2014 Senior Bowl Practice Report

This is Charlie Campbell’s Tuesday 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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Tuesday’s 2014 Senior Bowl Practice Report: South

By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell

The South team took the field of Ladd-Peebles Stadium for their second practice of the Senior Bowl. The Jacksonville Jaguars’ coaching staff had the players practicing in full pads. They started the session with some install and work in individual position groups. After that, they did a lot of one-on-one sessions, a few periods of special teams work and a team scrimmage. Here is a run down of the noteworthy prospects.

  • Unfortunately there was a tragedy for the draft hopes of Oklahoma cornerback Aaron Colvin. On a one-on-one rep against Florida’s Solomon Patton, the two got their feet tangled, and Colvin landed awkwardly on the ground. He was helped off the field and received attention from the training staff. It turned out that Colvin has a torn ACL, which will knock him out of pre-draft workouts and could impact when he can start practicing during his rookie season. Hopefully Colvin makes a quick recovery.

  • The Senior Bowl announced that Tennessee offensive tackle Ju’Wuan James (knee sprain), Fresno State tight end Marcel Jensen (abdominal sprain) and Alabama defensive end Ed Stinson (groin sprain) all pulled out of the Senior Bowl with their selective injuries. Colorado State tight end Crockett Gilmore will be added on Wednesday.

  • Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr has made a positive impression on a lot of observers this week. During the 11-on-11 scrimmage, Carr had a nice play where he rolled out to his right and threw a pass on the money downfield along the sideline. He had another completion in the team scrimmage, but on the play, he would have been sacked by BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy. Van Noy came around Carr’s blind side and had him dead in the backfield if there had been hitting of the quarterback.

  • Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo had some nice throws and has played well. He’s a step behind Carr in terms of readiness, but WalterFootball.com knows some scouts and coaches that have been impressed with Garoppolo.

  • San Jose State quarterback David Fales had a mixed outing. In the team scrimmage, Fales had a nice play when he rolled out and hit Jordan Matthews open in zone coverage. Fales later fumbled ball, and it wasn’t clear if anybody actually hit him or he just lost the ball as the pocket collapsed around him. Arkansas edge rusher Chris Smith may have slapped the ball out.

  • Tennessee defensive tackle Daniel McCullers had a good practice on Tuesday. He did very well in the one-on-ones. McCullers started out by beating Arkansas center Travis Swanson by bull rushing him straight back. He did the same thing to Florida State center Bryan Stork, North Dakota State lineman Billy Turner and Oklahoma center Gabe Ikard. McCullers doesn’t have a lot of pass-rushing moves, but he is so massive he can have success with bull rushes even when blockers know that it’s coming. McCullers needs to play with proper leverage and pad level, but when he gets his weight low, he is tough to stop. In the team scrimmage, McCullers pushed his way into the backfield to trip up running back Jerick McKinnon for a loss of a few yards. He also stuffed another run. McCullers would fit well as a 3-4 nose tackle.

  • Virginia defensive end/tackle Brent Urban had a good day. He beat Nevada’s Joe Bitonio with a bull rush to win a a rep. He shed a block from Ikard for another win, but Urban lost going against Mississippi State’s Gabe Jackson. Urban looks like he would fit best as a 3-4 defensive end.

  • Jackson was the most impressive offensive lineman on the South team. He had a nice win against Princeton’s Caraun Reid and did good job of run blocking in the team scrimmage. The powerful Jackson looks ready to play in the NFL right now.

  • Auburn defensive end/outside linebacker Dee Ford was impressive again. He is so fast off the edge, he is tough for offensive tackles to handle. Ford burned Billy Turner with a speed rush around the edge. He followed that up flying by Vanerbilt’s Wes Johnson, Virginia’s Morgan Moses and Turner again.

  • Turner is raw and needs development, but he flashes the ability to get the job done. He did beat Ford on one rep and Turner also stuffed a rush from Arizona State’s Will Sutton. Turner easily beat Alabama’s Adrian Hubbard on one lackluster rush in which Hubbard looked like he was playing containment. Hubbard came back to get Turner with a speed rush. Arkansas’ Chris Smith beat Turner badly with a speed rush and then a spin move. Turner looks like a day-three project.

  • Smith had a good practice on Tuesday. He used his speed to get a lot of pressure in the backfield. He showed the ability to drop his hips when he dipped underneath Florida guard/tackle Jon Halapio to win a rep. He used a blinding spin move to beat Turner. The only rep he looked bad in was when Morgan Moses got a hold of him and pushed him around the field. Smith has a nice assortment of moves, and 3-4 teams have to be thinking hard about him as an edge rusher.

