Trying to keep all Senior Bowl news in one collective thread, feel free to add information here if you find it.
Weigh ins are scheduled for today, will try to update as I find information.
Trying to keep all Senior Bowl news in one collective thread, feel free to add information here if you find it.
Weigh ins are scheduled for today, will try to update as I find information.
2011 Senior Bowl Weigh-In Results
Saving myself some formatting and posting a link to a draft site that already has the weigh-ins listed and organized...
Generally I'm not a huge fan of the Bleacher Report, but this seemed like a decent breakdown of the North/South rosters, and has been retweeted by a couple of draft people I follow. If you disagree with some of the projections, ignore them and just use it as a quick reference for the rosters.
2011 Senior Bowl: Breaking Down the North and South Rosters
By Matt Miller
(Featured Columnist) on January 23, 2011
The 2011 Senior Bowl is here. Players, agents and scouts from every NFL team are currently checking-in to Mobile, Alabama for the offseason's biggest All-Star game.
The Senior Bowl is a who's-who of NFL Draft talent. Only the best seniors are invited every year. Not invited? Don't expect to be drafted very high. This week features the best of the best going head-to-head for position on NFL draft boards.
With so much to gain, and lose, for every prospect, playing well this week can make or break a player's stock.
Here is our in-depth look at the North and South rosters.
Colin Kaepernick, Nevada
An athletic pass/run threat from a potent offensive system, Kaepernick needs to prove he has the tools to play quarterback in the NFL. (Projected Round: 4)
Jake Locker, Washington
A one time No. 1 overall prospect, Locker must prove he has the accuracy to compete as a quarterback in the NFL. This week will determine if Locker is first quarterback drafted or not. (Projected Round: 1)
Ricky Stanzi, Iowa
A tough, gun-slinger at quarterback, Stanzi's stock has been on a decline lately. This week will give him a chance to erase poor play during Iowa's bowl game. (Projected Round: 6)
Andy Dalton, TCU
A winner, first and foremost, Dalton has not been on the losing end much over the past two seasons. Senior Bowl week is Dalton's chance to enter the discussion as a late first or second-round pick. (Projected Round: 2)
Greg McElroy, Alabama
Discounted by many as a system quarterback, McElroy must show arm strength and decision-making outside the Alabama offense. (Projected Round: 5)
Christian Ponder, FSU
Before the year Ponder was considered a candidate to be first quarterback drafted. Now he's fighting to be drafted in the first 100 picks. Ponder is rehabbing an elbow injury and cannot afford a bad week. (Projected Round: 2)
Roy Helu, Jr, Nebraska
A physical runner, Helu must show the speed to break a way from NFL defenders. One of many players with a chance to shine this week. (Projected Round: 5)
Kendall Hunter, Oklahoma State
Small, but hellishly fast, Hunter is a dynamic run/catch threat. He'll need to show he is big enough to take the punishment a starting running back will see in the NFL. (Projected Round: 3)
Owen Marecic, Stanford (Fullback)
A very good blocker and capable receiver, Marecic is our No. 1 fullback in the 2011 class. This week is all about proving he belongs there. (Projected Round: 3)
DeMarco Murray, Oklahoma
Perhaps the most talented runner on the North squad, Murray has a chance to show scouts he is a better option than the many underclassmen runners currently ranked ahead of him. (Projected Round: 2)
Da'Rel Scott, Maryland
Good size. Good speed. What gives? Scott has an injury history that will alarm many teams. He needs to make a great first impression before teams start looking at medical history. (Projected Round: 7)
Anthony Allen, Georgia Tech
A big runner with good speed, Allen comes from a wishbone option attack and must acclimate quickly to a pro style offense. (Projected Round: 7)
Charles Clay, Tulsa (Fullback)
A bruising runner and blocker, Clay has value as both a running back in short-yardage situations and at fullback. He'll be fun to watch this week. (Projected Round: 6)
Noel Devine, West Virginia
A highly-touted prep running back, Devine never made the impact that many expected at West Virginia. He is seriously undersized but will remind many of Dexter McCluster. (Projected Round: 4)
Derrick Locke, Kentucky
Another undersized back, Locke needs to show he can handle the ball inside the tackles. This will be a big week for Locke's stock. (Projected Round: 6)
Bilal Powell, Louisville
Powell is a very physical runner who will excite hard-nosed running teams, but he has no value as an elusive back who can make defenders miss. (Projected Round: 4)
Wide Receivers and Tight Ends
Vincent Brown, San Diego State
Not many people know who Vincent Brown is. This week is his chance to start the climb up draft boards that many expect. (Projected Round: 4)
Dwayne Harris, East Carolina
Another "no-name" receiver on the North squad, Harris is the smaller, slot-ready receiver the North quarterbacks will lean on this week as they attempt to become familiar with the offensive schemes and players. (Projected Round: 4)
Niles Paul, Nebraska
This is Paul's chance to prove he is the prospect many evaluators thought he could be before the season. He has the athletic ability to shine but inconsistency has plagued his career. (Projected Round: 4)
Austin Pettis, Boise State
A slot receiver who can be dangerous with the ball after the catch, Pettis has the tools to impress this week. (Projected Round: 3)
Titus Young, Boise State
Easily the best receiver on the North squad, Pettis will be a favorite among NFL scouts this week. A good showing could push his stock into the 2nd Round. (Projected Round: 2)
Lance Kendricks, Wisconsin (Tight End)
The North's best tight end, Kendricks will see plenty of attention from the quarterbacks and NFL scouts. (Projected Round: 3)
Mike McNeill, Nebraska (Tight End)
McNeill is a versatile tight end/wide receiver prospect from Nebraska. With the New England Patriots reminding teams how to win with two tight ends, players like McNeill will get added attention. (Projected Round: 3)
Lee Smith, Marshall (Tight End)
A huge body at tight end (6'6", 265 lbs), Smith is your classic blocker at tight end. (Projected Round: 6)
Edmond Gates, Abilene Christian
A burner at wide receiver, Gates has a chance to make a big impact this year as a return man. He'll be a fan favorite in practices. (Projected Round: 7)
Leonard Hankerson, Miami (FL)
A talented wide receiver, Hankerson is the best of the senior wide receivers in the 2011 NFL Draft. This week is his chance to move up draft boards even higher. (Projected Round: 2)
Ronald Johnson, USC
Coming from a high-profile offense, Johnson is surprisingly underrated. He doesn't have great size or speed, but he has sure hands and good route discipline. (Projected Round: 3)
Jeremy Kerley, TCU
A super productive receiver at TCU, Kerley needs to show that he can play in any system, and without star quarterback Andy Dalton feeding him the ball. (Projected Round: 5)
Greg Salas, Hawaii
Hawaii has not historically done well at putting receivers in the NFL. Salas has the talent to play at the next level, but he must overcome the stereotypes of Hawaii offensive players being "system" guys. (Projected Round: 5)
Courtney Smith, South Alabama
