As we get ready for the 2011 NFL Draft, the Finsiders have you totally covered. This week, the Senior Bowl is taking place in Mobile, Alabama, and our own John Congemi is on site to bring back the very latest on the stars of tomorrow. All week, John will file written and video reports from Mobile and will also call into our show. On this first day of practice, Congemi breaks down the best guys that he saw during the North’s practice. Enjoy!
SENIOR BOWL, DAY 1:
Well, it was an overcast day here at the Senior Bowl in Mobile. I attended the North team practice at Ladd Peebles Stadium and it was good action for the first day of practice this week. The tempo was quick throughout and a lot of players mentioned the fast pace of a practice with NFL coaches when talking to myself and others after the practice. Overall, there was a lot of competitiveness and good spirit out here as a lot of scouts were here today putting these prospects under the microscope.
Here are my position-by-position observations from Day 1 of Senior Bowl Practice:
-Quarterbacks: Colin Kaepernick out of Nevada is a huge guy at 6’6” 225, and has been pretty accurate with the football thus far. Let’s not forget that it’s the first day that these quarterbacks and receivers have worked together and I think Colin’s done a nice job of being on time. So has Jake Locker, out of Washington, who is 6’3 230. Locker, despite being a big guy, moves really well and you can tell how athletic he is on the football field. The other QB for the North is Ricky Stanzi out of Iowa, 6’4 230, another big quarterback with good arm strength and good timing. It looks like all three of these guys know what they want to do with the football and I think they’re going to get better each day as they get more comfortable working with the receivers and running backs. Kapernick for as big as he is has nice mobility, but clearly the best athlete in the group is Jake Locker. Locker has quick feet, good mechanics and delivers the football on time.
-Running Backs: I thought Roy Helu Jr. out of Nebraska showed a great first step; he’s a downhill runner who’s very shifty and did a good job running with the football today. Also impressing was DeMarco Murray of Oklahoma. Murray was hitting holes inside and outside while also showing off the ability to make a nice jump cut. Murray and Helu did a nice job of going north and south today getting into the hole. They make a decision and they go with it which is exactly what you have to do in the NFL: hit that hole with authority and try to come out on the other side.
-Offensive Line: A big surprise for me was how athletic these offensive lineman were today in the group from the North. Starting with Wisconsin’s Gabe Carimi, a 6’7” 327 pound guy who has very good feet and is very quick for a man of his size. Also, Anthony Castonzo of Boston College has great feet at 6’7” 308, and has a good initial first step. Both of these guys displayed a nice blend of toughness and agility during this afternoon’s practice as both stood out during the 1-on-1 periods of the session.
-Wide Receiver: I thought Austin Pettis out of Boise St. looked really good as he continued to get deep behind defensive backs. Pettis was very elusive and you could tell it was very tough for most of the DB’s to keep up with him and I thought he was a standout at the position this afternoon.
-Defensive Line: Cal’s Cameron Jordan did a nice job rushing the passer in 1-on-1 drills with o-lineman and Purdue’s Ryan Kerrigan displayed his speed with some nice pass rushes off the edge during the drills.
-Linebackers: The first linebacker that caught my eye today was Casey Matthews, brother of Green Bay Packers LB Clay Matthews Jr., I thought he showed good mobility today getting to running backs as well as dropping into pass coverage. Additionally, I liked the play of UConn’s Lawrence Wilson, who showed off tremendous athletic ability in pursuit of the ball. Also impressing was Greg Jones, a ‘backer out of Michigan St. He is perhaps a little undersized at 6’1” 240 but is very fast and aggressive as he looked good running from sideline to sideline.
Here’s a link to the North roster to take a look at all the prospects that I got to see today.
I’ll take a look at Christian Ponder and the South squad tomorrow afternoon, as well as seeing the North again tomorrow morning. We’ll also get a chance to catch up with Dolphins General Manager Jeff Ireland. Keep checking back for updates throughout the week.
Here’s a full video recap of the first day:
John also called in to talk to Jesse, Troy, and Keith about his day one observations:
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