South Practice – Day 2

The star of the day was CB Tre’Davious White. He is the best CB in Mobile and has played up to his reputation. White smothered receivers all day on Wednesday. No matter who he went up against, White got the best of them.

White is a physical CB, but in a reasonable way. Some college corners do too much grabbing and holding. White is more subtle and uses his size, speed and cover skills to get the best of receivers. He did draw one holding call today (there were officials at practice).

White isn’t just a size/speed guy. He has terrific instincts. He runs routes as well as the receivers at times. White has excellent body control and that allows him to mirror receivers who try to shake him with quick cuts or double moves.

Unfortunately White got hurt late in practice. He slammed his helmet on the bench, but then calmed down and walked off with a trainer. I’m guessing he is done for the week. White should be a 1st round pick.

*****

WR Ryan Switzer had a rough day. He has the ability to be a dynamic PR and outstanding slot receiver in the NFL, but things weren’t so great on Wednesday.

Switzer struggled to get open against White and some other CBs. There were several passes that were thrown too high for him to catch. Obviously the QB is at fault for being off-target, but it also shows the problem with having such a small target (5084, 179 and with 28-inch arms).

Switzer looked outstanding in individual drills. He is quick, fast and has good hands. He just isn’t going to beat top CBs on the outside very often.

*****

Let’s talk about other WRs.

Artavis Scott had another solid day. He is a smooth, talented receiver.

Fred Ross from Mississippi State had a good day. He has good feet and also catches the ball well.

Chad Williams was better than on Tuesday. He still looks raw, but his speed is real. Could be a good developmental project.

Travin Dural is a player I don’t have a good feel for. He doesn’t make mistakes, but also hasn’t stood out to me very much. He did make one impressive grab on Wednesday.

One guy that has really grown on me is Taywan Taylor from Western Kentucky. He was smaller than expected at 5-11, 198, but has played really well. Taylor is fast and runs good routes. He cuts well and shows a feel for getting open.

Taylor made an impressive catch on a deep fade down the left sideline. He later caught a pass that was thrown low. He has good hands and adjust well to the ball. I need to watch more tape of him.

*****

I like CB Demontae Kazee quite a bit, but he struggled today. Kazee got beaten several times. There was one play where he gave up a short catch and then the WR used a stiff arm to get the best of Kazee and gain an additional 5 yards.

*****

CB Ezra Robinson made some plays today. There was one where he had tight coverage and broke up a pass intended for Chad Williams. Unfortunately Robinson’s back was to the QB and it was sheer luck that he knocked the ball away. He has talent, but locating the ball looks like something he needs to work on.

*****

TE Evan Engram had some good moments. He caught a short pass on a bootleg play and turned that into a nice gain. Later on he was downfield and plucked a ball that was away from his body. He had to extend for that, but did and made a clean grab. Engram is a gifted receiver.

 

O.J. Howard (not Williams as I called him yesterday) had another good day.

I saw Gerald Everett drop one pass, but overall he (like the other TEs) played well. He showed the ability to adjust to off-target throws. He made an impressive downfield catch late in practice. He does look like a WR at times,

*****

ILB Alex Anzalone had a couple of standout plays. He read a screen pass well and was there to put the RB down for a loss. After that, he stuffed an inside run.

*****

OL thoughts.

G Jess Dunker had some good blocks. He has okay size at 6-4, 306, but is tough and physical on the inside. He got the best of DT Montravious Adams on one rep.

C Ethan Pocic was up and down. He won some battles and lost a couple as well. He is a tall interior blocker and at times DL can get under his pads.

LT Connor McDermott got the best of DE Raeshon Hall in several 1-on-1 matchups. McDermott reminds me a lot of former Eagle Jon Runyan, except he’s more athletic and not as nasty.

*****

CB Marquez White has played better than I anticipated. His Senior tape did not overly impress me. White has covered well so far in Mobile. The only potential issue I’ve seen is deep speed.

*****

DE Tanoh Kpassagnon had a solid day. He is a raw player and will make mistakes here and there. He failed to contain a bootleg on one play and the QB was able to make an easy throw. There was another play where TK failed to handle the option well and that led to a good gain.