A "local" guy, Smith will see a lot of media attention this week. He should enjoy it. Smith is not on our radar as a serious prospect for the draft. (Projected Round: UDFA)
Preston Dial, Alabama (Tight End)
We were a little surprised to see Dial's name on the roster. He has been a good target for Alabama this season, but does not have much promise as a draft prospect. (Projected Round: UDFA)
Luke Stocker, Tennessee (Tight End)
Stocker has enjoyed a very good season and has seen his draft stock rise because of it. As things stand now, he's a second round guy with a lot of room to move up. (Projected Round: 2)
D.J. Williams, Arkansas (Tight End)
Our top senior tight end, Williams sits behind only Notre Dame's junior Kyle Rudolph on draft boards. A good week in Mobile could see him overcome Rudolph. (Projected Round: 2)
James Brewer, Indiana (Tackle)
A late-round prospect at tackle, Brewer needs to show some versatility this week to improve his value as a depth pick in the middle rounds of the draft. (Projected Round: 6)
Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin (Tackle)
The draft's best right tackle prospect, Carimi needs to show up big this week. A good showing and he could see himself drafted in the top 15. (Projected Round: 1)
Anthony Castonzo, Boston College (Tackle)
Lost in the hype around Carimi and others, many are forgetting that Boston College has a damn good left tackle. Castonzo is a great prospect in the late teens. (Projected Round: 1)
Brandon Fusco, Slippery Rock (Center)
Your token small school lineman, Fusco is no slouch. He's among the top center prospects in the 2011 class. (Projected Round: 5)
Kevin Kowalski, Toledo (Center)
Kowalski is, like Fusco, not very well known outside scouting circles. This week will give the undersized center a chance to shine. (Projected Round: 6)
John Moffitt, Wisconsin (Guard)
A dominating run blocker from left guard, Moffitt must prove in one-on-one drills that he can survive without first-round pick and line mate Gabe Carimi next to him. (Projected Round: 4)
Jason Pinkston, Pittsburgh (Tackle)
A bit undersized for tackle, Pinkston could see himself moved to guard this week. (Projected Round: 4)
Stephen Schilling, Michigan (Guard)
Being an offensive lineman from Michigan does not have the same allure that it once did. Schilling is coming from a spread offense where he was asked to move around a lot. That mobility will make him a valuable player to NFL teams. (Projected Round: 3)
Nate Solder, Colorado (Tackle)
Another top left tackle prospect, Solder will be directly competing with Anthony Castonzo for attention this week. (Projected Round: 1)
Clint Boling, Georgia (Guard)
Boling has played both guard and tackle, but projects best at guard in the NFL. A big week here could be huge for his draft stock. (Projected Round: 5)
James Carpenter, Alabama (Tackle)
A productive run blocker for the Crimson Tide, there are questions about Carpenter's foot speed and ability to stand up against speed rushers. We'll find out soon enough. (Projected Round: 4)
Marcus Gilbert, Florida (Tackle)
A finesse player, Gilbert has to show he can stand his ground and fight in the trenches. Gilbert has elite tools, he needs to show them this week. (Projected Round: 3)
Rodney Hudson, FSU (Guard)
Currently the top rated guard on most draft boards, Hudson will be in a fight with Mike Pouncey for the No. 1 guard spot down the stretch. With Pouncey deciding to not attend, this is Hudson's chance. (Projected Round: 2)
Jake Kirkpatrick, TCU (Center)
A smart, savvy center, Kirkpatrick has a chance to really prove himself this week against bigger defensive tackles. (Projected Round: 5)
DeMarcus Love, Arkansas (Tackle)
Considered a first-round prospect by some, Love could see a move to guard in the NFL. If he wants to stay at tackle (where more money is made), he needs a huge week. (Projected Round: 2)
Kristofer O'Dowd, USC (Center)
Coming from a pro-style offense, O'Dowd is ready to step into the NFL right now. How well he handles the big nose tackles will say a lot about his draft stock. (Projected Round: 3)
Derek Sherrod, Mississippi State (Tackle)
The top tackle on many draft boards, Sherrod was not impressive down the stretch for the Bulldogs. Can he stop the edge rushers he'll see in the NFL? Step one is to dominate this week. (Projected Round: 1)
Danny Watkins, Baylor (Tackle)
A projected left tackle in the NFL, not many are talking about Watkins right now. After this week everyone will now about the talented big man. (Projected Round: 2)
Pierre Allen, Nebraska (Defensive End)
A traditional 4-3 defensive end, Allen has the tools to impress scouts this week. With so much attention paid to the 3-4 outside linebackers here, Allen can make an impact with 4-3 teams. (Projected Round: 3)
Christian Ballard, Iowa (Defensive End, 3-4)
The first of many potential 3-4 defensive ends who could also play defensive tackle in a 4-3, Ballard is a name to remember. With teammate Adrian Clayborn electing to not play, Ballard can really improve his stock. (Projected Round: 2)
Jeremy Beal, Oklahoma (Defensive End/Outside Linebacker)
An outside linebacker for the Sooners, Beal has value as a pass rusher from the end or standing up at outside linebacker depending on the scheme. (Projected Round: 2)
Sione Fua, Stanford (Defensive Tackle, Nose Tackle)
A traditional 3-4 nose tackle for Stanford, Fua has a chance to make a lasting impression on NFL decision makers this week and improve his stock to rounds 3-4. (Projected Round: 4)
Cameron Jordan, Cal (Defensive End, 3-4)
Jordan has seen his stock as high as No. 3 overall this year, or as low as the mid 20s. He will level out somewhere in between if he shows a good skill set this week to play in both a 4-3 and 3-4 defense. (Projected Round: 1)
Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue (Defensive End/Outside Linebacker)
A defensive end at Purdue, many are projecting Kerrigan to outside linebacker in the NFL. He'll need to show the footwork, speed and hip flexibility to drop into coverage to make that a reality. (Projected Round: 1)
Stephen Paea, Oregon State (Defensive Tackle)
A traditional three-technique defensive tackle, Paea is loved by some and passed over by others. He is smaller than most would like and will need to prove he is strong enough to hold up against better interior blockers. (Projected Round: 2)
Ian Williams, Notre Dame (Defensive Tackle)
Williams has the size to play nose tackle in a three or four-man front. He was not overly impressive at Notre Dame on a bad defense. He needs to have a good week. (Projected Round: 4)
Sam Acho, Texas (Defensive End/Outside Linebacker)
A great athlete, but he generates little production. Acho has the tools to play end or outside linebacker, but must show more toughness and speed. (Projected Round: 3)
Allen Bailey, Miami FL (Defensive End, 3-4)
A borderline first-round prospect, we like Bailey's potential as a defensive end in an aggressive 3-4 defense. He has some ability to get up field and pressure the quarterback. (Projected Round: 2)
Jarvis Jenkins, Clemson (Defensive Tackle)
Big bodied and able to stuff the run, Jenkins will get looks at both defensive tackle and defensive end as a 3-4 player. (Projected Round: 3)
Pernell McPhee, Mississippi State (Defensive End, 3-4)
Another bigger than usual defensive end (285 lbs), McPhee will get looks in a conventional four-man front at left end and in a 3-4.
