Senior Bowl practice report: Wednesday
SI.com draft expert Tony Pauline is live in Mobile, Ala., where some of the draft's brightest talent are taking part in Senior Bowl week, the annual prospect showcase. He'll be providing live analysis from practice each day throughout the week.
3:09 p.m. CT -- The final full pads practice at the Senior Bowl is complete. After a few days of game planning all that's left is to play the game on Saturday.
Scouts came away impressed with Melvin Ingram today. He's a natural pass rusher who gets a lot of upfield momentum and is stronger than he's given credit for. What position Ingram plays in the NFL is yet to be determined. Is he a defensive end? Outside linebacker? Three technique tackle? The combine will help get us closer to the answer but rest assured, Ingram can be a force at the next level.
Louisiana Lafayette cornerback Dwight Bentley had another strong day, as did Chris Rainey of Florida, who continues to prove himself as a playmaker. If he keeps his concentration on the field, he'll make an offensive coordinator in the league happy.
It's been great providing SI.com readers live updates from Senior Bowl practices, a rather intense undertaking never previously attempted on the internet from the event. Next up is the analysis of Saturday's game. Let's hope it's a good game.
2:57 p.m. CT -- For all the good play of Cordy Glenn the past three days, few scouts in attendance believe he's a left tackle prospect. He struggled with speed rushers during today's practice.
- Chris Rainey of Florida just made a tough reception in underneath coverage after beating the defense for a potential long gainer that Brandon Weeden underthrew.
- Weeden just made a magnificent pass to Joe Adams. The throw had tremendous speed and was perfectly timed to hit Adams as he left his break in the middle of triple coverage. Weeden has made some tremendous throws since Monday but really needs to improve his deep accuracy as a number of times he's underthrown open receivers.
- Leonard Creer, who played in the Shrine Game last week, was a late addition to the South squad and has looked good. He's not fast but patient and instinctive. He just picked up a nice gainer, waiting for blocks to develop then throwing several moves on defenders in the open field to keep the run alive. He also shows the ability to turn it on in a single step, with the ability to burst through the hole.
- Nick Foles continues to struggle. He rarely hits receivers in stride and constantly has them reaching backwards or vertical in an attempt to make the catch.
2:33 p.m. CT -- DT Brandon Thompson of Clemson has been tough to stop. He fired past the guard with his patented first step and got a lot of penetration behind the line of scrimmage.
- Juron Criner and Ryan Steed are having a terrific battle in practice, with Criner getting the best. To his credit, Steed just stepped up and battled to defend a pass.
- DT Kheeston Randall of Texas has shown a lot of power the past two days. He just drove center Ben Jones of Georgia four yards deep into the backfield. Randall then came back and threw a terrific move on Philip Blake and again got into the backfield.
- Chalk up another positive play for Dwight Bentley of Louisiana Lafayette, who made a great move on a ball intended for Dwight Jones of North Carolina and broke up the pass.
- Zebrie Sanders of Florida State is really struggling today. He's been manhandled on a number of occasions and is struggling to stay on his feet.
- Melvin Ingram is eating opponents alive today. Out of a three-point stance he has Matt McCants of UAB spinning, then came back and lined up at defensive tackle to beat Will Blackwell of LSU.
- Cordy Glenn just manhandled Quinton Coples in one-on-one. Glenn was lined up at left tackle. Not to be outdone, Coples threw an inside move on Glenn the next time they faced off and beat him to the inside.
- Janoris Jenkins of North Alabama is the one to finally stop Juron Criner. Jenkins had terrific inside position, then dove in front of the pass to defend the throw.
- Brandon Thompson's quickness is impressive. Opposing blockers cannot adjust quickly enough off the snap, and he keeps blowing past the offensive linemen.
- Late addition Malik Jackson has made a good impression thus far. Lining up at defensive tackle, Jackson projects to end in the NFL and has shown athleticism, quickness and power.
2:24 p.m. CT -- OLB Nigel Bradham of Florida State continues to impress with his athleticism. He's fast and fluid moving in every direction and covers a terrific amount of area.
- Vick Ballard has started the day by running with authority. He just ran through three tackles for a nice gain.
- What's impressive about Joe Adams of Arkansas is not just his speed and hands, but also his moxie. He just battled the large Antonio Allen of South Carolina and beat him off the line to get into his route and make a nice catch.
- WR Juron Criner of Arizona is playing much better. He's a terrific athlete and dominant when on his game. Despite taking an elbow in his neck from Ryan Steed of Furman, Criner was able to get off the line, separate from the defender and make a nice catch. Criner just made another terrific over the shoulder reception down the field, beating DeQuan Menzie of Alabama.
- LaDarius Green of Louisiana Lafayette continues to impress with his pass-catching skills.
