In the middle of Day 3 of the Senior Bowl, here are some thoughts from the North practice in Mobile:
· Thought that Missouri Southern defensive tackle Brandon Williams had a much better day in the one-on-one drills and when they went to the inside drill. There have been times in these practices where he didn't win right off the snap and struggled with his technique getting off of blocks. This morning he played with quickness and a burst but even better was his hand use with a quick swim move. There is no question of his power and strength but the fact that he should some pass rush moves really opened my eyes.
· One of my five to watch today was Syracuse offensive tackle Justin Pugh. Like the fact that he can play both tackle and guard but does it with some ability. He is right at 6-5, 301, which would make him an idea height/weight for offensive tackle. Is a short armed player which could limited him some outside but was really impressed with his ability to get outside, stay on his feet and engage with the defender. Played on both the right and left side this morning. Was a little off balance on his cut off block but was able to recover. Like a lot of these Senior Bowl linemen, you see him trying to finish his blocks. I have talked to scouts here that really are looking for those linemen that can play multiple positions to try and help with numbers on the roster, Pugh will get consideration not only for this but the way in which he competes.
· One of my favorite players on the North defense has been Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant but there is also another PAC 12 player that is catching my eye and that is defensive end Datone Jones from UCLA. At 6-4, 280 he has the size to play as a 4-3 end with the burst to get up the field and be disruptive run or pass in this scheme. I really have enjoyed the match ups between he and Eric Fisher which I think has rubbed off on Alex Okafor who switched sides today to get some snaps against Fisher as well. On Saturday, these North ends will be a handful for South tackles Lane Johnson and Xavier Nixon. Jones has been relentless not only chasing the ball but handling blocks at him as well. His get off has put these tackles on their heels which has allowed him to counter their sets. From the word "Go" he has challenged Fisher with everything that he has got and come away with a favorable impression from the scouts.
· There were some coverage situations that USC safety TJ McDonald was put in that really caused me to think about if he can handle the job down after down. There is no question about his ability as a box or down safety but this morning he was much too slow reacting to the receiver and when he did see the route develop that he wasn't quick enough reacting to the ball. There didn't seem to be any problem with his ability to handle the tight end underneath but when the receiver went vertical on him, I didn't see the quickness or the catch up speed to recover. There will be those comparisons to Taylor Mays of the Bengals but he doesn't struggle that much. I have made a note to ask Monte Kiffin his thoughts on McDonald when I get back to Valley Ranch but I did see a couple of plays that were not his best effort of the week.