2014 Senior Bowl: Wednesday South Practice Notes

David FalesOn a frigid Day Three at the Senior Bowl, it’s the final day for many NFL scouts as they finish up watching their particular week assignments and complete their player interviews before coming to their final Senior Bowl conclusions of the week.

The “winners” of the day for the North Practice were QB David Fales, RB Lorenzo Taliferro, TE Crockett Gilmore, OG Jon Halapio, DT DeAndre Coleman, and LB Lamin Barrow.

We had myself (@OptimumScouting) covering the WRs, TEs, and DBs today.
We had Mark (@MarkDulgerianOS) covering the OL and DL today.
We had Alex (@OS_AlexBrown) covering the QBs, RBs, and LBs today.

For the grading scale explanation, refer to the North practice notes from today.

Here are the following grade point averages for each event, followed by a total GPA and total number of throws by each quarterback on the South roster. 


On Air

1. Carr (3.76)

2. Fales (3.53)

3. Garoppolo (3.40)


1. Fales (3.17)

2. Carr (2.83)

3. Garoppolo (2.75)

Redzone 1-on-1’s

*South did not have a redzone exclusive throwing session


1. Carr (3.5)

2. Fales (3.5)

3. Garoppolo (2.67)


1. Fales (4.0)

2. Carr (3.00)

3. Garoppolo (1.75)

Total GPA

1. Fales (3.42)

2. Carr (3.30)

3. Garoppolo (2.95)

Total Throws

1. Garoppolo (42)

2. Fales (38)

3. Garoppolo (37)

*Spot throws excluded

-Despite sporting an exceptionally quick release and crisp delivery mechanics, Jimmy Garoppolo could not get into a rhythm when throwing versus defenders. His dropbacks were not always in sync with called route combinations, causing telegraphed decisions and a flurry of incompletions. Garoppolo led the South practice with 11 misfires. Ultimately, Garoppolo’s issues revolve around timing and chemistry within a traditional NFL passing scheme; more accustomed to quick, immediate decisions in a Baylor-like, up-tempo offense, his transition to the next level will require time depending on the scheme implemented.

-On the other hand, Derek Carr was decisive and confident in his opportunities, pulling the trigger right away and allowing his makeup velocity to take care of the rest. Carr’s lack of proper placement in the vertical game forced receivers to break stride, redirect and adjust quite a bit, but his placement elsewhere was on the numbers. Carr possesses the best physical attributes of this group with suddenness to his dropback, a powerful body type and strong arm to boot. The area requiring continued work involves his reset footwork and pocket reactions, as he is fairly rigid in his movements and often quick to check down when slightly moved off his spot.

-David Fales had been outperformed by the other two passers during days one and two, but he put together an extremely accurate and crisp practice session on Wednesday. Finishing with the highest GPA for the entirety of the practice, it is worth noting that Fales was given just one throw during the team portion of practice. In regards to his arm strength, Fales doesn’t have a big arm but he still possesses enough arm to make the requisite throws. Fales impressed with his ability to place the ball away from the defensive back’s leverage, as well as his velocity control on a variety of dropback types. His weight transfer is a bit inefficient and deliberate, but Fales executed at a high level today during 7-on-7 drills. Being the most comfortable during footwork reset drills, Fales showcased plus footwork while progressing through his options today.

Running Backs
-Coastal Carolina back Lorenzo Taliaferro led the North running backs during blitz pickup drills with patient feet to slide into position, stay square and absorb contact. As a runner, he displayed the ability to dip his shoulders and avoid contact through the hole. On multiple occasions, he also correctly read the front seven’s over-pursuit and promptly cut to the backside on zone running plays.

-The shorter (and thicker) Antonio Andrews flashed in blitz pickup with the ability to anchor and win initially with his stout build. Issues came when defenders countered quickly after first contact. Andrews needs to keep his feet moving and work on resetting his anchor to maintain balance in these situations.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
-The best receiver of the day wasn’t easy to decide on, but Mike Davis of Texas was the best in my opinion. Focused throughout his route tree, Davis never loses speed atop his route and separates vertically very well. With consistent separation in the middle of the field all day, he consistently has success with the skinny post, a route he should thrive on in the NFL.

-Tulane’s Ryan Grant is as consistent of a hands-catcher as you’ll find in the college ranks, and he’s shown that this week. Finishing a finger-tip grab from Jimmy Garoppolo after he quickly moved past Lavelle Westbrooks of Georgia Southern, Grant had the biggest play of any receiver during practice.