- Melvin Ingram of South Carolina is short but deceptively powerful. He's shown the ability to knock offensive linemen back with a jolt of his hands..
2:05 p.m. CT -- WR Dwight Jones of North Carolina is a large, imposing target who really struggles with his route running. Jones' footwork gets very choppy in route-running drills and he decelerates into breaks.
- On the other hand, Joe Adams of Arkansas is small but incredibly quick and fast. He runs terrific routes and shows the ability to carry his horizontal momentum into breaks.
- OL Cordy Glenn of Georgia has been the talk of the South by a lot of scouts. He's got the body type, strength and movement skills to quickly start in the NFL. He's being talked about as a late-round pick with his performance the past two days. He does not back down either, and just went after Quinton Coples in drills, battling hard after the whistle had blown.
- S Brandon Taylor of LSU is a fearsome run defender, but scouts have to be concerned about his play in coverage. During drills Taylor is noticeably slower in his backpedal compared to the other safeties. He's got to show he can do more than make plays up the field in a straight line if he's going to be anything other than a late-round choice.
- OLB Keenan Robinson of Texas has started the day with a vengeance and looks terrific in pass-rushing drills.
- Credit to Jake Bequette, the former defensive end from Arkansas who has switched between his college position and outside linebacker here. He looks much improved from yesterday and is really showing some explosion today. He's destroyed several running backs in pass-rushing drills.
- Add Zach Brown of North Carolina to the list of linebackers who can not be stopped in pass-rushing drills. That's a good sign, as Brown has shown terrific strength in these drills, which is the biggest question mark of his game.
1:56 p.m. CT -- The final full pads practice at the Senior Bowl is underway, as the South has taken the field. How intense is Wednesday practice at the Senior Bowl? A veteran insider who's been covering the league for more than four decades told me he saw more hitting during the first 45 minutes of practice this morning than he's seen in any two days of practice on the NFL level.
A few final notes from the North.
T Mike Adams of Ohio State was not able to capitalize on his dominant performance from Monday and looked human at times this morning. How will this affect his draft stock? Let's say at this point he's not a lock to be a top-15 choice.
CB Alfonzo Dennard of Nebraska leaves Mobile with a draft grade much lower than when he arrived. Dennard was stiff and struggled all week. The projected first-rounder was beaten by receivers who are likely last-day picks. While it's a bit premature, some scouts on hand say Dennard may have to move inside to safety, a thought that could further depress his draft stock.
11:00 a.m. CT -- The North practice is complete. Vinny Curry of Marshall really stood out today and was impossible to stop at times. He's at a disadvantage as he's been used solely at defensive end and never allowed to stand up over tackle, but scouts leave the morning and the week highly impressed with his athleticism, quickness and general feel as a pass rusher.
- RB Dan Herron of Ohio State showed surprising foot quickness today. After being stuffed on the inside for a few handoffs, Herron suddenly displayed the ability to bounce around the outside and avoid defenders and piles.
- S Harrison Smith of Notre Dame has struggled. He looks good in pads but in scrimmage and during drills looks solely like a straight-line, downhill safety with limited skills in coverage.
- TJ Graham is another player to watch during special teams situations on Saturday. He's been fielding kicks and has shown impressive speed and the ability to get cleanly through the lanes on returns.
- OL Senio Kelemete of Washington was pushed inside to guard today and was effective. He's a solid athlete and his ability to block with sound fundamentals (knee bend, hand placement) is impressive.
- G Tony Bergstrom of Utah continues to improve. He's more than held his own during one-on-one blocking drills and in scrimmage. After a slow start Bergstrom has really elevated his play as the week progressed.
10:47 a.m. CT -- WR Marvin Jones of Cal continues to impress. We spoke of his route-running skills and burst earlier, but he's also a heady ball player. He just did a terrific job staying with the action and following his quarterback across the field, finding the open space to help out the signal caller, who was about to be sacked.
- Shea McClellin of Boise State looks better every day at the linebacker position. He's been planted in the middle today and has done a great job remaining patient with assignments, smoothly moving across the field and showing a good degree of awareness.
- Kirk Cousins just threw a beautiful pass to Marvin McNutt for a long gainer. Cousins was pressured heavily by Cam Johnson of Virginia, but patiently sat in the pocket and delivered an accurate strike.
10:35 a.m. CT -- DT Alameda Ta'amu of Washington is still showing tremendous power and has been tough to stop. On the last play he drove Ohio State center Mike Brewster into the backfield, three yards behind the line of scrimmage.
- T Mike Adams of Ohio State is really having a tough time this morning handling Vinny Curry. Curry has convincingly beat the big tackle off the snap every time. Curry was just moved inside to defensive tackle and annihilated Kevin Zeitler with a swim move. We got ahead of ourselves in our praise for Kevin Zeitler. He's been beaten the past three downs by three different defensive linemen.