He has some impressive moments in the 1-on-1 drills. He uses his length to get the best of blockers. Even when they seem to “win”, TK is in the backfield and would be affecting the QB. He did show a good rip move today and used that to beat stud LT Tony Garcia in a rep.

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North Practice – Day 2

Let’s talk about Cooper Kupp, the WR from Eastern Washington. He had a good day of practice on Wednesday. Kupp has good hands. He can make some tough catches. I love the way he fights for the ball when it is in the air. He has solid size, but isn’t going to overwhelm anyone physically. He does battle for the ball, which is something not all WRs do, even big ones.

Kupp runs good routes. He knows how to release off the ball and works hard to get open. He plays through contact when trying to get open and catch the ball. He shows a really impressive competitive streak.

There is one problem, and it is kinda big. Kupp is slow. I watched practice with Eagles beat writer Jimmy Kempski and he timed the WRs running in a certain drill. They were running 20 yards downfield and there were no DBs. Kupp was the slowest WR on the North team.

There was a play in the 1-on-1 drills where he used a great move to get separation from CB Brendan Langley. Kupp went downfield and Langley caught him with ease. There was another play where Kupp just ran a go route and Langley blanketed him the whole way.

Kupp can be a good possession receiver in the NFL. He might be more than that, but his lack of top speed shows on the field and that will limit some of what he can do.

*****

OT Adam Bisnowaty is playing LT for the North. He is a blue-collar, physical blocker, but he has some issues in pass protection. He hops as he moves backward. That leaves him vulnerable to power rush moves. Bisnowaty doesn’t have good feet. I’ll be curious to see if he plays RT in the NFL or gets moved to OG.

Julien Davenport is a small school guy (Bucknell). He is the other LT for the North. Davenport has better feet and looks like he can be a LT in the NFL. He keeps a wide base and plays with good pad level. Davenport looks the part of a LT with his combination of size, agility and balance.

*****

CB Rasul Douglas had a great year, picking off 8 passes. He has played pretty well down in Mobile. Douglas is aggressive and physical. He likes to get his hands on receivers and fight them as much as he can. He also likes to jump routes, as you might have guessed.

There are a couple of issues Douglas has to work on. He is too upright in his backpedal when playing off coverage. NFL receivers will eat that up. Douglas also can be too handsy with receivers. That will draw a lot of flags at the next level.

*****

Let’s talk about some other WRs. Jalen Robinette is a bit under the radar because he played at Air Force and they just don’t throw the ball a lot. Robinette measured in at 6-3, 218 and he has legitimate NFL potential. He catches the ball smoothly and has good body control for such a big frame. Robinette is athletic and had a good day of practice.

Zay Jones had another strong day. He looked faster than on Tuesday and continued to catch the ball really well. I love the way he plucks the ball away from his body.

*****

Boston College DB John Johnson is a really interesting player. He is listed with the Safeties here in Mobile, but has started at both CB and S in college. You can see that in the drills. Johnson has good coverage skills. There were multiple plays today where he stuck right with a WR. In today’s NFL, DBs who can do multiple things are incredibly valuable.

*****

Dan Feeney is my favorite OL on the North squad. He played mostly RG today and had a strong showing. Feeney got movement on run plays. He gets low and is able to use leverage and power to move the DL across from him. Feeney is smart and uses angles well when trying to seal a defender or when moving laterally. Feeney looks like the kind of guy you can draft and plug into your starting lineup even as a rookie.

*****

RB De’Veon Smith had another good day. He caught the ball well a few times, which isn’t something all 220-pound RBs do. Smith is a tough, physical runner. The issue with him is lack of burst/speed. There was a draw play where a hole opened up and Smith got through it, but a back with more burst could have turned that into a nice gain. Smith will move the chains, but isn’t a playmaker.

Kareem Hunt did show a good burst and broke off a few long plays on Wednesday. I like him quite a bit.

