Thursday, January 27, 2005 By Mel Kiper Jr. Special to ESPN Insider Here's some observations on Wednesday's Senior Bowl practices: North practice notes Norv Turner and the North team started off the practice lining up Washington offensive tackle Khalif Barnes against Iowa DE Matt Roth in a one-on-one battle. Roth whipped Barnes on the first play, but then Barnes got the best of Roth on the next play. Call it a push. I ran into Roth at a restaurant Wednesday night and asked him about the offensive linemen on the North. Roth said Barnes was the best of the bunch. That's high praise coming from the best defensive player at this year's Senior Bowl. UConn quarterback Dan Orlovsky made some nice throws on Wednesday, but often followed up a good toss with an awful one. He bounced some short and overthrew some other passes. While he looks good when he sets his feet and has proper mechanics, that has not been the norm for him. Orlovsky's inconsistency has hurt him this week. Kansas State RB Darren Sproles is a scooter, but tough. He took a real shot in the open field from Sean Considine in Wednesday's practice, but bounced right back up. Sproles has great quickness and can catch. The North will try to use Sproles in multiple ways in Saturday's game. UCLA wide receiver Craig Bragg made a couple of nice catches on low throws. He has exhibited good body control. Courtney Roby caught the ball better on Wednesday. The Indiana wideout had some drops earlier in the week, but he has made some nice strides. Purdue WR Taylor Stubblefield continues to look very impressive. He is quick, catches everything and is a very polished receiver. Stubblefield is just a natural receiver. He knows when to make a catch with his body and knows when to extend his hands. Stubblefield has really helped himself. OL David Baas, from Michigan, looks a little too heavy and hasn't showed great athleticism getting to the second level. He may end up having to be a center because he might not be athletic enough to play guard. Baas probably needs to drop 10-15 pounds. Nebraska LB Barrett Ruud is a smart player who always seems to be in the right place. He has taken on blocks well and has proven to be more athletic than most people thought. Ruud has solidified a spot in the second round. DB Ronald Bartell Jr. from Howard is still struggling. The kid is working hard, though, which you have to respect. The transition from Division I-AA to the Senior Bowl is not easy. Hawaii DB Abraham Elimimian has been impressive. He's tough in run support and can tackle. He also showed decent ball skills on Wednesday. South practice notes LSU DL Marcus Spears has had an excellent week. He used his long arms and great athletic ability to bat one pass up in the air and intercept it. Spears is a great kid and a hard worker. He will not be a feared pass rusher in the NFL, but he will be excellent against the run and pick up four or five sacks a year. Spears is definitely now a mid-first-round choice. Cadillac Williams just has another gear. The Auburn running back is the best offensive player at the Senior Bowl. He can bounce it outside. He is quick, explosive and aggressive. His balance and footwork are also good. He also has caught the ball adequately. Williams has helped his cause in Mobile. Georgia WR Reggie Brown is an unbelievable athlete. He has shown good speed and has caught the ball very well. He has really helped himself. Looks like he might go late in the first round. Alabama OL Wesley Britt suffered a hairline leg fracture in his leg. It is probably not serious, but he will be out until the combine. OL Logan Mankins from Fresno State has looked good. He's a tough, aggressive player who has shown great technique and feet. Mankins can play guard or tackle. Alabama DT Anthony Bryant is physically very impressive. He has good size and holds himself well in the middle. He could be a pretty good run-stopping defensive tackle in the NFL if he shows the sustained intensity level that he lacked in college. DL Shaun Cody from USC continues to impress. DE/LB Demarcus Ware from Troy has moved up the draft list this week. He is a good athlete with great closing speed. Ware plays hard, too. Ware could go in the late first or early second round. Louisville LB Robert McCune has made some plays and shown some ability down here. LSU corner Travis Daniels has held his own, and Florida State DB Bryant McFadden also has had a nice week. Auburn DB Carlos Rogers had a minor hamstring injury and sat out Wednesday's practice. It looks like he will miss the game, too. DB Corey Webster from LSU still looks like a second-round pick, but is struggling transitioning from the coverage scheme at LSU to the one here. You have to go back to his junior film to see his potential, as injuries slowed his senior campaign. The second round has been the hot round lately for corners. I think he'll be a pretty good football player in the NFL.