Chris Neild, West Virginia (Defensive Tackle)
The guys picking the Senior Bowl rosters generally do a great job, but this one shocked us. Neild won't be drafted. Someone else should have been given a shot here. (Projected Round: UDFA)
Brooks Reed, Arizona (Defensive End/Outside Linebacker)
I would have much rather seen this spot go to Ricky Elmore, Reed's teammate at Arizona. Reed has some value as a pass rusher, but he's not expected to benefit much from this week. (Projected Round: 5)
Phil Taylor, Baylor (Nose Tackle)
The best pure nose tackle on either roster, Taylor could really see his stock climb with a great showing in Mobile. (Projected Round: 2)
Cedric Thornton, Southern Arkansas (Defensive Tackle)
Another small school guy with some skills to surprise folks in attendance. Thornton has good size, but he really lacks the speed needed to play in the NFL. (Projected Round: 7)
Mason Foster, Washington (Outside Linebacker)
A pass rushing force off the edge, Foster has to show the speed NFL teams are looking for in the position. (Projected Round: 3)
Mark Herzlich, Boston College (Outside Linebacker)
A feel-good story you are sure to hear a lot more about this week, Herzlich is a protypical strong-side linebacker for a 4-3 defense. He might see a move inside for 3-4 teams. (Projected Round: 2)
Ross Homan, Ohio State (Outside Linebacker)
Homan has some talent, but he is also undersized and can be easily blocked in the running game. He needs to show this week that he has the toughness to make plays. (Projected Round: 5)
Greg Jones, Michigan State (Inside Linebacker)
The best of the inside linebackers, Jones will be making plays all over the field this week. He projects best as a MIKE linebacker in a 4-3. (Projected Round: 2)
Casey Matthews, Oregon (Inside Linebacker)
A player that many will be watching, Matthews is a very instinctive linebacker without great measurables. He will be hard to overlook, though. (Projected Round: 4)
Lawrence Wilson, UConn (Outside Linebacker)
A little small to play outside in a 3-4, Wilson will see a lot of work at weakside linebacker by the Bills staff this week. (Projected Round: 4)
Josh Bynes, Auburn (Inside Linebacker)
A bit undersized for an inside linebacker, Bynes has good speed and instincts for the position. Here is his chance to show in drills and live plays that he can stuff the run as required. (Projected Round: 6)
Nate Irving, North Carolina State (Inside Linebacker)
A player moving up our board quickly, Irving could do a lot of good with a solid week in Mobile. He has everything you are looking for at inside linebacker. (Projected Round: 3)
Colin McCarthy, Miami FL (Inside Linebacker)
A scrappy fighter on the inside, we like McCarthy in 3-4 and 4-3 alignments. His knowledge of the game and leadership will make him a coaches favorite. (Projected Round: 3)
Von Miller, Texas A&M (Outside Linebacker, 3-4)
A pure pass rusher, Miller is rated by some as a top five draft pick because of his ability to get to the quarterback. He can make or break himself this week. (Projected Round: 1)
Kelvin Sheppard, LSU (Inside Linebacker)
Expect to see the teams running a 3-4 all over Sheppard this week. He has the perfect build and make-up to play behind nose tackles. (Projected Round: 4)
Chris White, Mississippi State (Inside Linebacker)
You can tell the South will be coached by a former linebacker. White is a good prospect for MIKE positions, but he may not have the speed to contend as a top 120 prospect. (Projected Round: 5)
K.J. Wright, Mississippi State (Outside Linebacker)
A very fun player to watch, Wright could see a big boost in his stock and visibility this week. He's an incredibly active outside linebacker. (Projected Round: 3)
Jalil Brown, Colorado (Cornerback)
Good size and good speed, Brown has a chance to see his stock soar this week. (Projected Round: 4)
Kendric Burney, North Carolina (Cornerback)
A bit shorter than most would like, Burney has very good cover skills and could bring value as a nickel and dime back. He'll need to show the speed to cover this week. (Projected Round: 5)
Rashad Carmichael, Virginia Tech (Cornerback)
Among the fastest players invited to the Senior Bowl, we would love to see Carmichael returning punts as well as playing cornerback. (Projected Round: 5)
Quinton Carter, Oklahoma (Free Safety)
A true play-maker at free safety, Carter is the best defender in the North's secondary. Expect to see him all over the field Saturday. Carter is our No. 1 free safety. (Projected Round: 2)
Eric Hagg, Nebraska (Free Safety)
A little too slow to make it at free safety in the NFL, Hagg might see a move to strong safety. He could see a drop in stock once teams see his inability to cover. (Projected Round: UDFA)
Jaiquawn Jarrett, Temple (Free Safety)
A player whose stock has been rising all season, Jarrett is finally getting the credit he deserves. He has exceptional speed and cover skills. (Projected Round: 2)
Joe Lefeged, Rutgers (Strong Safety)
A true strong safety, Lefeged is much better in run support than dropping back in to coverage. He could be exposed in coverage this week. (Projected Round: 5)
Curtis Marsh, Utah State (Cornerback)
A good all-around coverage corner, Marsh will be facing the best talent he's ever seen this week. He can improve his stock or seriously hurt it with a good week of practice. (Projected Round: 4)
Da'Norris Searcy, North Carolina (Strong Safety)
A surprise on the roster, Searcy is not highly regarded in draft cirles. With only average speed, at best, Searcy will be a fringe player late in the draft. (Projected Round: 7)
Ahmad Black, Florida (Strong Safety)
Smaller than most strong safeties, Black is a play-maker who attacks the ball. He might not measure as well as other safeties, but few can play as well. (Projected Round: 2)
Curtis Brown, Texas (Cornerback)
A very good athlete who brings some value as a return man, Brown needs to show better coverage ability this week to maintain a high draft grade. (Projected Round: 2)
Zac Etheridge, Auburn (Strong Safety)
Etheridge rode Auburn's national championship win to a spot on the Senior Bowl roster that really should have gone to someone else. (Projected Round: UDFA)
Marcus Gilchrist, Clemson (Free Safety)
A late-round prospect with good overall skills, Gilchrist needs to flash some play-making skills from centerfield. Really like his speed in pursuit. (Projected Round: 7)
DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson (Strong Safety)
Clemson has a very good secondary and it shows with the players represented here. McDaniel is our No. 1 strong safety prospect and could do little this week to change that. (Projected Round: 2)
Johnny Patrick, Louisville (Cornerback)
A player we have been watching intently for some time now, Patrick's stock will jump off the charts if he puts a good show on this week. (Projected Round: 2)
DeMarcus Van Dyke, Miami FL (Cornerback)
We're not quite sure how or why Van Dyke received an invite over so many talented cornerbacks available, but he did. We have him projected as a street free agent. (Projected Round: UDFA)
Shareece Wright, USC (Cornerback)
Wright did not get much publicity this year due to a down season at USC, but he deserves mention among the top of the second tier cornerbacks. (Projected Round: 3)
A couple of interesting results (IMO)...
-Miami DL Allen Bailey (6'3" 278) was listed by some as looking the most physically impressive today. Anxious to see how he does in practices.
-Oklahoma DE/OLB Jeremy Beal came in a bit heavier than I thought he would @ 268.
-Florida DB Ahmad Black at 5'9" 183,
-SDSU WR Vincent Brown weighing in at 184, over ten pounds lower than listed.
-Wisconsin OL Gabe Carimi (6'7" 315), very good size w/ long arms.
-WVU RB Noel Devine weighed in at 160, yowza. If you thought Dexter McCluster was small...
-Washington LB Mason Foster came in at 6'1" and 241 pounds, solid enough.
-Miami WR Leonard Hankerson two inches shorter than his listed height at 6'1"
-Boston College LB Mark Herzlich sounded impressive at 6'3" and 250 pounds.
-I read one impression of Purdue DE Ryan Kerrigan that said he was built like the Terminator (6'3" 255)
-Texas A&M Von Miller a bit smaller than listed at 6'2.5" and 237 pounds. Not quite as big as 3-4 teams would probably like.
-Oregon State DT Stephen Paea came in under the three-bill mark (6'1" 295)
-Baylor NT Phil Taylor drew some attention weighing in at 337
-Arkansas TE D.J. Williams probably secured a move to H-back with his weigh in (6'1" 236 pounds).
-Boise State WR Titus Young measured in as expected, but one report commented that he looked pretty thin/frail.
10 impressions from Senior Bowl weigh-in
By Rob Rang
NFL Draft Scout
Before we can get to the field in Mobile, Alabama for the first Senior Bowl practices we had the weigh-in this morning. Rather than simply copy and paste the results, I thought it best to list the ten biggest surprises of the session.
* Purdue defensive end Ryan Kerrigan surprised by weighing in at "only" 255 pounds. He'd been listed at Purdue at 263 pounds and many expected that he'd put on weight to come in bigger and stronger. Instead, he came in at a chiseled 255 and looks poised to make the switch to outside linebacker if he can demonstrate the fluidity in coverage this week.
* Texas A&M outside linebacker Von Miller eased concerns over his listed 6-2, 240 pound frame by coming in at 6025. It might not sound like much to come in 5/8" of an inch taller than initially projected, but at nearly 6-3, Miller does have enough length to project as a 3-4 rush linebacker. Clearly, the Butkus Award winner is a terrific pass rusher. Some teams however, had concerns whether he had the size to fit this role in the NFL. That 5/8 of an inch could make Miller millions and help him retain the title as the best and most versatile linebacker in the 2011 draft.
* Two relatively "small school" receivers showed off a couple of the most impressive physiques, instantly providing some evidence that they deserve to be in this contest. South Alabama's Courtney Smith (6040, 220) and San Diego State's Vincent Brown (5110, 184) sported chiseled frames. In all-star games such as this one, the first step towards making a jump up draft boards is by making a first impression; Smith and Brown certainly helped their cause by doing precisely that.
* Washington quarterback Jake Locker came in slightly shorter than expected at 6022, 228 pounds. He had been listed at 6-3, 230. Again, the 3/4 of an inch doesn't sound like a big difference, but one of the elements that scouts had liked about Locker was his prototypical size. It isn't fair to list Locker's size as an attribute when he's only a 1/4" inch taller than TCU's Andy Dalton and 3/4" of an inch taller than Alabama's Greg McElroy -- two QBs who have been often knocked for their lack of ideal height in the past.
