MOBILE, Ala. – There's plenty you can glean from one of these all-star practices at the Senior Bowl – so now that we've seen four total practices, there's a lot to discuss.
It's always fun to see who can maintain their momentum through the week, who struggles and who improves as practice continues. Wednesday's work saw a little bit of everything, as we continue to get a grasp on what this draft class looks like.
Here's some Day 2 highlights from Ladd-Peebles Stadium:
- What a difference a year makes from last year's crop of quarterbacks to this year's -- especially with the North squad. Colorado's Sefo Liufau, Pittsburgh's Nate Peterman and Iowa's C.J. Beathard were all over the place with their ball placement. Luckily for them their receivers, led by Eastern Washington's Cooper Kupp, Louisiana Tech's Trent Taylor and Syracuse's Amba Etta-Tawo were able to bail them out. These receivers had to deal with a consistent bad ball drill, snap after snap.
- I have to say I was surprised with how much Indiana guard Dan Feeney struggled during practice. Other than getting outside quickly and cleanly on a screen blocker, he wasn't his normal quality self. There were too many snaps where he was reaching and leaning, which left him off balance and in poor blocking position. Feeney's best trait is his ability to play on his feet.
- I could see a 3-4 team falling in love with Notre Dame Isaac Rochell. At 6-4, 282 he's the ideal size to play as a five-technique, over the offensive tackle in that scheme. In these practices he has shown the ability to play with his hands to control the blocker, then quickly disengage when he needed to. He even reduced down inside over the guard and showed some quality snaps there.
- Nice job by Dane Brugler of putting Temple linebacker Haason Reddick in his initial Top 50 last week for CBS Sports. I have yet to study Reddick myself on tape, but the way he has moved around during these practices and his ability to finish have been impressive. From his ability to cover in the one-on-one period to the pass rushing opportunities in the team period, he was all over the field. There appeared very little he couldn't do as a player.
- I wasn't super high on West Virginia cornerback Rasul Douglas when I studied him on tape. My initial grade was in the fourth round and I was willing to leave him there. Watching him during practice, he showed me a little more than that. His awareness playing routes and positioning was right where it needed to be. There were two snaps during the red zone portion of practice where he was able to undercut the receiver and make a play on the ball. He's a press man corner with more awareness than I thought.
- The more I watch, the more I believe there is no way that Alabama tight end O.J. Howard gets to the Cowboys at No. 28. His ability to get down the field in routes is comparable to Pro Bowl tight end Greg Olsen up in Carolina, and that makes him a difficult guy to defend. Watching him play live in these practices just confirms his ability.
- After a practice where I didn't notice him much, Tennessee cornerback Cameron Sutton came to play. The Browns' coaching staff was using him as a safety and linebacker in nickel situations, and he didn't look out of place at all with his alignment and angles. He showed some awareness being new to the position. He even had a couple of shots to carry O.J. Howard and did well.
- I thought it was a better day for UCLA offensive tackle Conor McDermott from what I saw on Tuesday. His technique and balance were poor on Day 1, and that put him in some bad blocking positions. He did a much better job with his hands and feet, which allowed him to keep his man wide. He didn't play like he was distressed or uncomfortable. Even when the rushers tried to take him down inside with power he was up to the task.
- One player that flashed along the defensive line at end was Tarrell Basham out of Ohio University. At 6-4, 259 pounds, he has that right defensive end build, but he was able to get home a couple of different times from both sides.
- I was disappointed to see LSU cornerback Tre'Davious White walk off the field with the trainers during practice. It appeared that White suffered an ankle injury which will likely sideline him for the game Saturday.