A warmer one down here in Mobile with a nice breeze that would come and go so you wouldn’t roast. Little larger sample size, little more time to study players closer, making Day Two an eventful one across the board.
Again, want to thank our awesome sponsor, Touring Plans, for their support on this trip. Was in the mid-70s and sunny with a warm breeze off the ocean today. Sure beats Pittsburgh weather. Check out Touring Plans for your next trip to Disney and some much-needed warmer temps.
Let’s dive in.
The North team kicked things off today at 12:15 local time.
– A late arrival because of a commitment to Air Force, Jalen Robinette got in his first practice today. Measurables were announced to: 6’2/6 218, 33 1/8 arms, 10 7/8 hands, and a 78 7/8 wingspan. Nearly 11 inch hands? Unreal.
And Michigan running back De’Veon Smith: 5’10/7, 220 pounds 29 3/4 arm, 8 7/8 left hand, 72 1/8 wingspan.
– Again my focus here was on the edges more than anyone because this is a good group of them, or at least, the better of the two teams (and schemes).
– YSU’s Derek Rivers continued to stack strong days. Not only as a pass rusher but an edge setter against the run. Probably the best guy here against the run, maybe second to Vince Biegel. Rivers forced one run all the way down the line and nearly out of bounds before he grabbed the back of the runner’s jersey and threw him down.
His hand placement as a pass rusher is strong and he understands some of pass rushing nuances, like subtly grabbing the offensive linemen’s jersey because it’ll rarely be called. Only worry is reading his keys against the run and not getting over-aggressive and putting himself out of position.
– Hassan Reddick is another guy who has had an impressive two days. Maybe the best two of anyone here. He kills it in one-on-one drills. Shook Pitt’s Adam Bisnowaty with an outside fake, inside move that won clean. Later, he chopped down Julien Davenport’s hands and dipped under him, getting upfield.
Reddick is someone I’d love for the Steelers to be interested in though his size (6’2 237) doesn’t totally gel with what the team looks for.
– Bisnowaty, by the way, has the makings of someone who would go undrafted if you judged things just in the vacuum of the past two days. He’s struggled to mirror speed rushers and is on the ground all the time. I’m not a fan.
– Tarell Bashem showed up a little more today than yesterday. Whipped Zach Banner with a sick inside spin move in one-on-ones. Coverage could still be an area he’s looking to get more comfortable with in coverage. Looked awkward on tape and today in drills, got beat by Jonnu Smith (who had a good day) on a flag route pretty badly.
– Other positions. On the offensive line, not that it’s much a priority at all for the Steelers, Temple’s Dion Dawkins looked really good. A little B.J. Finney like. Handles the bull rush incredibly well and on the interior, that is a massive trait to have.
Stopped Ryan Glasgow in his tracks while stopping Larry Ogunjobi and Glasgow’s rip attempts later on.
– USC nose tackle Stevie Tu’ilkolovatu wins in pretty much only one way – his bull rush – but it’s pretty effective. In this environment, at least.
– More of the same from Chris Wormley. First step and ability to club and rip past, again doing so to Indiana’s Dan Feeney, an offensive linemen who many have liked this week.
– Most impressive offensive linemen of the week so far, and I’m far from the only one to think this, is Western Michigan’s Taylor Moton. Rarely looks bad in drills or team sessions. Mirrored Illinois’ Dawuane Smoot up the arc, something few have done this week.
In a relatively week class, and capitalizing on a guy like Forrest Lamp getting hurt, Moton could sneak into the first round.
– Ok, elsewhere.
Syracuse WR Amba Etta-Towe was a guy I had some level of interest in coming into the week but he’s been a disappointment. Struggles to catch the ball cleanly, having three drops in individual drills alone, including one-arming a slant on air, and seemed to get dinged up, missing a couple reps.
He did return for most of team sessions but the results weren’t much better. Struggles to sell his route and isn’t very twitchy, unable to sink his hips and create separation. Think he can win vertically and beat press but he’s limited. A worse version of Charone Peake. Not near the straight-line athlete.
– I really like Kareem Hunt but he might need to work on his zone reads and the execution better. One inside zone play where the two playside linemen slanted down (hat outside) which meant Hunt needed to cutback. He attempted to, so the read was there, but he attempted to spin than just plant and get upfield. Got stopped pretty easily.
– Been talking about him since before we left but Corey Clement continues to impress. Great feet and able to bounce in and out of the hole. But he doesn’t dance and gets vertical. Wins as a route runner too and creates separation at the top of his route.
– Just saw one play of it but Toledo tight end Mike Roberts turned into the defender on a curl route versus zone coverage instead of away and into open grass. Maybe that’s the design but it didn’t look like it to me. Minor coaching point but an important one if you want to be actually open.
– Sorry to say this but Kutztown’s Jordan Morgan just doesn’t look like he belongs. Really struggled. Ryan Glasgow knocked him off base with his punch, beating him clean, and Morgan struggled a ton trying to pull. Constantly ran into the playside tackle. Here’s hoping Day Three is better.
– Nathan Peterman is probably still the best quarterback down here but he’s gotta trust his reads a little more. Missed a throw on a dragon (slant/flat) where the slant was open and was his first read. Linebacker widened immediately and the slant was there. Peterman just passed it up.