- DE Cam Johnson of Virginia has displayed a lot of quickness and speed off the edge in one-on-one drills.
- C Mike Brewster of Ohio State is having a tough go of it this morning. He was just beaten badly by Mike Martin of Michigan, who had been quiet most of the day. Brewster has been struggling to hold the point and continues to get pushed back off the line.
- T Kelechi Osemele of Iowa State looks good at right tackle. He completely shut down Jack Crawford of Penn State, who's supposedly quicker and more athletic than Osemele.
- LB James Michael Johnson of Nevada continues to look very athletic on the field, but today he's starting to make plays on the ball.
- LB Lavonte David of Nebraska continues to impress. He just made a great play in full scrimmage against the run, exploding up the field to stop Isaiah Pead behind the line of scrimmage.
- QB Russell Wilson of Wisconsin has shown he's able to make plays based on his athleticism. Wilson looked like he was going to be sacked in scrimmage for a big loss, but was able to escape the rush to make a nice completion to Chris Polk.
- QB Kellen Moore shows terrific timing on his passes. The consensus is he'll be a No. 3 quarterback for a West Coast offense in the NFL.
10:22 a.m. CT -- Late addition Rishaw Johnson of Cal-Pa, who played guard during his college career, has been used at center in the early going and has struggled. Too many center/quarterback fumbled snaps thus far.
- Many on hand believe the problem with Kellen Moore's poor arm strength starts with his delivery. Moore has a short throwing motion and looks like he's pushing the football. The comparison to Tyler Palko of the Kansas City Chiefs is being made.
- Vinny Curry of Marshall is once again displaying a lot of quickness and athleticism. He really struggles handling blocks, and looks more and more like he'll be a natural as a 3-4 outside linebacker rather than at defensive end.
- Doug Martin just had a nice run in which he put a move on Trent Robinson and left the Michigan State safety grasping at air.
- WR TJ Graham of North Carolina State has displayed a great burst of speed in drills and just ran by Leonard Johnson for a deep pass. Graham has elevated his stock the past three days.
- G Kevin Zeitler of Wisconsin has upped his game this morning. He's been just about the only lineman who's been able to slow down Mike Martin of Michigan and stopped him cold on one snap.
- DT Derek Wolfe of Cincinnati looks good this morning. He does not get a lot of penetration, but he's quick and impossible to move off the line of scrimmage.
9:48 a.m. CT -- The North squad began the day with special teams drills, specifically kick return and coverage game plans for Saturday. Doug Martin of Boise State again looks good showing both a burst and long speed. This is something to keep an eye on during Saturday's game, which will be the first and only time both squads run special teams at full speed and full contact.
- Isaiah Pead, the running back from Cincinnati, has been returning punts for the North this morning and doing a good job. Several scouts have commented that Pead's quickness and short burst of speed are the skills needed for a punt returner in the NFL. Something else to keep an eye on Saturday.
- TE Brian Linthicum of Michigan State sat on the sidelines yesterday, but looks terrific this morning. He moves incredibly well for a big man and is smooth in and out of his routes.
- WR Devier Posey of Ohio State continues to impress with his physical skills. He shows exceptional quickness in and out of routes and a nice burst of speed. He hasn't shown the strong hands or ability to pluck the ball from the air, but to his credit Posey has not dropped many passes the past three days.
- WR Marvin McNutt of Iowa looks improved this morning. Early-week jitters may have resulted in some stiffness and dropped passed but thus far he's looked very smooth and has caught the ball well.
- Doug Martin is impressing outside of special teams drills, too. He's showing terrific quickness and just put a great move on former Boise State teammate Shea McClellin to come free in the flat for a nice reception. Martin has shown soft, strong hands all week.
- LB Lavonte David of Nebraska has looked good in coverage drills all morning. He's athletic, easily runs downfield with backs or tight ends and nicely positions himself to defend the pass.
- LB Audie Cole of North Carolina State is not known for his foot speed or athleticism, but he's just a good, tough football player. Every time Cole has stepped to the line this morning he seems determined to stop his opponents by any means necessary, and for the most part he has.
9:35 a.m. CT -- The North has taken the field for the final day of full-pads practice at the Senior Bowl. Today is always the most important day of the week, as the intensity is turned up several notches. There are more general managers, coaches and scouts on hand for Wednesday practice than at any point in time during the week.
Rishaw Johnson, the guard from Cal-Pa, flew to Mobile last night and is a late addition to replace the injured Joe Looney. Johnson really impressed during two days of Shrine Game practice last week.
It's hotter and muggier this morning than any of the past two days, so it's going to be a real test for these NFL hopefuls.
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