.com Leonard interview soon to come!)
Players who may have hurt their stock:
Texas offensive tackle Justin Blaylock (6033, 331) measured short for a OT and was doughy.
Auburn guard Tim Duckworth (6033, 304) measured 2 inches shorter than listed height.
Florida State linebacker Buster Davis (5093, 244) just looked small compared to the others.
Florida quarterback Chris Leak (5117, 203) measured slightly smaller than listed.
Tennessee offensive lineman Arron Sears (6031, 317) measured 1 inch shorter than listed.
U.S.C. center Ryan Kalil (6027, 291) wasnít bad but didnít impress physically.
Ohio State defenisive lineman David Patterson (6017, 274) measured small and appeared sloppy.
Louisville defensive tackle Amobi Okoye (6021, 287) was real cut for a big man, but weighed 30 pounds light.