* Two highly touted Big 12 pass rushers came in smaller and with less than impressive builds than expected. Texas' Sam Acho (listed at 6-3, 260 by the Longhorns) came in at 6016, 257 pounds. Oklahoma's Jeremy Beal (listed by Oklahoma at 6-3, 267) came in at 6023 and 268 pounds. Acho's significantly shorter frame and Beal's sloppier build won't help either combat the growing sentiment among scouts that each has been a tad overrated due to their high motor play for major programs.
* I've been pretty outspoken about my feeling on Cal defensive end Cameron Jordan, but today's weigh-in only added to the reason why I believe he'll ultimately rank as one of the more impressive players in Mobile this week. Jordan measured in at 6041 and 287 pounds. More impressively, he had 11 1/4" hands and 34.5" inch arms, one of the reasons why I believe he can be successful playing inside or out in either front.
* Derek Sherrod measured in with 35.5" arms and 11" hands -- the biggest of each among this highly competitive offensive tackle class.
* The most impressive build among the offensive tackles, however, was surprisingly turned in by Boston College's Anthony Castonzo. I've been critical of Castonzo's thinner than ideal frame in the past, but the former 260 pound tight end looked very comfortable at 6071 and 305 pounds. Few offensive linemen can boast a six pack. Castonzo's is slight, but it is there. His long arms and defined pecs prove that his weight gain is legitimate and likely to remain (and increase) in an NFL weight-room.
* As expected, Baylor defensive tackle Phil Taylor was the heaviest man in the Senior Bowl. He measured in at 6034 and 337 pounds. Taylor's bulk was evenly distributed, however. In fact, he showed less jiggle than many linemen closer to the 300 pound frame.
* Also as expected, West Virginia running back Noel Devine was the smallest and lightest player in this game. Devine measured in at 5070 and 160 pounds. He wasn't the lightest by much, however. Miami cornerback Demarcus Van Dyke weighed in at 168 pounds despite being just a shade under 6-1.
Senior Bowl practice notes: Day 1
Breaking down day one at the Senior Bowl.
January 24, 2011, 09:52 PM EST
A look at some of the top prospects and standouts from day one at the Senior Bowl.
It seemed as though Nebraska wide out Niles Paul was a man on a mission today, catching every ball tossed in his general direction. He displayed good concentration all practice, saw every throw into his frame and really plucked the football cleanly. Add that to the fact he has a good initial burst off the line, does a nice job changing gears in order to set up his routes and at 225-pounds possesses the type of physicality to consistently shrug off defenders in man and separate. Chalk up a very solid first impression for Paul today in Mobile, as he looks like a guy who could line-up inside or out at the next level and separate from NFL caliber corners.
However, as good as Paul was it’s going to be tough for any senior wide out this week to play at the level of Boise State receiver Titus Young. Young not only is an out and out burner who has the ability to consistently get up to full speed quickly and separate vertically down the field. But, he’s a really savvy route runner who is sudden in and out of his breaks and does a nice job changing speeds in order to separate. Reminds me of a more polished/savvy version of Johnny Knox.
The more I watch Oklahoma DE Jeremy Beal, the less I feel like this guy has a position in the NFL. He played with his hand on the ground today and didn’t exhibit the kind of get off burst to consistently threaten the edge, doesn’t have great power through contact and doesn’t use his hands well enough to consistently disengage. Plus, he isn’t a real balanced individual when asked to change directions off his outside pass rush and isn’t nearly the type of pass rusher his stats at Oklahoma would leave you to believe.
Another defensive lineman who seemed to have a rough go as a pass rusher was Iowa’s Christian Ballard. He’s a tall, long armed kid with a good initial first step, extend his arms well and can create some leverage for himself off the snap. However, if his initial bull rush is stalled he allows his pad level to pop up quickly, gets hung up too easily through contact and doesn’t use his hands well enough to cleanly disengage. He looks more like a DE only who has the length and anchor strength to play the run with some consistency as well as the range to track the football in pursuit. But overall he’s not a real natural pass rusher at this stage.
I’m still not nearly as impressed with Colorado OT Nate Solder as most. Despite his long, athletic looking frame I don’t think he’s nearly as rangy as many make him out to be when asked to reach speed off the edge. Often times, he’s consistently forced to lunge into his target and push him past the pocket. And in order to overcome his lack of initial range he will get overextended on his initial kick-step. I also believe he struggles to re-direct and mirror his man inside. In my view would be better suited to play on the right side and reminds me of Patriots RT Sebastian Vollmer.
Wisconsin OT Gabe Carimi seems to have taken to some additional coaching since he last played on January 1st. He appeared more compact sitting into his stance off the snap, allowing him to be more balanced initially in pass protection and really delivered a powerful punch into contact. He isn’t the most athletic of left tackles, but he understands angles, has improved his balance/change of direction skills and has the kind of length to certainly hold up on the blindside at the next level.
He may lack ideal size, but Connecticut linebacker Lawrence Wilson really showed well for himself today in coverage drills. He’s a fluid, balanced athlete who does a nice job cleanly getting out of his breaks, keeping his feet under him and quickly driving on throws underneath. He did a nice job in space covering up the best running backs the North squad had to offer. Might be considered a nickel backer on most rosters, but has starting potential in more of a cover two scheme.
On the other hand Michigan State linebacker Greg Jones not only is undersized, coming in at under 6000 at today’s weigh-in. But he looked really stiff in coverage, is easy to separate from in any kind of space and simply doesn’t have the ability to turn and run with tight ends down the seam at the next level. He’s a tightly wound, tight-hipped kind of prospect who is limited to more of a two down guy only.
Finally, Wisconsin TE Lance Kendricks’ certainly looks capable of carrying on the Badgers tradition of sending talented pass catchers to the next level. He showcased good initial burst off the line today and displayed the type of fluidity to cleanly get out of his breaks and separate down the field. He was a real miss-match at times vs. linebackers both underneath and down the field and paired with his ability to block as a move guy, looks like an intriguing tight end prospect at the next level.
Scouts see same Locker, new Kaepernick at Senior Bowl practice
By Rob Rang
Jan. 24, 2011Tell Rob your opinion!
MOBILE, Ala. -- Scouts were anxious to find out whether relocation from Seattle to Mobile, Ala., and the Senior Bowl would improve Jake Locker's effectiveness.
If Monday's practice was any indication, the change of scenery didn't change the quarterback.
As scouts who have studied him closely anticipated, Locker's performance left something to be desired. Outside of the pocket, Locker shows good accuracy and velocity. He possesses the strong arm to rifle the deep out and the touch to loft deep balls down the sideline for long gains. Among his highlights: A rollout to his right, throwing to Marshall tight end Lee Smith for a long gain; and a beautifully thrown touchdown pass down the right sideline to Maryland running back Da'Rel Scott.
However, the general inaccuracy that plagued Locker throughout his Washington career was also on display. Locker threw high and wide often and was intercepted over the middle by Rutgers safety Joe Lefeged when he misread the coverage. Senior Bowl rules dictate that defenses can only run Cover One and Cover Three schemes, meaning either a single safety or three-deep looks are allowed. A fifth-year senior shouldn't be fooled by simple coverage. But in fairness to Locker and the other quarterbacks in this game, he's had no time to develop timing with his receivers.
However, it didn't take Nevada's Colin Kaepernick long to make an impression on scouts. There are concerns about Kaepernick's transition from Chris Ault's Pistol offense to a pro-style system, but the Nevada passer clearly has spent the time off working on his dropback from center. Kaepernick was the North team's most impressive passer Monday, threading the needle on most occasions and demonstrating spectacular arm strength.
On more than one occasion, Kaepernick read the defense, realized that if he wanted to complete the pass to his primary target he'd have to drive the ball with extra velocity -- and did so. There aren't many quarterbacks in the 2011 draft with the ability to fit passes into the tight windows Kaepernick did. He also showed better-than-expected touch, fitting passes over the linebacker and under the safeties down the seam. Kaepernick's athleticism was noticeable. On one occasion, Kaepernick kept the ball on an option, eluded a defender in the hole and dashed into the secondary, surprising defenders with his rare acceleration for such a big (6-5, 225) quarterback.
Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi doesn't possess Locker's athletic upside or Kaepernick's arm strength. His instincts and consistency make him one of the better "second tier" quarterbacks in this class. Stanzi, wearing a bright yellow helmet Monday, chose to pepper the defense with underneath passes too often for scouts' liking, but that can hardly be considered a surprise considering the ball-control offense he ran at Iowa.
Quarterbacks will get most of the attention, but San Diego State wide receiver Vincent Brown was the star among skill-position players.
Brown's chiseled 5-11, 184-pound frame impressed scouts at Monday morning's weigh-in and he successfully built upon the first impression with several dazzling plays in the afternoon practice.
Brown has good initial burst off the snap and the speed to pull away from defenders in the open field. He was especially dynamic early in the practice, showing good body control to contort in space and excellent hands to snatch passes out of the air, keep his feet and generate extra yardage.
Boise State wide receiver Titus Young made a few splashy plays, including scoring two long touchdowns. Young's speed got him open on both plays, but he had to react to poorly thrown passes. His ability to locate the football, adjust around oncoming defenders and make the leaping catch impressed scouts.
Young's slight build (5-11, 174) won't impress scouts, nor will his concentration lapses on Monday. Young dropped an early pass, was caught offside and was so angry at himself for letting a ball slip through his hands late in Monday's practice that he didn't give any chase to Virginia Tech cornerback Rashad Carmichael, who intercepted the pass and ran down the sideline for an uncontested touchdown. Inconsistent passing didn't allow many of the other receivers to make the type of dramatic plays that can change the educated opinion of scouts who studied the prospects before and during the 2010 season, but Nebraska's Niles Paul made impressions in another way -- destroying cornerbacks as a run blocker. The 6-1, 225-pound Paul was bigger and stronger than the cornerbacks he faced. He was able to lock on and keep defenders away from the ballcarrier throughout early drills and during late scrimmage sessions.
Grading any prospect after only one day in this environment is clearly inadvisable. Fair or unfair, impressions were made Monday. It is up to the players to make them positive the rest of the week.
• The Cincinnati Bengals' coaching staff shifted their offensive line in Monday's initial practice, giving scouts an opportunity to see the versatility of the North team's prospects. Wisconsin's Gabe Carimi, a career left tackle with the Badgers, saw action inside at left guard and linemate John Moffitt slid inside to center. Boston College offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo, who has earned All-ACC honors the past three seasons at left tackle, saw a lot of time on the right side Monday.
• Utah cornerback Brandon Marsh was unable to practice Monday due to a pulled hamstring. He told NFLDraftScout.com the injury was expected to keep him sidelined for a week or two, a disappointing turn of events for the former running back whose stellar play this season earned him a surprising invitation to this game.
• It isn't uncommon to see the families of prospects travel to Mobile to root on their favorite player. Last year, for example, there was a sizeable contingent of Boise State cornerback Kyle Wilson's friends and family who watched him successfully turn a strong week of practice at the Senior Bowl into a first-round selection by the New York Jets. This year, Kaepernick's group stands out. While more reserved than Wilson's group was last year -- and there isn't a bus with Kaepernick's likeness on it to my knowledge -- it was hard not to notice the foursome wearing Nevada hats and sweatshirts embroidered with "Kap" on them.
Senior Bowl Day One Recap
January 24, 2011
The first day of Senior Bowl week is full of excitement for everyone involved. The city of Mobile, Alabama enjoys hosting the game at Ladd-Peebles Stadium and local football fans flood the parking lot waiting to see some of college football's finest talent. Coaching staffs and scouts alike enjoy the event after the doldrums of the NFL season. Hope springs eternal as each prospect becomes "the next Tom Brady," "next Pierre Thomas," and "next Wes Welker."
Here are five positives and five negatives from the opening weigh-ins and first practice of the week.
1) Ryan Kerrigan (DE Purdue), Nate Solder (OT Colorado) and Christian Ponder (QB Florida State) all had great weigh-ins. Kerrigan looked chiseled in his upper body and more athletic than he is typically viewed. Solder drew a whistle from media members in the audience showing up at a legit 6'8" and carrying 314 lbs better than many thought possible. He has a lot of work to do from a development standpoint, but is as intriguing a tackle prospect as we've seen from this class. Ponder had the QB mold trifecta with athletic build, short arms, and big hands. A onetime top prospect, he'll rise if his shoulder is healthy.
2) Everyone knows Colin Kaepernick (QB Nevada) is tall and runs well for his length. He showed up at his weigh-in with more muscle definition than was expected and looked like he had plenty of room on his frame to fill out. At practice, Kaepernick was spotty, but threw the ball as well as anyone and drew buzz from several team scouts. Currently a mid-round prospect, Kaepernick could rise quickly in this class.
3) John Moffitt (OC/OG Wisconsin) is considered a mid-round prospect after blocking for numerous top rushers during his time in Madison. Moffitt took reps at every interior line position during practice today and excelled moving to both his right and his left. Versatility is key for mid-round linemen, and Moffitt showcased it in spades for the Cincinnati Bengals coaches.
4) The defensive backfield talent in this draft isn't great behind Patrick Peterson and Prince Amukamara, but Rashad Carmichael (DB Virginia Tech) had a nice pick off of Jake Locker (QB Washington) and consistently locked up his man during 1-on-1 drills. Joe Lefeged (DB Rutgers) had a nice pick on a high-arching pass he tracked without losing speed. A great week by a cornerback or safety in this game could really shape a mediocre class.
5) Danny Watkins (OL Baylor) looked great at guard for the South squad. He moved very well and was able to mirror pass rushers. Watkins consistently stymied bull rushers throughout 1-on-1 drills. At the second level, he showcased the ability to lock on linebackers and drive them out of the hole. Interior linemen are in short supply this year and Watkins can make himself some money this week.
1) Greg Jones (LB Michigan State) is extremely small for a middle linebacker at 5'11 7/8, 240 yet consistently lined up at that position while the bigger Mark Herzlich lined up outside. Furthermore, at the weigh-in Jones looked like he could actually shed weight. Jones needs to spend this week showing versatility and willingness to play special teams. He just doesn't have the body or the skills to play every down in the middle of an NFL defense.
2) Titus Young (WR Boise State) had five drops during the practice session and was subsequently dogged by the coaching staff. However, he also turned in a couple of great plays and hauled in a touchdown. His stock is currently sitting in a group of five or six high mid-round prospects. He can certainly carve out his niche in the NFL as a short route demon and punt returner, but he needs to consistently catch the ball.
3) If Jake Locker (QB Washington) ever writes his memoirs, this week should be in a chapter entitled, "No Excuses." Locker was sporadic in today's practice but had a couple of really good passes, including a few dropped by the aforementioned Titus Young. Locker has every tool you want from a NFL QB, but poor blocking and worse skill position play doomed him in Washington. On the flip side, Coach Steve Sarkisian is a famed QB developer and many scouts believe Locker should be further along in his development. No one is being watched closer.
4) Kendric Burney (CB UNC) struggled through 2010 on a team that had plenty of excuses. Today, in Mobile, he better have had a couple because he was burned repeatedly by the North's wide receivers. Burney simply couldn't stay with receivers who beat him several times with double moves.
5) DeMarcus Van Dyke (CB Miami) didn't display any physicality at the South practices, and had trouble breaking on the ball. He was consistently caught high in his backpedal and the South quarterbacks took advantage.
wow thanks for this, honestly I'm pretty ignorant this year on prospects compared to the last two years.... been so busy. Thankyouf or posting this Nick.
No problem, Zia. I think I only caught the final hour of the NFLN practice show myself, but some things that stood out to me…
-I thought Locker looked fine. He did misfire on a few passes, but all of the QBs did because they have no timing or comfort level with these receivers. I disagree with Rang on the interception; to me it looked like Locker expected his receiver to continue his route, but the receiver either slowed or stopped suddenly. This week will be big for him, though. Word is Washington was tripping over themselves trying to go talk to him; I still think he’s a realistic candidate for the Top Ten. Rang lavished praise on Nevada's Colin Kaepernick, and while I do think he was impressive at times, his throwing mechanics are a bit concerning to me.
