I had a very fun day of practice, which included sitting with a coordinator from an NFC South team (who shall not be named). The crowd is getting disgustingly big with high school girls coming out for the Tim Tebow Bowl practice - and taking up all the valuable space on the sideline fences. More on that in my blog later, so let's get to some notes from the South team.
I really hated the way Miami ran their practice today. For some reason it was delayed 15-20 minutes, which really ticked off a lot of draftniks I spoke with. Secondly, there were no good drills to scout for the first 30 minutes, which was of no use to the coaches and scouts in the stands watching the action.
Tulane's Jeremy Williams doesn't tip off his routes one bit and the corners struggle getting a read on him. At times he lost focus in today's practice, but there is no doubt I am a fan of his with a third-round value.
I can't believe I am saying this, but Citadel receiver Andre Roberts has been the best receiver out here - and nobody is coming close to matching his consistency. He comes cleanly out of his breaks and has by far the softest pair of hands in Mobile. He made a beautiful circus catch on a post route. Stock up for Mr. Roberts - he certainly deserves it. The secret is out and he is getting a lot of deserved hype.
Georgia defensive tackle Jeff Owens had a very good day as well. He is displaying impressive speed and agility as he dominated the 1v1's today. I loved his burst off the snap and he was very hungry in today's practice.
Let's get to what everyone came to see (and read) - Tim Tebow. Tebow has steadily progressed as the week has went along - what happened to the strep throat? I think he has gotten more confident as the week went on. He put much better touch on the football today, and I've always said I like his deep-ball accuracy. However, I have issues. For one, he never drives the football anywhere on the field and his intermediate accuracy is still mediocre at best. In skeleton drills, he still hesitates making decisions and his release really hurts him. When he is making his progression reads, he has to cock the ball all the way back and I just see no way he can be a quarterback in the league with his release. Defensive ends will cause a couple fumbles a game and his wind-up is simply too much to overcome when making quick decisions. I'll give Tebow credit because he was better than yesterday, and better yesterday than the day before that - but he is still a major project who has been very inconsistent throughout the week.
The best quarterback of the day was easily West Virginia's Jarrett Brown. I've noted before his footwork is very raw, but he showed very nice touch and accuracy in today's practice. He's a project some team will take a chance on in Rounds 4 or 5. Okalhoma State's Zac Robinson wasn't nearly as good as he was yesterday. His former teammate Perrish Cox picked him twice and Robinson showed poor decision-making. None of these quarterbacks have completely won me over this week in Mobile.
Jeff Byers surprisingly had a nice anchor against Alabama's Terrence Cody. We are talking about 70-pound difference here, but Byers has a compact build and plays with outstanding technique and decent athleticism. The zone blocking teams will target him as a backup center/guard.
Baylor's J.D. Walton really stepped up. He doesn't care who you are - he's fearless and showed some nice leadership on the field. I love his toughness and strength. He'll be a second- or third-rounder, and will make some team happy as a center prospect.
One player I hated throughout the season on tape just isn't going to change my opinion, and that is South Florida end George Selvie. I'll give him his props for playing with more power and strength, but my question is why didn't he step up during the season? He was easily blocked by Western Kentucky and simply didn't make a lot of plays as a junior or senior. There are some guys who you have to ignore for having a good (or bad) week and Selvie is on that list for me - too much bad tape.
It's tough to watch everything with just one pair of eyes, but a friend in Mobile with some connections told me Dan Williams of Tennessee is steadily rising up boards this week. I've been somewhat impressed when I've seen him, but clearly NFL scouts like him, and he is a top-25 pick.
I'm really feeling for Taylor Mays. Yes, I killed him (have to call it like I see it), but he's really struggling and showing all the weaknesses I thought he had. He's stiff, he doesn't play the ball, and his instincts aren't there. One time, Tebow threw a duck on a skinny post over the middle and Mays was clearly in position to make the pick, but he was too focused on making the big hit. He'll thrive at the Combine, but Michael Johnson did the same, and he went in Round 3. Mays won't go quite that low, but he isn't solidifying a first-round grade this week. I give him a ton of credit for coming out here to try and prove himself - we can't doubt his competitiveness and love of the game.
Missisippi's Shay Hodge is a crafty receiver who knows the little ins and outs of the position. He did a great job using his body and setting up an opposing corner on a goal line quick slant. Hodge has had a very solid week, and he's going to get picked up by some team in Round 3 or 4.
Kentucky corner Trevard Lindley's stock is tanking. I have major reservations with his confidence level - he isn't the player he was as a sophomore or junior. He is failing to make plays when in position and struggling to be physical at the line of scrimmage. Don't be shocked if he falls to Round 5 with an average 40 time.
Today was a much more positive day for both teams, and I feel like collectively the players are starting to get more comfortable with one another and the coaching staffs - always great stuff for draftniks, scouts, coaches, and Tebow fangirls (OK, not really).