Earlier on we looked at the North team practice, which you can read here if you missed it. Now it's time to move onto the South team. This was the first South team practice televised on NFL Network, so I was excited to see how things played out.
Small school corner B.W. Webb from William & Mary was an early stand out. Webb is one of the shortest corners on the South squad at 5'10", 180 pounds, which gave him a disadvantage against big receivers like Baylor's Terrance Williams and Georgia's Tavarres King. Both of those receivers are rated as top prospects, and Webb won all three of his battles against them. His first was a vertical route against Williams. He did a great job turning and running with Williams and stayed with him step for step. The ball wasn't thrown well enough for Williams to make a play on it, but Webb was in perfect position to break it up. Webb then did the exact same thing against King a few plays later. Finally, he mirrored Williams well on an inside route. Williams made two cuts, Webb stayed with him on the first cut before allowing separation on the second cut. But Webb recovered and did enough to put off Williams and force a drop.
Webb reminds me of Dwight Bentley last year. He was another small school corner who impressed at the senior bowl against some tough competition. His performance propelled him into a third round pick where he landed in Detroit. Interestingly, the Lions are coaching the South team this year, just some food for though.
Bacarri Rambo, the free safety out of Georgia was one of the guys I was particularly interested to see. He displayed excellent physicality when jamming a tight end at the line. By the time the tight end fought through the jam, the play was over. But then they put him one on one with Terrance Williams, who made quick work of running right past him on a go route. This isn't really a surprise as Rambo is a true free safety that is used to playing 15-20 yards deep and reading out the play. But if he can show some promise in coming down to cover a slot receiver one on one, then that will help improve his versatility and his draft stock.
Fellow Georgia Safety Shawn Williams had one good and one bad rep against tight end Mychal Rivera from Tennessee. First time up Williams managed to follow the inside cut covered it well. But second time round, Rivera stormed out of the snap and almost appeared to be run blocking Williams before disengaging and separating into his cut. It was inside five yards, where contact is allowed, but it was borderline.
Staying with Georgia and corner Sanders Commings used every bit of his 223 pound body to completely jam up Terrance Williams at the line. Williams eventually fought through the jam and ran a short crosser as Commings tripped up, but the jam was more than effective enough to force the quarterback to look elsewhere. With that kind of body, Commings will be a guy I'll be going back to watch.
Tight end Vance McDonald from Rice flashed some real potential as a big bodied tight end with running ability. He ran through Robert Lester's attempt to jam him and made a really nice over-the-shoulder catch that would have turned into a touchdown. But he double clutched at the catch and did so on numerous occasions. Hands will clearly be an issue for him if he doesn't show signs of improvement throughout the rest of the week.
The stand out offensive lineman in one on one drills was center Brian Schwenke from Cal. He's a touch under 300 pounds with good quickness, making him a very good fit in the zone blocking scheme the Redskins run. Mike Mayock loved the guy and it was easy to see why. He had a shutout day, winning every single block he faced. He was just too quick for the defensive tackles, who couldn't get to either edge to get by him.
Oday Aboushi from Virginia had a rough day at left tackle. He used his quickness to get outside on what he thought was a speed rush, but the defender stepped back inside and left him for dust. Credit to him for coming back and winning the next block on an outside speed rush, but it was obvious that he looks much more like a right tackle than a left as he gave up way to much leverage on the left side.
The Redskins spent time talking to Oklahoma tackle Lane Johnson, but it looks unlikely he'll be available for them in the second round. Johnson had an excellent outing today putting his athleticism and long arms on show for NFL scouts and coaches to see. He shut down just about every one he came up against, and looks like he could be a natural left tackle. Those kind of guys generally don't last into the second round, so unless the Redskins move up, it looks unlikely he'll be in the burgundy and gold next season.
Florida tackle Xavier Nixon came into the Senior Bowl with plenty of good and bad film. Today he was more good than bad. He has a very good punch and uses heavy hands to negate pass-rushers. On two different occasions defenders were beat the moment he got his hands on them. But Nixon has a long way to go and many other things to work on.
That's about it from me. Be sure to check back for Steve's thoughts from today as he had much better access then I did watching on TV.