Senior Bowl: South Practice Report (Tuesday)
By: Sideline Scouting Staff
January 25, 2011
Greg McElroy
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.

Jeremy Kerley
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.

Luke Stocker
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.

James Carpenter
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.

Von Miller
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.

Curtis Brown
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.

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