|Senior Bowl: South Practice Report (Tuesday)
|By: Sideline Scouting Staff
|January 25, 2011
After seeing the first South squad practice of 2011, it seems to be a trend that the North team has a much faster pace for their practices. The South's practice
was a bit lethargic, but that's not the say there wasn't a lot of action on the field at times. The South squad has a lot of great athletes, and players were
moving fast and hitting hard.
The South squad doesn't have a star quarterback on its roster like Jake Locker for the North, but all three of the South quarterbacks should be drafted and can move into
the top half of the draft with good weeks here in Mobile. Alabama QB Greg McElroy looked like the best of the group.
He routinely put good zip on the ball and looked great taking snaps under center. TCU QB Andy Dalton put in just an
average performance as he did nothing to stand out, but did not do anything terrible either. Florida State QB Christian Ponder
was very inconsistent. At times he looked great with his accuracy, placing the ball at a spot where only his receiver could make a play, but later on in practice, balls
started to sail on him and his passes were going over receiver's heads. On one instance, he was asked to throw a deep post route and he almost threw the ball through the
uprights from the 50 yard line.
West Virginia running back Noel Devine is extremely small and looks like nothing more than a change-of-pace runner
who will contribute on special teams. He took a handoff in 11-on-11 drills, was barely touched, and went down immediately. He's going to have a very tough time running
between the tackles in the NFL.
The receivers had an overall good day, led by Jeremy Kerley (TCU) who displayed incredible quickness and was constantly finding
ways to get open. He is a short strider with very quick feet which makes him tough to run with in the secondary. Miami's Leonard Hankerson
does a great job of catching the ball with his hands and plucked a couple balls while on the run today. He did drop some easy passes and there will continue to be concerns
over his ability to concentrate on the football. Greg Salas (Hawaii) has tremendous hands, he caught everything around him and never
seems to let the ball get into his body which is exactly what teams want to see down here. The biggest surprise was late addition Courtney Smith. Smith, a receiver from local
South Alabama, is 6-4, 220 and he looks like an NFL receiver. He has a great frame and above-average deep speed. During one-on-one drills, Smith ran a go-route and went
up and over USC corner Shareece Wright for a beautiful leaping grab. His body control looks well above-average and he looks ot be gaining steam here this week.
The best tight end that I have seen from either team is Tennessee's Luke Stocker. While Lee Smith is an impressive blocker
and Lance Kendricks and Mike Neill are good receiving weapons for the North, Stocker is a complete tight end and can contribute as a blocker and a receiver. The play of the
day came when Stocker made a highlight reel catch and held on after taking a big hit from Clemson's Marcus Gilchrist. Arkansas' D.J. Williams
had a solid day and showed he is an underrated blocker. After measuring in a 6-1⅞ and 236 lbs. he might be considered as more of an H-back type and actually reminds
me quite a bit of former Florida Gators tight end Aaron Hernandez, who went in the fourth round of the 2010 draft.
Miami (FL)'s Allen Bailey was a bit of a mixed bag today. He is extremely athletic with very good speed and doesn't look
like a defensive end on the field. He looked explosive early and dominated undersized Florida State center Rodney Hudson
with strength. However, he looked a little slow to redirect and only flashed the bull rush, so I want to see more of an arsenal before saying I'm completely sold on him.
Clemson DT Jarvis Jenkins moves well for a man his size, showing a good first step combined with solid strength and power.
After weighing in at 6-3⅞ and 309 lbs. he could be an asset in just about any scheme. Now, the one offensive lineman that was able to contain both Bailey and Jenkins was
Alabama's James Carpenter. Playing guard, he pancaked Jenkins and flashed the strength to control Bailey. At present time
Carpenter is just a mid-round prospect but he could raise if he continues to impress this week.
Despite my doubt about Texas A&M; Von Miller's ability to be a three-down linebacker in the NFL, I came into this week with an open mind
about Miller. He weighed in a little small than listed, but looked very stout and muscular. His lack of size was apparent today, however. He lined up predominantly as a 4-3 edge
rusher from a two-point stance at the end of the line. Most plays, Miller was either blocked away from outside running plays or bottled up in traffic on runs to the inside.
He was not given much of an opportunity to pass rush, though, which is something he is certainly very good at. In coverage, Miller looked a little uncomfortable. Some believe
he has the athleticism and size to be a good zone defender, but he seems to be somewhat unsure when dropping into man and zone coverage alike. The jury is still out on Miller
as a three-down 4-3 linebacker, but today didn't help his case much.
Texas cornerback Curtis Brown was especially impressive today. He looked very quick and athletic, and did a great job if
mirroring receivers and staying with them at every cut. He looks very comfortable and fluid, and has a pretty good frame for the position. He could emerge as one of the top
defensive backs in Mobile this week. Marcus Gilchrist also had his moments today. He was lined up as a one-deep safety
a lot in practice, while his Clemson teammate DeAndre McDaniel played man coverage on slot receivers during most
of the coverage drills. Gilchrist had a big hit on tight end Luke Stocker over the deep middle of the field. He lowered his shoulder and leveled Stocker, but Stocker
held on to the ball for an impressive catch. Gilchrist is small (5-9⅞), but he's physical and loves to make big hits. He could be fun to watch during Saturday's
contest. The defensive backs looked very good today in coverage, but some of them seemed to have big problems catching the ball in individual drills.
Shareece Wright, Ahmad Black and DeMarcus Van Dyke all had drops during drills, and just seemed to not have great hands. As a group, though, the defensive backs
looked much better on the South squad than those on the North roster.
(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.