2011 Senior Bowl: Tuesday North Notes

Christian BallardToday, I got a chance to watch the running backs, offensive and defensive lineman, and the linebackers specifically, along with the rest of position. The rain didn’t come all day, and it actually cleared up today, which was good.

The star of the day was Cameron Jordan, but guys like Christian Ballard, Brandon Fusco and more looked impressive to me too.

Look for the South Notes later today.

 

-I didn’t see much of the quarterbacks, I thought I covered them a lot yesterday. The little I did see was that Colin Kaepernick has shown good throwing motion under pressure, and hasn’t changed it like Tebow did a year ago. He also looks confident in the pocket. Also, Jake Locker looked solid today, and while he was off target at times, he still is the best athlete and most NFL ready of the group.

-Kendall Hunter fumbled the ball twice today in team running drills, which isn’t going to help his stock. As I’ve said so many times before, 12 underclassmen declared for the draft, and only 12 were taken a year ago, so it’s safe to say that only 4-5 guys will be drafted tops from this Senior Bowl running back roster. On the other hand, Demarco Murray was impressive with quick feet and wiggle in traffic, he for sure stands out in this group.

-Again, I didn’t watch the receivers too closely, but it’s becoming hard not to notice Vincent Brown in team drills. Based on this performance so far, the 2nd round is definitely not out of the question.

-James Brewer of Indiana was a surprise addition to this roster in my opinion, and he hasn’t proved to me that he’s in this level of talent at tackle. He looked stiff in his hips, reached a lot in drills, and was too high in his drop backs. He has good size and can deliver a blow in run blocking, but far too many guys tore him up in pass blocking drills. The same went for Kevin Kowalski, the center from Toledo. I didn’t like him very much coming in either, and he was beaten all day by interior defensive linemen.

-Gabe Carimi has played guard much of practice because of Nate Solder and Anthony Castanzo being tackles. And based on these first two practices, he’s definitely 3rd best at tackle. He hasn’t shown very quick feet, but he could be a devastating run blocker at right tackle or guard, though his height (6’8) worries at guard with concerns of inside leverage.

-I talked to Josh Buchanan at www.JBScouting.com and he brought up that his main concern with Brandon Fusco was his technique. As far as I saw today, he showed good technique and really picked up on the great coaching the Bengals OL coach was giving him. He was the best center today no question, and he could be the 3rd or 4th one taken in the draft.

-I talked to Jason Pinkston last night about his arm length concerns (check out Monday’s Daily Notes) and he said that he understands it’s an issue and at 6’3, he knows he’ll probably need to play RT or guard. He struggled keeping Cam Jordan and Jeremy Beal away from him in pass blocking drills, but used his hands well against bull rushers and I think he could still fit in a zone blocking scheme at right tackle.

-Speaking of tackles, I think tight end Lee Smith from Marshall has the ability to play left tackle. He has the arm length for sure and is a developed blocker, but he’ll need to major league bulk up, and he could be a project. I still think his best fit is as a number two blocking tight end.

-The best and maybe most revealing match-up today was Nate Solder vs. Ryan Kerrigan. Solder was the only one who was able to control Cameron Jordan (and it was only once or twice), but he did struggle against Kerrigan. Kerrigan used a bull rush and his combination of strength and leverage really got underneath Solder, and Solder was forced to either get beat or hold him.

-At North Practice, no question the defensive line was the position to watch. I noticed yesterday that Cameron Jordan and Ryan Kerrigan were the two leaders and were in store for a big week, and they both stepped up, especially Jordan. Ranking the defensive linemen today at North practice would go like this: 1. Cameron Jordan 2. Christian Ballard 3. Ryan Kerrigan 4. Jeremy Beal 5. Sione Fua….8. Ian Williams. Also, Cam Jordan said in an interview that he’s more than willing to play in a 5-tech. Smart move, as teams usually take those guys very high because it’s not easy to find a good one.

-Speaking of Jeremy Beal, I was and still am hoping he will play outside linebacker at some point this week. No word yet, but he’s shown in drills that it’s probably his best fit.

-I saw the outside linebackers drop back in coverage, and the most impressive one of the bunch was Ross Homan. Understandably so, however, because he dropped back a lot at Ohio State. Greg Jones and Mason Foster were also solid and fluid in dropping back. Lawrence Wilson showed athletic ability in all the drill he did, but he wasn’t getting very deep in his drops and missed a few passes in his hands. Those inconsistencies will hurt his chances.

-Also, Mark Herzlich looks monsterous out there, but he struggled in pass coverage drills today. He is a long strider so he can get out to his drops in a hurry, but isn’t overly fluid and seems off balance as he cuts in coverage and in recognition in the play. He’s given 100 percent effort this week and could still be a starter in a 3-4 defense.

-Another interception for Rashard Carmichael today, that’s the 3rd one I’ve seen by him so far in practice. He plays with great instincts and breaks on the ball well.

-BIGGEST WINNERS OF TODAY: Cameron Jordan, DE, California; Christian Ballard, DT, Iowa; Brandon Fusco, C, Slippery Rock; Mason Foster, OLB, Washington

 

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