2014 NFL Senior Bowl Practice Notes

ImageNorth Team Practice Notes

The Good

  • Tackles Zack Martin (Notre Dame) and Jack Mewhort (Ohio State) played well, with Martin lining up as the left tackle and Mewhort the right tackle. Both look to be fits within Zone-Blocking Schemes, and won most of their matchups throughout the practice.
  • Martin, whom most viewed strictly as an offensive guard, showed he can be a capable tackle prospect, which will only raise his stock.
  • Louisiana Tech defensive tackle Justin Ellis continued to impress. For a man that’s 357 pounds, he can really move and disrupt the line.
  • Iowa tight end CJ Fiedorowitz has a massive frame, and looks like an instant starter in the league. He ran crisp routes and continued to be effective when blocking.
  • Oregon wide receiver Josh Huff impressed when he fought off press coverage and made catches despite contact. He’ll need to continue showing that ability to separate from this deep WR class.
  • The best player at the North practice was Wisconsin’s Jared Abbredaris, who routinely beat his man on excellent routes, and didn’t waste steps when running comebacks. He also did well in punt returns.

The Bad

  • The defensive backs on the North team didn’t do much to separate themselves. Lindenwood’s Pierre Desir had a lot of hype entering the week, but he needs to show more speed and ball awareness in coverage. Too often the North WRs were in position to make a reception.
  • The North QBs were pretty bad. Logan Thomas, Tajh Boyd and Stephen Morris couldn’t stay consistent with their accuracy in the mild wind. Too often balls were thrown late or overthrown. In this class of mediocre QBs, just one needs to step up.
  • Michael Sam just doesn’t look like a contributing NFL player. He has very stiff hips and can’t cover the flats. The Falcons coaching staff were on him all day and I didn’t notice much improvement.

The South Practice Notes

The Good

  • Christian Jones was a mismatch for the big offensive tackles of the South team. He was able to run around North Dakota State’s Billy Turner and Virginia’s Morgan Moses with ease.
  • Western Kentucky running back Antonio Andrews had a strong day in pass pro and during 11 on 11 drills. He could possibly be a 3 down back.
  • Co-Stars of the day were Arkansas’ Chris Smith and Florida’s Jaylen Watkins. Smith dominated every lineman he faced and showed the ability to power rush, bend with speed and win with a great first step. Watkins broke up multiple passes and showed improved change of direction, now that he’s cut out some of the extra steps.
  • Tennessee defensive tackle Daniel McCullers is huge man, and today he looked solid. Despite weighing over 340 pounds, he beat his man throughout the practice. There are still concerns on whether or not he can locate the ball, or if he just focuses on beating his guy.
  • The best QB of Mobile so far is Jimmy Garoppolo, of Eastern Illinois. His lightning quick release, solid accuracy and post game interview were impressive again. The Jaguars coaching staff seemed pleased so far.

The Bad

  • The South’s offensive line was a disappointment. NDSU’s Billy Turner went one for seven in 1 on 1 drills. Florida State center Brian Stork looked weak and struggled against the best competition at Mobile. Nevada OT Joel Bitonio looked like a project, needing strength and technique.
  • Florida State outside linebacker Telvin Smith played small today, getting stonewalled by running backs in every attempt to rush the passer. In a post game conference with Kyle Posey, of SB Nation, and myself, he said he didn’t want to switch to safety. He’ll need to add weight.
  • South QBs David Fales and Derek Carr have really struggled with accuracy and anticipation. I don’t expect them to have chemistry with these receivers, but they know the routes that are being run, and these two both didn’t show proper anticipation.
  • The worst player at Mobile has to be BYU wide receiver Cody Hoffman. He hasn’t been able to catch the ball, or really get open. He’s slow with zero explosion. Could be an undrafted free agent.

What Was Overheard

  • The Miami Dolphins set up two interviews; one with Mississippi State guard Gabe Jackson and another with NDSU OT Billy Turner.
  • Scouts spoke about the recklessness of Louisville free safety Calvin Pryor, who misses too many tackles when going for the big play.
  • I also overheard discussions on Wisconsin linebacker Chris Borland. The Seahawks scout has a 4th round grade on him and the Texans scout has a 7th.
  • A different scout has Florida State’s LaMarcus Joyner as a 4th round pick, but I overheard another say he has a late 2nd on Joyner, as long as the defensive coordinator is creative.
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