*****

QUICK HITS

Edge rusher Derek Rivers had a good day. He got a “sack” when he pushed the pocket right back to the QB. On another play, Rivers grabbed a RB with one hand and got him down.

WR Amba Etta-Tawo has looked okay, but has not shown good deep speed.

ILB Conner Harris stuffed a goal line run. That’s 2 days in a row he’s made a flash play.

CB Desmond King had a good day in coverage. He lacks ideal deep speed, but can stick right with a receiver on short and intermediate routes.

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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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South Practice – Day 1

4 players were practicing catching punts. Ryan Switzer caught the ball really well. Cam Sutton and Donnel Pumphrey also looked natural. CB Demontae Kazee struggled.

*****

TE O.J. Howard might have been the star of the day. He ran good routes, got open and showed the ability to stretch the field. He caught just about everything thrown his way, including making a pair of one-handed grabs. On one of those it looked like he could have gotten the other hand on the ball, but was almost showing off.

Howard has size, athleticism, he can block and he’s a good receiver, He should be the top Senior TE taken.

*****

DE Tanoh Kpassagnon was unblockable this year, but Villanova plays at the FCS level. How would he fare against big time competition? Just fine. TK lined up at DE on both the left and right side. It was wild to watch him on the back side of run plays. He took 2 steps and already seemed to be on the other side of the formation. He’s 6-7 and just eats up ground.

TK had some good moments in the 1-on-1 drills. He threw highly-regarded OL prospect Forrest Lamp to the ground on one rep. He gave RT Justin Senior fits on a few reps. TK is still raw and has some moments where he looks awkward due to his size, but he is a really impressive prospect.

*****

Let’s talk WRs.

Clemson’s Artavis Scott was the smoothest receiver for the South. He ran good routes and caught the ball well. Clemson WRs have done well in recent years. They just seem to know how to play, while also being athletic and skilled

Ryan Switzer looks like a slot receiver, but that’s not a bad thing at all. He reminds me of Jamison Crowder, who starred at Duke, lit up the Senior Bowl a few years back and is now playing really well for the Skins. Switzer makes crisp cuts and has excellent burst out of them. He caught the ball well today, even going to the ground for one low throw,

Chad Williams from Grambling did not start off well. He dropped the ball a few times early in practice. Even when he did make the grab, Williams seemed to be fighting the ball. Give the young man credit, though. He got better as practice went along. His highlight moment came when he ran by CB Kazee and hauled in a long TD.

Josh Reynolds measured in a bit smaller than expected at just under 6-3 and 187 pounds. He really struggled early in practice, but it was like a light switch went on when he had a CB on him. Reynolds caught everything thrown his way, and some of those throws were up high. He really extended for the ball and made some impressive grabs.

Taywan Taylor caught my eye a few times. I’ll watch him more closely the rest of the week.

*****

Forrest Lamp was up and down. He struggled at OT a few times. He played better at OG, although he did get beaten in there at least once. Lamp played LT in college. He was all over the OL today. Due to his short arms and overall build, teams want him to play OG.

After practice, Lamp talked about the adjustment. At OT, he could sit back and let the DL come to him. That isn’t the case on the inside. The DL is already on you at the snap. You must use your hands really well. That is something the coaches are working with him on.

Lamp was asked about playing OT vs OG and said he didn’t care. He just wanted to start for an NFL team. I was impressed with that attitude and also his willingness to admit specific issues with his game that must be improved. Real good prospect. I expect him to get better each day.

*****

CB Tre’Davious White was up and down. He picked off the first pass of the day when he jumped a short route. White got a good break on the ball on a few routes. White gave up some completions as well.

*****

QUICK HITS

ILB Harvey Langi had some good hits and played inside runs well. He is a big, physical LB.

None of the South QBs stood out to me. Davis Webb looked the best. Antonio Pipkin looked the worst. Josh Dobbs had good moments, but also struggled at times. Pipkin is a small school guy and sometimes it can take those guys an extra day to adjust to the level of competition. We’ll see how he does the next 2 days.

DE Daeshon Hall had a good day, mixing in speed rushes, inside moves and spin moves.

