2012 Shrine Game: Monday West Practice Notes

Devon WylieAs I said in the East review, the West roster looked defintely like the less of the two rosters at just about every position.

As a whole, Chandler Harnish and Devon Wylie flashed the most in a more structured, special teams heavy practice.

-The best quarterback, as expected, was Northern Illinois’s Chandler Harnish, but that isn’t saying much. He did have some nice zip on his passes moreso than I saw in college and a tight release stayed lower than it did high, a plus for a smaller quarterback. He also really showed touch between levels of the defense, a skill that really is high on my list of quarterback traits. He wasn’t great, but he looked like he could be in for a good week.

-In preperation for the event, Tyler Hansen of Colorado showed me mroe than I thought initially on film, and while I was surprised in his invite to the event, he flashed once again to me today. He’s certainly limited in what he does (doesn’t have great arm strength, struggles on multiple reads, not accuracy in the middle of the field consistently), but he has a tight, quick release, and was the best quarterback in getting the ball to the otuside today.

-As of now , Dan Persa of Northwestern would need a great week to be a safe draft selection, but his compact release and some touch in traffic in the middle of the field shows he has some ability. He still lacks great deep ball ability, very undersized, and his throwing motion (a downward motion) isn’t a good combination. 

Running Backs
Similar to the East roster, it wasn’t the best day to judge running backs, but I did note that Marc Tyler of USC didn’t look comfortable as a receiver out the backfield, looking slow in space, and Western Kentucky’s Bobby Rainey showed suddeness and burst, and I’m looking forward to him showing some power and burst in the hole.

Wide Receiver
-Of quick note, Jarius Wright, Gerrell Robinson and Devon Wylie all worked out at punt returner (also, defensive backs Aaron Henry and Chris Greenwood).

-Of all the receivers (and the entire squad), Fresno State’s Devon Wylie was the star of the afternoon, and I’ll admit, I vastly under rated him in our rankings (will change). He’s got a powerful, developed lower half, he’s explosive with the ball in his hands, but maybe most impressive that I didn’t always see on film was how well he tracked the ball and saw it to his hands. Granted the secondary was not good for the West roster, but Wylie had loads of NFL scouts after him today. 

-Tyler Shoemaker of Boise State showed tight, developed routes, especially some double and hesitation moves. He looks like he’s polished enough to be a safe draft pick now, but if he can continue to show seperation (shouldn’t be hard with DBs on West roster) and time well at the Combine, he could be a better prospect than Boise State’s Austin Pettis last year (a guy I was not a fan of) to me. 

-Greg Childs of Arkansas had a hitch in his routes and his overall running ability, and he obviously looks hampered by the knee injury he suffered early this year. He made some decent down the field plays, but I doubt he’s drafted if his knee injury is as obvious as it looked today.  

Tight End
-Of the tight ends, only Kevin Koger of Michigan looked the part of an NFL tight end in the long term. He got off the ball fairly well, showed some middle of the field as well as outside reception ability. He was nothing flashy today, but still, he was the best of the bunch.

-The only other tight end note I had was the NC State’s George Bryan is not an NFL tight end, at least as a receiver. But the way he’s built, with his length and power, I’m hopeful he’ll impress in blocking drills and flash as a potential offensive line convert. He could be a project that some teams don’t want to risk a pick on, but based on potential, I’d be intrigued late.

Offensive Linemen

I honestly didn’t get a great look at the linemen (got into a few convos with some people on the sidelines), but a few things caught my eye.

-In the Mark Mangino’s (former Kansas Head Coach) offensive line drills, Ryan Miller of Colorado, UConn, and Tom Compton looked the most fluid and had the most bend in their steps, but again, just one drill. We’ll see how they hold up against pass rushers tomorrow.


Defensive Linemen
Similar to the offensive linemen, I didn’t get a great look today, but that Kentrell Lockett bull rush was impressive. Now that he’s at 242, he’s obviously going to have to be a 3-4 edge rusher. Also, Dominique Hamilton of Missouri and Justin Francis of Rutgers flashed to me, neither really surprising. I’ll be watching this group much closer tomorrow.  

-Of the linebackers, the only one who was consistent in almost every linebacker drill was Josh Kaddu of Oregon. He’s got great size and physicality, and ran well with tight ends (especially against his teammate Logan Paulson). Looking forward to see him as a rusher as well. I think he’s a perfect fit for the Bengals and Lions, and the Lions did talk with him after practice.  

-One who really underwhelmed me (unsurprisngly) was Steven Johnson of Kansas, who looked slow and stiff in coverage, not transition and picking up receivers across the formation. He also didn’t come downhill with great explosion either, and I wonder if he’s even a draftable guy outside of obvious running plays in a 3-4 defense.

-Tank Carder of TCU looked like I expected in coverage, fluid, comfortable, and knowing his place in the defense. I’m more curious in his ability to fill the hole and be physical overall this week, as that’s the sign on if he’s an athletic 3-4 inside linebacker or a zone linebacker only.  

Defensive Backs      
-As a whole, the group really underwhelmed. The two that were adequate for the most part was Iowa’s Shaun Prater and West Virignia’s Keith Tandy, but even Tandy didn’t seem great in his back pedal, especially against the explosive Wylie.

-Austin Cassidy looked just okay in covering slot receivers, and with his length, he should be able to run with more athletic tight ends (unlike the ones on the West roster). I didn’t see him in deep coverage and his vision there, but he looked like the best safety of the bunch, with Wisconsin’s Aaron Henry no slouch either.

-Chris Greenwood of Albion got a lot of attention from the coaching staff in a very coachable way. He didn’t seem to read and react well in Cover-3 zone coverage, missing his man and not switching off receivers well. He has the length and looks the part, but he’ll need to do a lot more than that to be a solid draft pick.

-Finally, the two Pac-12 cornerbacks really struggled in Trevin Wade of Arizona and Brandon Hardin of Oregon State, Hardin more than Wade. We’ll see if they can improve, but Hardin especially didn’t mirror well and had really poor reaction and explosion in his transitons with receivers.