-Didn’t get a chance to watch much from the running backs, but the wide receivers had some nice plays. Titus Young stood out for both positive and negative reasons. He did get a decent amount of deep separation in the first practice, but it seemed that on at least two occasions it was because he exploded out of his stance before the ball was snapped. His cuts on short routes were sharp, and he could really build on this week to solidify a second round spot. Bit concerned about those pencil-thin legs but they seem to serve him well. San Diego State receiver Vincent Brown is getting a lot of buzz, and I thought he looked solid as well. Brown came in lighter than he was listed, but the report from those at the weigh in was that he looked good. Anxious to see him this week.
-The biggest attraction on the offensive line was the three top tackles – Solder, Carimi, and Castonzo. It didn’t look like any of them particularly disappointed. I was more impressed with Carimi than I thought I would be, and I liked that they were already trying him at guard during some team drills. He’s a guy that I think would fit well with a team like Indianapolis, who could use help at either position. I’m kind of in the Wes Bunting camp in that I’m not as blown away by Solder as some others appear to be. He doesn’t appear to know quite how to play at a high level as a 6’8” offensive tackle. He needs to have a better showing the rest of the week if he wants to jump into that #1 OT spot. Castonzo looked good; I thought Scott Wright phrased it well in that he wasn’t flashy but got the job done.
-Defensively, Purdue’s Ryan Kerrigan looked great. He beat Solder a time or two and has been drawing some comparisons to Chris Long. Not sure how I feel about that one, but he’s certainly off on the right foot this week so far. Meanwhile, I wasn’t impressed by what I saw of Jeremy Beal. I agree with Bunting in that I’m not sure this guy has a true position at the next level. He didn’t look natural at defensive end. He was stonewalled on one snap because he got off the ball too late, and then must not have been concentrating as much as he should have been on the next snap because he jumped offsides to try and make up for it. Cameron Jordan looked about as I expected, which was a good thing. I think Jordan is a guy who probably will find a home in the Top 10-20.
-At linebacker, Mason Foster looked more impressive than I expected in coverage, though he did mug a player down the field on one occasion. I thought UConn’s Lawrence Wilson looked good in coverage, he had a nice break-up on an underneath route by a RB or TE. I’m looking forward to watching some South practices today to see what Von Miller is up to. His weigh in is more in the 4-3 LB range, so how well will he work in coverage and reading/reacting to the run? Anxious to see.
Random thoughts as I’m watching morning practice on NFLN, with the disclaimer that obviously what I'm seeing is only what NFLN is deciding to show me…
-Titus Young, Vincent Brown, and Niles Paul all continued to look impressive. Young didn’t quite breakaway down field like I expected him to, but looked great running routes. Brown was also an impressive route runner and has displayed good hands and focus. The other Boise receiver, Pettis, seems a bit slow making his breaks to me.
-VA Tech CB Carmichael is not looking that good, seems like he’s getting beat in coverage more than you’d like to see. I’ve liked what I’ve seen out of North Carolina DB Kendric Burney, seems pretty physical and tries to disrupt the catch.
-Solder looked solid at right tackle in team drills, a bit susceptible to inside spin. Hard to get a good look at anyone besides the QB in team drills because NFLN is all over the quarterback discussion right now. Not very helpful to focus on Locker when a run play is called, guys.
-Whoa, Scott Linehan in the stands, flashbacks!!
-Castonzo giving up some inside ground to Iowa’s Ballard at guard, Cameron Jordan with a nice swim move from the outside against the Indiana tackle Brewer. Jordan moved inside and took Michigan’s Schilling to school.
-Solder got the better of Kerrigan today on two outside rushes, looks better in this match-up than he did yesterday from the limited reps I can see.
-Nice inside move by Beal on Castonzo @ LT. Marvin Lewis told Beal they’d try to get him some work at LB as well.
-Pierre Allen and Carimi are exchanging good plays in their match-up; Carimi got beat on the first play by Allen but came back the next play and stood Allen up. Carimi’s teammate Moffitt looked solid on either side at guard.
-Ballard is moving very well, getting penetration by Schilling. Solder just got worked by an inside move by Jordan on the right side.
-Bengals DL coach just dropped an F-bomb while working on technique with Brewer, nice!
-Stanzi looked pretty good avoiding pressure and finding a receiver on the move.
-Solder did not look very natural moving to the second level on the RB screen in team drills. He let Casey Matthews run right by him.
-Nice job by Homan on the shuttle pass, staying out of traffic to make a play on the RB.
From Wes Bunting (National Football Post)...
Our first look at the top prospects from the South squad on day two at the Senior Bowl.
I have said it before and will say it again, if Baylor OL Danny Watkins was three years younger and two inches taller the guy would be a first-round pick. He displayed tremendous improvement as a senior this past year and is quickly taking to playing inside at guard this week in Mobile. Watkins is a strong kid who can bend, generate leverage for himself off the snap and mirror through contact. Heís still is a bit raw with his hand placement ó getting too high at times ó but takes well to coaching, showcased improvements during practice and strikes me as a guy who can come in and play from day one as an NFL guard.
Speaking of Baylor linemen, defensive tackle Phil Taylor can absolutely be a one-man wrecking crew when the guy plays with proper leverage. At the start of practice he came out of his stance too high, lost the leverage battle and was stonewalled at the point by a smaller offensive lineman. However, after that point he did a much better job staying low off the ball and absolutely overwhelmed opposing blockers through contact. Combine his power with his impressive initial first step for his size and violent club, and the guy can be an absolute bear to block one-on-one inside. An intriguing defensive line prospect who will get looks both inside and out in both a 34 and 43 front.
Ahmad Black could be a real steal in the middle rounds of the 2011 draft.
It is what it is when you look at Florida safety Ahmad Black as a prospect. He had a great day at practice, is fluid, keeps his feet under him when asked to redirect and has a nose for the football. However, itís tough to take a 183-pound safety high in the draft, especially if he doesnít possess elite range in the deep half, which Black lacks. Now, he plays faster than he runs because of his instincts and ability to cleanly change directions and get up to full speed quickly. But there arenít too many safeties in the NFL who are starting at Blackís size. Nevertheless, I like the kid as a football player and think he could end up being a real steal for a team in the mid rounds.
We knew coming into the Senior Bowl that Miami DL Allen Bailey was a freak of nature and he proved it at the weigh in. However, I had severe doubts about the guyís ability to play football. And after watching him today, I wouldnít draft the guy at any point during the first three rounds. Heís a strong kid who has a good initial get off for his size and can gain leverage on contact. But heís a linear pass rusher only who doesnít use his hands/length at all to disengage from blocks through contact. Once you get a hold of him the battle is over and for a guy who only can only be effective as a bull rusher, I donít see him ever being real effective getting after the passer.
TCU QB Andy Dalton was inconsistent at times today, however, he showcased the ability to consistently stick the deep out outside the numbers and made the throw with some confidence. His inaccuracies came more so in the shorter passing game when he tried to get the football out quickly and didnít transfer his weight as well from his back foot, short stepping throws and not remaining balanced through his motion. But coming from a spread offense where he had to get the ball out very quickly at times and got into the bad habits of throwing flatfooted itís going to be a work in progress for him. Nevertheless, heís a good enough athlete to certainly develop in that area and in my view is one of the few senior quarterback prospects who I think has a legit shot of fighting for a starting job down the line in the NFL.
Finally, I love everything about Alabama QB Greg McElroy inside the numbers. The guy displays impressive ball placement, gets the ball out on time and consistently is able to throw receivers open. However, when asked to drive the football outside the numbers, he just doesnít have the arm strength to make all the throws. He at times is forced to try to put a little more behind the football than heís naturally capable of, which ultimately causes his passes will sail. Donít get me wrong I think there is a spot in the league for the kid as a serviceable back-up who can make a nice living as a number two and even get some time as a spot starter. But he isnít the kind of guy who I think you can win with week in and week out in the NFL.
Follow me on Twitter: @WesBunting
NFL Draft Scout's Rob Rang on North squad practice, Day Two.....