– Zay Jones is a good receiver. Sinks his hips and maintains speeds through his cuts while being a crisp route runner.
– Cooper Kupp had a good day too. Runs the whole route tree who can catch outside his frame over the middle and tracks the ball vertically, making a tough catch in one-on-ones.
– Jamari Staples had a better day, including a nice goal line fade in one-on-ones. Improved hands.
– To the defensive side of the ball. Cornerback Jourdan Lewis has had a nice week and has great feet and the ability to mirror routes but he can get a little too aggressive. Late to open his hips versus Jones, who ate up his cushion and beat him on a nine route.
– Another small school who is showing up. Simon Fraser inside linebacker Jordan Herdman is quick to diagnose and fill against the run. Works off blocks and reads the key of the guard to know where the ball is going. Showed sideline to sideline range to take Hunt to the ground.
I forget his name half the time and end up calling him, “Simon Fraser,” but I’ll have to remember it soon enough.
– Follow up on Hunt. He would redeem himself a few plays later by breaking Lewis’ ankles in the open field with a subtle-looking juke.
– Don’t know if I trust Brendan Langley to return kicks, he’s muffed three of them in warmups, but I sorta like him in coverage. Watching him in one-on-ones, even when he gets beat on a double-move, he has a nice zone turn – similar to a safety – and works hard to get back in-phase with the receiver.
– Last thing. The kick returners in warmups: WR Zay Jones, WR Trent Taylor, WR Cooper Kupp, CB Brendan Langley.
– The kick returners in drills. There were a lot of them so take it with a grain of salt: WR Ryan Switzer, CB Tre White, RB Donnel Pumphrey, CB Damontae Kazee, S Cameron Sutton, and WR Taywan Taylor.
– Despite his left hand still wrapped up, Alabama’s Ryan Anderson did practice today.
– South team had a lot of injuries. Auburn’s Rudy Ford was held out today.
Several linemen were out: OL Isaac Isiata, Nico Sirgusa (dislocated thumb), and Forrest Lamp, and DE Josh Carraway.
The team brought in safety Minnesota safety Damarius Travis and Auburn LT Robert Leff. There’s a couple more players being brought in for Thursday, too.
Leff’s measurables: 6’5/4 302, 33 inch arms, 9 3/4 left hand, 78 1/4 wing.
– Spent more time watching the corners and DBs with this group. My notes.
Fred Ross is still struggling at being able to maintain his speed through his cuts and working back to the ball underneath. Another guy I sorta liked and think he has good hands but can he separate enough? He isn’t tall or fast enough to be someone who can win with just those traits/attributes.
– Haven’t mention Artavis Scott so far but he made a great contested catch against Ezra Robinson in one-on-ones. So much so Davis Webb jogged downfield to high five him for making one heck of a play.
– Cameron Sutton looks like a natural safety to me. Browns’ coaches were happy with his angles to the ball in the deep half. He’s done well this week.
– Grambling’s Chad Williams has been a vertical threat these first two days. Made one of the top catches in drills, hauling in a skinny post inbetween Justin Evans and Corn Elder.
– Damontae Kazee isn’t a big dude but he’ll beat you up at the line of scrimmage. Pressed 6’3 receiver Josh Reynolds for what felt like forever today. He’s a firecracker; I respect that.
– Ryan Switzer looks NFL ready. Nuanced route runner who creates space on his release and through the stem of his route. Uses all of his body to sell the route. Once got Tre White to jump away from him, faking inside before releasing inside, in drills.
Not just a slot guy either, despite his small size. Guys with that skillset can win on the outside, too. Best receiver is an open one.
– Didn’t think White had a great day though I still like him as a prospect. Flagged twice for pass interference. In team, broke up a slant but then appeared to injure an ankle. The practice was almost over but he left with a trainer. Not sure if he’s a go tomorrow or for Saturday’s game.
– Other positions and musings. Troy left tackle Antonio Garcia has a great anchor. Handles bull rushes well. Second best linemen in Mobile these two days.
– The star of the South team, on either side of the ball, was linebacker Alex Anzalone from Florida. His tape is limited because he was never healthy but he looked good today. He’s the biggest linebacker here and his ability to diagnose is strong. On back-to-back plays, he snuffed out a running back screen to Donnel Pumphrey and then filled the B gap to stuff Jamaal Williams the next. If he tests well, he’ll go higher than people think.
– Tiffin QB Antonio Pipkin had a couple of lasers today, including a bullet down the seam to Evan Engram, but he held onto the football too long in general and let one deep ball float. Oklahoma State’s Jordan Sterns came up with the easy interception.
– Browns ran an Emory/Henry formation with the tackles split out. Those crazy kids.
– In addition to his solid grab downfield, Engram had a strong chip out of the backfield on another play.
– Last one. Watching this on the All-22 post-practice but I sorta like Kentucky center Jon Toth. Not a great athlete but technically sound with proper hand placement and keeps a sound base. First time I got to look at him.
– Ok, for real, last one. Tulane’s Tanzel Smart seems to be making impressions on scouts. I haven’t seen a lot from him live in practice but he hit a linemen with the nastiest swim move in one-on-ones today. Scouts sitting there marveled at it and had to have replayed it a good 30 times.