Practice started out with the news that TE Marcel Jensen, DE Ed Stinson and OT Ja"Wuan James would be pulling out due to injuries. Stinson and James were easily two top 100 guys and both could have been selected in the top 75. While the injuries don't sound serious they both lost the opportunity to possibly rise up draft boards this week. Unfortunately those were the only injuries that affected the South squad today. Top corner Aaron Colvin went down with what was later diagnosed as a torn ACL. It's incredibly unfortunate for Colvin who was off to a very strong start to the week and was possibly the top corner down here. Some may use Colvin's injury as a justification for why some top guys were right to skip the event, but serious injuries are extremely rare at these all-star games. In fact more serious injuries have occurred at the Scouting Combine in recent years than at any of these All-star games.
-Quarterbacks weren't a focal point but here are some quick notes:
- Carr is clearly the best quarterback not only on his squad, but on either team. He's really helping himself with a strong week and could be working his way up the QB depth chart of potential draftees
- Carr shows a nice quick delivery, strong accuracy and good arm strength
- He also shows tremendous leadership either in the huddle or on the sideline talking to players and coaches. He's stayed late after both practices so far to get further reps.
- David Fales makes quick decisions and gets the ball out pretty well, but the question with him (from an on the field perspective) is his arm strength. His accuracy seemed to be more compromised the longer the throw and in game settings he would have been picked off a couple of times.
- Jimmy Garoppolo had a down day. He was late on a couple throws and off target on a few others. He didn't throw with much anticipation and it got him in trouble during 11-on-11's.
Morgan Moses, UVA-
-Moses really did a nice job for most of practice at either one of the tackle spots. He showed a nice ability to get to the edge and keep the defender away from the quarterback. He shows a good anchor, when handling the bull rush and uses his big strong hands to keep the defender at bay. Morgan was very strong run blocking as well. Two concerns stick out with Moses: 1. Consistency, a couple times he got sloppy and gave up an easy pressure/sack 2. The ability to recover, linemen need to be able to recover if the defender gets into them quickly or get to edge before they can kickslide out there. When Moses lost a guy, he lost him. He needs to do a better job recovering and turning a negative play back into a positive one.
Billy Turner, North Dakota State-
-Turner was strong early in practice, but he really got exposed the more practice went on. He can handle power rushers okay, but against speed he was getting beat almost every time.
Wesley Johnson, Vanderbilt-
-It was a really strong practice for Johnson, especially considering he spent much of it at OT (even LT) due to the injury to James. Johnson is better suited for a guard or center role, but did a nice job throughout the day and showed very impressive versatility. He probably needs to bulk up some as some power rushes gave him problems, but overall he showed a nice anchor.
Joel Bitonio, Nevada-
-Bitonio is another guy who was playing out of position for much of practice at tackle. He struggled more when playing outside, particularly versus speed, but when he lined up inside he did a nice job, even against some of the more talented tackles.
Gabe Jackson, Miss. State-
-Consistency is a factor for Jackson, but when he's on he's very impressive and capable of blocking anyone 1-on-1. He flashes a mean streak and displays great power, especially in the run game. It was a really strong all-around practice, but he does need to just be more consistent with his technique.
Travis Swanson, Arkansas-
-Swanson continues to be the best center on this squad and the best center in Mobile. He did a nice job versus the South's top DT's on most reps. Once or twice he got blown up, but for the most part he won at the point of attack.
-Not a focal point for me today, but I did notice some things I wanted to pass along:
- Jordan Matthews continues to shine as the top receiver down in Mobile this year year
- Mike Davis continues to struggle catching the ball. He improved on his separation today, but he had multiple drops
- Solomon Patton was another receiver who suffered multiple drops
- TE Aaron Lynch had one bad drop, but for the most part caught the ball well and got open.
- Ryan Grant shows nice speed and ability to adjust to the ball in the air.
Will Sutton, Arizona State-
-Sutton continues to have a really strong week. He's clearly the top DT on the South squad and is giving every offensive lineman he goes up against problems. He's very strong and shows great quickness off the snap and really knows how to play the leverage game. He stays low and explodes into lineman, knocking them off their anchor and giving him a clear shot at the quarterback.
Chris Smith, Arkansas-
-Really liked Chris Smith throughout practice today, he showed a nice combination with power and speed rushes and definitely looks the part of a 4-3 DE. He also uses his hands very well in keeping the offensive lineman at bay and to shed blocks. He may not be the best fit in a 3-4, but he should be a nice target for 4-3 teams.
Daniel McCullers, Tennessee-
-Really a mixed back for McCullers today. When he wants to and stays low he can be unblockable and break double teams. Unfortunately he's very inconsistent and too often stands straight up. When he does that he gets blocked out of the play pretty easily and usually by just one lineman. He's the ultimate high risk/ high reward guy.
Dee Ford, Auburn-
-If you need a speed rusher, Ford is proving each day that he's your guy. He wins on the edge so often and he shows great pursuit of the quarterback. He can be blocked out of the play against the run, but he does a nice job trying to avoid the block and to force the play back inside.
Not a focal point today, but here are a few notes:
-Kyle Van Noy got a number of pass rush reps and won the vast majority of them. He looks like a star edge rusher who is going to generate a lot of pressures and sacks. It would be nice to see more power from him, but he is so quick and fast off the snap that he typically doesn't need to show that down here.
-Adrian Hubbard also got the chance to rush the quarterback a little bit and did a really nice job. He's not great at disengaging from a blocker (either run or pass), but he's got natural athleticism and potential.
-Christian Jones was used all over the field, at every linebacker spot and as a pass rusher with his hand in the dirt.
-Not a focal point, but a couple quick highlights:
- Jaylen Watkins (now with Colvin out) looks like the top corner on this team. He showed great coverage ability and instincts and forced a number of contested catches.
- Watkins was the only corner who really had a strong day versus Matthews
- Walt Aikens from Liberty continues to look like he belongs among the big school guys. Has been pretty strong in coverage and uses his size well.
- Jemea Thomas had a nice practice. He was good in coverage and flowed to the ball well against the run.