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The Sports Daily > Optimum Scouting
2017 Senior Bowl: North Roster Day 1 Practice Report

Winners from Day 1 of the North: Iowa CB Desmond King, Illinois EDGE Carroll Phillips, Indiana OG Dan Feeney, Wisconsin’s Vince Biegel, and Louisville WR Jamari Staples.

Notes from:
Eric Galko (ALL), Derrik Klassen (QB/RB/WR)
Christian Page (WR/DB), Austin Baumer (OL/DL)

Quarterbacks
-Pittsburgh’s Nathan Peterman has become the “big time” mid-round pick of this NFL Draft cycle. He’s tall, mobile enough and sticks to his reads. Peterman’s arm is solid, but looked off during today’s practice. Peterman continually threw balls short of the target. It may have been a fluke, but Peterman will have to rebound in the coming days of practice.

-CJ Beathard of Iowa is a low variance player at quarterback. He sticks to shorter throws and tends to shy away from window throws. Beathard’s short game reared its head during practice today, often after having looked away from a deeper option. Beathard will need to control his placement better in the short area if he wants to play as conservatively as he does.

-Colorado’s Sefo Liufau has caught on a bit for those who prefer big, mobile QBs. Liufau is fairly accurate in the short area and can be used as a legitimate piece in the running game. Liufau isn’t a great deep passer, though, nor does he see the field too well. Liufau threw an interception during team drills to a linebacker in the flats.

Running Backs-
De’Veon Smith was a battering ram for Michigan. He consistently churned out yards in tough situations and allowed Michigan to slowly work down the field. Although he is not a burner, Smith did have one nice bounce to the outside, where he was able to rip off a big gain. Hopefully Smith can continue to show off skills in space.

-Corey Clement is an overall solid runner and showed that today. He’s not special at any one thing, but he follows his blocks well and has the balance to sustain plays. Clement was proficient in all of the drills, including pass blocking, but he didn’t do anything too spectacular. Teams are likely looking got Clement to show some creativity and spark this week, he needs to do that.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
-Syracuse receiver Amba Etta-Tawo showed off his alligator arms today displaying a large catch radius. Though he didn’t snag passes from out of his reach like Josh Reynolds did in the South practice, he managed to still come up with some nice grabs with his soft hands. He is a noted hands catcher and snagged a pass right over the top of a defender’s head in the endzone 50 yards downfield. Atta-Tawo showed impressive acceleration after the catch.

Jamari Staples of Louisville had a nice day showing off his long speed. He blew by Aarion Penton of Missouri on one on one routes and also shook up Jourdan Lewis on a post pattern deep down the field (dropped). His long strides eat up so much turf in just seconds with a nice window for the quarterback down the field. Besides the drop, it was hard to get a good grasp on his hands today as many throws were not in his catch radius.
Trent Taylor, the quick-footed slot receiver from Louisiana Tech, didn’t do anything special but did show some nice body control on a toe drag catch on the sideline. He showed the ability to shake off some of the physical battles at the line of scrimmage but consistency in this department will be something to take note of all week. He managed to come up with a few more contested catches this evening.
-Not many tight ends stood out in the North practice like the South team, but Michael Roberts of Toledo showed some promise as a second level blocker in the run game. He showed quickness off the snap to quickly engage with the defender and had a few seal blocks in the run game during full-drive drills.

Offensive Linemen

-While his day wasn’t perfect, Bucknell’s Julien Davenport showed some of the tools and use of his length that put him in the upper echelon of offensive linemen here. He over-extended a bit too often and needs to explode with his hands quicker off the snap, but the length and skill set is there to be a left or right tackle.

-Indiana G Dan Feeney was the most impressive lineman today in one-on-one drills effortlessly stalling everybody he faced. On multiple occasions, he stopped Iowa’s Jaleel Johnson and Notre Dame’s Isaac Rochell. Feeney showed a strong upper body and great balance to shut down every attempt. Watch out for Dan Feeney as he rises up draft boards this week with more performances like today.

-Western Michigan’s Taylor Moton was equally impressive today with the kind of footwork and hand punch you want for a tackle prospect. Moton may be moved inside to guard, and after today it looks like he is capable of playing either position. He looked very fluid on his slide on the edge with quick hips to turn inside on counter rush moves, which lead to a few pancakes.

-USC’s Zach Banner came into the season as a potential first-round pick, but he’s fallen out of favor with NFL teams since the summer and struggled here in practice. It was an adequate, not great, day for the Trojan All-American, and it’s clear his height may be an issue against quicker rushers on the perimeter. He’s still in the top-100 mix, but he still has to prove his a top-five offensive tackle here.

Defensive Linemen

-While he’s listed as a linebacker, Illinois’s Carroll Phillips was one of the more impressive edge rushers in one-on-one drills today. He stayed low and explosive as a rusher, and while he had some negative reps as a “bull in china shop” type rusher, it’s clear he can find a home as a 3-4 edge player.

-The North defensive line was borderline dominated by the offensive line in one-on-ones today, however, Iowa’s Jaleel Johnson showed some nice power rush moves on the inside with a great leg drive. At one point, Johnson grabbed Jordan Morgan (Kutztown) and shed him with ease.

-Notre Dame’s Isaac Rochell had one of the more rough days of practice getting pancaked twice. He used power moves exclusively in one-on-ones and was shut down seemingly with a lack of power. IU’s Dan Feeney made it look effortlessly. Rochell needs a big day tomorrow to regain his status as a pass rusher.

Linebackers

-Wisconsin’s Vince Biegel was hyper aggressive. He is an impressive athlete who needs his athleticism to be honed a bit. Biegel was working tight ends in 1-on-1s and he made a couple of solid plays in coverage. Pass rushing versus tackles was rough today for Biegel, but he’s aggressive and athletic nonetheless. He might be suited to move to an off ball spot.

-During the season, Hasan Reddick was more of a pass rusher, but has been moved inside for the Senior Bowl. Reddick looked good as a traditional linebacker. His first step was a little slow because he’s not used to reading the field from there, but he trusted what he saw and attacked. Reddick is a guy to keep tabs on despite the position change.

Defensive Backs
Josh Johnson of Boston College showed nice ball skills in the turn and run drill. He turned out of his breaks with ease. Johnson showed clean footwork and great range to quickly close on the ball.

Desmond King has been evaluated as both a safety and a cornerback and from today I continue to see him as a cornerback. The Iowa senior was sticky in coverage and fared well in physical situations. He looked fluid when mirroring the receivers and attacked the ball well as it approached the receiver.  
-Michigan cornerback Jourdan Lewis battled with Cooper Kupp of Eastern Washington in three reps in the slot and though Lewis stayed within striking distance, Kupp cradled the ball in traffic. Lewis got beat inside by the speedy Jamari Staples, though Staples dropped the post pattern that would have been an easy catch and run for a score.
Nate Gerry of Nebraska had a few nice grabs when the defensive backs transitioned from a back pedal to a turn and run. The Nebraska senior showed no missteps when changing direction as he cradled the ball over his shoulder a few times.
Rasul Douglas of West Virginia played with an appreciated level of physicality in the defensive backs’ block shedding drills. His long arms gave him an advantage in keeping the receivers off his chest to attack the ball carrier (in this case, he blew up a ball boy/manager). Just judging from one rep to the next, intensity described Douglas’ day. He has been very active with his hands in a way that he will be flagged may times his rookie season if he doesn’t clean things up.