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All Star Circuit

Senior Bowl Notes: Monday

by Lance Zierlein
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:09 pm ET

Note from Josh Norris: Rotoworld is happy to partner with The Sideline View's Lance Zierlein, John Harris, and James MacPherson for Senior Bowl week. Each will focus on certain positional groups during practice and share their daily observations. To avoid confusion, I have attached the author’s name to their section. If I have anything to add, a clear distinction will be made.

Be sure to visit The Sideline View, as they have extended reports on many of these prospects on their site.

Lance Zierlein’s Monday Notes

OL Wesley Johnson, Vanderbilt - Played stouter than his Senior Bowl weight of 290 and did a nice job of utilizing technique (brought his feet with him and kept defenders squared up) in all of his one-on-one drills.  With his weight and short arms it will be interesting to see if he gets snaps at center this week.

DL DeAndre Coleman, Cal - Coleman was impressive in run and pass drills using good leverage and quickness off the snap.  Coleman is an interesting follow this week because I see a ton of scheme flexibility with him.

T Ja’Wuan James, Tennessee - Smaller lower body than I expected and had some issues early on in one-on-one running drills with Virginia’s Brent Urban rag-dolling him on one rep, but he improved in pass pro drills including a lock-down effort on SEC running mate, Arkansas DE Chris Smith.

DE Chris Smith, Arkansas - Smith is much shorter than teams would like at DE (6’1) and doesn’t possess much length, but he had some very physical snaps and was very difficult for the South’s offensive linemen to block in run blocking drills.  Smith also had one of the biggest collisions of the day in oline/dline drills with Joel Bitonio from Nevada where Smith thumped him.

DL Brent Urban, Virginia - This guy looks good in the uniform and can play too.  The only problem I saw is that he looked like a world-beater in the first part of practice and appeared to gas a little bit over the 2nd half of practice.  Urban has outstanding size, but looked too much like a straight-line guy this week.  I need to see more counter moves this week.

OL Billy Turner, North Dakota State - Jaguars offensive line coach George Yarno got into Turner with a butt-chewing a couple of times as Turner failed to execute basic functions of the one-on-one drill.  Turner bounced back with good one-on-one pass pro reps against Deandre Coleman and Brent Urban and handled himself well in the scrimmage portion at tackle and guard.  I’m excited to see how Turner continues to progress under the watchful eye of Yarno.

C Travis Swanson and Brian Stork - Arkansas center Swanson had a pretty average day and had trouble getting reach blocks on Will Sutton and Deandre Coleman in run drills.  I saw Swanson miss what looked like a fairly easy second level block on a MLB in the scrimmage portion.  I’m expecting a bounce back day from Swanson.  

Stork was actually much more consistent than I expected.  I didn’t expect much from him headed into Monday’s practice, but he showed a nice, strong base and was able to hole up physically against Coleman on two different reps.  I also noticed Stork took coaching from George Yarno and did a better job later in practice at keeping his head out of his blocks in pass protection.

DT Daniel McCullers, Tennessee - McCullers is massive, but it doesn’t really translate to consistency on the field.  He’s was more sluggish than powerful.

G Gabe Jackson, Mississippi State - Jackson flashed the in-line power than will have some teams excited, but I simply don’t like him as much at 339 which is what he weighed in at today.  If he can get his weight down about 10 more pounds he will make himself some money.  Jackson buried Coleman on one rep during scrimmage portion.

DT Will Sutton, Arizona State - Will Sutton has been falling down the draft boards this year with NFL teams who don’t like the extra weight he’s added.  Sutton came into the Senior Bowl at 315 pounds which is heavier than he needs to be, but he had a really good practice today.  Wesley Johnson struggled against him in one-on-one drills as did Joel Bitonio from Nevada.  Sutton looked quick off the snap and played with natural leverage.  This is a huge week for Sutton who needs to flash and show his 2012 form.

OG Kadeem Edwards, Tennessee State - The Tennessee State guard played with energy, but looked a little overwhelmed from a talent standpoint.  He spent too much team leaning on defenders and needs work with technique.

DL Ra’Shede Hagemen, Minnesota - Active hands and looked to get up the field on every snap.  I liked how active he was, but I want to see him get up the field more consistently and defeat the man in front of him more quickly.

