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Chiefnj
01-23-2006, 10:43 AM
Check out gbnreport.com

They will have daily updates from Mobile on the Senior Bowl practices including weigh in info later today. Find out if Kiwi, Hali and Elvis are big enough to play DE in the NFL.

htismaqe
01-23-2006, 11:00 AM
Hali is the guy I'm most intrigued by.

I think Elvis is gonna end up being a 3-4 OLB ala Merriman...

Mr. Laz
01-23-2006, 01:23 PM
there are quite few smallish DE's in the NFL now.

OT's are getting so big that defenses use small guys to out quick them.

htismaqe
01-23-2006, 01:40 PM
there are quite few smallish DE's in the NFL now.

OT's are getting so big that defenses use small guys to out quick them.

Yep. There's alot of room for a 255-265 lb. DE to be successful. But leverage is absolutely important. One of the reasons Freeney does so well is because he's SHORT, allowing him to get underneath a tackle and use his lower body strength.

The concern I have about Kiwi after watching him more this season is whether or not he's gonna have that leverage. He's about 260, just like Tamba Hali, but he's FIVE inches taller.

Dumervil is only about 245, which really puts him at the bottom end of that range.

Reaper16
01-23-2006, 01:54 PM
Yep. There's alot of room for a 255-265 lb. DE to be successful. But leverage is absolutely important. One of the reasons Freeney does so well is because he's SHORT, allowing him to get underneath a tackle and use his lower body strength.

The concern I have about Kiwi after watching him more this season is whether or not he's gonna have that leverage. He's about 260, just like Tamba Hali, but he's FIVE inches taller.

Dumervil is only about 245, which really puts him at the bottom end of that range.
Good post. I'm higher on Hali after reading that.

Chiefnj
01-23-2006, 01:56 PM
"that dynamic Louisville DE Elvis Dumervil, the nation’s #1 sacker last fall, was under 6 feet at 5-11; Dumervil, though, did weigh in at 258."

Lots of players coming in shorter and lighter than expected.

Reaper16
01-23-2006, 01:59 PM
"that dynamic Louisville DE Elvis Dumervil, the nation’s #1 sacker last fall, was under 6 feet at 5-11; Dumervil, though, did weigh in at 258."

Lots of players coming in shorter and lighter than expected.
That should help Elvis' stock.

htismaqe
01-23-2006, 02:00 PM
"that dynamic Louisville DE Elvis Dumervil, the nation’s #1 sacker last fall, was under 6 feet at 5-11; Dumervil, though, did weigh in at 258."

Lots of players coming in shorter and lighter than expected.

258 is ALOT heavier than I expected him. He was listed at 255 during the season and usually the rule of thumb is that schools list them heavier than what they really are...

5'11" and 258 lbs. might make it at DE...

Reaper16
01-23-2006, 02:06 PM
The mock draft at gbnreport has us taking Charles Gordon in the first... that's the very first mock that I've seen him close to the 1st round.

Chiefnj
01-23-2006, 02:07 PM
258 is ALOT heavier than I expected him. He was listed at 255 during the season and usually the rule of thumb is that schools list them heavier than what they really are...

5'11" and 258 lbs. might make it at DE...

I thought the same thing. Usually for DE's you can subtract an inch and drop 5lbs from the school listing He went the opposite way.

I don't know if 5-11 will cut it as a DE. Teams like tall guys, regardless of the leverage issue, because they usually will have longer arms and keep off the linemen easier. It'll be interesting to see how the other guys weigh, etc.

Spicy McHaggis
01-23-2006, 02:11 PM
Hali is the guy I'm most intrigued by.

I think Elvis is gonna end up being a 3-4 OLB ala Merriman...

I agree, Hali is definately someone I hope we look at. I liked what I saw from him this year and he seems to be able to handle the run fairly well, at least at the college level. Kiwi seems much more of a boom or bust prospect.

htismaqe
01-23-2006, 02:13 PM
The mock draft at gbnreport has us taking Charles Gordon in the first... that's the very first mock that I've seen him close to the 1st round.

I wouldn't put too much stock in their mock's. They're not very good at them overall.

That being said, GBN is EXCELLENT for the sheer volume of info they provide...

htismaqe
01-23-2006, 02:16 PM
I thought the same thing. Usually for DE's you can subtract an inch and drop 5lbs from the school listing He went the opposite way.

