Wednesday's 2014 Senior Bowl Practice Report: North
This is Charlie Campbell's Wednesday 2014 Senior Bowl Practice Report. Charlie is reporting live from Mobile, Ala., and he'll describe what he sees at practice and whom certain prospects talk to all week.
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By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell
The North team took the field Wednesday in Ladd-Peebles Stadium for their third practice of the Senior Bowl. The Atlanta Falcons' coaching staff had the players practicing in full pads. Atlanta's staff kept the North squad going at a good pace and at a reasonably physical level. The players started the session with some installation and work in individual position groups. After that, the North did a few one-on-one sessions, a few periods of special teams work and a team scrimmage. Here is a rundown of the noteworthy players.
Pitt defensive tackle Aaron Donald completed his phenomenal week of practice with another dominant session. Donald couldn't be stopped in the pass rushing one-on-ones. He got started by burning Baylor guard Cyril Richardson with a speed rush. He used some power and then speed to get by Utah State's Tyler Larsen. Donald showed great hand usage to shed a block from Tennessee State's Kadeem Edwards with speed to burst away. Edwards and Clemson's Brandon Thomas were able to get some draws against Donald by stuffing bull rushes. Donald got penetration, but not enough to get to the quarterback marker.
During the team scrimmage, Donald blew by Edwards to get a tackle for a loss on a run play. Donald has been one of the best players in Mobile and has made himself a lot of money this week. His pass-rushing skills as a three technique are very rare and he could be a potential double-digit sacker in the NFL.
Stanford defensive end/outside linebacker Trent Murphy had a good day on Wednesday. He burned Kadeem Edwards around the left side to get a blind side sack of Logan Thomas during the team scrimmage. Long after Murphy would have had the sack, Thomas forced a throw into a crowd of defenders around a receiver and Wisconsin linebacker Chris Borland was able to pick the ball off. In the 9-on-9 run scrimmage, Murphy had a nice play to beat Miami tackle Seantrel Henderson around the edge to get to the back for no gain. Murphy then had a speed rush in the one-on-ones initially blocked by Notre Dame's Zack Martin, but on a second effort, Murphy was able to get free to get to the quarterback marker. Murphy also had a pressure but was eventually stopped short of the marker by Clemson's Brandon Thomas.
North Carolina defensive end Kareem Martin had an impressive play in the 11-on-11 scrimmage when he blew up a run in the backfield and hugged James White a few yards short of the line of scrimmage. Martin had some losses in the one-on-ones, including one to Miami tackle Seantrel Henderson.
Michigan right tackle Michael Schofield had an ugly day on Tuesday, but showed improvement on Wednesday. He hung with a fast spin move from Missouri's Michael Sam to win a one-on-one rep. Schofield rode Virginia Tech's James Gayle around the pocket and planted him into the turf. However, Louisville's Marcus Smith was able to use speed and dip underneath Schofield to win a rep off the edge and Minnesota's Ra'Shede Hageman pushed him into the marker on a bull rush.
Minnesota's Ra'Shede Hageman had another nice practice, and he had a good win against Colorado State center Weston Richburg with a speed rush.
Utah State center Tyler Larsen has also shown improvement this week. He had some good moments on Wednesday including stuffing a rush from Hageman.
Notre Dame left tackle Zack Martin had a win against Penn State's DaQuan Jones when he anchored on a bull rush. Martin also had an impressive win when he pushed North Carolina defensive end Kareem Martin outside of the pocket and into the turf. Zack Martin has had a strong week of practice to answer some doubts.
UCLA wide receiver Shaq Evans had a pretty one-handed catch in the back of the end zone during the receiving one-on-ones. He beat Utah State's Nevin Lawson on the play for a step of separation, but Lawson came back to blanket Evans on another throw and slap the ball away.
Oregon's Josh Huff had a nice touchdown reception, but he used a push-off on North Carolina State's Dontae Johnson to get open. Huff and Wisconsin's Jared Abbrederis have played well this week.
Abbrederis showed his superb route-running by getting open in the front of the end zone on curl route for a reception. He beat Northern Illinois' Jimmie Ward on the play.
Wisconsin running back James White had another impressive practice in blitz protection. White rode around Illinois linebacker Jonathan Brown for his first win. In the rematch, White held up and pushed Brown away from the pocket. White was rocked back a bit by Iowa's Christian Kirksey on a bull rush, but held his ground to get a draw. On their rematch, White stuffed a spin move from Kirksey. White beat Kirksey on his final rep. White also showed some nice receiving ability out of the backfield. White has really helped himself this week.
West Virginia's Charles Sims and Toledo's David Fluellen had some wins and some losses, but neither back is close to being as good at White in pass blocking.
Stanford fullback Ryan Hewitt struggled in pass protection. Louisville's Marcus Smith used some power to shed a block before bolting by Hewitt. Kirksey flew by Hewitt on a spin move while UCLA's Jordan Zumwalt used a swim move to beat Hewitt. Hewitt finally got a win going against Wisconsin's Chris Borland and Hewitt also had a win blocking Baylor safety Ahmad Dixon when Dixon tried to run around him.
Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd had his best practice of the week. Boyd got started by throwing a fastball through a tight window to Jared Abbrederis in zone coverage. He then threw a beautiful deep ball that dropped in over Lindenwood cornerback Pierre Desir to Northwestern wide receiver Kain Colter in the team scrimmage. Desir had tight coverage but was beaten by a nice catch and a great throw.
Boyd had a good play from the 20-yard line where he saw nothing open, scrambled forward and threw a short pass on the run to Stanford fullback Ryan Hewitt. Hewitt had an open field and coasted into the end zone. Boyd needed a good practice and came through with one.
Miami quarterback Stephen Morris hasn't had a big week either. In the team scrimmage he hit a slant to Wyoming's Robert Herron who cut back to dodge Wyoming's Marqeston Huff and dart down the field for a nice gain. Morris and Herron hooked up again when he beat Huff on an out route.
WalterFootball.com will have more practice reports, post-practice interview observations and rumormill entries this week live from Mobile. Follow me or Walt (@walterfootball) for updates.
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