Michael Schottey

Live from the Senior Bowl

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Senior Bowl Day Two Recap

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


On day two of the Senior Bowl, the North and South teams practiced at separate times, allowing scouts and media to get a closer look at both squads. Ladd-Peebles Stadium was much busier today as intensity and speed finally kicked off some rust from the all-star teams. As a whole, many scouts in attendance thought the North's morning practice -- run by the Cincinnati Bengals coaches -- was much more "on point" and moved along nicely. The Buffalo Bills coaches ran a more relaxed practice and focused more on special teams than onlookers enjoyed.

Here's five up and five down from today's practices:

1) No one has more buzz right now than the North's Vincent Brown (WR San Diego State). Once considered a low/mid-round prospect with decent speed and good overall talent, Brown is the shining star of practices and has caught everything thrown his way. He's also shown good athleticism on deep routes and quickness on screens and reverses.

2) Cameron Jordan (DE Cal) and Christian Ballard (DT/DE Iowa) were both unblockable in today's morning practice. Jordan seems to be a step faster and a bit more talented than anyone else here. His ability to set up blockers one way, and break through laterally is outstanding. Ballard is outworking many of his counterparts and has a real shot to start as a 3-technique in a 4-3, but has the versatility to kick to 3-4 end.

3) Shareece Wright (CB USC) was the talk of South practices Monday, and much of that carried over to today. He is a tough, physical cornerback who has the ability to play off-coverage and close quickly on receivers. He isn't the best when asked to turn and run with faster opponents, but certainly wouldn't kill a team who asked him to learn. He has a good deal of raw physical talent and is quickly asserting himself in a deep cornerback class.

4) DeMarco Murray (RB Oklahoma) and Bilal Powell (RB Louisville) both silenced a lot of critics today, or at least should have. Murray is an extremely sudden runner who springs through holes and weaves through traffic. The former Sooner has the rare ability to make multiple cuts quickly without losing overall linear speed. Powell is a strong runner who displays a ton of body control, leaning in and out of breaks to minimize contact and bounce off defenders.

5) Luke Stocker (TE Tennessee) had the catch of the day, plucking an errant pass out of the air and absorbing a tremendous hit drawing a ton of "oohs" and a smattering of "ahhs" from the crowd. When he got up, Stocker held the ball out for the crowd -- and the defender -- to see. With Kyle Rudolph's (TE Notre Dame) hamstring injury, Stocker could be the top tight end in the draft. Lee Smith (TE Marshall) has had a great couple of days and is showcasing himself as a blocker.

1) Andy Dalton (QB Texas Christian) has had a lot of good publicity since his Rose Bowl win over Wisconsin, but struggled during today's practice. He has the ability to make big plays and has decent athleticism and arm strength, but just doesn't look like a natural passer and spent most of his day locked on to his former teammate, Jeremy Kerley. Unless Dalton plans on his NFL team drafting his entire TCU receiving corps, he'll need to showcase natural timing and accuracy.

2) Christian Ponder (QB Florida State) and Greg McElroy (QB Alabama) are the other two South quarterbacks, and, as a whole, that team did not seem to have overwhelming talent passing the ball. Ponder and McElroy (along with Dalton) appear to be mid-round prospects that are leaders, guys you want on your team, but never want to have the game in their hands. Ponder had a weak arm before multiple arm surgeries and doesn't look as accurate as his hype. McElroy is a smart kid but doesn't seem in his element in an all-star atmosphere.

3) Noel Devine (RB West Virginia) actually looked good in practice today and he'll certainly get a spot on an NFL roster. The problem is, he looks so small next to a number of smaller backs like Derrick Locke (RB Kentucky) and Kendall Hunter (RB Oklahoma State). Devine's speed is negated at an all-star game like it will in the NFL and he needs plenty of space to do what he does best. He'll make an impact, but it is hard to see him as anything more than a deep niche player at the next level.

4) Kevin Kowalski (C Toledo) made a lot of the North defensive linemen look really good today and didn't move well enough for a guy who also lacks ideal size. He'll be a deep reserve on an NFL team and is reportedly very smart as well as a leader. He just can't block this caliber of talent. Marcus Gilbert (OT Florida) doesn't move well, either, and plays too high to be a consistent factor in the run game.

5) When you're a punter at the all-star game, you shouldn't have to throw the ball just so the return team can get a good rep. Chas Henry (P Florida) just shouldn't be drafted.

Michael Schottey is an NFL Featured Columnist at BleacherReport.com and an Analyst at DraftTek.com. He will be covering the Senior Bowl practices all week in Mobile. Follow him on Twitter @Schottey





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