I don't know if 5-11 will cut it as a DE. Teams like tall guys, regardless of the leverage issue, because they usually will have longer arms and keep off the linemen easier. It'll be interesting to see how the other guys weigh, etc.

I think 5' 11" and 260 will cut it at DE, but I guess we'll see. I would prefer a bigger guy.

Tamba Hali is the guy I really want, I think he's more versatile.

Of course, I was big on Haynes when he came out of Penn State and he's struggled to establish himself as an every-down player.

Spicy McHaggis
01-23-2006, 02:22 PM
The mock draft at gbnreport has us taking Charles Gordon in the first... that's the very first mock that I've seen him close to the 1st round.

Gordon isn't a first rounder IMO anymore. First day pick sure.

B_Ambuehl
01-23-2006, 02:26 PM
Hell robert mathis is lighter then most outside linebackers and still played DE and nearly led the league in sacks. It's becoming a league of specialists and at that there's a place for these small guys who can get after the quarterback. Why not when you can get those guys for 600 K per year and get just as effective of a pass rush on 3rd down as the 5 million dollar per year every down stud DE like Peppers.

This league is becoming more and more specialized.....all these packages and crap. I see it getting that way more and more as teams try to stretch money as far as possible. I don't think it will be all that much longer before you even have separate 1st and 3rd down packages for offensive lineman. Run blocking lineman on early downs pass blocking lineman on later downs.

Chiefnj
01-23-2006, 03:46 PM
The mock draft at gbnreport has us taking Charles Gordon in the first... that's the very first mock that I've seen him close to the 1st round.
http://www.gbnreport.com/2006projection.html

when I clicked the first round projection (their mock) it had KC drafting Kiwi.

Reaper16
01-23-2006, 04:05 PM
http://www.gbnreport.com/2006projection.html

when I clicked the first round projection (their mock) it had KC drafting Kiwi.
Ah, I was referring to this, which upon further inspection isn't "their" mock. http://www.gbnreport.com/coyle.htm

Mecca
01-23-2006, 04:58 PM
I wouldn't worry about Kiwanukas weight. Once he gets in an NFL workout program, he'll be at 300lbs in a few years.

Tribal Warfare
01-23-2006, 11:14 PM
Who saw Kiwi getting owned by D'Brick on the NFL Network's coverage on the Senior Bowl practice .

htismaqe
01-24-2006, 08:21 AM
I wouldn't worry about Kiwanukas weight. Once he gets in an NFL workout program, he'll be at 300lbs in a few years.

Um, Kiwi is 6' 7" tall.

If he puts on 40 lbs. he's no longer a DE but a DT.

Chiefnj
01-24-2006, 02:21 PM
gbnreport.com

2006 SENIOR BOWL REPORTS


by Colin Lindsay, GBN Editor and Jamie Moore, GBN Chief Scout

North Practice; Tuesday morning, January 24...

This morning’s North practice got underway in real football weather – cloudy conditions, cool temps and a brisk wind – however the sun came out about a half hour into the workout to at least warm things up a tad. One can take it to the bank that the best QB at the Senior Bowl wears #6 for the North. That’s the easy part. The harder part of the equation is that Jay Cutler of Vanderbilt and Charlie Whitehurst of Clemson, easily the best two QBs in Mobile, are both wearing the same #6. And while Cutler came into the Senior Bowl as the higher rated player, Whitehurst may have an ever so slight lead between the two to date. The rangy Whitehurst certainly looks the part of a prototype pro pocket passer. Whitehurst is a long strider who sets up easily in the pocket and has a very smooth throwing motion. And Whitehurst was consistently hitting his receivers’ hands on the break in passing drills this morning. Cutler, for his part, is a little more compact than Whitehurst and not as smooth, but sets up and releases quickly, and like Whitehurst generally puts the ball where the receiver can cath it. On the other hand, Penn State’s Michael Robinson, the North’s 3rd QB, looks a little like a RB playing QB. Indeed, while Robinson likely will only work at QB this week, there is speculation that he may need to shift to RB or WR to play at the next level. Robinson has a strong enough arm, however, he is limited in terms of mechanics and accuracy.

