Notes from Senior Bowl North Practice
Kellen Moore (Boise State) surprisingly threw a couple out routes early in the day with some velocity, but for the most part struggled with getting the ball to his WRs on deep outs as the practice went along. Moore possesses a long delivery and often put an extremely awkward spin on the football.
Kirk Cousins (Michigan State) easily had the best practice of all QBs displaying very good zip on intermediate routes. He also had very good timing on the deep ball with his WRs, which was extremely surprising. Cousins could stand to demonstrate better touch on shorter routes.
Russell Wilson (Wisconsin) has struggled early on with ball placement, which is to be expected due to lack of chemistry. I like the fact that he’s still attempting to throw his target open rather than waiting for routes to develop. His ability to create plays on the edge as well as his compact release is why I believe Wilson is the best QB talent on the North Squad.
Doug Martin (Boise State) displayed very good burst and COD at todays practice. He also caught the ball well out of the backfield. Martin reminded me a lot of Ray Rice with is balance and low center of gravity. He also looked surprisingly comfortable returning kicks.
Isaiah Pead (Cincinnati) flashed his trademark elusiveness today and was a more patient runner between the tackles today than I saw from him this past season. I’m sold on his ability as an edge player as he is quite elusive and has the speed to consistently get around end. With that said, he’s got a lot of work to from a technique standpoint in pass protection.
Chris Polk (Washington) ran with very good power today but disappointed in pass protection. Polk was billed as the most complete back coming into this week but has yet to live up to expectations. He also didn’t show much burst once he turned up field. While Polk had a solid day of practice, he failed to separate himself from the pack.
Bradie Ewing (Wisconsin) showed impressive blocking ability which isn’t surprising. Scouts were impressed with his pop and his blocking, and may be pleasantly surprised by his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. He’s underrated, but he’s a starting caliber fullback.
TJ Graham (North Carolina State) continues to elevate his draft status by consistently getting separation. Due to his speed, defenders are giving him a tremendous amount of cushion and he’s repeatedly taken whatever the defense gives him. He’s shown good hands but has let a few balls get to his chest. Graham also had a muffed punt earlier in the day, but otherwise had a very solid practice.
Marvin McNutt (Iowa) is a big-bodied WR who was quicker in and out of breaks than I anticipated. He did struggle a bit catching the ball when placed below his core, but adjusted to the ball fairly well in flight.
DeVier Posey (Ohio State) was the most frustrating prospect on the field to watch as he routinely gained separation, but struggled to catch the football with regularity. Posey consistently takes off to run with the football before looking the ball in which leads to a lot of drops. If he hopes to have better than a 4th round grade, he’s going to have to show better hands the remainder of this week.
Brian Quick (Appalachian State) looks as if he can be a very good possession guy who routinely made catches with defenders draped all over him. Naturally a long strider, Quick rounds off a lot of his cuts and will need work as a route runner. With that said, his strength at the point of the catch really impressed a lot of people today.
Michael Egnew (Missouri) continued to be the class of the tight ends in Mobile. He’s such an impressive athlete and he is flashing ability as a blocker this week. He’s got reliable hands, he knows how to use his body to shield defenders, and if he continues to improve as a blocker he could be a top 40 selection. Regardless, I think he’s a 2nd round lock. He’s underrated in the scouting community right now, but that won’t last long. He’s the top senior tight end. Brian Linthicum (Michigan State) didn’t practice today, I’m not sure why. Hopefully he will be back on the field in the next day or two.
As I said in my preview of the Senior Bowl I think that Kevin Zeitler (Wisconsin) is the top senior offensive guard and I still believe that. He looks like a 2nd round lock to me, and all the scouts around me were impressed with him today. One even said “Zeitler is very good, we know that. May as well not even watch him he’s so good.” He’s an impressive player and while he was beat by speed a couple times overall he had a good day. I talked with him briefly when I set up an interview after the practice and he thought he did poorly, but seemed to be his own toughest critic and assured me he would be better on Wednesday. He might be the 2nd or 3rd best offensive lineman in mobile this week. Mike Adams (Ohio State) continued to impress today. He wasn’t quite as impressive as he was yesterday, but he still played well and got some time at right tackle and guard as well as left tackle. I don’t see a great push from him in the run game so I don’t like his potential as much at right tackle, so I think left tackle is his best position. He will struggle with speed at one point, but barring an unforeseen injury the match-up between Adams at left tackle and Coples at defensive end may be the most intriguing of any that could occur in that game. I can’t wait to see that.
Mike Brewster (Ohio State) is a solid center but I don’t like his ability to anchor and he struggles against bigger, stronger players at times. He did show the ability to handle Ta’amu at times, but Ta’amu struggles with leverage and hasn’t played as strong as he looks sometimes. He’s the best center in Mobile, but that isn’t saying as much as one might think. Kelechi Osemele (Iowa State) continued to struggle a bit in my eyes. He’s powerful and has a nice punch, but it seems to be limited to the phone booth. He lumbers when he moves, struggles to redirect and doesn’t have the athleticism to stick at right tackle. He will have to move inside to guard and he might limit teams from a scheme standpoint there. He can excel in a man scheme that doesn’t require a lot of pulling from him, but if he’s in a scheme that requires more movement from him he will struggle in my opinion. Mitchell Schwartz (California) also had an up and down day. He’s a solid, 5th/6th round right tackle prospect but he might have to move inside to guard. I don’t think he has much starting upside in the NFL, and he struggled with speed outside today.
