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Scout’s Notebook: North Team Has D-Line Talent; Eyeing QBs

Posted Jan 22, 2014

MOBILE, Ala. – Taking a look at the North practice on Wednesday.

  • One of my twitter followers asked me during the Senior Bowl practice on Wednesday morning if Notre Dame offensive tackle Zach Martin would be a consideration as a selection for the Cowboys at 16/17? My first thought was they would most likely consider some type of defensive help first but there could be a possibility that Martin’s grade on the draft board and his talent might be better than what they might have at one of those defensive positions and this is why you have to keep an open mind when you are building these boards.

    Martin has played like a first round talent during these practices. He has handled the best tackles and ends that he has faced. He has lined up at left tackle and played some guard as well. He doesn’t play or move like those Notre Dame linemen that we have seen in the past. There is some bend and flexibility in his game. There is also power in the way he comes off the ball and is able to get movement. I believe you could plug Martin in at either guard spot or even consider him for the right tackle spot and you wouldn’t miss a beat. There are plenty of positive traits to his game.

  • As I mentioned on Tuesday, if you were looking for taller corners for your squad next season, this is the draft for you. One of those corners that I focused on was Nebraska’s Stanley Jean-Baptiste, who I thought had a productive and consistent practice. Usually it is difficult for taller corners to adjust to these smaller and quicker receivers but he was up to the challenge. What you can see in Jean-Baptiste’s game is that he is used to playing press coverage because when he walks up on receivers, he is quickly able to get his hand on them, then he adjusts from there.

    For a tall player, he moves well enough but I would not call him completely smooth or effortless but he can stay with his man. Jean-Baptiste did do a nice job when the defense went into red zone coverage because his height doesn’t allow the ball go over the top of him. He was in outstanding position to defend routes and it has to be a perfect throw to beat him. Have seen him projected in the 3rd round but would not be surprised to see some team fall in love with his size before that.

  • If the Cowboys continued to run a 3-4 defense, there are plenty of options along the defensive line to take a look at not only from the season tape I have studied, but this Senior Bowl as well. Justin Ellis is a young man from Louisiana Tech that will make someone very smart to draft him as a nose tackle. He is one of those kids that my old boss Larry Lacewell used to call a “trash can full of dirt”. He is a hard guy to move and when you try, he just sits down and takes up blockers.

    Ellis isn’t one of those big bodied guys that take up space. He is mobile and athletic. He plays with power and he does a nice job of getting push. When he comes off the ball, it’s difficult for blockers to handle him one-on-one. He is the type of player when he gets the edge, he is going to find a way to get through. There have been plenty of times during these practices where you see his number in the backfield whether it has been run or pass. Projections have him right now in the 4th round but just from what I have seen, he goes much earlier than that unless his college film shows otherwise. 

    • If you asked me which team had the best set of quarterbacks in this game, I would say that the South has the advantage with Jimmy Garoppolo, David Fales and Derek Carr over Logan Thomas, Tajh Boyd and Stephen Morris. If I had to say who the best one out of that group, it would have to be Carr. There is just so many more throws that he can make, plus his accuracy is outstanding.

      I honestly didn’t expect much from any of these North’s quarterbacks even though I had seen Boyd on tape but so many of his pass were screens and those on the inside. He just hasn’t thrown the ball well enough in these practices to get excited about him. The quarterback I am looking forward to studying once I am back in the office, is Garoppolo. In these practices, the game has not looked too big for him and when given time during the team period, he has made several nice throws. The receivers have not had to work as hard for the balls and he has been consistent. I am interested to see if what I have seen live during these practices will translate.

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