T Seantrel Henderson, Miami - As someone who has a much lower grade on Henderson than most, I was very pleasantly surprised with the way that he used his long arms and natural athletic ability to keep Stanford DE Trent Murphy locked up.  Henderson did fall flat on his face after leaning face first into a run block and that has to be corrected on his part.

C Tyler Larsen, Utah State - One of the problems I had on film with Larsen is that he doesn’t bend or play with as much leverage as I would like and that got him in some trouble against UConn’s DT Shamar Stephen who bull rushed him.  Larsen looked a little out of control at times and will need to tighten that up as the week progresses.

OL Zack Martin, Notre Dame - Martin was outstanding today and showed excellent hand placement, a wide base and good core strength.  Martin shut down Stanford’s Trent Murphy time and time again.

Edge rusher Trent Murphy, Stanford - I was a big fan of Murphy’s pass rushing skills including his outstanding hands, but we didn’t see much of that on Monday as he had trouble dealing with Zach Martin (who I project down to guard) and Seantrel Henderson who is the longest offensive lineman at the Senior Bowl.

G Cyril Richardson, Baylor - Cyril Richardson had to be praying that the coaches would take Pitt DT Aaron Donald off of him in one-on-ones as it was a problematic matchup for the burly Baylor guard.  Richardson had issues moving Donald off of his spot in one-on-one run block drills and was beaten with speed and a bull rush by Donald.  Richardson needs to come ready to play on Tuesday.

OL Brandon Thomas, Clemson - Thomas is one of my favorite oline prospects because of his strong hands and ability to stone defenders when he gets them in his sights.  I did see Thomas struggle with change of direction on one snap when his feet got completely out of whack.  Thomas ended up having a solid practice including his patented wrestling-style toss where he dominates the defender’s shoulder and leverages him to the ground.

John Harris Monday Notes

WR Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt - Showed perhaps the most polish of all the receivers, easily coachable, desired coaching, played physically, didn’t mind mixing things up with the defensive backs.  He ran good routes, consistently caught the ball and whenever he faced the top corners, it was great competition.  

WR Cody Hoffman, BYU - Struggled horribly today.  He couldn’t get off jams by much smaller cornerbacks. He was frustrated all day long and the coaching staff really stayed on him throughout the practice.  Slow was the key word with Hoffman throughout the day.

WR Jalen Saunders, Oklahoma - Is sudden and stop on the dime quick, but really struggled catching the ball away from his body.

WR Ryan Grant, Tulane - Was one of my players to watch and he didn’t disappoint.  He had more ups than downs during the day.  He snatched the ball out of the air, caught the ball away from his body.  He beat DBs down field and can get open.  But, he had a couple of lapses in concentration - jumping offsides and then letting a ball go through his hands during one-on-ones.

WR Kevin Norwood, Alabama - Really struggled early in practice against CB in a press coverage drill.  He didn’t feel comfortable getting off the jam at all.  I worried that he would truly struggle badly in one-on-one’s but when the DBs backed off, he got open easily, caught the ball cleanly and was

TE Arthur Lynch, Georgia - Caught nearly everything thrown to him against safeties and linebackers in one-on-ones.  He’s an adequate blocker that can be a middle day three prospect.  

TE Marcel Jensen, Fresno State - Struggled in all aspects of the passing game.  He didn’t catch the ball well at all and he’s going to end up being a run blocker, if anything else.

DE Dee Ford, Auburn - Won the weigh-in, won one-on-ones and won the day.  Without a question, he was the most dominant hand-in-the-dirt player on the South squad.  He won with speed off the edge and showed a balance of power and speed throughout the day from individual all the way through team drills.  His next charge will be to show a few of his pass rush acumen when the initial rush is stopped.  He can do it, but he now has to show it.

DL Ed Stinson, Alabama - Missed most of practice dealing with a groin issue.

OLB Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech - Played during the day at ILB which I think is a major mistake.  He’s got to be a space player but the experience of playing inside can’t hurt.  But, he’s not really had a chance to show what he can do off the edge.  Hopefully, the Jaguars coaching staff will give him that opportunity to hit the edge Tuesday and/or Wednesday.

