Senior Bowl: South Practice Report (Wednesday)
By: Sideline Scouting Staff
January 26, 2011
Andy Dalton
Wednesday's South squad practice was a little harder to scout today because of the pace of practice. The team spent a lot of time working on special teams, including kickoff return and kickoff coverage. It moved rather slowly, and was a stark contrast to the North's practice earlier today.

The South quarterbacks were again a bit underwhelming today as none of them appear to be players that will be taken in the first three rounds. Today, TCU's Andy Dalton looked like the best quarterback on the team. His ability to get outside the pocket and make plays with his feet separate him from the other two quarterbacks. He did make one notable mistake during skeleton drills when he threw into double coverage to his former TCU teammate Jeremy Kerley. Greg McElroy (Alabama) looked good as well, he threw a very nice deep ball to Leonard Hankerson who was able to make a beautiful sideline catch and keep both feet in bounds. Christian Ponder was very disappointing, he just doesn't have the arm strength to be a starter at the next level. He appears to be accurate with his short to intermediate throws but really struggles when he's asked to throw down the field. The South coaches set up a tall garbage can in the back of the end zone and had Dalton, Ponder, and McElroy try to throw into it from about 30 yards away. Dalton looked the best, routinely hitting the can, Ponder was all over the place, only hitting the can once, and McElroy was in the middle of the pack but drew the most praise due to the large amount of Alabama fans in attendance.

Bilal Powell
Bilal Powell (Louisville) was the star of the running backs today. He displayed impressive quickness and has a very stout build to run through arm tackles in the NFL. Powell also drew praise throughout the stadium for his blocking. He was by far the best of the South running backs in pass protection drills, even dominating Von Miller at the point of attack. West Virginia's Noel Devine did not participate in pass protection drills for the running backs which may indicate that teams see him as more of a return specialist at this point. However, the few times that Devine got the ball today, I was blown away by watching his feet. There isn't a player in this class that can move the way he does in short areas. Devine can move left to right just as quickly as he can forward and backward, it is incredible to watch.

Leonard Hankerson
Miami (FL)'s Leonard Hankerson continues to lead the receivers on the South squad. His size, physicality, and ability to make plays in the middle of the field are second to none here in Mobile. Hawaii receiver Greg Salas continues to impress with his glue-like hands. He rarely drops the football and runs good routes. His stock has been on the rise here and any team looking for a possession receiver could do a lot worse than Salas. USC's Ronald Johnson is much faster than I anticipated; he can really get behind the defense. A few times today he was asked to run go-routes and he routinely was able to gain separation on his defender. Newcomer Jock Sanders (West Virginia) is extremely small, it was very hard to tell the difference between him and his West Virginia teammate Noel Devine on the field. At approximately 5-7, Sanders lined up in the slot and returned kicks.

Luke Stocker
Tennessee's Luke Stocker has been the South's best tight end this week and is drawing some first round buzz. He's an equally good blocker and receiver and has received a lot of Jason Witten comparisons but I'm not ready to place first round status on him yet. I agree, however, that his stock is rising and he'll probably be the second rated tight end in the next rankings update after Kyle Rudolph. D.J. Williams (Arkansas) was solid today, beating DeAndre McDaniel and Josh Bynes on separate occasions. He also got some reps at fullback which is good, because at under 6-2 he might not be considered a tight end by every team.

Derek Sherrod
Derek Sherrod vs. Von Miller in 1-on-1 drills was the most intriguing matchup today and both won different battles. Sherrod played nasty and showed a mean streak and looked like the fringe first-round pick that he's been talked as all season. He's still our second rated offensive tackle and Anthony Castonzo has been impressive enough this week to retain the top spot but Sherrod might be closing and he looked awfully good today. Sherrod has good base strength and holds his ground well, controlling the defender once he locks on and it's tough to nitpick when he only got beat by one of the best pass rushers in college football of the past two seasons in Von Miller.

Allen Bailey
Allen Bailey is an impressive athlete but I don't think his skill-set is any better than that of a third rounder. He's a real tweener that might be best off inside at the 3-technique but is inconsistent and sometimes just flashes his talent. He was controlled and turned from the ball by James Carpenter and Sherrod and while he can generally get off blocks with good strength and power he was far too unimpressive and inconsistent today for my liking. Cedric Thornton has looked good in the past couple of days and has the potential to be considered as high as the fourth or fifth round. He's looked good in 11-on-11's; he's very powerful, stays low and is an ideal fit as a five-technique in a 3-4 defense.

Von Miller
Von Miller has been getting a lot of hype from some media members here in Mobile, but what he has shown this week is what he has shown for a couple years. Miller still just looks like a pass-rushing specialist at this point. During linebacker coverage drills, Miller was at the other end of the field working on pass-rushing moves, while Texas tweener Sam Acho was working in coverage with the linebackers some. Acho looked surprisingly agile in coverage for his size. He was experience at the outside linebacker position, and what I've seen from his up to this point, I think he would fit in nicely with a 3-4 team in the NFL.

Curtis Brown
Although the South squad appears to have much more talent at the defensive back positions, today was a mediocre performance from some of the players who looked good yesterday. Shareece Wright got burnt badly by Miami's Leonard Hankerson for a score, but later made up for it with a great pass breakup toward the end of skeleton passing drills. Curtis Brown looked very good once again today, and really looks like the best DB in Mobile this week. The South squad has been moving players around a lot in practice this week. Clemson safety DeAndre McDaniel has been matching up on slot receivers in man coverage, while his Clemson teammate, cornerback Marcus Gilchrist, has been seeing time at the single-high safety position. Ahmad Black (Florida) has also been playing some cornerback, as well as lining up at safety. All three players are fairly versatile, and I'm sure scouts will want to see what they can do with multiple assignments.

During kickoff drills, the following players were fielding kicks: Ronald Johnson, Jeremy Kerley, Noel Devine, Jock Sanders, Derrick Locke, Greg Salas, Marcus Gilchrist

The majority of NFL personnel will have left by tomorrow's practices. The first three practices are when players can really be evaluated. The Thursday practice is with no pads. Sideline Scouting is sticking around through Saturday's game so be sure to keep coming back for updates on all the action!

(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, and will be attending the daily press conference at 5:30 CST. Full transcripts from the press conference will be posted later this evening. Refer to the tabs above for full coverage.

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