One player that really stuck out to me today was Senio Kelemete (Washington). He has the versatility to play guard or tackle but spent most of his time at tackle today. I don’t know if he can play left tackle, and I think his upside is highest at guard, but he is an impressive athlete with a good first step and some pop on contact. I would like to see him sustain and finish a little bit better, but he’s an impressive player that may end up in the top 100 selections come draft day. His versatility to play tackle and guard will only boost his stock. Tony Bergstrom (Utah) also flashed a little bit today. He didn’t have a great day, but he has a pretty impressive initial punch and may have the makings of a right tackle in the NFL. I haven’t seen him much, but on one play his initial punch sent a defender to the ground in 1 on 1’s.
Mike Martin (Michigan) has arguably been the most impressive defensive lineman for the North since practices started. He is a compact guy but he is very strong, has active hands and impressive burst off the line of scrimmage. He and Brewster had a couple impressive battles but overall Martin definitely won the match-up. Scouts have higher grades on him than most media pundits do, so don’t be surprised if Martin goes much higher than people expect. I haven’t studied him yet, but he has the makings of a potential 2nd round grade from me. He’s an animal. Derek Wolfe (Cincinnati) continued to impress. They gave him a few reps at defensive end today which surprised me, but he has been disruptive at defensive tackle so far this week. He’s a great 3-tech or 5-tech prospect in my opinion, and I definitely like what I have seen from him so far. Kendall Reyes (Connecticut) surprised me with his speed and burst off the ball today. I knew he was athletic, but I was surprised to see him come off the ball so quickly. He’s a quality 3-tech prospect, though I’m not sure I have much higher than a 3rd or 4th round grade on him right now.
Jack Crawford (Penn State) probably shouldn’t be here in my opinion. I’m not a fan and neither are the scouts I’ve talked to. He sounds like one of those guys who can show you something in practice and flash in 1 on 1’s, but doesn’t show up on game day and struggles to locate the ball. Vinny Curry (Marshall) hasn’t shown me much when I have seen him either. He has ability, I just don’t think he has 1st round ability. He didn’t show me round one ability on tape and he hasn’t shown it to me here yet. I’m hoping to see him perform like I’ve heard he can, but it’s not there yet. Billy Winn (Boise State) also disappointed me a bit today. He was going up against some quality talent on the North offensive line, but he only won one or two match-ups if I remember correctly. He stayed blocked more than I saw on tape, and didn’t have much variety in his pass rush moves. I’ll be watching him the rest of the week, but he looked like a 3rd round guy to me today. Alameda Ta’amu (Washington) was also unimpressive to me today. He’s got everything you could want in a 4-3 or 3-4 nose tackle prospect but it just doesn’t equate to a quality performance. The size and athleticism is there, he just can’t produce. He’s a two-down player in a 4-3 and might be able to play three downs in a 3-4 if he can prove he can collapse the pocket, but the pass rush just isn’t there from him. He needs to play with better pad level to avoid negating his natural power, as he was even blocked by Brewster in 1 on 1’s today. He’s got upside, but he’s a 3rd rounder in my opinion.
One player that really impressed me today was Shea McClellin (Boise State). He’s very athletic, has impressive burst and really gave the offensive tackles trouble in 1 on 1’s today. I love his potential as a 3-4 outside linebacker. I haven’t seen him in coverage this week, but I really think he has the potential to be 1st rounder and an impact player at that position. Hopefully I’ll have an interview later this week, I talked to him briefly after practice today.
Honestly, I didn’t see much of the linebackers today but one thing I will say is that I like Audie Cole (North Carolina State). He impressed me on film and he has impressed me so far when I have seen him, though that time has been limited thus far. He’s going to be a riser after this week, I can tell you that.
Alfonzo Dennard (Nebraska) continues to have a rough go of it, displaying tight hips and inability to recover once in a trail technique. Dennard could be a contributor in a cover 2 system but will consistently struggle in man coverage.
Donnie Fletcher (Boston College) is a long limbed defender with a high split who had difficulty redirecting at times. He also had trouble clicking his heels driving on the football when defending the curl and out route
George Iloka (Boise State) was really one of the winners of todays practice. He had difficulty against some of the more sudden WRs during one on ones, but he’s the type of Safety you want on your team when having to defend TEs that can get vertical such an Aaron Hernandez, Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham. He certainly helped his stock today, capping off the practice with a diving interception against Cousins.
Asa Jackson (Cal Poly) is a guy I had high hopes for. Due to his ability to locate the football, I felt as though he could become an outstanding center fielding FS, then weigh-ins happened. Jackson is absolutely not physical enough to be a FS at the next level, however he showed very good hip fluidity and looked very natural fielding kicks during todays practice.
Leonard Johnson (Iowa State) was easily my favorite DB to watch during todays practice. He drove on the football tremendously well and looked to have very loose hips. He also was very intense during todays practice which earned him praise from the secondary coaches. Many scouts appreciated his demeanor and approach to the game.