Senior Bowl: North Team Practice Report Day Three.

You guys appeared to like this format last night with the South team report, so Steve and I will continue with it throughout the week. Today is the last practice in full pads and there were definitely some interesting competition going on in one on one drills as it was the players last chance before the game to go at full speed and power. Here's my notes as I watched on NFL Network:

  • First thing we saw coverage of was linebackers and safeties in coverage against running backs and full backs. Linebacker Bobby Wagner from Utah State really stood out when he completely stopped running back Chris Polk of Washington from making a cut. Wagner blew him up within the initial five yards where contact is allowed, and effectively won the battle right at that point.
  • Mike Mayock continued his love affair with Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson, comparing him to Doug Flutie with a better arm. Wilson looked good throwing on the move, which is where he should be most effective in the NFL. It gives him clear vision with no big lineman disrupting his view. Wilson showed off a pretty strong arm, one particularly nicely throw deep ball (even though it got intercepted by corner Alfonzo Dennard)
  • Speaking of Dennard, he had a really good day. As I just said, he got an interception on a deep ball from Wilson. He was initially beat deep, but did a great job recovering, locating the ball and then out-hustling the receiver to go get the ball. One of the knocks on Dennard was his ability to cover deep and play off-man coverage. In the first few days he let his cushion get eaten up much to quickly and easily, and failed to turn and run with the receiver. But he improved today with that. He also looked very strong in the 'Stalk Drill' - a drill that gets corners and receivers one on one in run support. Dennard's strength is his physicality, and he really showed off his ability to dominate a receiver in the run game.
  • Boston College defensive back Donnie Fletcher also excelled in this drill. One particular play he got right under the receiver and drove him back to the line of scrimmage so quickly.
  • Offensive tackle Mike Adams of Ohio State continues to get good reports. He did an interview for NFL Network where he came across as a nice kid with a good character. Adams is an intriguing prospect, at 6'7", 323 pounds he's a big athletic tackle. He also showed his 11 inch hand which looked huge compared to the reporter for NFL Network. Our friend JimmyK said yesterday he saw Redskins scouts talking with Adams. He would make a nice right tackle in the late first/early second round. Mayock notes that he has really quick feet, but when he puts on the film, he questions his ability to go into a three point stance and drive. Adams didn't have a bad day today, but he struggled with a few pass rushers.
  • One of those pass rushers is defensive end/outside linebacker tweener Vinny Curry from Marshall. Curry was troublesome for just about everyone he went up against today, including a guard when he lined up inside as a three technique defensive tackle and beat the guard with his quickness. I expect in a game, where he would have less space to work with, he probably would have been blocked better line up inside, but he showed he was willing to do anything asked of him today.
  • My last note from the North team was on defensive tackle Alameda Ta'amu from Washington. At 6'2" and a half, 341 pounds, he has a prototypical nose tackle body, and projects as a 3-4 nose tackle in the NFL. He was virtually unblockable in one on one drills. He showed off an arsenal of pass rushing moves, including a spin move, and a really nice swim move. When the North team went into full offense against defense towards the end of practice, he was constantly blowing up the interior offensive line and forcing the quarterback or running back to run away from him. He could easily end up as a mid to late first round prospect, but when I've watched him in the past I question his ability to hold the point of attack and keep to his gap responsibilities in a 3-4 scheme. He appears to focus on getting into the backfield to make plays, and as a big bodied nose tackle in a 3-4, its often about being disciplined enough to eat up blockers and allow the linebackers a free run to make the play. In the NFL, if he just focuses on getting into the backfield, teams will just trap block him or run to the outside where he cant chase down.
  • Now I'll pass it over to Steve's report from Mobile (his full report can be found here)

    -Center Michael Brewster, Ohio State- Brewster got high marks from the Vikings coaching staff on his form and staying low in early blocking drills. Later he showed a good anchor in 1-on-1 drills. By default he has the cleanest snaps (though did have a couple high ones) on the North squad.

    -Guard Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin- Zeitler had an up and down practice. He struggled some in the team drills to keep his man, but flashed a nice anchor and power in the 1-on-1′s. Due to multiple injuries, Zeitler will work some at center the rest of the week.

    -Guard/Tackle Senio Kelemete, Washington: When lined up at tackle Kelemete doesn’t look too good as he lacks the footwork/speed to keep the corner. When working on the inside though, he shows good power and gets nice leverage.

    -Quarterback Kirk Cousins, Michigan State: Cousins looked pretty solid today, showed a nice ability to consistently be accurate on the run.

    -Running back Doug Martin, Boise State: Martin continues to impress. His burst and toughness are turning heads and he’s showing nice vision and good cutback lanes. He did drop a couple easy passes, but overall looked really good today.

    -Wide receiver Brian Quick, App. State: Quick is really using his size and strength to his advantage. He’s muscling DB’s for the ball and winning most of his battles. He’s got big strong hands, that have been pretty much a sure thing this week. Quick also showed some nice deep speed in a special teams drill chasing down the very fast Patrick Edwards.

    -Wide receiver Marvin Jones, California: Jones continues to show really good long speed. He cuts well also, and adjusts well to the ball. I did notice once him getting corrected for running a bad route, but his next go the coach seemed impressed with his improvement.

    -Corner back Leonard Johnson, Iowa State: Johnson just seems to be all over the field, rarely I see him give up separation in coverage, and he’s extremely physical with the bigger receivers.

    -Safety Harrison Smith, Notre Dame: Smith is showing a good ability in coming up in the box, while flashing decent coverage. He might not ‘wow’ you in any one area, but he can play and start (maybe not day one) at the next level.

    As I said, don't forget to check out Steve's full report here, and continue to check back in with his site Fanspeak.com for more Senior Bowl updates. Also you can check out his NFL Draft Page for more details and updates throughout the draft season.

    We'll be back later today for the South team practice report.

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