MOBILE, Ala. – After viewing two practices from the North Team at the Senior Bowl, it’s time to turn the attention over to the South Team for the first time.
Linemen on both sides of the ball, including Kentucky guard Larry Warford and Georgia defensive tackle John Jenkins, stood out more than the quarterbacks.
Some observations for the South practice this afternoon:
- It’s clear to me that you’re going to have to go back and study the film on these quarterbacks for both squads if you really want to get a true read of what you’re most likely going to get. I haven’t been impressed with either side, and in my scout’s brain I’m trying to remember if this is something I normally see or if someone usually stands out better. I know that Russell Wilson was here this time last season, but through two North practices and one South, no one has really stepped up and taken charge. On the South side this afternoon, I was looking forward to seeing Landry Jones, Tyler Wilson and EJ Manuel, and of the three, Manuel seems to be the one that has no idea where his ball’s going to go. Jones looks uncomfortable taking snaps from center and Wilson made one really good throw that got my attention when he threw a nice in route but other than that, I was left with very little. I told myself that I was going to judge these quarterbacks on their college film and I will do so, but I really was expecting more from this South group today and I didn’t get it. I mention nerves might be a problem with these quarterbacks because there have really been some questionable throws from what I’ve seen. There have been way too many passes on the ground in these practices. I never viewed this game as one to hurt a player, just a way to answer a few more questions, but for teams looking at quarterback as a need, those questions just became a little fuzzier.
- My scout’s crush on Kentucky guard Larry Warford continued today and grew a little strong after I watched him live during this afternoon’s practice. He’s just such a big man that moves so well for his size that you can’t help but like what he can do as a player. There were several times where rushers tried to take him down the middle and he would just sit or anchor down, not allowing them to go anywhere. There were times where the tackle blocked down inside and he quickly pulled to his right getting around the corner. He was good on the backside when he had to make the cut off block getting his head front side keeping the defender from the play. For his size, he moves well, very light on his feet and able to mirror and adjust with ease. Only had one time where he lunged and became overextended and lost his contact and base which hurt him. Had this thought that he might have been there in the second round when the Cowboys selected if they went defensive line in the first round. Think he is one of those guys that might go earlier in the second because of the position he plays. The way he plays on tape is showing in these practices.
- Defensive end Ezekial Ansah is going to cause me to watch every defensive film from BYU this season to truly find out what he is. I know when I studied the Utah game from earlier in the season, you would have drafted him high off that one game, but other games like Notre Dame and Oregon State left me thinking otherwise. He just hasn’t played that much football and you can really see that. He plays more on feel and God-given ability than he does technique. I love the fact that the Lions coaches are working with him because he does have a unique ability. When he lines up wide and rushes you get the feeling that he can get pressure on his first step, but where he misses out is he doesn’t have that move to the outside or the know-how of using his hands to free himself from the blocker. There are too many times where he rushes straight down the middle and he isn’t strong enough to handle that. His best move is his spin move but he can’t do that every rush. There is no doubt the talent is there, but really just lacks the know-how. Can see a team falling in love with him late in the round and not passing on that opportunity to work with him. Again, need to study his entire body of work and figure him out.
- I have to admit that I didn’t know much about Oklahoma offensive tackle Lane Johnson before I came to the Senior Bowl, but I was impressed with what he was able to do in practice on Tuesday. If I could describe his day in one word, I’d say that he is a “Finisher.” He’s one of those blockers that goes to the whistle and a little beyond. Lined up both at left and right tackle but looks better suited for right side duty. Showed some nice quickness off the ball and good with his set. Is light for 302 but didn’t get over-powered or knocked back into the lap of the quarterback. As mentioned, works to sustain and stay engaged, mirror slide and adjust. Battled to make the reach and cut off blocks, which were not a problem. Without DJ Fluker here, I thought he was the best tackle on the South side and the second best linemen behind Warford. Can see him adding weight to his frame and becoming a bigger tackle on the right side. The effort and traits are there to help a team that drafts him.
- To see defensive tackle John Jenkins practice was a good thing for me. At 359 pounds, he’ll have to play that one technique in this new Cowboys front seven, but from what I saw today, he could do it. Now the question becomes, do you have an eight time Pro Bowler or is he out of the league in three years? Today, I really liked what I saw when it came to being a disruptive player. He’s a very hard man to block on the move, and when he takes a gap he can be a problem. There’s a lot of power in his game because of his mass, but there are very good feet to go along with that mass. He’s not one that stays blocked too long, and for a large man, he does attempt some pass rush moves. Has a quick swim move that he will use to free himself. Is not one of those tackles that just bull rushes and tries to push the pocket. Did a better job in this practice with his effort in finishing the play. I have seen times at Georgia where he didn’t do that to the best of his ability. Really doesn’t move like a sloppy guy and if motivated can be a real problem inside. In this scheme, he could take the two blockers and allow the three technique to attack up the field. Feel better about what I saw today than what I did on tape, so that’s a positive. Is really one of those players that scouts like to call “Boom or Bust,” because he could really go either way.