* Bad news. CB Aaron Colvin tore his ACL. He was having a good week and had a chance to be a Top 50 pick. You hate when a kid gets hurt at this time of the year. He’ll probably miss most or all of his rookie year. No idea what his draft value will be now.
* LB Kyle Van Noy continues to impress. Ideal SAM because he can play the run, cover and rush the passer. Showed good hands today when the ball came his way in drills. I wonder if 3-4 teams will prefer him as a SAM or ILB.
* DE Dee Ford looked great at times. He can absolutely fly off the edge. He’s smart, too. Beat Morgan Moses with speed rushes a couple of straight times in team drills and then beat him badly with an inside move right after that.
Ford does a good job of chasing the ball when it goes away from him. There was one pass play where he flew into the backfield and pressured the passer. He then flew across the field in pursuit and almost got in on the tackle. The offense did use this against him a bit later. They ran a bootleg and he chased the RB, allowing the QB to get wide.
* OL Billy Turner has some good moments. The young man from North Dakota State can really hold his own when it comes to strength and power. Speed rushers get the best of him. He was beaten several times by speed guys in the 1-on-1′s. I still like his potential.
* The South QBs are infinitely better than the North trio. And that might be putting it mildly. Jimmy Garoppolo just seems like the real deal. He throws the ball well and doesn’t seem out of place when dealing with elite competition. He made one beautiful throw into a very tight window today. Beyond that, he has the right presence. This is a young man I would trust with being my starting QB.
* We got to see LB Christian Jones vs TE Arthur Lynch in some blocking drills. Jones ate him up. Wasn’t pretty at all. He used speed, quickness and good moves to win. This is really impressive because Lynch stuffs almost every other guy he goes against. Lynch is usually a very good blocker.
* WR Jordan Matthews is an interesting kid. I love his size. He will make some really tough catches that impress you. But he doesn’t have naturally soft hands. Watch him in warm-ups and you’ll see he’s not the same at catching the ball as someone like Cody Hoffman of BYU. Hoffman can effortlessly pluck the ball. Matthews has drops each day and that problem shows up on tape as well. I think you can work on that with coaching, but he just doesn’t have great hands and there is only so much you can do about that.
As a point of reference, remember that TO didn’t have great hands. He always was among the league leaders in drops. But he also was a big, talented receiver who produced at an elite level. And Matthews will make some spectacular grabs. He had one impressive downfield catch today.
* CB Lavelle Westbrooks, 5-11, 195, did some good things today. He had one terrific play. Westbrooks read a double-move and didn’t bite. He stuck right with the WR down the field and made a leaping PBU. I need to do more studying on him.
* DE Brent Urban continued to impress. He came very close to getting a sack when playing RDE. Moves well for such a big man.
* DT Daniel McCullers wasn’t good yesterday, but got going today. He won some battles and looked much better. He finally played like a big guy. I still wish he was more of a jerk. You want big guys to be mean guys. He doesn’t show a nasty streak.
* Florida CB Jaylen Watkins had an impressive day. He looked very good in man coverage. He showed good speed and was able to run with receivers.
* Vandy OL Wesley Johnson has not impressed me, but he’s the kind of guy who isn’t made to shine in the drills. Limited athlete. Only 290 pounds. He’s not going to win with size, strength or athleticism. Don’t be surprised if Johnson looks much better in the game. He’s the kind of guy that will win on gameday more than in a 1-on-1 setting.
* DT Will Sutton does a good job of driving his blocker backward. He won’t always disengage, but he uses his hands and leverage to collapse the pocket.
* Michael Sam is having a rough week. They’re playing him as a 4-3 LB, which isn’t his natural position. You could see how stiff his hips are in the drills today. He’s not meant to play in space. Sam is a pass rusher. Hopefully he’ll get some DE reps in the game on Saturday.
* DB Dez Southward showed really bad hands today. Instead of catching the ball, he was almost fighting it, which of course leads to drops. Southward played Safety at Wisconsin, but is getting a look at CB this week. He shows potential, but would need a lot of work at CB. And he can’t use the position switch as an excuse for the drops. He was a 3-year starter and only had 2 career INTs.
* Logan Thomas looks more and more like a TE to me. His passes lead to a lot of “Ugh” moans from the crowd.
* CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste is an interesting player. Great size at 6-2, 215. As you might guess, he’s not the most fluid athlete. But he seems to have real good instincts. There were a few plays today when receivers go separation because he couldn’t make the quick moves to stick with them, but Jean-Baptiste would get to the receiver because he knew where the guy was going. He didn’t break up the passes, but was right there to make the tackle.
* CB Nevin Lawson is a one-man holding machine. Utterly ridiculous. I assume the Seahawks will use their 1st rounder to draft him.
* I was not impressed by S Ahmad Dixon. He didn’t look good in coverage and then badly held guys on a few other plays.
* WR Shaq Evans is one of the reasons the DBs were getting desperate. Evans looked very good. He is 6-1, 210. Showed good speed, physicality and good route-running. He got open deep a few times. You can’t judge him on catches since the North QBs are so erratic.
* RB Charles Sims stood out to me in the pass blocking drill. Looked very good.
* WR Josh Huff made one impressive grab today.
* S Deone Bucannon had an impressive hit today. A player got upfield and was going down the sideline. Bucannon hit him up high. Wasn’t a full speed hit, but you could still hear the pop. Bucannon is a tough, physical player. His upper body is incredible. I do wonder about his range. I think he might be best used closer to the LOS. The problem with that is that few teams have a dedicated box Safety anymore.
* Marcus Smith is playing 4-3 LB this week, not his natural spot. I did think he might come alive in the pass rush drill. It was LBs vs TEs and RBs. Smith was quiet. Rushing vs those guys is very different from being a DE that goes against OTs, but I was disappointed.
* OT Jack Mewhort can be too upright at times. Rushers get under his pads and just walk him right back.
* DT Ra’Shede Hageman might be 6-6, 318 but don’t think of him as a big ol’ NT that is meant to stuff the run. Hageman can fly off the ball. Very quick. A guy with that build who moves like that…might remind you of a young Albert Haynesworth.
* If they gave out hustle awards, Trent Murphy would be carrying a lot of trophies. The guys flies all over the field. 100 mph all the time. The problem is that he’s a tweener. He is probably best suited to being a 4-3 DE. I just don’t know if he’s got the quickness for that role. I don’t think he is athletic enough to play 3-4 OLB. You could consider bulking him up for 3-4 DE. Murphy is 6-6, 261 right now. He would literally need to add 20 pounds.
Murphy is a fun guy to talk to. He had a terrific career at Stanford and I hope he’s able to carve out a role in the NFL, but I fear he might be a guy who was really good in college but just doesn’t translate well to the NFL.
* Tajh Boyd is the best QB on the North, but he’s highly erratic. I hope he has a strong practice on Wednesday or a good showing in the game. Things haven’t been pretty so far.
* OG Brandon Linder is an impressive blocker. He’s very calm. Some OL look almost panicked as they deal with the rusher. Linder is smooth and efficient. Good strength. Seems technically sound.
* DL Shamar Stephen has impressed me a few times. I need to study him a lot more. Looks quick, which is impressive for a guy that is 6-5, 308. Might be 3-4 DE material.
* OL Brandon Thomas played LT at Clemson. He doesn’t have great feet or size so many projected him to OG in the pros. Thomas has played some OT in Mobile. He is actually 6034, which means 6-3 1/2. And he’s got 34 inch arms. Thomas might move to OG, but he could play OT if needed. He did a solid job in pass pro today.