January 20, 2014
2014 Senior Bowl - Monday South Practice
Eric Galko
Optimum Scouting

   The first of back-to-back practices on Day One of the Senior Bowl, the South roster boasted the quarterback talent that scouts flocked to, along with impressive athletes at every level of the defense. Based on today’s practice, Antonio Andrews, Chris Smith, Kyle Van Noy, and Aaron Colvin were the “winners” for their draft value.


Quarterbacks

   - Each quarterback showed a bit of what makes them a potential Top 100 pick during the day, but none stepped up as the clear cut top passer from the group. One of the biggest takeaway’s from the group, however, is the clear step down in velocity that David Fales of San Jose State has. He was very quick in footwork and drop back drills, taking controlled, balanced steps and staying tight on rollouts. But the noticeable difference in velocity may push him behind the other two passers.

   - Jimmy Garoppolo didn’t get the opportunity to thrive during the Shrine Game practices last week, but his quick release was on display on day one in Mobile. While his rollouts and drop back seteps need work, he has plus velocity across the field, and his quick release allowed for his throws to reach his receiver faster than Derek Carr, despite the drop in arm strength.

   - Finally, Derek Carr of Fresno State showcased his big arm today, along with consistently high and tight mechanics that allow him to control his velocity well. Still raw laterally and in his drop back steps, and his overall body positioning on the move needs work, but it’s clear he has all the tools to work with.


Running Backs

   - One of the biggest winners of the day regardless of position was Antonio Andrews of Western Kentucky, especially as a receiver. A thick lower half combined with quickness as a route runner to separate and footwork to adjust after the catch, he was the recipient of praise throughout practice by the coaching staff.


Wide Receivers / Tight Ends

   - Jordan Matthews of Vanderbilt displayed the softest hands of the South receivers excluding a couple of drops ,which seemed to plague all the receivers in the group. However, he really struggled versus physical coverage and doesn’t seem to have the functional strength to fight through this at the NFL level.

   - Ryan Grant had the best overall day of the South receivers despite a couple of drops. He consistently separated at the top of his routes and was quick to flip his head to gain yards after the catch.

   - Arthur Lynch of Georgia had an impressive showing Monday as he lined up from a variety of spots on the field including the backfield as an H-back receiver. He’s a hands catcher with some “snatch and go” receiving ability and made tough grabs in traffic.


Offensive Line

   - North Dakota State offensive tackle Billy Turner struggled with his leverage and blocking posture throughout the practice, but really stood out with his hand strength strike. At tackle, he displayed adequate foot speed but he’ll need to correct waist-bending issues.

   - Former Vanderbilt standout Wesley Johnson looked out of place at times, lacking the anchor or wide base to win consistently during pit drills. Late with his punch and allowing defenders into his smallish frame, Johnson was in recovery mode for most of his individual reps.

   - For an upside tackle prospect, Ja’Wuan James had his base exposed multiple times in run blocking drills. Still, he did showcase the ability to reset his anchor and recover when moved off his pass set.


Defensive Line

   - Easily the standout performer along the defensive line, Arkansas’ Chris Smith not only looked the part in weigh ins, but excelled in all aspects of the practice. Smith has extreme suddenness out of his stance, plays comfortably with sink to his hips and understands how to utilize his 34” arms effectively to set the edge.

   - Dee Ford from Auburn also showed off his twitchy skill set, but surprised with his ability to leverage inside hand placement and work through the base of his opponent. He’s a speed guy off the edge and continues to impress there; however, it’s his ability to vary his takeoff angles and set up opponents that stood out in his practice today.

   - Arizona State’s Will Sutton didn’t look good carrying his extra weight through bag drills and had difficulty clearing his hips during rip technique drills, yet he was still the most active interior tackle during 9 on 7 drills and also impressed during pit drills. He absorbed first contact well and consistently forced his way to the heel line.


Linebackers

   - The most impressive performer of the day was BYU’s Kyle Van Noy. The most naturally balanced and controlled athlete of the linebacker group, he was the leader in each drill on day one. With the change of direction, explosiveness in his transitions upfield, and the ball skills he possesses, he’s well on his way to being a leader on his Senior Bowl team, along with a potential Top 20 pick.

   - Lamin Barrow of LSU and Jordan Tripp of Montana both had impressive days. Barrow was consistently in the right spot in coverage, keeping his balanced as he moved laterally, while Tripp was the most controlled and explosive athlete of the linebackers after Van Noy.

   - Jeremiah Attaochu of Georgia Tech and Adrian Hubbard of Alabama looked a bit out of place at their positions today, but it’s clear they have the natural talent to work with. Attaochu will be best suited as a 3-4 rusher, and hopefully he gets that opportunity with the Jaguars running practice and utilizing that DE/OLB hybrid spot. As for Hubbard, he currently lacks an NFL position, but he’s a moldable talent that could fit in any defense, but will need ample time before he can consistently contribute.


Defensive Backs

   - Utah cornerback Keith McGill started Senior Bowl week with an impressive Monday as he was one of the standouts from the morning weigh ins and then displayed impressive fluidity in coverage during practice. In press drills against the receivers, he sustains leverage through initial contact and uses his long arms to direct opponents at the line. During the team session, McGill was transitioning through off coverage well and showed impressive click and close ability to throws in front of him. The one surprising area he struggled in was catching the ball, especially considering his 10 ¼ hands.

   - Oklahoma’s Aaron Colvin was the best cornerback on the field for the South today. He showed cat-quick feet in drills and snapped his hips exceptionally well in off coverage to break on sideline routes. Several scouts raved about his explosiveness out of breaks and his overall athleticism for the position.


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