OLB Kyle Van Noy, BYU - Does everything SO well on a football field.  Coverage, rush the edge, pursuit, you name Van Noy has it.  The Jaguars coaches got on him a bit during individual drills because they didn’t think he was flying through a drill.  It’s just that he makes it look effortless.  He made plays throughout the practice in coverage.  It’s not a surprise to me as I’ve got him in my top 15 on our TSV Big Board but I value production and intelligence more than anything.  Van Noy has all of it.

CB Aaron Colvin, Oklahoma - Was easily the best cover corner on the South squad.  His press technique footwork needs a little work, but his recovery speed is ridiculous.  He’s fluid, moves smoothly and bends athletically.

CB/S Chris Davis, Auburn - Had an interesting day and I’m struggling with how to classify his day.  He’s easily the most physical cornerback on the field and he is ultra-physical in press coverage.  He frustrated nearly every receiver in press man, including Vanderbilt star WR Jordan Matthews.  But, the further he got away from the line of scrimmage, he struggled a bit.  He got beat once by Matthews but Davis will compete.  He’s stiff as can be but I love his tenacity.  Ultimately, I think he’s got to move to safety but initially I think playing corner will be great experience this week.

CB Keith McGill, Utah - At 6’3” showed incredible agility in press man drills and will be a guy to watch the rest of the week.

CB Walt Aikens, Liberty - Has a great body.  Yeah, I said it.  But, he didn’t look out of place at all.  He got beat a few times but he competed hard and as I mentioned to a few scouts “he’s moldable clay”.  He’s definitely worth watching over the next few days.

WR Jared Abbrederis, Wisconsin - Didn’t win the weigh in, weighing in at only 189 pounds, BUT when the former Badger got on the field, he lit up the North team defensive backs.  He caught everything, got open against everyone he faced.  Everyone.  He’s fast.  He’s going to be a star this week as long the North QBs get him the ball.

WR Robert Herron, Wyoming - There’s something about a guy that just gets open.  All.  The.  Time.  Wyoming slot WR Robert Herron did that all day long.  Outside of Abbrederis, Herron was the most impressive receiver for the North squad, even though he measured in only at less than 5’9” and 187 pounds.

DT Aaron Donald, Pitt - Was even better than expected.  He was matched up with Baylor G Cyril Richardson throughout the practice.  Richardson has four inches on Donald and nearly 50 pounds.  Yet, Donald whipped him all day long.  In run fit 1-on-1 Richardson didn’t win one time.  In pass rush, 1-on-1 Donald literally knocked Richardson on his backside.  During team drills, Donald was so quick off the ball that CSU C Weston Richburg couldn’t even get a hand on him.  Hopefully, Donald will get to face a few of the other North OL throughout the week.

DT Justin Ellis, Louisiana Tech - One of the stars of East-West Shrine Week was La. Tech DT Justin Ellis.  The 6’1” 347 DT showed that he more than belonged on the field with the much more ballyhooed Senior Bowl prospects.  He’s quick off the ball, penetrated into the backfield, used the spin move (as he did last week too) during pass rush one-on-ones.  It’s hard to think of a 347 pounder as more than just a two gap NT but that’s definitely not Ellis.  Well, he could be, but what he showed last week and on his first day in Mobile is that he’s more versatile to play any DT position in either odd or even fronts.

RB Charles Sims, West Virginia - One scout said that West Virginia RB Charles Sims could play slot receiver for his team and that scout isn’t wrong.  Sims is one heck of an interesting package with his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield.  The Falcons offensive staff threw a pair of screens to him to get him out in space.

RB James White, Wisconsin - Won’t get a ton of acclaim but I liked what he showed on Monday.  He doesn’t have great outside burst as the North defense tracked him easily on a bounce run late in practice.  But, he ran inside a couple of times that caught my attention.  He’ll be worth watching the rest of the week for certain.

James MacPherson's Monday Notes


For all these quarterbacks there were some passes that were off and many hit the ground but it was Day One and that is expected from Quarterbacks and Wide Receivers, Tight Ends, Running Backs playing together for the first time.  For these guys this was the first time practicing on the field in pads for the first time in weeks as well.  So these comments will be made with that in mind.

