It was an early rise here in Mobile, Alabama as Senior Bowl week rolls on and the North team continues its preparation for Saturday evening’s game against the South squad. Breakfast was available from 7:15-8:45 a.m. in one of the hotel ballrooms and then the team buses departed for Ladd-Peebles Stadium promptly at 8:45 for a 9:30 practice.
The ride from our hotel to the stadium is quick, and once we arrived on site the players quickly dressed and headed onto the field for warm-ups, stretching and then a 90-minute practice. Temperatures were in the mid-60s, it was mostly cloudy, but then the sun found a way to shine through the clouds for about the last 45 minutes of practice, making conditions ideal for coaches, players and observers.
Here are a few observations from my morning at the North team’s practice…
– I stood with NFL Network and Vikings preseason TV analyst Mike Mayock along the sidelines while the team went through stretching drills. We talked about various North-team related topics, but I found it interesting to note that he expressed excitement about watching the South team practice later in the day because he estimates there will be a handful or so of 1st-round picks among the South’s defensive linemen. Just something interesting to watch as the week goes on and we play the game on Saturday evening.
– The North team QBs are names even casual college football fans should recognize: Michigan State’s Kirk Cousins, Boise State’s Kellen Moore and Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson. I’ll withhold much judgment on them until we get later in the week when they get better timing established with receivers, but I will say that Moore and Wilson are much smaller than you’d imagine; both are less than 6 feet tall. According to the roster sheet distributed by the Senior Bowl, Moore measured in at 5-11¾ and Wilson measured in at 5-10 5/8. This doesn’t spell doom for their pro prospects, but obviously NFL coaches and scouts prefer QBs with some height so they can see over the offensive line and so defensive linemen don’t have such as advantage in batting balls down.
– I had one Vikings assistant coach mention to me after practice that Virginia LB Cam Johnson has had a good couple of days. This coach mentioned something to Johnson as he entered the locker room after practice and made reference to being anxious to watch the film of the day’s work. Johnson took the compliment well, kept walking into the locker room, and then paused before walking back toward us. He asked the coach when the film would be available. That’s a good sign to see from a player…wanting to watch film of practice at the Senior Bowl. You’d think if he wants to watch film of practice at the Senior Bowl then he’ll definitely be into film study when preparing to face a division rival during the regular season.
– One defensive lineman who constantly stood out to me was Penn State’s Jack Crawford. When I was observing him, he lined up exclusively at left DE and did a good job of both penetrating the line of scrimmage on some plays and staying home on other plays. An interesting note about Crawford is that he was born in London, England, and moved to the United States in high school with a dream of playing basketball. He didn’t play football until his junior year of high school.
– Another player standing out to me is Iowa WR Marvin McNutt. He’s a smooth runner, has the build and desire to be a physical receiver, and he didn’t drop a ball all day that I saw. He catches a lot of passes during team and 7-on-7 drills, which tells me that he’s either playing more than the other WRs and/or the QBs feel comfortable throwing him the ball.
– A few other WRs impressed at times, too, including Appalachian State’s Brian Quick during 7-on7 drills. Quick measures in at 6-3½, 222 pounds, giving him prototypical size for an outside WR in the NFL. This seems like a good group of WRs, but I’m looking for a little bit more out of Ohio State’s Devier Posey. I also like what little I’ve seen of Arizona State’s Gerell Robinson (6-3 1/8, 223 pounds).
Tags: Senior Bowl
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 136 Comments »