This is not supposed to be a good draft year at WR, however, don’t tell Notre Dame’s Maurice Stovall, who may have been the best player on the field this morning. Stovall, who some observers thought might be better suited to playing TE at the next level, weighed in at a very svelte 216 pounds on Monday – he was listed at 236 – and got plenty of separation on just about every rout he ran this morning. The 6-4 Stovall is a big, physical receiver who was very smooth on the break with decent upfield acceleration. Stovall, though, had a chance to put an exclamation point on his day during 11-on-11 action, but dropped an easy pass for what would have been a big gainer after beating two defenders to get wide open. Meanwhile, Miami of Ohio WR Martin Nance showed similar skills to ND’s Stovall in that he’s a big, rangy receiver who can be physical. Nance, in fact, appeared to be considerably faster than Stovall and had that extra gear to separate deep, but didn’t appear quite as smooth coming out of his breaks. Michigan WR Jason Avant also had an interesting morning. Avant isn’t very fast, but completely lost his defender on 2-3 occasions coming out of his break. Oklahoma WR Travis Wilson, on the other hand, showed plenty of deep speed – he completely blew past a DB for a long TD early in the workout – but didn’t show much in the way of polish. On the other hand, Arizona State WR Derek Hagen really struggled; he lacked the speed and finesse to get much separation and dropped several passes when he just didn’t get his head and hands around in time. We didn’t watch the TEs much, however, both Joel Klopfenstien of Colorado and USC’s Dominique Byrd made tough catches in traffic in the 11-on-11 drills.

No question, Clemson CB Tye Hill is the quickest cover corner on the North team. Hill also showed nice flexibility backpedaling and has great recovery speed. Hill, though, did give up a number of underneath completions when he got too deep in his backpeddle and couldn’t recover. Miami of Ohio CB Darrell Hunter, on the other hand, lacked Hill’s natural fluidity; he also looks a little thick for a CB, but the speedy Hunter – he reportedly runs in the sub-4.35 range – stuck with the receiver all morning; in particular, Hunter had Oklahoma’s Wilson blanketed on a deep post off play action in the 11-on-11 action. Penn State CB Anwar Phillips, though, continued to struggle; Phillips was beaten once for a clean score on a deep pattern and didn’t look very instinctive on the underneath stuff. And Northwestern State CB David Pittman, the only non-Division 1A player in Mobile at least showed he wasn’t afraid to get his nose dirty with the big guys. Pittman broke on a couple of passes very well – and despite being under 180 pounds wasn’t shy about going after the ball in traffic – however, Pittman also was badly beaten on a couple of double moves that he probably never saw much of while at NSU. For the record, FSs Daniel Bullocks of Nebraska and Jahmile Addae had interceptions in the 11-on-11 drill.

Hit of the day – or at least the morning – came from Colorado LB Brian Iwuh, who really popped a back in a LB-on-RB blitzing drill. In that drill, unheralded Oklahoma LB Clint Ingram was almost unblockable, while D’Qwell Jackson of Maryland and Jon Alston of Stanford consistently got good pressure. Abdul Hodge of Iowa, on the other hand, really struggled to disengage and never got much penetration past the blocker.

The highlight of the morning may have been the 11-on-11 action when a pair of potential first rounders – Virginia OT D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Boston College DE Mathias Kiwanauka – went head-to-head. There weren’t enough plays for a knockout, but give the decision to Ferguson. The rangy Ferguson, the top-rated player at any position in Mobile, showed very quick feet and got great arm extension to keep himself between the QB and defender. If there is a bit of a knock on Ferguson is that he plays a little too high when blocking in space and doesn’t get great leverage on the move. For his part, Kiwanuka showed an explosive first step, but wasn’t able to disengage if he didn’t beat his man with his first move. Kiwanuka, though, did beat Boise State OT Daryn Colledge with a terrific spin move that would have been a sack had he been allowed to hit the QB. And actually other than that play with Kiwanuka, Colledge also showed solid skills at LT; Colledge consistently beat his man to the punch and locked as he kept his feet moving and arms extended. Minnesota OG Mark Setterstrom was also solid, in particular stuffing Michigan DT Gabe Watson on a passing rushing drill. Watson, in fact, wasn’t very good on the one-on-one drills, but was very disruptive in the full 11-on-11 action.

htismaqe
01-24-2006, 07:40 PM
For his part, Kiwanuka showed an explosive first step, but wasn’t able to disengage if he didn’t beat his man with his first move.

