Senior Bowl – North – Wednesday

I tried to pay a lot of attention to the QBs.  Mike Glennon had the best day and was very impressive.  He threw the ball with excellent velocity and accuracy.  If you had never seen game tape, you would have thought he was a Top 10 pick.  Really looked good.

The problem with Mike is that his game tape is highly inconsistent.  He doesn’t always handle pressure well.  The Senior Bowl gave him an environment to shine.  The good news for Glennon is that he took advantage of that.  He threw the best deep balls of anyone in Mobile and it wasn’t even close.  He was excellent on intermediate throws as well.  He can zip short passes in or put some touch on them.

Teams that like big pocket passers will be very interested in Glennon and he might now be the second QB off the board.

Ryan Nassib had his best day on Wednesday.  He threw the ball very well on short and intermediate routes.  Ryan has a good, but not great arm.  He does a good job of stepping into his throws and generating lower body power to help with velocity.  I’m guessing working with an NFL coach like Doug Marrone helped his mechanics a lot.

Ryan was sloppy with downfield throws.  Trying to work out the timing with the receivers is tricky.  Ryan’s passes were mostly short.  I don’t think this is a question of arm strength.  I watched him throw a ball on the run for more than 50 yards this year at Syracuse.  Seems to me that Ryan just didn’t have good timing.  Some QBs can watch a WR run a couple of times and then just know where to put the ball.  Glennon did this.  Ryan did not.

In the 7-on-7 drills Ryan was trying to force the ball to WRs rather than settling for checkdowns.  I had mixed feelings on this.  Part of me loved it.  I hate watching a QB with no pass rush dumping the ball to a RB in the flat.  Boring.  Tells me little.  At the same time, when the QB is forcing the ball into tight coverage and not getting a completion, that’s not so good either.

Zac Dysert had a disappointing week.  He wasn’t bad by any stretch, but didn’t stand out in the way that a guy from Miami (OH) who had a losing record in 3 of 4 seasons needed to.  He made some good throws on Wednesday, but was still more erratic than I wanted to see.  He did have one deep ball that stood out.  Overally, his performance was too sloppy for that setting.  In the 7-on-7 drills he threw a bunch of checkdowns.  That was interesting because in his games, Dysert is a risk-taker.  He’s not afraid to force the ball into coverage.  I wonder if he was playing it safe by design.  Maybe a coach or his agent told him to show the NFL he could be a safe, smart QB as well as a gunslinger.

* Safety Phillip Thomas is fun to watch in drills.  He has great hands and catches the ball more naturally than some receivers (led the nation in INTs this year).  There were a couple of drills where the DB is supposed to track the ball downfield and make the grab.  Thomas was late to the spot on at least 2 reps.  I don’t know if the coach just threw the ball too far or if Thomas got a late break.  He’s not known for showing great concentration or going all out in every minute of a practice/game so it could be something like that.

Thomas could be a great NFL player in the right situation.  He can play deep.  He can play in the box.  Good athlete.  He needs to be used creatively and he needs a coach or two that will ride him.  He admitted in an interview that he knows he needs to do a much better job with his tackling.

Jonathan Cyprien was the real star of the Safety group in Mobile.  Fans will love his physical style of play.  There is little tackling in Mobile, but there is a lot of contact in the drills.  Cyprien has some pop even when he’s just loosely wrapping.  He has a muscular build and takes on players aggressively.  There is no hesitation or guessing when he makes contact.

Cyprien is physical even in coverage.  He’ll get his hands on an underneath receiver and stick right with him.  This is legal if done within 5 yards of the LOS.  Cyprien made one highlight play in a drill when he fully extended for a ball and was able to just barely grab it.  That showed great hands and great effort.

TJ McDonald surprised me with how athletic he looked.  He was smooth on the move.  He also has very good hands and caught the ball smoothly.  Looked natural.  He’s best known for striking receivers over the deep middle.  Based on the ball skills and movement ability McDonald showed in Mobile, you wonder how he only had 2 picks in 2012.

Duke Williams is another Safety who impressed.  I thought he looked most comfortable in man coverage.

