North Practice, 1/25/11:
Day two of the Senior Bowl was a little more exciting than day one, as the North practiced in full pads this morning, and the offense and defense went right at it from the start. The session began with an inside drill and the intensity of the battles in the trenches was fun to watch. Here are some of the players that caught my eye for the North (South practices later this afternoon and I’ll blog about that later this evening):
-Quarterbacks: I thought Ricky Stanzi of Iowa improved from his day one showing. I asked Stanzi about the change in football from the college football to the pro ball (which they use at the Senior Bowl), and he said that he liked the pro ball, explaining that he can spin it a little better with the ball being “fatter” than the ones he used in college. Jake Locker looked like he had a pretty good morning and seemed very confident in his throws. For that matter, all the quarterbacks seemed confident during Day two; Colin Kaepernick, the 6’6” signal-caller from Nevada really showed his arm-strength in having a nice morning practice, although he’s still working out the kinks while dropping back from center. Kaepernick is a guy who wasn’t under center much in college, playing in Nevada’s “pistol” offense, but he did appear a little bit more comfortable under center today.
-Wide Receivers: The guy that I’m really enjoying watching is Austin Pettis, the wide receiver out of Boise State. I had a chance to catch up with him after practice and he told me that he’s just concentrating on getting better every day leading up to the combine and the draft. He’s a little bit of an unknown to some fans, but the NFL coaches and scouts definitely know about him. He looked impressive for the second consecutive day. Another receiver who really stood out to me was San Diego St. receiver Vincent Brown. Brown had an excellent day, catching passes in tight quarters, going down the middle of the field, and showed some elusiveness on the edge.
-Defense: Christian Ballard, a 6’5” 297 pound defensive tackle out of Iowa really dominated during the session. He looked quick inside, had some nice initial burst for a big man while displaying his strength in the interior of the line. Another dominant performer on the defensive front this morning was Cameron Jordan, a 6’4” 283 pound defensive lineman from Cal. He showed off a tremendous first step and looked like he can play inside or outside along the defensive front. Also impressing as a speed rusher from the outside was Ryan Kerrigan, a 6’4” 263 pound defensive end out of Purdue. Although he’s listed as a defensive lineman, I can see Kerrigan as an outside linebacker who can set the edge in run support or be a terror rushing the passer in a 3-4 defense. Those three guys really looked outstanding this morning in full pads.
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