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2012 Senior Bowl: Practice Report
This is Charlie Campbell's Tuesday 2012 Senior Bowl Practice Report (North). Charlie is reporting live from Mobile, Ala., and he'll describe what he sees at practice and whom certain prospects talk to all week.
The North team took to the field of Ladd Peebles Stadium for their second practice of Senior Bowl on Tuesday morning. The Minnesota Vikings coaching staff was in charge of the North team and they had the players practicing in full pads. Tuesday and Wednesday are the full-padded sessions. To start out practice they worked on special teams and in their individual position groups.
During the practice and beforehand, Wisconsin guard Kevin Zeitler spent a lot of time working at center. Zeitler played next to the best center in college football in Peter Konz, so he didn't see any game action at the position as a collegiate player the past few years. If Zeitler can show NFL teams that he has the capacity to play some center, that could give his draft stock a boost.
During the individual period the linebackers worked on their footwork. Nebraska linebacker Lavonte David has extremely quick feet, and David stood out above the other linebackers. North Carolina State linebacker Audie Cole is a little stiff. He probably would fit best as an inside linebacker in the 3-4. Boise State outside linebacker Shea McClellin was surprisingly athletic.
After the individual period, the linebackers went to a one-on-one scrimmage against running backs, fullbacks and tight ends in blitz protection. Overall the linebackers have the advantage in this drill, but there were players who stood out on both sides of the ball. Here is a scorecard of some of the one-on-one action:
David started the session by blasting Wisconsin fullback Bradie Ewing. The hit from David was extremely hard and rocked Ewing off balance. That allowed the speedy David to jet by him for the victory. David ran through Cincinnati running back Isaiah Pead on a rush. David blasted Washington running back Chris Polk to the ground for another win. The only player who beat David was Massachusetts tight end Emil Igwenagu. He rode David around the outside on a speed rush.
Other than David, the other linebacker to really standout was Cole. He beat Polk with a swim move, dodged Ewing with a jab step, and defeated Ohio State running back Boom Herron with a power swim move. Cole lost a rep to Missouri tight end Michael Egnew when he rode him around the pocket.
Utah State linebacker Bobby Wagner shed a block from Boise State's Doug Martin before getting to the marker. Wagner bull rushed through Polk for a victory.
Nevada linebacker James-Michael Johnson had a resounding win when he ran over Herron on one rush. Johnson also had wins against Ewing and Igwenagu.
Ewing lost a number of reps but he also had a win against Boise State's Shea McClellin when he rode him around the pocket.
McClellin destroyed Herron on a power rush.
Pead stuffed Johnson on one rush. Of the running backs, Pead has the best technique in fitting up on blitzers and getting in good position. Even in his losses he fought well.
Pead and Martin were the two running backs who performed the best in their position group. Polk had an ugly session, while Herron was beat with ease. Both Pead and Martin are helping their draft stock with showing the potential to be trusted third-down running backs.
The wide receivers and cornerbacks went against each other in one-on-ones. Overall the defensive backs fared better than they did on Monday, but wideouts have an advantage in this drill as they know the route and the cornerback has no safety help. Here is a run down of some of the one-on-one action:
Iowa wide receiver Marvin McNutt is a polished route-runner and he had a good session. McNutt had wins against Iowa State cornerback Leonard Johnson, Nebraska cornerback Alfonzo Dennard and Cal Poly cornerback Asa Jackson. McNutt executes the slant route extremely well and that worked to get open against those cornerbacks. On a deep post, McNutt had a step on Boston College cornerback Donnie Fletcher, but McNutt couldn't get a handle on a pass thrown behind him. It was a catch he probably should've made.
A real standout so far has been Cal wide receiver Marvin Jones. He beat Dennard on a deep pass along the sideline for a big catch downfield. Jones burned Johnson on a slant route and got a good deal of space to come open. On Monday and Tuesday, Jones has shown quickness in and out of his breaks to get separation from defensive backs.