Montravius Adams showed big time ability on a couple of reps. He is a big, gifted DT.

OG Danny Isidora had a pretty good day in the 1-on-1 drills. He is stout.

DE Keionta Davis had a good day. He used speed and power to beat blockers, both left and right sides.

S Justin Evans broke up a downfield pass. The ball was over toward the sideline and he showed good range in getting there.

Tony Garcia really looks the part of a LT. He has a great frame and is a gifted blocker. There were times today when he was outstanding, but he also got beat by Hall on a couple of reps.

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Senior Bowl Weigh-In Notes

On Tuesday morning we had the weigh-in at the Senior Bowl. Here are some things that stood out to me.

TCU pass rusher Josh Carraway listed at 6-4, 250, but acutally measured in at 6-3, 241. He is cut and in terrific shape, but that’s small for a pass rusher. Even some 3-4 teams will be turned off by that build. Teams with an open mind will focus more on his explosive burst than his lack of size.

CB Corn Elder (great name) measured in at 5-10, 179. That is small for a guy who is a hitter and tackler. He plays bigger than his size, but he will need to bulk up for the NFL.

Evan Engram was a TE/WR tweener at Ole Miss. He measured in at 6-3, 236, almost 10 pounds heavier than expected. He needed that size to play either TE or H-back.

Gerald Everett, another pass-catching TE, measured in smaller than expected. He was 6-3, 227. He does have a good frame and looks like he could add some bulk. He is in excellent shape.

Tony Garcia is the top OT prospect in Mobile. He came in at 6-6, 293. You’d like him about 10 pounds heavier, but his frame can carry that easier. His arm length is 32 7/8 inches. Usually you want a LT at 33 or more, but that’s close enough for such a gifted blocker.

DE Daeshon Hall measured in at 6-5, 263. That is excellent size for him. His arms are just under 35 inches long, which is terrific for an edge rusher. He can get his arms into blockers and keep them off his body.

My favorite player in Mobile is Tanoh Kpassagnon, the DE from Villanova. He is huge at 6-7, 280. His arms are 34 7/8 inches long. His reach is 84 1/2 inches. That is freaky big. Some teams are going to love this guy.

Forrest Lamp did not have such luck with his arms. He is 6-4, 305 and has a solid build. But his arms are just 31 1/8 inches. That is a key reason teams project him to OG.

RB Donnel Pumphrey is a small RB, but he came in at only 5-8, 169. Yikes. That will hurt him. He needed to be up in the 180-185 range.

WR/PR Ryan Switzer listed at 5-10, 185, but only measured in at 5-8 1/2 and 179 pounds. That’s not a huge deal for him because he is a natural slot receiver and gifted return man.

BYU runner Jamaal Williams shrunk from his listed size of 6-2, 220 down to 6-0, 211. That’s still solid size, but one of his selling points was the fact he was a bigger back.

Southern Cal OT proved to be just as huge as expected, 6-8, 361.

Vince Biegel, the star 3-4 OLB from Wisconsin, measured in at just 6-3, 242. I don’t think 4-3 teams will have much interest in him. 3-4 teams will want him to bulk up.

Toledo RB Kareem Hunt was supposed to be 225 pounds, but measured in at 5-11, 208. He is still an impressive runner, but it was hoped he would be bigger.

Desmond King came in at 5-10, 206. Some will wonder whether the Iowa star should shift to S instead of playing CB with that size. I still like him at CB.

Notre Dame DL Isaac Rochelle is 6-4, 282. He could play 4-3 DE or DT. He could also play 3-4 DE.

Toledo TE Michael Roberts is 6-4, 261. His hands measured 11 5/8 inches, the biggest of any Senior Bowl prospect. Those are some huge hands. No wonder he was such a good Red Zone target (16 TDs). Just get the ball near him…

For a complete list of heights and weights, go check here.

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Shrine Game Thoughts

The East-West Shrine Game was played on Saturday. I haven’t had a chance to study the tape, but there were some impressive performances. Here are some initial thoughts.

EAST

DE Bryan Cox – Active, productive and disruptive. Played both right and left side, as well as some DT. Was disciplined off the edge vs bootlegs. Showed some burst. Physical against the run.