There it is. Exactly what I said earlier we might hear about this guy leading up to the draft.

Mecca
01-24-2006, 07:49 PM
I was just saying Kiwanuka will end up in the Julius Peppers build range, 6'7 285-290 range. Mario Williams has the advantage because he's already there.

Chiefnj
01-25-2006, 08:24 AM
South Practice; Tuesday afternoon, January 24...

This afternoon’s South practice was a little hard to get a grip on because for long stretches there wasn’t a whole lot happening, at least from the perspective of someone sitting in the stands. One of the interesting facets of being at the actual practice sessions is that one can see the different approaches the various coaching staffs take when coaching an all-star game. In this case, the San Francisco staff appears to do more individual coaching than some of the other staffs we’ve seen. The 49ers’ staff, in particular, seems to be big on working on the specific footwork of various assignments.

With three of the top OTs in the 2006 draft class on the South team we focused on the offensive line play through much of this afternoon’s workout. Indeed, Marcus McNeill of Auburn, Eric Winston of Miami and Jonathan Scott of Texas are generally considered to be in the top 5 ranked OTs in this year’s draft class behind Virginia’s D’Brickashaw Ferguson, who is on this year’s North team. When all was said and done, though, the big winner at the end of today’s practice session may have been Southern California junior Winston Justice, who would figure to be the other top 5 OT in this year’s draft class. As an underclassman, Justice isn’t eligible to play in the Senior Bowl, but likely didn’t lose any ground to the three South OTs, again, at least based on today’s performances. Not that any of the trio really hurt themselves either, however, none of the three was consistently dominating in the fashion that one would like to see from a potential elite OT. McNeill may have been the best of the three; he’s a hulking figure who really locks on when he gets his arms into a defensive lineman. McNeill also showed pretty good technique in pass protection, however, he was beaten badly by North Carolina State DE many Lawson on a quick outside-inside move. For his part, Winston struggled a bit in one-on-one drills with the defensive linemen, particularly on one play where he got into his backpeddle way too soon and completely lost leverage. Interestingly, Winston was much more consistent in the 11-on-11 phase of the practice when he maintained a good wide base and got great arm extension, although he had to hold Louisville’s Elvis Dumervil who beat him to the corner on one rush. The Longhorns’ Scott also struggled to stay with the quicker DEs on outside pass rushes. Scott, though, stayed with the play, as he generally kept his feet moving and kept pushing with his long arms.

In fact, it wasn’t a good afternoon all around for the South offensive linemen. Georgia OG Max Jean-Gilles, who would likely to establish himself as the #1 OG in the 2006 draft class, tended to give up too much penetration in one-on-one drills with the defensive lineman as he often got a little high and wasn’t fully able to take advantage of all of his 358 pounds. Like Miami’s Winston, though, Jean-Gilles was more solid in the 11-on-11 action. Interestingly, the South had New Mexico C Ryan Cook playing some at OT. The 6-6, 322-pound Cook certainly has the size for the position, but lacks the athleticism to stay with quicker DE, Back at C, Cook had a good battle with Tennessee DE Jesse Maholena, with the former Volunteer spinning out of a Cook block on one play for what would have been a sack/QB, however, Cook came back on the next play to bury Maholena. Indeed, it was an up-and-down sort of day for the South offensive linemen who would make their block on one play, but then get beaten on the next. On the other South linemen, Tennessee C/G Cody Douglas may have been the most surprising.

If they had been keeping score at the South practice today, the defense would have been the big winners. NC State DE Manny Lawson, for example, made a number of plays in addition to beating Auburn’s McNeill cleanly for what would have been at least a pressure. Lawson, for example, was also able to slice between blockers to break up back-to-back plays in the 11-on-11 action; Lawson, though, did struggle to disengage from the bigger OTs once he got locked up, suggesting he might be better suited to OLB at the next level, especially for a team running a 3-4 scheme. DTs Orien Harris of Miami, Kyle Williams, Florida State’s Brodick Bunkley and Tennessee’s Maholena also won more one-on-one battles than they lost. Bunkley looked like he hasn’t lost much in the way of quickness, despite weighing in at 300 pounds in Mobile as he exploded off the snap. Same for LSU’s Williams who consistently got good leverage upfield, while Harris just overpowred people in busting up a number of plays. The squat Maholena, at 6-0, 311, was also tough to block as he was able to use his size and quickness to get leverage.

