Senior Bowl: North Practice Report (Thursday)
By: Sideline Scouting Staff
January 27, 2011
Colin Kaepernick
Thursday's North squad practice was about what you'd expect from a late-week practice. The pace was slow and the guys did a lot of special teams work. Although it was a more relaxed practice without pads, the North team did not look very crisp today. The quarterbacks looked a little off with their throws and the receivers on the team dropped a lot of footballs. That said, there were still some things to take away from the hour and a half watching these guys this morning.

There has been a lot of hype this week surrounding the performance of Nevada's Colin Kaepernick thus far. However, I remain unimpressed. He threw a couple nice balls today, including a beautiful 40 yard pass down the sidelines during one-on-one WR/CB drills. But, he struggled with his footwork and will be a project. Iowa's Ricky Stanzi regressed today, he consistently threw off his back foot and had some communication issues with his receivers. Jake Locker (Washington) again struggled with his accuracy and does not look like a first round pick when he's on the field. However, the buzz around the stadium is that he will be a first round selection due to his arm strength and intangibles. Mel Kiper compared Jake Locker to Kyle Boller this week, the former California Golden Bear who was selected in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens. Locker has the arm strength, intangibles, and great mechanics that teams look for, but it just doesn't translate on the field. His throws are not where they need to be and accuracy is a very tough thing to coach.

Kendall Hunter
Today was a tough day to evaluate running backs since they practiced without pads on, however there were a few things that stood out during receiving drills. Kendall Hunter (Oklahoma State) showed very nice hands, at one point making a one handed grab out of the back field on his way to the end zone. He also made an acrobatic catch down the sidelines after running a wheel route. Linebackers were have a tough time staying with Hunter due to his quick feet. Maryland's Da'Rel Scott struggled catching the football and dropped a couple easy passes.

Titus Young
The standout of the day at receiver, once again, was Boise's Titus Young. He not only showed his explosiveness today, but during goal line drills, he showed impressive body control when going up in the air to make plays. There were two plays where Young was asked to go one-on-one with a corner in a jump ball situation in the end zone. Both times, Young came down with the football and was able to keep both feet in bounds. Dane Sanzenbacher had a terrible day and looks overmatched by the other receivers here in Mobile. He dropped at least three catchable passes and did not look like the same guy that I watched the past two days.

Lance Kendricks
Wisconsin TE Lance Kendricks made a highlight reel catch in traffic and he's demonstrated his pass-catching ability all week. I've been impressed with all the tight ends in this group including Mike McNeill (Nebraska) and Lee Smith (Marshall) for the different things they bring to the table, but of the three Kendricks is the only one that will receive second day consideration.

Without pads there is almost nothing to pass along on the offensive and defensive lines. South Florida's Terrell McClain replaced injured DT Stephen Paea (Oregon State) and was present at practice in each of the last two days but has seen no action in pads and head coach Marvin Lewis said in the press conference last night he wasn't sure if McClain would see action on Saturday. McClain did play in the East-West Shrine Game last week in Orlando and a double-dip might not be necessary.

Casey Matthews
Linebackers once again spent a lot of time in coverage drills today. It is difficult for those guys to do much else during the week because of the lack of contact during practices. Oregon's Casey Matthews looked pretty good in coverage drills today, even though most defensive guys were not going full speed during the drills. Matthews had a great leaping interception at the goal line earlier in practice. His coverage skills are solid for the position, and although I think he will be overdrafted because of his brother Clay being a dominant player, Casey Matthews has a lot of upside. Just don't expect him to be the same kind of player as his brother.

Mark Herzlich
I really like the linebacking corps of the North squad, but it is not a very versatile group. Mark Herzlich (Boston College) and Greg Jones (Michigan State) are very adept at stopping the run, but neither has looked good in coverage drills. Herzlich looks slow when he is toting his 250-pound frame around in coverage, while Jones just looks to have footwork issues. While covering tight ends and running backs in drills today, Jones tripped himself up in the middle of the field, leaving his man wide open for a long catch and run. After the play, Marvin Lewis pulled Jones aside and game him some instructions. Jones still looks like a liability in coverage, but unlike the majority, I believe it has little to do with his height. He just needs to work on his footwork and quickness in the deep middle of the field.

Kendric Burney
The North's defensive backs left me entirely uninspired for most of the week, but I'm really warming up to North Carolina's Kendric Burney. Burney's a little guy, but he is physical and quick, and seems to just be around the ball when it's in the air. He had two nice interceptions this morning and almost had a third during red zone drills. After this week, I expect Burney to make a significant jump in my rankings at the cornerback position. He has established himself as a legitimate third-round prospect despite his lack of size.

During punt coverage drills, the coaching staff had five players fielding punts: Dwayne Harris, Da'Norris Searcy, Kendric Burney, Vincent Brown, and Niles Paul.

(January 27) -- 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. Refer to the tabs above for full coverage. A game preview is on the way for Friday and 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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