Skill-position talent grabbed the bulk of the attention in Monday's practices. Tuesday's practice was dominated by Colorado offensive tackle Nate Solder and California defensive end Cameron Jordan.
Solder's length (6-8, 314) and moderate technique make him vulnerable to speed rushers. However, he handled Purdue's Ryan Kerrigan with ease Tuesday, showing the flexibility, balance and long arms to control. NFL coaches can work with Solder to improve his initial movement off the snap. Rather than gaining depth with his initial step, Solder often raises steps straight up. This correctable issue isn't going to keep Solder from being one of the first offensive tackles selected in the draft. In fact, if he can keep up his performance, the Colorado star could wind up as the first offensive lineman drafted.
* Jordan has been virtually unstoppable and the standout defensive player in Mobile. Perhaps most impressive, the 6-4, 287-pounder has been doing it while lining up at left defensive end and as a three-technique defensive tackle.
When aligned outside, Jordan has shown more burst than expected, likely the result from playing in Cal's 3-4 scheme, which asks its defensive linemen to occupy blockers more than rush upfield. His burst allowed him to cross the face of Indiana offensive tackle James Brewer and beat him off the edge. Hardly just a speed rusher, Jordan has shown powerful and active hands, and a good rip and swim move.
Jordan's swim move was his most effective against the North's interior linemen. His quick arm-over technique allowed him to easily beat Slippery Rock's Brandon Fusco, Toledo's Kevin Kowalski and Michigan's Steve Schilling, all guard or center prospects.
Jordan was too dominant, at times. His burst upfield landed him in trouble with the Bengals' coaching staff during a full 11-on-11 scrimmage at one point, when he hit quarterback Ricky Stanzi to force a fumble.
Players are strictly instructed not to hit quarterbacks during practices.
Iowa defensive lineman Christian Ballard made some big plays during the scrimmage, drawing some gasps from the scouts. Ballard's athleticism makes him an obvious mismatch inside in one-on-one drills. Scouts would like to see him be able to translate more of his flashiness during practice into scrimmages and game situations.
Solder appeared to distance himself from the rest of the offensive tackles on the North team, though Wisconsin's Gabe Carimi and Boston College's Anthony Castonzo had solid performances.
Carimi (6-7, 315) has the size and physicality in the running game scouts like. He simply doesn't have the footwork to remain at left tackle.
Carimi has been moved inside to left guard more often than right tackle so far, limiting opportunities to evaluate him. Carimi's strength has given him some success inside. Castonzo, who like Carimi, never played guard in four starting seasons at the collegiate level, wasn't as successful with the transition.
Castonzo's height (6-7, 305) and comparatively narrow base made things difficult when he asked to line up at right guard against defensive tackles. Inside, Castonzo's best asset -- his quick feet and long arms -- are negated. Defensive tackles such as Notre Dame's Ian Williams and Stanford's Sione Fua each blew past him with quickness and bull rushes.
While Fusco, Kowalski and Castonzo struggled inside, Wisconsin's John Moffitt played well.
There are some concerns about his core strength. Defensive tackles able to get into his pads were able to twist him, pushing him into the pocket during some individual drills.
During team drills, Moffitt's strength and balance made him the toughest draw for any defensive tackle. Moffitt blasted holes at the first level and showed better agility in the open field than expected. At times, the former Badger was blocking 15 yards downfield, including on a screen to Marshall tight end Lee Smith when Moffitt locked onto Virginia Tech cornerback Rashad Carmichael and rode him out of the play entirely.
ē* More than size, speed or athleticism, what scouts want to see during the first three practices at the Senior Bowl is improvement. With the exception of the handful of prospects who played in last weekend's East-West Shrine Game, these prospects are getting NFL coaching for the first time in their career. Several players improved their play from yesterday's practice, including Washington quarterback Jake Locker. His strong bounce-back performance Tuesday was every bit as impressive as the gains Tim Tebow made last year.
ē* Oregon State defensive tackle Stephen Paea was not on the field for Tuesday's practice. I spoke to Paea following Monday's practice and he seemed healthy and in good spirits. Scouts did not know why he wasn't on the field. Neither did two Cincinnati Bengals staff members asked following practice.
ē* Nebraska wide receiver Niles Paul joined East Carolina wideout Dwayne Harris and North Carolina safety Da'Norris Searcy as the North team's primary punt returners. Each has experience in this role, though Paul's came during his junior season. He was replaced by Rex Burkhead this season.
From Draft Scout's Chad Reuter...
MOBILE, Ala. -- After Monday's performance, scouts wondered if Washington quarterback Jake Locker would be able to bounce back from a rough first day. It looked as though he calmed down -- he was deliberate in his dropback from center and with his delivery, leading to improved accuracy on the second day of Senior Bowl week practices.
Locker, Nevada's Colin Kaepernick and Iowa's Ricky Stanzi flashed tight spirals and hit their spots in one-on-one drills with their receivers man-up against cornerbacks. Like most college passers, they all looked very good between the hashes, hitting receivers in stride on seam and crossing routes. All three had accuracy issues on deep, 17-yard out routes, passes they didn't throw often in college.
Locker's arm strength looked to be the best in the group, as his throws had the most zip when not set in the pocket. Stanzi threw one ball into the turf when running to his left, but connected on an intermediate out route while escaping the pocket against closing defensive end Cameron Jordan (Cal), who probably would have brought him down on the play if in a game situation. Stanzi looked off safeties throwing out routes, which is a rare sight at Senior Bowl practices.
On one throw from a hash to the opposite side, Kaepernick could not step into the pass due to pressure. He throws the ball far from his ear -- like the baseball pitches he threw in high school that made the Chicago Cubs select him in the 2009 draft -- which takes away some arm strength when he's under duress. When his feet are set beneath him, he has plenty of arm strength and accuracy to start in the NFL.
There's no doubting the pro potential of all three quarterbacks. Locker could still be a mid-to-late first-round prospect while Kaepernick and Stanzi will work their way into the top 75 with continued strong showings this week.
The play of the trio has given receivers a real chance to shine.
San Diego State's Vincent Brown, a standout in Monday's practice, used sharp routes and good hands to win battles against any cornerback lined up across from him. Boise State's Titus Young was the quickest of any of the North team's receivers, consistently leaving corners behind to extend on out routes. And he did not have a problem dropping passes as he did on Monday in between spectacular grabs. All in all, he's been the best of the bunch.
Nebraska wideout Niles Paul did not get a lot of opportunities in the Huskers' run-first offense in 2010. His thick upper body made it difficult for smaller defenders to stay with him after contact. He also runs fairly well for his 225-pound frame.
Ohio State receiver Dane Sanzenbacher was a late roster addition, giving the North a sixth receiver, and he took full advantage of the opportunity. Despite getting into Mobile a few hours before the morning practice, he consistently gained separation with quick feet on out and comeback routes against fellow newbie Richard Sherman, a 6-1 Stanford corner who lacks the agility to stay with a crisp route-runner like Sanzenbacher. The Buckeye is no bigger than 5-11, 180 pounds, but doesn't need to be huge if able to keep corners off his back.
East Carolina receiver Dwayne Harris dropped a catchable pass and another punt in special-teams drills. He lacks the speed to separate from defenders, but scouts know he's a bear with the ball in his hands, which is rarely simulated in practice where contact is minimized to prevent injury.
Talented cornerbacks -- Virginia Tech's Rashad Carmichael, North Carolina's Kendric Burney -- have held their own facing the impressive receivers. Carmichael's quick feet gained the attention of scouts, but he also drew attention with aggressive holding (some would call it "mugging") on the outside.
Burney's lack of size (5-9) will hurt him at times on the outside, as well, but like Carmichael (5-9 5/8), never backed down. Safeties Quinton Carter (Oklahoma) and Jaiquawn Jarrett (Temple) also did their best to stop the passing game, though Jarrett's the better man-coverage player because of his relatively fluid hips and agility.
All of the offensive talent could make this a rare high-scoring Senior Bowl game.
Rob Rang's South squad Tuesday practice reports...
With Washington quarterback Jake Locker enjoying a strong bounce-back performance in this morning's North practice, the pressure was on the South's trio of passers to hold serve at the Senior Bowl.
