Senior Bowl update - afternoon session
January 24, 2006
Senior Bowl - Tuesday South Practice
President, NFL Draft Countdown
The South practice definitely had a different feel about it in comparison to the North's this morning and there seemed to be more of a buzz in the stadium. Brodie Croyle of Alabama was definitely the standout among the quarterbacks and he looked a lot better today. Croyle was making good decisions, has a great arm, can move a little and throws a real nice ball. Darrell Hackney of U.A.B. also has a strong arm but is really small and almost looks like a fullback in terms of his build. D.J. Shockley did not look good at all, he has a poor arm (especially in comparison with Croyle and Hackney) and he almost pushes his throws. Coming into the week I thought Shockley was a player who could surprise but so far it has been just the opposite and he is little more than a late round pick in my eyes. At running back DeAngelo Williams stands out and showed great patience and instincts. Both he and Andre Hall of South Florida might be short but they are certainly not small, with each having compact and sturdy frames. Jerious Norwood once again looked fast and explosive while Joseph Addai of L.S.U. was aggressive as a blocker but tended to always look to bounce his runs outside. Converted tight end Garrett Mills seems to be making a fine transition to fullback and looked solid in short yardage running situations. At tight end T.J. Williams of N.C. St. was impressive as both a blocker and a receiver while Marcedes Lewis drew positive commentary from scouts as well.
At wide receiver the guy I was most impressed with was Sinorice Moss of Miami (FL), who really eats up the cornerbacks cushion and looked every bit as fast, quick and explosive and you'd imagine he would be. L.S.U.'s Skyler Green was singled out for positive notice from coaches while Hank Baskett of New Mexico struggled mightily and was the recipient of a lot of criticism from coaches. Baskett almost looks too big, doesn't run good routes and didn't pay a lot of attention to detail. Meanwhile Anthony Mix of Auburn is a big lumbering guy who sure looks like more of a tight end than a receiver to me while his teammate Ben Obomanu had another nice day and performed well. Along the offensive line Jonathan Scott of Texas continued to impress and was the best linemen on the field, which is really saying something considering Eric Winston and Marcus McNeill play on the same team. McNeill is real physically imposing and looked pretty good but had a little trouble with Manny Lawson. Inside at guard Max Jean-Gilles of Georgia can really control his man and looked good while Florida's Mike Degory was pushed back a bit by the bull rush and Will Allen of Texas needed a lot of attention from coaches and struggled. Also of note, New Mexico's Ryan Cook got some work at right tackle and while he didn't stand out he didn't embarrass himself either. This is a real good offensive line though and they won a lot more battles than they lost.
The South defensive tackles did very little today with the exception of Florida State's Brodrick Bunkley, who is very strong, got a great push and looked quick and explosive. At defensive end Louisville's Elvis Dumervil just looks out of place physically but didn't do too bad in drills, although he is a liability against the run. Manny Lawson of North Carolina St. did an excellent job today and the scouts seem to love him, which was evidenced by all the attention he received after practice. He is quite a specimen and really stands out. At linebacker DeMeco Ryans showed great instincts and flowed to the ball well while Auburn's Travis Williams was very active and aggressive, looking better than I thought he would. I didn't see a whole lot of the defensive backs but Miami's Kelly Jennings was very physical and Marcus Hudson of N.C. St. has good size and displayed decent recovery speed. At safety Roman Harper was up and down but made his fair share of plays while Pat Watkins of Florida St. almost looks like a linebacker and plays too high. There isn't much to say about the specialists other than punter Thomas Olmsted came within five feet of hitting me with the ball on the other side of the fence after shanking an attempt near the end of practice. There is little doubt that of all the defensive players Brodrick Bunkley and Manny Lawson were the standouts today. Now for the sightings and observations. It was real refreshing to see Bill Belichick in attendance. Even though he is a Hall of Famer and at the pinnacle of his profession he is still working hard and doing the little things while some head coaches don't even bother to come to Mobile. There is a reason this guy wins so many Super Bowls. The Cleveland Browns paid a lot of attention to Marcus McNeill and had him cornered for a very long time, while also speaking with Ryan Cook, Roman Harper, Kelly Jennings, Kamerion Wimbley, Freddie Roach, and DeMario Minter. Carolina was active once again and I saw them talking to Darrell Hackney, Albert Toeina, Andre Hall, Cedric Griffin, and Greg Blue. Eric Winston was seen chatting with the Jets and Chargers, Gerris Wilkerson of Georgia Tech talked to Carolina and Philly and Tampa Bay spoke with Mark Anderson (at length) and Thomas Howard. Travis Williams was pretty popular, drawing attention from Baltimore, Cincinnati and the Giants, Marcedes Lewis spoke with San Diego, D.J. Shockley with Miami and the Jets mingled with Max Jean-Gilles and Jesse Mahelona. Kansas City spoke with Jon Scott and DeMario Minter for a bit while the Redskins were seen with Tim Jennings and the Chargers with Kamerion Wimbley and Max-Jean Gilles. The most popular player I have seen yet though is Manny Lawson, who had a huge group around him at all times that included the likes of Kansas City, Cleveland, Carolina, Baltimore and San Diego. Lawson also sounded like a great kid and was very polite and well spoken. As always don't take these observations as locks that these teams are going to take the players, but they can sometimes give indications as to which positions they might be focusing on. All in all this was probably the most active practice yet and was a lot of fun to watch and observe.