A long Tuesday in Mobile came to a close for John Congemi after taking in both the North and South practices as well as taking part in general manager Jeff Ireland’s press conference. Here are John’s final thoughts on the day:
Day 2 Recap:
Following the conclusion of watching a full day of senior bowl practice, the Dolphins general manager spoke to reporters in the bleachers at Ladd Peebles Stadium in Mobile. Ireland seemed very relaxed and comfortable during the session as he seemed to be enjoying the player evaluation phase of the off-season. While many observers on the outside are thinking “offense, offense, offense”, Ireland stressed that he’s looking at upgrading all aspects of the football team: offense, defense, special teams and coaching staff. Jeff noted that even though Mike Nolan and the defense improved dramatically in 2010, the team won’t shy away from defensive players if they feel like those players would be an upgrade for the defensive unit to make it even stronger.
I was really impressed with all three quarterbacks on the South team: Andy Dalton of TCU, Christian Ponder of FSU, and Greg McElroy of Alabama. They all showed good feet and seemed to have better control of the football today than they did during Day 1. In fact, I would say that after a few days of observation the quarterbacks on the South team all outperformed their counterparts on the North (Jake Locker, Colin Kaepernick and Ricky Stanzi). I was especially impressed with Dalton–the ball just flies out of his hand and he displayed good accuracy as well. I talked to Ponder after practice and he mentioned to me that in his adjustment to the pro game, he would like to hang in the pocket longer and not rely on his mobility as much as he did at times for the Seminoles. Ponder wants to show the scouts that he can stay in the pocket and deliver the football effectively when the pass-rush is breathing down his neck.
I also took note of some of the Hurricanes participating on the South team. Wide Receiver Leonard Hankerson and defensive end Allen Bailey looked sharp in their respective drills. But Hankerson really had my attention- he just had an awesome day on Tuesday, he caught the football with consistency and there were no bobbles- they were clean catches. With the hands passing the test on Tuesday, all the other elements of Hankerson’s game fell into place as he was very crisp with his routes and got the ball a lot during practice. Also, at the wide receiver position Greg Salas, a 6’2” 210 pound target of Hawaii caught my eye. Salas showed flashes that he can stretch the field either on the outside or in the slot.
Tight end Luke Stocker from Tennessee is a beast! He made two separate one-handed catches during individual drills and looked good throughout the day. Stocker, a 6’6” 250 pounder reminded me a lot of another former Tennessee tight end, current Dallas Cowboy Jason Witten, because he’s a big target who can get in and out of routes.
In the backfield, Anthony Allen, the running back out of Georgia Tech looked very good during the practice. He really has a terrific burst with the speed to get to the edge to go along with a solid frame at 6’0” 230 lbs.
Tuesday was a great day with both teams picking up the intensity level in practice as the players got in full pads for the first time this week. I expect the tempo to stay fast tomorrow for another day of important practices for these prospects.
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