-Ace Saunders of Oklahoma still seemed to struggle all week against press coverage, which is expected for a guy his size and not a huge issue on his report. However, outside of one falling down grab, he didn’t win vertically today or this week as much as I expected. Not a fit for every team and he’ll probably have a home in the middle rounds, but teams shouldn’t expect Tavon Austin-like impact.

-Arthur Lynch of Georgia is simply too slow to be an effective receiver based on drills during this week. A solid blocker in drills and an efficient hands catcher in space, Lynch simply couldn’t get consistent separation quick enough to win the seam in the NFL. He’ll need to answer those questions at the NFL Combine in a big way.

-New addition Crockett Gilmore of Colorado State (former Shrine Game player) was very impressive as a blocker, driving Adrian Hubbard to the ground a handful of times and dominating as a run blocker all practice. Coaches seem very impressed with him throughout practice, and he’s quickly made a name for himself after just one day.

Offensive Linemen
-Nevada’s Joel Bitonio got some work at right tackle today and he looked comfortable taking on speed rushers Dee Ford and Chris Smith demonstrating patience and clean footwork to absorb and flush defenders out of the pocket.  He got jolted a few times when facing power but he showed the balance to recover quickly and finish blocks.

-Guard Jon Halapio was once again consistent in winning leverage battles and was taking interior defenders to the ground, including Will Sutton, in one on one drills.  He also showed some athleticism pulling out toward the numbers before tracking and eliminating Florida State ILB Christian Jones at the 2nd level during a team run play.

-Morgan Moses held his own at left tackle during the team session as he too was faced with the explosiveness of Ford and Smith on the edge.  He did a nice job of keeping each at bay with his punch and balanced kick slide, limiting their options to counter.

-Small-schooler Billy Turner had a rough day overall and looked like a guy who will need a couple years to develop.  He was bending at the waist and lunging on several occasions which made him vulnerable to speed.  He was receiving considerable coaching on his kick step as he kept opening up the gate too quickly against the defensive ends he faced.  

Defensive Linemen
-Deandre Coleman did some things today that made me think he could wind up as a 34 nose for some teams.  Besides size, upper body strength is his best attribute and he consistently locks out interior linemen at the point but he doesn’t possess the quick feet or polished rush moves to create penetration.  He did, however, show the ability to occupy 2-3 blockers throughout practice without losing much positional integrity.  He was also receptive to the coaching he received for his hand use which he subsequently improved by the end of the day.

-Daniel McCullers is a massive human but he’s way too stiff in everything he does.  His movements are also very deliberate making it easy for offensive linemen to target his chest and beat him with leverage.  He might find a role in the NFL as a 1-gap occupier but his upside looks limited.

-Auburn’s Dee Ford was easily the most explosive defensive linemen on the South squad.  His first step covers a lot of ground and it consistently puts offensive tackles on their heels.  There are some concerns, however, about his ability to set the edge as his game is predicated on speed and space and he was generally ineffective versus the run in the team session.

-LSU’s Lamin Barrow capped off padded practices with a session of consistent run fits and active play.  In blitz drills he showed the quickness to defeat backs with a swim move. During the team portion, Lamin Barrow found his way through trash by stepping into position with sudden read steps and using violent hands to keep blockers off his frame. His play will require us to go back on the tape after this week.

Defensive Backs
-No defensive back stood out during practice today, but I was pleasantly surprised by Jemea Thomas of Georgia Tech for the second straight week. Playing cornerback very well this week, he played with great anticipation and burst onto the ball throughout the day.

-Walt Aikens of Liberty was beat quite a few times today, but you can easily see he’s some minor technique changes away from those completions being pass breakups or interceptions. He’s active and powerful with his hands at the line of scrimmage, and turns and runs with plus quickness vertically. Some minor footwork adjustments, more work to stay close without interfering, and better timing of his jumps could make him a legitimate NFL starter.

-Vanderbilt’s Kenny Ladler had a surprisingly solid day today, working upfield from his free safety spot and making plays on the ball and in coverage in the short area. He sank and transitioned upfield very well, coming downhill to finish plays on tight ends and underneath receivers in coverage. For a safety best suited as a center-fielder type, Ladler showed off better than expected versatility.

-Chris Davis of Auburn had his moments today, but a large majority of his work in coverage would have been called for pass interference. He’s physical, and I like that, but the way he’s using it now won’t fly in the NFL. Keith McGill of Utah was having a very strong day as a press cornerback, working with his hands well and consistently forcing receivers to adjust as they work downfield. He’s been dealing with some hamstring issues this week that have limited his snaps unfortunately.