  • Arizona State defensive tackle Will Sutton continues to be slowed down by the bad weight he gained. He had a bull rush go nowhere against Halapio. Sutton needs to go back to playing around 300 pounds and just live and die by his speed.

  • Cal defensive tackle DeAndre Coleman, Florida guard Jon Halapio, Georgia Tech outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu, Princeton defensive tackle Caraun Reid and Vanerbilt’s Wesley Johnson all had some impressive wins and bad losses.

  • Western Kentucky running back Antonio Andrews had a solid session in the blitz pickup one-on-ones. He had a nice block to beat Vanderbilt safety Kenny Ladler. Andrews had a draw against LSU safety Craig Loston and mirrored Georgia Tech safety Jemea Thomas to push him away from the quarterback marker. In a mismatch, Andrews lost to Alabama linebacker Adrian Hubbard as he pushed Andrews straight back.

  • Auburn fullback Jay Prosch had a rough day. He really struggled in blitz pickup. Georgia Tech’s Jeremiah Attaochu beat him twice with bull rushes. Florida State linebacker Christian Jones beat him with speed around him and Alabama’s Adrian Hubbard used power to go through Prosch. LSU’s Lamin Borrow also beat him with a bull rush. BYU’s Kyle Van Noy abused Prosch with a blinding spin move, but to end the session Prosch got a degree of revenge when he initially stopped Van Noy when he tried to use the same move for a second time. On a second effort Van Noy got to the quarterback marker, but it took some time and an NFL quarterback could have gotten a pass off. Prosch is a powerful lead blocker in the ground game, but his pass protection needs work for the NFL.

  • LSU’s Lamin Borrow flashed on Tuesday. He was physical and was flying around the field. He had some nice plays in run defense.

  • One running back who had an eventful day was Georgia Southern’s Jerick McKinnon. He really struggled in blitz protection. Considering how Georgia Southern almost exclusively runs the ball, that shouldn’t have been a surprise to scouts. McKinnon was beat on power bull rush by Montana linebacker Jordan Tripp. LSU’s Lamin Borrow pushed him to the side on a swim move, and it was obvious that McKinnon is a big time work in progress as a blocker. However, he really excelled in the team scrimmage as a runner. On one of the first plays, McKinnon broke off a long run on a counter that he cut to the right side. In an insant, McKinnon was about 40 yards downfield before a defender got close to him. On a run to the right, Arkansas’ Chris Smith had a bead on him in the backfield, but McKinnon broke Smith’s ankles with a juke move to bolt to the left side. McKinnon used his cutting ability to make another defender miss in the box on another run. McKinnon is an interesting back to keep an eye on as this year’s “Zac Stacy” or “Alfred Morris” as a third-day pick that makes an immediate impact as a runner.

  • Utah cornerback Keith McGill was impressive. He did well in the one-on-ones and looked fluid in the defensive back drills for such a bigger cornerback (6-3, 214). To get his one-on-ones started, McGill jammed Jordan Matthews hard and stayed with him to slap a pass away. It was a near interception for McGill. Matthews couldn’t get separation from McGill on two other routes, but Matthews did out fight McGill for a reception. McGill will interest teams that want to employ big corners on the edge.

  • Florida cornerback Jaylen Watkins also had a good day. He moves well and has some agility to go with speed. That shouldn’t be surprising considering he’s the brother of Sammy Watkins, but the Gators have been loaded at corner in recent years so Watkins has flown under the radar. Watkins was beaten by Tulane’s Ryan Grant deep and had to resort to a pass interference to break up a pass. He came back to have tight coverage on a number of plays. In the team scrimmage, he blanketed Jordan Matthews running a go route down the sideline to force an incompletion. Watkins also blew up a wide receiver screen and was able to slap the ball out for a forced fumble. Watkins is an interesting sleeper to keep an eye. He has athleticism, but needs to improve his ability to play the ball.

  • BYU wide receiver Cody Hoffman had a nice day. He showed some strength and route-running to get some completions in the one-on-ones. To get it started, he shoved Liberty cornerback Walt Aikens away when Aikens tried to jam him and Hoffman was quickly open on a slant. He beat Aikens on a comeback route and outfought another defensive back for a reception on a slant. A lack of speed hurts Hoffman, but he makes up for it in other ways.

  • Texas wide receiver Mike Davis had a pretty play when he burned Auburn cornerback Chris Davis with a stop and go route. Chris Davis bit badly on the fake, and Mike Davis got wide open running along the sideline. Chris Davis needs to improve his eye discipline.

  • 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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