2016 Senior Bowl: North Practice Day Two Review


Biggest winners from the Senior Bowl North Practice on Day 2 were Stanford’s Josh Garnett, Illinois Jihad Ward, San Jose State’s Tyler Ervin, Boise State’s Darian Thompson.Eric Galko covered the OL/DL, Charles McDonald (@SundayFiasco) covered the QB/WR/DB and Christian Page (@Cpage2911) covered the RB/LBs



Carson Wentz throws the comeback route very well. He’s already developed some nice chemistry with Braxton Miller.

Jeff Driskel struggled. He had off ball placement and accuracy on most of his throws. He looks like a major project.

Cody Kessler was conservative in the 7 on 7 period. His lack of arm strength was really showing; his passes couldn’t cut through the wind when he tried to push the ball downfield.

Kevin Hogan threw the ball with nice anticipation, especially when the defense showed off Cover 3 looks. He was very conservative against Cover 2 looks, settling for dump off routes.


Running Backs

-Out of the North running backs, San Jose State’s Tyler Ervin stood out. Though not seeing too many between the tackles runs in drills, Ervin shined when being used as a receiver. He is the best route runner out of all the North running backs and it showed today as that alone got him many clean catches and accurate throws from the quarterback. He adjusted well to some of the overthrows from today’s North quarterback crop while showing good ball skills and laying out for a couple. Ervin is gaining some buzz in a running back class with plenty of wiggle room.

Kenneth Dixon of Louisiana Tech did not display anything spectacular today but did confirm his ability as a cut back yet physical runner with the ability to make something happen in space. He showed enough physicality get separation off the line on some underneath routes on one on one drills.


Receivers/Tight Ends

Braxton Miller is a natural. His routes are taking a little long to develop at times, but for a guy who’s only played receiver for a year he looks good. His athleticism is apparent and he beat Kevin Peterson twice off the ball.

Nick Bamett has a natural ability to get open against soft zones underneath. He thrived against Cover 2 consistently finding the open hole in the middle of the field.


Offensive Linemen

-The most impressive offensive lineman in my eyes was Stanford’s Josh Garnett. Getting work at both guard and right tackle, Garnett sinks his hips well at both spots and drives his hands up through contact. He’s a strong blend of finesse hand placement and works through his block with toughness and efficiency in his movement. First round pick potentially coming.

-North Dakota State’s Joe Haeg didn’t have a great day, but I think he’s continuing to show that he’s better suited at guard (as he did on film). Deccisive, powerful steps and great pivot and interior blocks, Haeg struggles to kick on the perimeter against NFL-quality edge players. He could slide out there and suffice, but he could be really good at guard.

-I don’t mean to compare Nick Martin of Notre Dame to his brother and former first-rounder Zach, but they really do offer similar NFL-readiness with hand placement, controlled extension and adjustments in down blocks. He stays a bit high and will lose battles to quicker interior rushes, but he (like many others) impressed versus Adolphus Washington.

-I haven’t been overly high on Michigan State’s Jack Allen on film, but he was strong vs. bull rushes at guard and center today. He held up Adolphus Washington on a spin move well with poise, control, back arch and a strong base. Joe Dahl of Washington State has quick hands and offers a David Bahktiari comparison. Harvard’s Cole Toner struggled today at tackle. He’s a guard prospect, and may struggle there early too.


Defensive Linemen

-Illinois defensive Jihad Ward’s name has been everywhere the last two days. From media to fans to NFL teams, he’s been the talk of the non-quarterbacks (and non-Braxton Miller). Leggy but explosive, powerful yet still untapped, Ward is certainly a player I’ll need to revisit on film after not focusing on him enough pre-Senior Bowl. I have no idea how high his film indicates he can go, but he’s been one of the two or three most impressive defensive ends here.

-Among the edge bull-rushers, Carl Nassib of Penn State is best of the North squad. He doesn’t have great lateral bend and won’t be a great counter rusher at the NFL level, but he can really collapse the pocket with plus pop on the perimeter and strong leg drive through contact. Fellow Penn State-er Austin Johnson hasn’t impressed as much as I hoped, and he lacks lateral quickness in rip/swim moves. He has the “moves well for his size” label, which is fine, but he hasn’t dominated in any one area this week.

-I’ve been a support of him, but Sheldon Day of Notre Dame really hasn’t shown out in team drills this week. However, in one-on-ones and individual drills, Day shows off just how refined and versatile of a pass-rusher he is. His technique is tremendously advanced for a college player, per Rod Marinelli. On the other hand, Temple’s Matt Ioanndis has flashed, especially with explosive upfield penetration, but he doesn’t have have much refinement in his rush repertoire. Don’t buy into his hype yet; he’ll struggle to adjust to consistent NFL competition.

Vernon Butler of Louisiana Tech has been really impressive this week, bending as an edge rusher today most notably impressing. He’s active and explosive. But there’s plenty he needs to work on. He has issues with combo blocks, and plays out in front of his body too much, getting pushed aside by double teams too easily. His pass-rush hand placement is still an issue, and he’s not an overly refined rusher. It’ll come in time, but it’s becoming clear this week that while he has first-round potential to tap into, he’s going to be a 2017 contributor, not a 2016 impact player.

-Ohio State’s Adolphus Washington really didn’t have a good day from what I saw. He flashed, but it’s more important to note that he consistently lost in a few ways, indicative of a long-term scouting issue. His rush moves didn’t show decisiveness or post-move burst, he exposed his chest-plate too often in his rush move build-up, and his base stability wasn’t there in double team drills.



Kyler Fackrell is an interesting prospect in Mobile to follow. Viewed more as an outside linebacker edge rusher, Fackrell also lined up at defensive end today showing some versatility. He doesn’t have the film to submit his stock at a defensive end rarely getting his hand in the ground but showing the ability to work at end today shows that he is a coachable prospect. Fackrell looked well in the linebacker drills jolting his matchup with quick violent hands.



Defensive Backs

Deiondre Hall from Northern Iowa struggled early on. He has a nice frame and long arms, but is stiff coming in and out of his breaks. Braxton Miller and Leonte Carroo routinely beat him in coverage.

Tavon Young and Kevin Peterson looked natural running through defensive back drills. Young dropped a few passes, but was smooth coming in and out of his breaks. Tavon Young struggled in one on ones early on against Chris Moore.

Darian Thompson from Boise State stood out in coverage and in the defensive back drills. He’s an explosive athlete and covered tight ends, running backs, and receivers well.

Tyvis Powell showed some nice range coming over top and playing the single high safety role. Reacted well with the ball was in the air and showed nice closing speed.

-This isn’t an environment that a guy like Jeremy Cash is going to thrive in. He doesn’t move that well in space and is stiff coming in and out of his cuts.

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