Lance Zierlein

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Senior Bowl Notes: Wednesday

Thursday, January 23, 2014

South Practice Notes 

Texas WR Mike Davis caught the ball much cleaner and was much more crips in and out of his routes today.  Tulane WR Ryan Grant was sharp again including a rep where he ran completely away from Georgia Southern CB Lavelle Westbrooks for a deep completion in one on ones.

Speaking of Westbrooks, personnel men love his quick feet and smooth hip turn, but understand that he still has plenty to learn and they are studying his overall deep speed.  Westbrooks struggled in coverage today after putting together some solid reps on Monday and Tuesday.

Florida State LB Christian Jones was way too much to handle in pass rush drills against skill position players and he showed fluid, quick-twitch explosion in coverage.  Jones has been impressive this week and will catch the eye of defenses looking for scheme versatility.

Georgia TE Arthur Lynch caught everything on Wednesday and was more than happy to get after defenders in pass protection and as a run blocker.

Auburn CB Chris Davis may have to make the transition to safety in the NFL, but he continued to compete in one on ones against quick WRs on the outside.  Davis was a little grabby, however, and that obviously won't cut it on the next level.

Georgia Southern RB Jerick McKinnon has been the quickest RB to and through the hole this week.  He was a jack-of-all trades at GSU which will appeal to NFL teams.  He's made the best runs vs. the South defense in practices this week which is saying something since the South offense has been stagnant for the most part.

Alabama Adrian Hubbard just hasn't jumped off the field at any particular position.  Is he an OLB, ILB or DE?  We're not sure after the first three days.

Vanderbilt safety Kenny Ladler showed skills in run support and in coverage.  He doesn't stay back on his heels, he's always coming forward looking to make things happen.

Auburn DE Dee Ford might be playing the best football of his career right now.  He improved as the season went on and he's been unstoppable in practices so far.  There are reps where Ford is so quick around the corner that he will go to knock a tackles hands out of the way and the tackle hasn't even been able to begin shooting his punch.

Vanderbilt OT/OG/C Wesley Johnson took reps at every position if my eyes didn't deceive me.  Johnson's frame is just too slight for the tastes of many teams, but he's a good football player and looks like he's destined to bump inside to center.  Johnson's tendency to get his hands too far outside when engaging was a concern for me today.

Nevada LT Joel Bitonio had his best practice of the week as he looked, focused, determined and confident throughout the practice.  Bitonio had guys at the end of his arms in pass protection and showed off his trademark tenacity.

Another solid day for LT Morgan Moses from Virginia.  I may have missed on his evaluation headed into this week.  One of the biggest mistakes that evaluators make when looking at the offensive line is they tend to look for players who are aesthetically pleasing.  Moses isn't always fun to watch, but he understands angles and has done a great job of using his long arms and redirecting rushers around the pocket.  In other words, Moses is getting guys blocked - consistently.

Vanderbilt WR Jordan Matthews didn't look right to us today.  He didn't appear to be running as fluidly as in the previous two practices and was as tight with his routes.  He might be playing a little dinged up.  We will look into it.

After a really strong start to the week, Cal's Deandre Coleman was just okay today.  He had his moments with penetration into the backfield, but for the most part, he was just okay.

Louisiana Tech DE IK Enemkpali made his way into practice as an injury replacement and put together a solid practice showing a nice spin move and good hands as a pass rusher.  Just one quick pro tip for Enemkpali.  On bag drills, you don't have to throw bolo punches - teams are looking for quickness over a knockout punch.

QB Notes
Jimmy Garoppolo - Not a great day but did not really hurt himself either.  He missed some throws in passing drills, a deep post off flea flicker pass first play during Team, and was late on a pass in 7 on 7. Still solid accuracy and timing. He seems to understands and grasp everything that's going on and making Mike declarations every play.  In Team, he showed really good poise and calm in the pocket.  Have not seen him be get rattled.  He continues to look like a legitimate NFL QB prospect.
Derek Carr - He looks impressive in all passing drills and making all the right throws and reads.  Smart understand the reads, is a leader in the field, and looks like an NFL quarterback.  However, during Team period, he got a little jittery in the pocket not setting his feet and wanting to go out of the pocket and rolled out instead of being poised stepping up, sliding and hanging in the pocket and finding his receivers. Pocket presence is the aspect of his game is a question and still is.
David Fales - Made good quick decisions and threw accurate passes in all passing drills.  Again struggled a little bit driving deeper throws.  He had a nice touch pass to the tight end on a corner route in 7-on-7. He has questions about pocket presence.  He looked jittery in the pocket during Team period, taking off to run too quickly with good protection and go routes against press man coverage on the outside.  He needs to show more poise stepping up and sliding in the pocket and keeping his eyes down field.

Lance Zierlein is sports talk show host on KMBE 790 AM in Houston, Texas. Follow him on Twitter @lancezierlein.
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