Senior Bowl: North Practice Report (Monday)
By: Sideline Scouting Staff
January 24, 2011
Jake Locker
The Sideline Scouting crew attended the North team's practice this afternoon at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. We were impressed with the pace of practice on day one. It was reminiscent of the way the North squad practiced under the Detroit Lions coaching staff last year. It was also a good opportunity to get a closer looks at several prospects in individual, position and team drills.

The quarterback grouping left something to be desired with a few lackluster performances in day one. Washington's Jake Locker looked excellent during the beginning of practice showing excellent footwork and getting great velocity on his throws. However, during the second half of practice when asked to face a defense, Locker's decision making was questionable as he threw two interceptions and balls seemed to sail on him at times. Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi lofted a perfect corner fade to Niles Paul at one point during practice but struggled getting velocity on his throws to the sideline and appears to have a bit of a slow release. The last quarterback of the group, Nevada's Colin Kaepernick, had a decent showing by making plays with both his legs and his arm. He threw a nice deep ball and worked well out of the pocket during team drills, but his fundamentals are a mess and he is very raw. At this point, Kaepernick looks like a solid developmental prospect in the middle rounds.

Dwayne Harris
The North squad also boasts a talented, but unheralded set of receivers who all looked rather impressive today. Late addition Dwayne Harris out of East Carolina made a spectacular one-handed grab down the sidelines and routinely adjusted well to poorly thrown balls. Boise State's pair of receivers, Titus Young and Austin Pettis, performed exactly the way most people expected them to. Young looked explosive and did a terrific job of tracking the deep ball during one-on-one drills while Pettis impressed scouts with his route running and ability to catch the ball cleanly with both hands. Pettis did look like the slowest out of the group of receivers and may have trouble getting separation in the NFL. One of the pleasant surprises of the day was San Diego State receiver Vincent Brown. He looked very athletic, has massive hands, and was even praised by coaches for his ability to get low and get good pad level while blocking. During this same drill, Nebraska receiver Niles Paul was caught holding and constantly was tearing at jerseys. Paul appeared to be the most raw of any of the receiver prospects on the north squad and even looked lazy at times on the field.

Gabe Carimi
Wisconsin's Gabe Carimi was the most impressive of the offensive linemen. Carimi got looks at left tackle and right tackle but started the practice at left guard and his willingness to practice there can only be good for his draft stock. After measuring in at just over 6-7 he did have a tendency to get a little upright in pass protection (as did Colorado's Nate Solder, at 6-8¼. Carimi did a nice job staying in front of the defender and showed the strength to control and manhandle the defender once locked on. Former Wisconsin teammate John Moffitt was also impressive and started practice at center before moving back to his college position at left guard. He consistently was quick off the snap and did a nice job establishing position. Pittsburgh's Jason Pinkston saw some time at left tackle but doesn't have the footwork to play there at the next level. He was consistently beaten by the speed and strength of Purdue's Ryan Kerrigan, who was impressive throughout. At 6-3⅝ and 255 lbs., Kerrigan might be a 3-4 OLB but did nothing but improve his draft stock today.

Cameron Jordan
On the defensive line, Cameron Jordan (California) and Stephen Paea (Oregon St.) consistently found their way into the backfield and looked unblockable for much of the day. Paea fires off the ball and showed very good first step quickness, got very good penetration with a good bull rush, easily knocking offensive linemen back on initial punch. Jordan was explosive, showing good quickness and a very solid initial burst playing defensive end in a 4-man front. He made Stanford fullback Owen Marecic miss on a play he blew up for a loss and looked like a seasoned veteran, not an NFL draft prospect. Oklahoma's Jeremy Beal was a disappointment and I'm not sold on his ability to play defensive end in the NFL. He was no match for Carimi, getting stoned at the point of attack and having no success with his own speed or strength. He has a short, compact build and a move to outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme is probably in his future.

Mark Herzlich
Boston College's Mark Herzlich looked every bit of 250 pounds in pads today. He has great bulk and physicality, often lining up in a two-point stance at the end of the line. Although he looked tough and scraped well in practice today, he did get beat by Maryland's Da'Rel Scott in a coverage drill and looked entirely too slow to cover him. Scott ran a seam route and burnt Herzlich by five yards for an easy touchdown from Jake Locker. He will need to show he can play better coverage against running backs if he is to play outside linebacker at the next level.

Kendric Burney
Although North Carolina cornerback Kendric Burney measured in at 5-9 this morning at weigh-ins, he looked pretty good in practice today. His size is an advantage when it comes to his speed and quickness. Burney appears to be the quickest of all the defensive backs on the North roster, and he matched it with pretty good physicality during drills in which he was expected to get off a block and get to the ball carrier. It will be interesting to see how he looks as practice continues this week. Of all the defensive backs, Virginia Tech's Rashad Carmichael may have looked the best today. Carmichael was around the ball regularly in team drills, picking off two passes (one from Jake Locker). Carmichael is not the biggest corner, but his instincts looked very solid today in coverage. Late add Joe Lefeged (Rutgers) lined up at safety today, predominantly in a one-deep look. Lefeged has good size for the safety position, and looked very comfortable playing center field against Locker, Ricky Stanzi and Colin Kaepernick. In one particular instance, Lefeged dropped back into deep middle coverage in a backpedal, reading the quarterbacks eyes. As two receivers ran go routes up opposite sidelines, Lefeged read the play and jumped the correct route as the ball was thrown, coming up with an impressive interception over top of the route.

During special teams drills, Titus Young, Niles Paul, Dwayne Harris and Da'Norris Searcy returned punts for the North squad. There wasn't much to see from them on returns today, however. We'll be keeping a close eye on how well they perform that duty as the week progresses.

(January 28) -- The week of Senior Bowl practices are over, but more coverage is on the way. We have posted notes and observations from both the North and South Thursday practices as well as transcripts from the Thursday press conferences. Also posted is a Week in Review from the week's practices. Refer to the tabs above for full coverage. We'll have all the action coming to you from Saturday's game as well.

*A.J. Green
WR, Georgia
*Patrick Peterson
*Nick Fairley
DT, Auburn
*Da'Quan Bowers
DE, Clemson
*Blaine Gabbert
QB, Missouri
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