Odds and ends… While we spent much of the afternoon concentrating on the offensive and defensive linemen, it was hard not to notice how quick Mississippi State RB Jerious Norwood is; he just explodes upfield when he sees a seam… North Carolina State TE T.J. Williams struggled catching the ball on Monday afternoon, but rebounded Tuesday to snare a couple of tough catches in traffic… And in what was a pretty good day for NC Staters, CB Marcus Hudson had an interception in the 7-on-7 drills…While there are a lot of shortish players in Mobile, there are also an inordinate number of big, rangy athletic looking types; one who we kept noting was 6-4, 205-pound Florida State FS Pat Watkins who is very smooth in everything he does… This is our second year in Mobile and while the roster is clearly an upgrade from last year, the whole atmosphere in Mobile seems a tad more muted this year. Last year, for example, ESPN had a big tent overlooking the field from where Mel Kiper et al held court. This year, there is no tent, and if Mel is in the house, he’s sitting in the stands just like your every-day garden variety draft guru! At the same time, NFL head coaches are taking a much lower profile this year than last when they seemed to be everywhere. We did think we saw the Buccaneers’ Jon Gruden at one point this afternoon and then bumped into a group of guys wearing Patriots’ sweat shirts one of whom could have been Bill Belichek’s twin brother. Oddest of all, sitting all by himself in the west end zone was a fellow in Giants’ gear who looked suspiciously like Tom Coughlin, who on further inspection turned out to be in fact Tom Coughlin. There also don’t seem to be the same number of agents this year. There are guys patrolling the sidelines with cell phones glued to their ear repeating over and over “is that a done deal?,” but at least this year you could swing a stick without necessarily hitting one!.. Tomorrow, we’ll be focusing in on the linebackers…

htismaqe
01-25-2006, 07:19 PM
I was just saying Kiwanuka will end up in the Julius Peppers build range, 6'7 285-290 range. Mario Williams has the advantage because he's already there.

We know. You've been saying it on every thread about the guy.

If Kiwi adds 30-40 pounds, he will render himself useless.

He's not Julius Peppers. He's Terrell Suggs in a lanky, 6'7" body.

Chiefnj
01-26-2006, 08:21 AM
GBN Wednesday Practice Notes - Get all your LB info here:

North and South Practices; Wednesday, January 25...

Senior Bowl LB U crowned… As advertised, we spent most of Day 3 at the Senior Bowl practices in Mobile following the LBs. One of the subplots to the LB story this week has been a battle of sorts between Iowa and ‘hometown’ Alabama, both of which have a pair of LBs in uniform this week, for the title of Senior Bowl LB U. And while there is still one full day of practice to go, not to mention Saturday’s actual game, however, give the edge to the visiting Hawkeye duo of OLB Chad Greenway and MLB Abdul Hodge over the Tide pairing of OLB DeMeco Ryans and MLB Freddie Roach. Iowa’s Greenway, in fact, has been the Senior Bowl’s top LB so far; indeed, Greenway has been among the best players period. Greenway has excellent size for the position at 6-2, 242; plus, while he’s the biggest backer in camp, he also appears to be one of the most athletic. In drills, Greenway is smooth, flexible and very light on his feet. Against live opposition, Greenway is strong, uses his hands well to keep blockers off his legs, and can spin out of block. He also delivered one of the day’s best hits today when he drilled a back coming out of the backfield, but kept his balance and ultimately broke up the pass. One also gets the feeling that Greenway is one of those quiet on-the-field leaders. Surprisingly, the somewhat smaller Hodge wasn’t nearly as smooth in positional drills as his teammate. In fact, Hodge struggled to pick up what he was supposed to do in a couple of drills. Hodge was quick enough in a straight back-peddle, but was choppy moving laterally. Hodge also did a decent job in the coverage drill, getting in a couple of decent pops on RBs coming out of the backfield and then sticking with the receiver. Hodge also showed that he is probably a better game player than practice athlete. Against live opposition, Hodge plays very low and keeps his feet moving; he also showed good lateral range, but didn’t get upfield much. And whereas Greenway is somewhat reserved, Hodge came across as a fiery emotional type.