South Team

Derek Carr - In today's drills Carr looked like he was the most accurate and had strongest arm as a passer.  He looked pretty good dropping back from under center. He consistently put the ball in nice catchable spots and on time for his receivers on all of the routes.  Completed the 12 yard out route and bang post on time.  He also looks to be a good leader on the field as well whenever he is in with the entire offensive team.  Would like to see him put some more touch on the shorter routes as he threw some bullets to the running backs and tight ends.  He tattooed a tight end who spotted up only 5 yards over the ball.  Need to see his pocket presence a little more this week which was a question mark this season and in the USC game.

David Fales - Fales showed some good accuracy on timing on all of his throws. He showed good quick feet on his pass drops driving away from center and getting the ball out of quickly.  However he doesn't look like he's transferring his weight and using his legs in his throws.  He appeared to be struggling with his grip as well and pushing the ball which floated a little bit.  It was noticeable on the 12 yard out and Bang posts that were just a little low.  He underthrew several deep balls and had a difficult time driving the ball deep.  On film, he appeared to be able to drive the ball better.  Would like to see if he is able to this that during the week.  Having said that, he still showed he can make accurate throws on the intermediate and short routes.  He also showed some good leadership skills and being vocal on the when it was his turn in team periods and getting guys lined up.

Jimmy Garappolo - My first time really getting to watch Jimmy and he looked impressive and like he belonged on the field.  In terms of arm strength and accuracy, he would be a close second behind Derrek Carr.  He threw every route they had him throw and did so accurately.  He looked good dropping back from under center as well and throwing on time.  He threw the 12 yard out and bang post right out of the receivers break.  He seemed to be a little on the quiet side and would like to see him be a little more vocal on the field.  When he sits in the pocket, he does have a bad habit of holding the ball in one hand exposing it to rushing defenders.  He also pats the ball before he throws it which takes a half second longer to get the ball out.  

North Team (missed 1-on-1 period due to transit from South practice)

Tajh Boyd - He appeared to have the best presence as a leader on the field.  During pass drops he looked little uncomfortable and getting used to taking a snap and dropping back from under center.  I imagine he will get more comfortable as the week progresses.  During 7-on-7, he checked down a lot of passes to running backs with chances and open receivers down field.  For example, he had a tight end over the middle on a dig versus two deep coverage and also one-on-one coverage outside on go routes.  Would like to see his arm strength as well as accuracy on deep throws down field against some better corners and tighter one-on-one coverage.  He still showed he has a low release especially for a shorter quarterback, and would like to see him be able to adjust his arm angle higher as well to drop the ball over the top of defenders.  He did have an impressive submarine side arm pass around a defensive end to hit a wide receiver outside on a quick screen.  Will be able to see some more accuracy tomorrow during routes on air and one-on-one routes.

Stephen Morris - He showed some good smooth feet on his drop.  However, he appeared to be throwing off balance at times and not completely transferring his weight into his throws, which was a problem for him this year.  This could be from his ankle injury still bothering him from the season.  At times he also looked like he was having trouble gripping the football today and looked a little bit like he was pushing the football.  As a result a couple of curls and comeback passes sailed high and well out of bounds and he also missed an easy flat route poorly thrown behind the fullback releasing in the flat on a naked boot.  However during some live fire in Team, he really displayed a lot of poise in the pocket, hanging in and completing a couple of passes.  While he is poised, would also like to see a little more urgency at well at this level especially after some errant throws.

Logan Thomas - When he passes the football and it comes out clean he can smoke it.  He throws a pretty ball when he gets it out.  However, there are some throws the ball flutters gets away from him and sails high and incomplete.   He also looks a little slow and lumbering dropping back and getting away from under center.  I'm also not sure he has a good grasp of coverages. During 7-on-7, he threw a nice sail route today on the money in man to man coverage. Then the next snap he came back and missed an easy curl flat read against cover 3 and checked it down too quickly to the tight end over the ball with tight coverage.  Accuracy stills seems to be a concern, but will be able to see some more accuracy tomorrow during routes on air and one-on-one routes.

Lance Zierlein
Lance Zierlein is sports talk show host on KMBE 790 AM in Houston, Texas. Follow him on Twitter @lancezierlein.