DE Trey Hendrickson – Played mostly RDE and was very good. Had a strip sack. Used speed off the edge, but also mixed in some inside moves. Made hustle plays and was solid against the run.

OL William Holden – Played LT and LG. Effective pass blocker and was good run blocker. Did okay when playing LG.

RB De’Veon Smith – Physical runner with some burst. Ran hard between the tackles. 11-23 on the ground, but didn’t have much room to work with. Did have a fumble late in the game and it came near the goal line. Not good.

TE Eric Saubert – Small school TE got a chance to play against good competition. Showed good athleticism and the ability to get open, but had a drop and failed to really impress.

WR Kermit Whitfield – Finished with 3 catches for 31 yards. Showed good speed and RAC ability. Could be good role player for NFL team.

WR Deangelo Yancey – Up and down showing. Fielded a punt inside the 5. Ugh. Dumb move. 2-34 as a receiver. One covered 29 yards and showed how good he can be over the middle. That came late in the game. Then popped up and threw the ball in the air. Waste of a couple of seconds as his team was trying to march down the field to win the game.

CB Tony Bridges – Active tackler against runners and receivers.

WEST

RB Eli McGuire – This was my first chance to watch him and he was impressive. 7-42 on the ground and scored the game’s only TD. Good vision. Showed burst, to and through the hole. Need to see more of him.

RB Dare Ogunbowale – 8-42 on the ground. Sometimes we assume Wisconsin RBs are a product of the system. Dare had a good showing and looked like he could be a good backup RB in the NFL. Also caught 2 passes.

RB Joe Williams – The Utah star was 7-48 on the ground. Ran hard and showed terrific burst. Busted loose for a 35-yard run. Good to see him show the big play ability in an all-star setting.

TE Michael Roberts – Caught 2 passes for 25 yards. On one of those, he broke multiple tackles and fought his way down the sideline for a 1st down. That’s exactly what you want to see from a TE who is 6-4, 259. Play big.

WR Gabe Marks – Muffed a punt. Had a couple of drops. Did catch one pass for 8 yards. Came close to breaking that for a huge gain. Was wide open for a potential TD on another play, but the QB never saw him.

CB Fabian Moreau – Strong performance from the best player on the field. Covered receivers with ease. Broke up at least one pass. Looked the part of a cover corner.

DE Darius English – Measured in at 6-5, 237. Will be a LB for a lot of teams, but others will see him as a Wide-9 type of DE. Looked good rushing off the edge with some space to work with. Worth developing.

DE Deatrich Wise – Really impressed me. Played both sides at DE and even some DT. Showed burst off the edge. Played the run well. Got push up the middle when rushing from DT. Excited to watch more tape on him.

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Value of Comparisons

Former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah is always a great source of draft and scouting information.

This can be a valuable tool, but it is challenging. There are some prospects that I really struggle to find a good comparison for.

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Senior Bowl Update

The draft features a really strong set of CBs and the list of guys playing in Mobile in a few weeks is very impressive.

Jourdan Lewis – Michigan

Desmond King – Iowa

Marquez White – Florida State

Rasul Douglas – West Va

Corn Elder – Miami

Cam Sutton – Tennessee

And they just got a big name to join the group.

That’s a really good group of prospects. Normally I love watching the OL/DL battles more than anything, but this is a year where I will likely watch a lot of the WR/CB drills. Should be a lot of fun.

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Mystery Man

Solomon Thomas had a great year for Stanford. He’s now off to the NFL. I’m interested to see how teams look at him.

4-3 DE?

3-4 DE?

4-3 DT?

Thomas goes about 6-3, 275. That’s not an ideal size for any of the positions. But this is one of those cases you have to be careful not to get too caught up in numbers. Anyone who watched his performance against UNC in the Sun Bowl saw just how dominant Thomas can be.

And some highlights.

I think Thomas is one of those guys you find a spot for. Don’t obsess on size and labels. This dude can play and you want him on your team.

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Freak

Wow. Just wow.

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