On the other hand, its been a mixed bag of sorts for the Alabama LBs. OLB Ryans has shown plenty of quickness, however, he hasn’t been overly physical. In one drill, for example, in which LBs worked at taking on a blocker head-on, Ryans had to repeat his reps several times and never did get it technically correct. Ryans, though, did show plenty of range including one play in coverage when he passed off a TE to pick up a back coming out of the backfield who he nailed for a short gain. On balance, Ryans likely hasn’t done much to hurt himself, but also hasn’t done much to solidify a spot in the opening round. Indeed, a case can be made that Ryans’ ‘Bama teammate Freddie Roach has been more solid this week. Roach looks a little tall for an inside backer – he’s actually just under 6-2 – but plays low and does a nice job fighting off would-be blockers with his hands. Roach can also be physical in coverage, but isn’t all that smooth when turning to run with a receiver, although he did show decent lateral range.

It was also something of a mixed bag among the other LBs in Mobile. The report card on Maryland MLB D’Qwell Jackson, who split time in the middle of the North defense with Iowa’s Hodge, and in fact could ultimately compete with Hodge for the top grade among 2006 draft ILBs, was something of a mirror image of his Iowa counterpart. Like Hodge, Jackson looked ragged in some the drills, however, played much better against live competition. In particular, Jackson consistently got very deep drops in coverage; he also stayed low and showed good lateral movement defending the run. OLB Thomas Howard of UTEP appeared to be quick, flexible and agile and ran more like a safety, however, he struggled to get off blocks and didn’t always pick up the play coming at him that quickly. Same story for undersized (6-0, 218) Stanford OLB Jon Alston who was also ran well and got upfield aggressively when unblocked, but really struggled to disengage when blocked. Auburn OLB Travis Williams, who like Alston is undersized at 5-11, 217, also covered a lot of ground in space and got a great break on the ball; Williams also got some good drops breaking up one pass 20-25 yards downfield. And while on the smallish side, Williams was very aggressive. Aggressive also describes Oklahoma OLB Clint Ingram, a late replacement who certainly let people know he was in town. Ingram was very physical, even getting into a fight, but didn’t appear to be very fluid, fast or technically sound. And while aggressive, Ingram had a tendency to play a bit out of control. Meanwhile, there was generally more to like than dislike about Spencer Havner of UCLA, Gerris Wilkinson of Georgia Tech and Brian Iwuh of Colorado. Havner and Wilkinson are both bigger LBs who still showed decent instincts. Havner, in particular, did a nice job filling holes, although he lacked the quickness to recover on play cut-off behind him; Havner was also very physical in coverage, on one play coming up to pop a TE and then stepped in front of him to knock a pass away. Wilkinson also got a deep drop in coverage, although his lateral range appeared to be limited. For his part, Colorado’s Iwuh, who may also get a look at SS in the pros was ‘Mr. Average.’ Iwuh didn’t necessarily stand out at any aspect of the game, although he did do a good job getting off blockers and upfield, but also didn’t appear to have a serious deficiency in any area either.