* Denard Robinson had some drops but bounced back from that.  It is good to see that he’s not overwhelmed and giving up.  Becoming a WR is hard.  His route-running is erratic now due to the lack of reps, but he occasionally sells a move so well the DB is dead in the water.  Denard has NFL WR potential.

Marquise Goodwin had a very good week.  A former NFL player mentioned to me that he liked Goodwin quite a bit.  Goodwin is small, but has explosive speed.  He also has good quickness and makes quick cuts on the move.  He is doubly-dangerous because he can run by you on a deep route or create separation underneath with sharp cut to the inside or outside.  He hauled in a long TD pass.  Also got open against CBs in the 1-on-1 drills with regularity.

Markus Wheaton had another solid day of practice.  He got open deep, but wasn’t able to make the catch.  He ran good routes and looked fluid on the move.  Really impressed with him.

Chris Harper began his career as a QB at Oregon.  He transferred to Kansas State and became a WR.  He has good talent, but is raw.  He doesn’t run crisp routes.  He’s not a polished pass catcher.  Harper is big.  He runs well.  He can go up in the air and get the ball.  He can be a solid NFL WR, but will need some coaching.

Alec Lemon from Syracuse really struggled.  He could not get open, vs CBs or Safeties.

I had mixed feelings on Aaron Mallette.  He did some good things, but seemed to struggle to get separation.  I need to check the practice tape and get a better feel for how well he did/didn’t do.  He does have excellent size and is talented.

* Harvard’s Kyle Juszczyk is a TE adjusting to FB or H-back.  He caught 125 career passes for 22 TDs.  Outstanding I-AA player.  I was blown away by how well he played down in Mobile.  Juszczyk did it all.  He was a lead blocker, pass protector, and pass catcher.  Solid athlete.  Good hands.  Tough as nails.  Took hits and kept on running.  He won’t be an early pick, but some team will get him on Day 3 and might have a very good role player for the next 4 years.  I bet he’ll also be a tremendous STs player.

* Brandon Williams was the defender who kept getting my attention.  I need to study the practice tape on him to appreciate just how good he was, but he seemed to be giving fits to Brian Winters (both guys wore #66).  Williams is squatty at 6-2, 341.  He had 8.5 sacks and 5 FFs for D2 Missouri Southern State.  He is an impressive DT prospect.  I’m not sure if he’s NT material or not.  Certainly has the build for it.  Williams was using a quick burst to get up the field.  He used a rip move to beat Winters on one rep.  I was impressed with how Williams used his hands to keep the blocker off his body.

There aren’t any great pass rushers on the North squad, but Datone Jones is a talented player.  He is 6-4, 280.  Could be an ideal 3-4 DE.  He’s shown the ability to run inside or outside.  He’s not explosive, but is athletic.  Jones did have a sack in the team drill on an attempted bootleg.  He read the play, stayed wide, and was there to pop the QB.  Not allowed to do that so he just gave him a friendly tap.

I still don’t know what to make of Margus Hunt.  He’s huge.  He’s athletic.  He hasn’t fared that well vs the good blockers.  He does have some reps where he’ll win and flash big time ability.

Kawaan Short has looked pretty good.  He’s quick off the ball.  Has a very good rip move.

Sylvester Williams had one great rep when he overwhelmed the C and drove him straight back.  That was excellent strength/power.

Alex Okafor has had a nemesis in Eric Fisher.  They’ve battled quite a bit for 3 days.  Fisher won most of those matchups.  Okafor did beat him for a sack in the team drill.

* Speaking of Eric Fisher…he’s had a terrific week.  Okafor tried to use an inside move.  Fisher stoned him.  Fisher is able to lock on and sustain blocks.  He’s strong and tenacious.

Justin Pugh has been up and down.  He wins most of his battles, but not all.  He really stood out in the team drills when he was allowed to run block.  That’s his forte.  The guy who gave him the most problems seemed to be Hunt.  That is fitting since Pugh has short arms and Hunt is the tallest person at the Senior Bowl and isn’t easy get your hands on.

David Quessenberry is much better at OG than OT.

Ricky Wagner played a lot of RT.  He was a LT at Wisconsin, but I don’t think he has the athleticism for that side in the NFL.  Wagner struggled with pass blocking at RT.  He can be stiff and too upright.

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