Though TCU's Andy Dalton, Alabama's Greg McElroy and Florida State's Christian Ponder lack Locker's arm strength and athletic upside, their accuracy and ability to locate secondary target was nonetheless impressive.
Dalton was smooth dropping back from center - a question considering the fact that he took most of his snaps with the Horned Frogs out of the shotgun - and was able to survey the field and make generally accurate passes. He zipped the ball between defenders and showed good touch down the seam. Scouts say Dalton is helping himself this week with solid play, though inconsistent accuracy on the deep ball is a concern. Dalton wasn't asked to throw downfield often in for a TCU offense that relied often on screens and other timing-based short and intermediate routes.
It isn't often that a championship-winning quarterback can be characterized as an underrated NFL prospect, but that is precisely how I feel about McElroy. While much of the Crimson Tide's offense was based on their dual running threat of Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson, McElroy demonstrated the ability to drive the ball downfield while at Auburn and showed the same ability to surprise defenders with just enough zip to fit passes through closing spaces. Another aspect that is sure to impress scouts about McElroy is his ability to do the little things correctly. McElroy was able to move the South's safeties with his eyes and an effective pump-fake, creating wider throwing avenues to exploit.
McElroy's vision stood in contrast to Florida State's Christian Ponder. Ponder has a tendency to stare down his primary read and doesn't have the howitzer typically necessary to get away with against NFL coverage, especially after having undergone two arm surgeries in the past year.* He did, however, show a stronger and more accurate arm on his deep passes than either Dalton or McElroy, surprising more than a few talent evaluators today.
The South's quarterback enjoyed a solid, albeit unspectacular Tuesday afternoon practice despite less than ideal performances from many of their top receivers.
Abilene Christian's Edmond Gates, who left NFL scouts drooling with his deep speed Monday, was sidelined for Tuesday's practice with a pulled hamstring. Hawaii's Greg Salas, normally one of the more sure-handed receivers in the country, struggled with drops Tuesday. Scouts have questions about the 6-1, 206 pound Salas' speed and ability to make plays after the reception. Rather than suddenly forget how to catch, Salas appeared to be trying to make the defender miss before securing the pass.
Miami's Leonard Hankerson and South Alabama's Courtney Smith also struggled with a few drops Tuesday. Unfortunately, their drops were of the uglier variety. Each simply allowed too many passes into his chest, resulting in some bouncing off audibly. A bounce-back performance tomorrow would help the stock of both, though there certainly is a lot to like about the physicality, size (6-1, 205 and 6-4, 220, respectively) and upside of each.
The most impressive receiver for the South team Tuesday afternoon was TCU's Jeremy Kirley. At 5-09, 188 pounds, Kirley lacks the height scouts would prefer, but his quick feet and balance made him a tough draw for any cornerback. Kirley was a featured target of every South quarterback, not just his Horned Frog teammate, Dalton.
With a talented South offensive line doing a nice job in pass protection, it was up to the defensive backs to make plays on the ball.
Texas cornerback Curtis Brown impressed scouts with his athleticism and aggression. At times, he got a little grabby with receivers, but his size (5-11, 180), straight-line speed and fluidity typically kept him in the hip pocket of receivers. He was, however, beaten for two long touchdowns when he gambled on underneath routes and was beaten by double-moves over the top. Perfect throws deep (one by McElroy, the other by Ponder) beat him, but more often than not Brown closed just as the ball arrived, knocking some passes out of the receiver's hands just as they arrived.
USC cornerback Shareece Wright also showed a willingness to gamble on underneath routes. At 5-11, 182 pounds, he possesses almost identical size as Brown, though he isn't quite as agile or explosive to close on the ball. After making a nice break on the ball early in practice, Wright guessed wrong on the next throw, coming up quickly on a double-move and getting beat down the right sideline. Fortunately for Wright, the ball sailed out of bounds.
Perhaps the most consistently impressive player in the secondary was the smallest one. Florida's Ahmad Black may lack the bulk scouts want in a safety, but he has such quick feet that a move to cornerback may be in the future. At 5-09, 183, it may be his best bet at getting selected in the first half of the draft.
This is Chad Reuter's report from the South Team's Tuesday afternoon practice:
Typically college football fans look to a team's wide receivers to move the ball down the field for their team to be successful, and therefore spend most of their time watching players on the outside during Senior Bowl practices.
The success of New England's two tight-end offense in 2010, however, means teams will be looking to this year's South squad in Mobile, however, for tight ends to cause similar mismatches next season in the copy-cat world of the NFL.
Tennessee's strapping young tight end, Luke Stocker, today looked exactly like the clone of former Volunteer and current Dallas Cowboys starter Jason Witten. The 6-foot-5, 255-pound Stocker stood out as a blocker and a receiver, standing up Mississippi State K.J. Wright when setting the edge on the run then catching everything thrown his way when out on routes.
Stocker does not have exceptional straight-line speed, but finds openings between linebackers in which he can sit down, and also between the second and third levels of the defense. His one-handed grab down the left seam was impressive, even more so considering he held on after taking a shot from Clemson safety DeAndre McDaniel in supposed light-contact seven-on-seven drills.
Arkansas' D.J. Williams had his best year for the Razorbacks in 2010, leading the team with 54 receptions for 627 yards and four touchdowns--a lot of which came after junior receiver Greg Childs was lost to injury mid-way through the year. He measured in at slightly less than 6-foot-2 and 236 pounds, which is not much different than successful H-backs like Aaron Hernandez, Dustin Keller, and Bo Scaife.
Williams is not going to be a best of an in-line blocker, but consistently ran solid routes to free himself of linebacker coverage over the middle or to the outside. Like Stocker, Williams have allowed no catchable balls to hit the ground this week, extending outside their frame to snatch passes and tuck them in. He's also given good effort as a blocker, but it's difficult for him to sustain against better linebackers outside. He'll be best as a mobile tight end/H-back prospect walling off defenders on the move.
Stocker and Williams are likely second or very early third round picks, and although Alabama's Preston Dial is the "other" tight end in the group and a late-round prospect, the 6-foot-2, 238-pound H-back also showed strong run blocking skills in addition to solid hands. His ability to tap both feet in-bounds while grabbing a pass on the right sideline displayed awareness , hands, and agility scouts weren't sure he had coming into the week.
When watching tight ends, it is nearly impossible not to also watch a team's linebackers, both in their ability to hold up against run blocking, as well as in coverage.* The top linebacker on the field today was Texas A&M star Von Miller--and that's not even considering his work as a pass rusher in one-on-one drills.
Miller surprised scouts at Monday's weigh-in with his thick lower body, which he used to hold up Williams and Stocker when man-up on run plays. His coverage skills are what really stood out, though, as the quick Williams could not separate from Miller on out routes because of the former Aggie's own lateral agility and speed.
A linebacker with Miller's closing speed to the quarterback, who also can be effective in coverage, is destined for a slot in the top 20 overall selections.
Another linebacker who looked quite adept in coverage and stopping the run was Miami's Colin McCarthy. Though a bit smaller than hope at 6-foot-1, 235 pounds, scouts liked his physicality on the line of scrimmage against the tight ends here and ability to stay low and balanced while running with them on crossing and wheel routes (McCarthy ran with West Virginia Noel Devine down the sideline in Monday's practice). His ability to play all three linebacker positions, probably starting on the strong side, make him a potential top 100 pick.
McCarthy was apparently making strong enough contact in this practice that he needed to get his helmet pumped up by training staff while kneeling on the field.
*The South team has two linebackers in this game, OLB K.J. Wright and ILB Chris White. Neither looked as fluid as Miller and McCarthy in coverage, and Stocker consistently stoned them at the line of scrimmage in pass protection and run blocking. Wright was also victimized by Stocker in coverage, with the Tennessee receiver using an overarm move to get inside position down the seam.
Frankly, judging linebackers during all-star game practices is extremely difficult. Tackling is what they do best, and they're not allowed to do that before game time.
But showing the fluidity, strength and agility to cover talented tight ends like Stocker and Williams (who may be seen as similar to the Patriots' rookie tight end duo of Rob Gronkowski and Hernandez) here in Mobile can be a major feather in a linebacker's cap come draft day.