Odds and ends… Stanford DT Julian Jenkins was added to the North roster today to replace Virginia Tech DT Jonathan Lewis who was not in uniform this afternoon. Meanwhile, Florida State DT Brodrick Bunkley, who left practice early on Tuesday with an injury, did not practice today… There was finally a sighting of Arizona State WR Derek Hagen today; in fact, Hagen, who couldn’t get open or hang onto the ball during the first two days of workouts, may have been the dominant player at the North practice, making one highlight reel catch over two defenders for a long TD and then grabbing three other passes… It was also a good day to be a receiver from Auburn. There are three former Tiger WRs on the South team and all had receptions to day; 6-4 Anthony Mix, who looks more like a TE, in fact, had three catches while Ben Obomanu had a couple and Devon Aromashodu capped off the morning workout with a nice TD reception in the corner of the end zone… The fans at the North practice were treated to the week’s first fight when Ohio State C Nick Mangold and Oklahoma LB Clint Ingram got into a ripsnorter with a number of punches thrown, although not many actually landed, before Iowa LB Chad Greenway stepped between the two… And the 'hit' of the day occurred when Stanford LB Jon Alston literally got stuck in the hedge surrounding the field after chasing a play out of bounds.. After playing exclusively at QB the first two days of practices, Michael Robinson got some work at WR, the position he is expected to play at the next level… There were a couple of picks today with North Carolina State DE Manny Lawson intercepting a screen pass in the morning session, while little Northwestern State CB David Pittman, the only non-Division 1A player in Mobile picking off an errant overthrow in the other. On that one, Pittman showed nice awareness went he went to a knee as soon as he realized he had intercepted the ball in his own end zone rather than recklessly trying to run it out…Nebraska DB Daniel Bullocks again showed some nice range in coverage, breaking up a deep pass in the corner, while Florida State FS Pat Watkins quietly continues to impress… It’s the year of the OT, at least along the offensive line, however, the best blocks we saw today were by huge (6-3, 338) Southern Cal Deuce Lutui, who just engulfed people. Minnesota OG Mark Setterstrom looks a little stiff, but has also quietly been very effective. In fact, it was a comeback day of sorts for the North offensive line, which generally got pushed around on Tuesday, but appeared to more than hold their own today. Virginia OT D’Brickashaw Ferguson, in particular, got an impressive “W” when he knocked Boston College DE Mathias Kiwanuka to the ground, then stuffed him in his tracks when the big DE bounced back to his feet... Tomorrow is 'get away' at the Senior Bowl as the teams only go through a walk through practice on Friday prior to Saturday's game. And few scouts hang around Mobile for the actual game... and with just a day to go we'll be focusing in on some of the bigger name players we haven't really watched a whole lot of to date this week...

South Practice; Tuesday afternoon, January 24...

This afternoon’s South practice was a little hard to get a grip on because for long stretches there wasn’t a whole lot happening, at least from the perspective of someone sitting in the stands. One of the interesting facets of being at the actual practice sessions is that one can see the different approaches the various coaching staffs take when coaching an all-star game. In this case, the San Francisco staff appears to do more individual coaching than some of the other staffs we’ve seen. The 49ers’ staff, in particular, seems to be big on working on the specific footwork of various assignments.

With three of the top OTs in the 2006 draft class on the South team we focused on the offensive line play through much of this afternoon’s workout. Indeed, Marcus McNeill of Auburn, Eric Winston of Miami and Jonathan Scott of Texas are generally considered to be in the top 5 ranked OTs in this year’s draft class behind Virginia’s D’Brickashaw Ferguson, who is on this year’s North team. When all was said and done, though, the big winner at the end of today’s practice session may have been Southern California junior Winston Justice, who would figure to be the other top 5 OT in this year’s draft class. As an underclassman, Justice isn’t eligible to play in the Senior Bowl, but likely didn’t lose any ground to the three South OTs, again, at least based on today’s performances. Not that any of the trio really hurt themselves either, however, none of the three was consistently dominating in the fashion that one would like to see from a potential elite OT. McNeill may have been the best of the three; he’s a hulking figure who really locks on when he gets his arms into a defensive lineman. McNeill also showed pretty good technique in pass protection, however, he was beaten badly by North Carolina State DE many Lawson on a quick outside-inside move. For his part, Winston struggled a bit in one-on-one drills with the defensive linemen, particularly on one play where he got into his backpeddle way too soon and completely lost leverage. Interestingly, Winston was much more consistent in the 11-on-11 phase of the practice when he maintained a good wide base and got great arm extension, although he had to hold Louisville’s Elvis Dumervil who beat him to the corner on one rush. The Longhorns’ Scott also struggled to stay with the quicker DEs on outside pass rushes. Scott, though, stayed with the play, as he generally kept his feet moving and kept pushing with his long arms.

In fact, it wasn’t a good afternoon all around for the South offensive linemen. Georgia OG Max Jean-Gilles, who would likely to establish himself as the #1 OG in the 2006 draft class, tended to give up too much penetration in one-on-one drills with the defensive lineman as he often got a little high and wasn’t fully able to take advantage of all of his 358 pounds. Like Miami’s Winston, though, Jean-Gilles was more solid in the 11-on-11 action. Interestingly, the South had New Mexico C Ryan Cook playing some at OT. The 6-6, 322-pound Cook certainly has the size for the position, but lacks the athleticism to stay with quicker DE, Back at C, Cook had a good battle with Tennessee DE Jesse Maholena, with the former Volunteer spinning out of a Cook block on one play for what would have been a sack/QB, however, Cook came back on the next play to bury Maholena. Indeed, it was an up-and-down sort of day for the South offensive linemen who would make their block on one play, but then get beaten on the next. On the other South linemen, Tennessee C/G Cody Douglas may have been the most surprising.