Dennard hasn't had a strong week. At times he hasn't done well in turning and running with receivers. Dennard did have a win when he forced an incompletion on a quick out to North Carolina State wide receiver T.J. Graham. This environment isn't the best for Dennard as he performs better in the games when he is playing within a scheme. This week could bump his stock down.
Ohio State wide receiver DeVier Posey didn't impress and had a bad dropped pass.
Fletcher had a good session overall. He almost had a diving interception after Appalachian State wide receiver Brian Quick slipped on the play. Fletcher had tight coverage on Gerell Robinson on an out route and forced a bobbled pass that went incomplete as Robinson went out of bounds.
The defensive line and offensive lines battled in one-on-ones, and there are definitely some prospects who are really helping themselves. The defensive line has a bigger advantage in this drill because they don't have to play the run before rushing the passer like they do in many plays in an actual game. They also don't take on any double teams or have to overcome a chip from a running back or tight end. Here is a scorecard of some of the one-on-one action:
On two reps, Connecticut defensive tackle Kendall Reyes beat Wisconsin guard Kevin Zeitler with a speed rush. Reyes had a really good day. He also bull rushed Wake Forest guard Joe Looney to get to the quarterback marker.
Looney was a late addition to the Senior Bowl, and he had a horrible debut practice. He was bull rushed twice by Washington defensive tackle Alameda Ta'amu. The big nose tackle had no problem pushing Looney onto the marker. It is tough for players to come in late, but Looney showed no strength to anchor.
Zeitler had a win when he stonewalled a bull rush from Boise State defensive tackle Billy Winn, but he also had a rare loss to a bull rush courtesy of Ta'amu.
One of the biggest stars on Tuesday was Michigan defensive tackle Mike Martin. He abused Ohio State center Mike Brewster on multiple reps. He had a few wins on bull rushes and got one win after he rocked Brewster onto his heels before jetting by the center. It was an impressive day from Martin and a disappointing day for Brewster. There was a win for Brewster when he rode Ta'amu around the middle of the pocket on a bull rush.
Ohio State offensive tackle Mike Adams is a potential first-round pick but he is very inconsistent. He can look great and terrible in back-to-back plays. His first rep was a loss as Virginia defensive end Cam Johnson blew by him on a speed rush. Penn State defensive Jack Crawford did the same thing. Adams rebounded to get some wins including a rush that he stopped cold from Johnson. Adams is a more advanced run blocker than pass blocker entering the next level.
Overall Cincinnati defensive end Derek Wolfe showed well in the one-on-ones. It started slowly when he got pushed around in an ugly fashion by Iowa State tackle/guard Kelechi Osemele. Osemele shoved Wolfe off balance and into the ground. Wolfe bull rushed Penn State's Johnnie Troutman on one rep to get a win. In the rematch Wolfe beat Troutman with a speed rush around the edge. Wolfe beat Washington offensive tackle Senio Kelemete with a bull rush.
Osemele had an impressive win when he stopped a spin move dead in its tracks from Marshall's Vinny Curry. After a tough opening day, Osemele played much better on Tuesday.
Kelemete battled tough with some wins and losses. He had a win on one rep against Curry. After some initial penetration, Kelemete recovered to keep Curry at bay. Curry beat Kelemete with a speed edge rush to close out the one-on-ones.
In the team scrimmage portion of practice, Martin continued to stand out. He burst through the line to blow up one run early on. Martin kept coming and stuffed Polk at the line of scrimmage after Martin beat Utah guard Tony Bergstrom. Don't be surprised if you hear about Martin being one of the stars of Senior Bowl.
There were a few other notable events in Monday's practice. In the team scrimmage McClellin got a sack on a speed rush around the corner. Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson overthrew tight end Michael Egnew running down the middle of the field after Egnew got a step on Nevada linebacker James-Michael Johnson. Cousins was intercepted by Boise State safety George Iloka after he undercut a pass intended for Igwenagu. It was a good read and break on the ball by Iloka. The quarterbacks did not impress on Tuesday. Cousins is the best prospect of the bunch. All of them had fumbled snaps, especially Boise State's Kellen Moore, who wasn't under center much in college.