* Logan Thomas looked like Logan Thomas. You never want to get on a kid too much on the first day, but Thomas didn’t do anything to make me think I should hop on his bandwagon. He looks great. He’s got a strong arm. I just don’t see a smooth, efficient passer. Struggled in 7-on-7 drills. Lots of checkdowns. Even had one picked off. Appeared Thomas put too much mustard on a pass to a RB and it bounced off him and got picked.
* It is very possible that ILB Jordan Zumwalt will be my favorite player when I leave Mobile. He is a mean, nasty LB. A player started to the inside today after a short catch. Zumwalt came over and leveled the guy. There wasn’t supposed to be full contact and Zumwalt got a bit of heat for the hit. I’d rather have a LB that I had to tone down than one I had to pump up. Had a cut on his forehead tonight from some hit he gave/took today. Fun guy to watch.
* Robert Herron was very impressive. Who? The Senior WR from Wyoming ran crisp routes and showed good athletic ability as he got open. He also caught the ball well, including one impressive deep catch. Herron is only 5-9, 193, but he can play. He was 72-937-9 this year. He had 8 TDs and averaged more than 21 yards a catch in 2012.
* DT Aaron Donald was hard to slow down in the 1-on-1 drills. He gave OG Cyril Richardson fits. Donald fired off the ball and blew by Richardson several times. 4-3 teams that use a 1-gap system will love Donald. Disruptive force.
* Marcus Smith is playing OLB here in Mobile. He is a DE or 3-4 rush LB, but it is good to see him playing a new role. 3-4 teams will get to see how he is in space. I thought Smith looked okay today. He’s a pass-rusher first and foremost, but it is helpful to find out that he’s got enough athletic ability to drop back when asked to.
* Dontae Johnson is a press corner. He’s mostly going to play off this week so expect him to have some ups and downs. That’s exactly what happened today. You can see his ability to be physical, but when he plays off and has to rely on a combination of technique and athleticism, he’s going to struggle at times.
* Jimmie Ward is a Safety, but played some in the slot vs certain looks. He is comfortable in man coverage and playing the slot. That helps his value. Some teams like when their Safety can jump on a slot receiver. That gives the coaches flexibility. I was hoping to see Ward cover TEs, but didn’t notice that.
* Kyle Van Noy is an interesting player. I don’t like him as a 3-4 rush LB, but the guy is a good football player. He showed that today by breaking up several passes. Some came in individual drills, others in group drills. Van Noy had 58 career TFLs so we know he can make plays in the backfield. 26 of those are sacks, so we know he can get to the QB. Now people can see that Van Noy can make coverage plays as well.
Van Noy is 6-3, 245. He could be a terrific SAM. He could be a terrific ILB. He might be able to play OLB in a 3-4 if he wasn’t the primary rusher. The problem is that I don’t think he can add too much more to his frame. Most 3-4 teams prefer guys up in the 255-260 range these days.
* Let’s stick with LBs. Jeremiah Attaochu was a stud pass rusher at Georgia Tech. He has 31.5 career sacks, which is tops in the nation. Attaochu is playing 4-3 LB this week. That means he’s back off the ball and playing in space. This isn’t going to be his strength, but I think he has shown that he can be functional, which is all 3-4 teams needed to see. I would be shocked if any 4-3 teams want him as a SAM. Attaochu is still a very physical player. He blew up a FB today on a run play by attacking downhill. Attaochu packs some pop and isn’t afraid to hit.
* Tennessee DT Daniel McCullers is one massive human being. I just wish he played like it. He held his own in some battles today, but lost a few as well. The coaches were trying to praise him to get him going, but McCullers doesn’t play to his size. He should be a dominant player. His calf muscles are as big as some slot receivers. This guy should be controlling blockers, not the other way around.
* Adrian Hubbard is going to be a player that gives me fits. You watch one drill and he’s too upright and awkward. Then you see him covering a player 30 yards downfield and he’s able to do that because of his great length (6-6 and long arms). His strides eat up ground so quickly. Both 3-4 and 4-3 teams will have interest in him as a SAM. I think 4-3 teams could also see him as a DE.
Hubbard is 255 pounds. He has the frame to add weight is a team wants that. And Hubbard is a physical player. He can set the edge and will take on blockers. There is a lot to like, but you can’t ignore his awkwardness either. He’s too upright and doesn’t always show good agility. Receivers (TEs, RBs) were able to consistently create separation from him today. They used quick cuts. Hubbard was slow to react. He did use his length to recover on some plays.
* One offensive player who stood out to me today was Georgia TE Arthur Lynch. He showed the ability to get open on short and intermediate routes. He caught the ball well. He did a solid job as a blocker. Lynch isn’t going to be an athletic TE that will give you big plays, but if you want an old school 2-way TE, he could be a great fit.
* RB Jerick McKinnon had a highlight play when he ran over S Terrence Brooks. That drew oohs and ahs from the crowd. McKinnon was a QB at Georgia Southern, but will shift to RB in the NFL. He is 5-9, 209 and has a thick, powerful build. You see his potential as a runner, but he needs lots of work as a receiver.
* Speaking of Brooks, he did have a terrific downfield INT.
* Telvin Smith said on Monday night that he has no interest in moving to Safety. He is completely set on playing LB. But he’s only 218 pounds and has skinny legs. I’m not sure he’s going to be able to be a starting LB with that size. He really should have bulked up to 225 for the Senior Bowl. That would have helped convince teams he can play LB.
* Brent Urban played mostly DT at Virginia. They had him at DE in some 3-man DL sets. The NFL likes Urban as a DE. He is 6-7, 298 and looks like a DE. He’s got a medium build. He played both LDE and RDE today. Urban isn’t a great pass rusher, but he is a good run defender. I think he’s got potential as a pass rusher. He just needs coaching and more experience.
3-4 teams will love Urban as a LDE. He can easily get up to 310 and be an impact run defender, but with some pass rush potential. Urban drew praise today from the DL coach for how he set the edge.
* DE Dee Ford is fast, active and disruptive. I still don’t know what teams are going to think of his size (6-2, 243). Ford might be small, but he is physical and is more than just a speed rusher. He gave some blockers fits today.
* I loved watching OG Jon Halapio. He anchors really well. He’s not moving back an inch when he locks onto a defender. Halapio is 6-4, 320. Strong, physical player.
* RB Lorenzo Taliaferro had some good moments. He is 231 pounds, but showed the ability to get open and catch the ball well. Teams are going to love a big back who can catch the ball and has some agility.