2016 Senior Bowl: North Practice Day One Review


Biggest winners from the Senior Bowl North Practice on Day 1 were Ohio State receiver Braxton Miller, Ohio State tight end Nick Vannett, Temple cornerback Tavon Young, Temple defensive tackle Matt Ioannidis and Indiana offensive tackle Jason Spriggs.Eric Galko (@OptimumScouting on twitter) covered QB, RB, WR, LB, and DB. Charles McDonald (@SundayFiasco on twitter) covered OL/DL.



-North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz is clearly the talk of Mobile, as Phil Savage put a huge target on his chest for the media with top-10 talk. I’ll probably have ample articles trying to ease the hype, as only one team in the top-10 really has legit interest. He has the best velocity of the North quarterbacks (which isn’t saying much). But he had three really noticeable incompletions, a combination of timing of routes, reacting to the man coverage alignment and just poor placement. He was fine, but this is who Carson Wentz is: tools-y, but a guy who needs time and patience, not overhype.

-The other quarterbacks all had their woes. Kevin Hogan of Stanford had adequate velocity in slant routes and shorter throws, but once he worked downfield, his delayed release allowed DBs to react, and he simply didn’t have the velocity to really threaten on the perimeter. USC’s Cody Kessler seemed to have a slight hitch in his perimeter throws and really needs to load up on the perimeter. He had a few errant throws. And Jeff Driskell….didn’t have a good day.

Running Backs

-Didn’t get a great look at the running backs, but Kenneth Dixon of Louisiana Tech actually looked like the best of the bunch as a pass-catcher. He’s the best running back on the North squad (and probably the whole Senior Bowl crop), but I’m expecting Tyler Ervin of San Jose State to impress as the week goes on. And keep an eye out for Navy’s super athletic but a bit raw Chris Swain.


Receivers/Tight Ends

-I probably will gush about him all week, but Braxton Miller of Ohio State isn’t a project receiver. Deliberate and focused in his routes, he’s mere reps and secondary anticipation development from being a first-round worth receiver. He finished away from his frame well again today, and he’s such a natural pass-catcher. He had great battles with Temple’s Tavon Young (more on him below).

-Rutgers’ Leonte Carroo showed off as the North’s best true route runner, getting consistent separation with explosive steps at the top of his stem and breaking in, out, on post routes and quick hitches/comebacks with success. Didn’t get a chance to attach vertically yet, but he’s got that in his arsenal as well.

-The two small-handed receivers in Aaron Burbridge of Michigan State and Tajae Shape of UMass (both with 8 inch hands) had strong days. They’ll have to overcome the hand size woes, but Burbridge finished in traffic well on two occasions (as he did in college), and Sharpe hung in air on three different occasions to reel in misplaced outside throws.


Offensive Linemen

-Indiana offensive tackle Jason Spriggs was stellar. He was the only tackle to consistently block Jihad Ward who dominated every other offensive lineman. He moves extremely well and has some nastiness to his game.

-Stanford guard Josh Garnett performed well for the North squad. Garnett stonewalled Sheldon Day a few times in pass rush one on ones. Garnett is built like a house and he performed up to his hype today.


Defensive Linemen

Vernon Butler from Lousiana Tech had a decent start to the Senior Bowl week. He showed up heavier than his listed weight and did a great job plugging holes against the run. His pass rush reps were a little shaky, but he has rare length.


-Like the running backs, I didn’t get a great look at the linebackers, but Ohio State’s Josh Perry played well in both team and mid-range coverage, and looks to be the most NFL-ready linebacker on the North squad. Tyler Matakevich surprisingly wasn’t bad in flat coverage either.

Defensive Backs

-As I stated in the week preview, Tavon Young of Temple is the best cornerback here, and he had a great day today. Despite measuring in at 5’9, he continued to play physical in receiver’s route buildup, reacted when they hit their stem and consistently finished at the catch-point. He’s an NFL outside cornerback, and may be a top-3 or 4 CB overall in this class when it’s all said and done.

-Virginia’s Maurice Canady runs vertical with his receivers with ease, and his bend and vertical speed is remarkable in man coverage. But his lack of physicality in forcing receivers off their route and recovering to underneath routes is a major issue. He’ll test the part at the Combine, but may not be reliable for most NFL teams.

-Northern Iowa’s Deiondre Hall looks the par with tremendous length and engaging with some receivers in space, but his hip fluidity concerns are going to linger in the draft process.

-Among the safeties, Boise State’s Darian Thompson impressed, but he was late on two occasions to transition outside-in in center field, allowing two seam catches by tight ends. Ohio State’s Tyvis Powell had one strong stand against Bryce Williams in coverage, but got beat later that drill against Nick Vannett

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