The South team took the field at Ladd-Peebles Stadium for an afternoon practice at 1:30 on Tuesday, and I assumed the same position for their practice as I did for the North team’s practice in the morning. So the notes below will focus on the drill work and 11-on-11 action that happened right in front of me.
For Wednesday’s South team practice, I’ll be sure to spot myself in an area that will give me good vision to positions that are not covered in Tuesday’s notes…
WRs fun to watch
The South team has three WRs that caught my eye throughout Tuesday’s practice. We’ll go alphabetically and briefly address each one…
– The Vikings selected two WRs from Arkansas in last year’s draft – Greg Childs and Jarius Wright. And now there’s another one who will be eligible in this year’s NFL draft who may make some NFL team very happy. His name is Cobi Hamilton and he had a good day on Tuesday. Hamilton measured in at just under 6-2 and at 199 pounds, a frame that would suggest he’d play the X (outside) receiver spot in the Vikings offense. But I think he has the agility and skill set to play Z (inside/slot) receiver in an offense, as well. Granted I didn’t watch all of his snaps and I haven’t watched a second of film on him, but Hamilton appears to be a smooth route runner who makes catches look easy.
– You might not think of Louisiana Tech as a program that churns out talented players regularly, but they’re about to churn out an extremely talented receiver named Quinton Patton. A quick look at his highlights will get you excited to see what he can do at the NFL level. He appears to have a great burst and great long speed, and I also thought he ran clean routes and caught the ball smoothly. Patton lined up all over the field on Tuesday and on some of his film I’ve seen him line up wide, but I wonder if he wouldn’t be a tremendous slot receiver in the NFL.
– Baylor’s Terrance Williams has gotten a lot of pub in this space the past few weeks because he’s been placed with the Vikings on many initial mock drafts. Of all the receivers – for both teams – on the field today, Williams appeared to me to be the most fluid and “pro ready.” Again, what I saw today is a blip on the radar screen when you consider these players’ body of work, and my designation of “pro ready” is something with which you should carry a grain of salt (I once said there would be no way Jimmy Clausen would slip from the 1st round). But for what it’s worth, Williams looked sharp today and I have little doubt he’ll be an impact player as a rookie in the NFL.
On the edge
In much the same way “Sly” Williams dominated the North team’s practice in the morning, Georgia DE Cornelius Washington displayed flashes of dominance during the South’s practice. He was easily the most impressive defensive lineman on the field, and he did it with a variety of pass-rushing moves.
The move that caused the biggest stir in the bleachers full of coaches and scouts was a bull rush he put on a player I couldn’t identify – it was as if he was shot out of a cannon. Washington also exploded past Virginia OT Oday Aboushi during one-on-ones and it was an impressive, quick move.
Washington did show a propensity to jump offsides, however. I counted 3 times in which he jumped, and it drove Detroit’s defensive line coach nuts. Each time Washington jumped offsides during a one-on-one drill, the coaches would take him from the drill and replace him with LSU DE Lavar Edwards, who had an up-and-down day. On one occasion when Washington was replaced with Edwards, it was Aboushi who benefited because he stepped up and stonewalled Edwards.
Offensive line dominant early, defensive line recovered late
The impressive performance from Washington notwithstanding, it was the South’s offensive line that looked dominant for much of the practice. I particularly noticed the South’s interior linemen performing well. Georgia DT Jonathan Jenkins entered this week’s Senior Bowl has the most-hyped defensive lineman on the South team, but the performance of the South interior line shut Jenkins down for most of the early part of practice. I was also impressed with Oklahoma OT Lane Johnson, who on back-to-back plays shutout Clemson DE Malliciah Goodman.
As the practice wore on, though, the defensive line turned it around. Washington started to dominate, Jenkins began to overpower the interior, and even fellow DTs Everett Dawkins (Florida State) and Cory Grissom (South Florida) eventually got in on the action and flashed ability.
Tight ends are intriguing
The South team has 3 TEs listed on the roster – Vance McDonald (Rice), Mychal Rivera (Tennessee) and Michael Williams (Alabama). Rivera looked the most fluid catching the ball today. He looks to me like a player who, if he reaches his potential, will be better than the NY Jets Dustin Keller but not quite as good as New England’s Aaron Hernandez. I’ll try to get a better look at McDonald and Williams during Wednesday’s practice. Williams was one of our 10 players to watch from earlier in the week.
– Cal CB Marc Anthony was impressive in the late stages of Tuesday’s practice. He had a back-to-back sequence of plays where he angled off a RB from across the field and prevented a would-be TD and then followed that up by jumping a quick slant route and recording a PBU (pass break up). Then at the very end of practice, Anthony deflected a ball that was intercepted and returned for a TD by Florida State LB Vince Williams.
– Returning kickoffs for the South on Tuesday were: SE Louisiana CB Robert Alford, Georgia Southern DB JJ Wilcox and Williams & Mary CB BW Webb.
Tags: 2013 Senior Bowl
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