If they had been keeping score at the South practice today, the defense would have been the big winners. NC State DE Manny Lawson, for example, made a number of plays in addition to beating Auburn’s McNeill cleanly for what would have been at least a pressure. Lawson, for example, was also able to slice between blockers to break up back-to-back plays in the 11-on-11 action; Lawson, though, did struggle to disengage from the bigger OTs once he got locked up, suggesting he might be better suited to OLB at the next level, especially for a team running a 3-4 scheme. DTs Orien Harris of Miami, Kyle Williams, Florida State’s Brodick Bunkley and Tennessee’s Maholena also won more one-on-one battles than they lost. Bunkley looked like he hasn’t lost much in the way of quickness, despite weighing in at 300 pounds in Mobile as he exploded off the snap. Same for LSU’s Williams who consistently got good leverage upfield, while Harris just overpowred people in busting up a number of plays. The squat Maholena, at 6-0, 311, was also tough to block as he was able to use his size and quickness to get leverage.

Odds and ends… While we spent much of the afternoon concentrating on the offensive and defensive linemen, it was hard not to notice how quick Mississippi State RB Jerious Norwood is; he just explodes upfield when he sees a seam… North Carolina State TE T.J. Williams struggled catching the ball on Monday afternoon, but rebounded Tuesday to snare a couple of tough catches in traffic… And in what was a pretty good day for NC Staters, CB Marcus Hudson had an interception in the 7-on-7 drills…While there are a lot of shortish players in Mobile, there are also an inordinate number of big, rangy athletic looking types; one who we kept noting was 6-4, 205-pound Florida State FS Pat Watkins who is very smooth in everything he does… This is our second year in Mobile and while the roster is clearly an upgrade from last year, the whole atmosphere in Mobile seems a tad more muted this year. Last year, for example, ESPN had a big tent overlooking the field from where Mel Kiper et al held court. This year, there is no tent, and if Mel is in the house, he’s sitting in the stands just like your every-day garden variety draft guru! At the same time, NFL head coaches are taking a much lower profile this year than last when they seemed to be everywhere. We did think we saw the Buccaneers’ Jon Gruden at one point this afternoon and then bumped into a group of guys wearing Patriots’ sweat shirts one of whom could have been Bill Belichek’s twin brother. Oddest of all, sitting all by himself in the west end zone was a fellow in Giants’ gear who looked suspiciously like Tom Coughlin, who on further inspection turned out to be in fact Tom Coughlin. There also don’t seem to be the same number of agents this year. There are guys patrolling the sidelines with cell phones glued to their ear repeating over and over “is that a done deal?,” but at least this year you could swing a stick without necessarily hitting one!.. Tomorrow, we’ll be focusing in on the linebackers…

htismaqe
01-26-2006, 10:42 AM
Bunkley is hurt. That sucks, hope it doesn't set him back too far.

I'd really like to see what he can do with the added weight.

Dunit35
01-26-2006, 10:58 AM
Who saw Kiwi getting owned by D'Brick on the NFL Network's coverage on the Senior Bowl practice .

I did. He was getting beat the entire time.

Spicy McHaggis
01-27-2006, 04:13 AM
I was just saying Kiwanuka will end up in the Julius Peppers build range, 6'7 285-290 range. Mario Williams has the advantage because he's already there.

I doubt it. And added weight even if its muscle doesn't equal a better player. Take for example David Pollack's junior year versus senior year in college. He put on 15-20 pounds and was much less effective as a junior than when he slimmed down again as a senior.

Kiwi has a body type that probably won't do well to pack on the extra weight without giving up some of that first step quickness. The guy looks more like a basketball player than a football player.

htismaqe
01-27-2006, 08:30 AM
I doubt it. And added weight even if its muscle doesn't equal a better player. Take for example David Pollack's junior year versus senior year in college. He put on 15-20 pounds and was much less effective as a junior than when he slimmed down again as a senior.

Kiwi has a body type that probably won't do well to pack on the extra weight without giving up some of that first step quickness. The guy looks more like a basketball player than a football player.

Bingo.