Winners of Day 3 North Practice: Virginia Tech FB Sam Rogers, East Carolina WR Isaiah Jones, Eastern Washington WR Cooper Kupp, West Virginia OC Orlovsky, Youngstown State OLB Derek Rivers, Temple LB Haason Reddick, and UConn SAF Obi Melifonwu
By: Eric Galko (WR/DB), Christian Page (QB/TE)
Austin Baumer (RB/LB), Derrik Klassen (OL/DL)
-Eastern Washington’s Cooper Kupp has earned substantial praise throughout the week of practice, but Thursday may have been his best yet. He’s such a tremendously skilled hands catcher, but it was his double move routes and burst at the top of his route breaks that made the difference. He was the best receiver on the North roster, and he’ll start being considered a first-round crasher.
-Michigan’s Amara Darboh is a bigger receiver and offers such great core strength as a route runner, but it’s his feet and immediate route quickness has made him a special talent. His work helping his quarterback on redzone drills is exactly what he could do in the NFL.
–Isaiah Jones put up crazy numbers in terms of receptions at East Carolina, but I wasn’t his biggest fan coming in as much of his college film doesn’t directly translate to the NFL. But in the redzone drills today, Jones shown his pivot and short-area route running burst that could make him a dangerous slot receiver in the NFL. His efficiency in the redzone looked awfully familiar to the way John Brown dominated in the same drill at the Shrine Game two years ago.
–Michael Roberts is the best tight end on the North roster and it’s not close. He’s smooth as a mover as you’ll find for a big bodied, box-out tight end, and he has some surprising burst after catch. He’ll be a top-100 pick.
-Not much stood out from the group of tight ends today. Mike Roberts of Toledo showed some promise as a downfield blocker in the run game and had a nice open field block to pave way for Virginia Tech fullback Sam Rogers on an underneath route. Jonnu Smith (Florida International) seems to be the most athletic out of the North group as he showed the best burst off the line with some speed on the sideline.
-Western Michigan’s Taylor Moton is a multi-positional player. Moton played guard in 2015 before transitioning to tackle in 2016. For the first two days of practice, Moton was playing tackle, but kicked inside to guard for Thursday’s practice. Moton held his own inside, but he was better at tackle earlier in the week. Playing interior offensive line requires more quickness and reactionary skills, and Moton looked a little off there when playing guard.
-West Virginia’s Tyler Orlosky is a bully. Coming from the B12, he may get downgraded off the bat because of the blocking schemes, but he has moments of dominance. Orlosky had a handful of great reps during 1-on-1s, including one full blown pancake during combination drills. There is a case to be made as the best interior blocker on the North team.
-I’m now firmly aboard the Obi Melifonwu train of UConn. I (Eric Galko) was low on him coming into the season because I didn’t love his work as a junior, but those in the NFL had been hyping him up during the year and before this. After today’s practice especially, in which he handled receivers in one-on-one drills and could easily transition to a short-area cornerback (along with having tremendous athletic upside as a safety), the sky is the limit for how high he can go.
-West Virginia’s Rasul Douglas had his ups and downs today, and that’s been the norm all week. Long, physical and offers great flashes of finishing ability at the catch-point, he gets too handsy at times and lets gets get inside of his pedal and beat him on breaks too often. Cooper Kupp had a devastating double move on him, and that anticipation issue is on film as well.
-Saint Francis’s Lorezno Jerome and Boston College’s John Johnson both had strong days today. Jerome is very patient away from his frame as a man-pickup safety, and John Johnson is super explosive and a natural athlete. Lamar’s Brendan Langley has had a very rough week.