North Practice – Day 1

I liked what I saw from WR Zay Jones (short for Isaiah). The ECU star was 158-1746-8…for the 2016 season. That’s insane. Jones showed the skills that helped him pile up those crazy numbers. He is a smooth, fluid athlete. He ran good routes and caught the ball very well.

The one question I have is his long speed. I watched one play where Jones went deep and CB Brendan Langley plastered him the whole way. The QB did not bother trying to throw to Jones. A couple of plays later Jones made a quick cut at the top of his route and was wide open, hauling in a pass in front of Jourdan Lewis. Jones can get open, but he might not be a field-stretcher.

Jones did have one highlight moment. He got the ball on an end around and turned that into a nice gain. He seems to be one of those players who becomes faster when the all is in his hands.

*****

Derek Rivers was a good pass rusher for Youngstown State this year. He felt right at home in Mobile and was flying off the edge all day long. Rivers is 6-4, 250 and was playing 3-4 OLB. He had a good day. On one rep, Rivers beat RT Julie’n Davenport so badly that the RT had to put a choke hold on him.

*****

I did not get a good feeling for WR Cooper Kupp. He had a drop early on. He looked a bit awkward at running routes early as well. He seemed to settle in after that, but never really caught my eye.

*****

CB Desmond King had some good moments today. He showed the ability to stick right on top of WRs.

*****

RB De’Veon Smith had a good day. He blocked well in the pass-pro drills. He ran the ball well in the team drills. Smith isn’t explosive, but runs really well between the tackles. He is 220 pounds and doesn’t go down easily.

*****

ILB Conner Harris from Lindenwood was ready for the step up in competition. He had a big hit on a RB on a run play. He also picked off a pass thrown in the flat. Those are the kind of flash plays you want to see from a small school guy in an all-star game.

*****

OG Dan Feeney was impressive at times. He used his hands well and proved to be stout against some powerful rushers.

*****

One of the guys Feeney blocked was DT Jaleel Johnson. But Johnson wasn’t blocked often. He had a really good day. Johnson had a big hit on a RB on one play. He showed the ability to push the pocket on pass plays. Johnson used quickness and power to get the best of blockers throughout the practice session.

*****

QUICK HITS

CB Rasul Douglas was physical at times and showed good cover skills.

TE Michael Roberts struggled in the pass-protection drills.

Adam Bisnowaty played LT. He had one really big block late in the practice. Tough, physical player.

I didn’t write nearly as many notes on the North team as I did the South team. That had nothing to do with the players. Coach John Fox ran an odd practice and there just wasn’t as much constant activity as with the South team.

Also, there was a lot of running in the 11-on-11 sessions. That’s great, but it is hard to watch that from the stands and get a strong feel for what everyone is doing.

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