NORTH PRACTICE REPORT – Tuesday

With the full pads on, scouts got a good look on how these guys can play with the physicality a part of the picture.  The stands were much more crowded today, and I sat next to Scott Pioli and Todd Haley from the Kansas City Chiefs.  Also saw the likes of Rob Ryan (Raiders), Mike Tannenbaum (Jets) and Mike Heimerdinger (Titans) near me.

OFFENSIVE LINE

-Mike Iupati (Idaho) got a couple looks at left tackle in the pass protection drill, and it did not go too well.  He was absolutely trucked by Arkansas State defensive end Alex Carrington.  Iupati just looked a little uncomfortable in space and even though I need to see more of him on the outside before I make a final evaluation, he is better off inside playing guard.  One thing I noticed that impressed me however was during a water break, everybody was chatting it up and re-hydrating.  Iupati on the other hand stayed on the field and worked on his foot work by himself.

-Vladimir Ducasse (Massachusetts) was beat badly by Brandon Graham (Michigan) on an inside move.  But like yesterday, he responded to the coaching very well and neutralized Graham the next time around.

-Center Matt Tennant (Boston College) got off to a hot start in pass protection drills by beating up Cam Thomas (North Carolina).  However he received the opportunity to go up against the terror of the week in Tyson Alualu (California) and he could not sustain his block.  His hands were easily knocked away and the recovery footwork was not there.

TIGHT ENDS/RECEIVERS

-Ed Dickson (Oregon) looks too small below the waist.  He needs to add bulk if he wants to play TE in the pros, but the ability is there.  He made a couple of acrobatic grabs in traffic.

-Mardy Gilyard (Cincinnati) had a severe case of the drops today, not sure what was wrong with him.  He can get open against anybody, but he was not coming down with the ball enough.

RUNNING BACKS

-Another impressive day for Oregon’s LeGarrette Blount.  He ran with nice pad level through the line and once he got a head of steam, nobody wanted a part of him.  Some defensive backs were bouncing right off him.  In the blitz pickup drills, he was the only back that consistently came out on top of his one on one battles.  Very wide base that stays balanced throughout engagement, completely stifled Koa Misis of Utah a couple times.

-Lonyae Miller (Fresno State) had a few nice runs in space during the team’s offense vs. defense drills.  He has more wiggle to him than I initially assumed as he completely juked Sean Weatherspoon and broke free for a big gain.

QUARTERBACKS

-Another rough day for Tony Pike (Cincinnati).  He was missing on a lot of easy throws by a wide margin.  He missed a stationary Gilyard on a stay pass.  He then rolled to his right and threw at Garrett Graham’s feet despite no defender in between the two.  His balls are not coming out crisp, throwing a lot of wobblers.

-Dan LeFevour (Central Michigan) had a rough time in the team drills, but I don’t think it was his fault.  The offensive line was being obliterated play after play and LeFevour could not step in to his throws.  There is not a lot of power in that arm, but he does know how to put a ball on a certain spot despite being pressured.

DEFENSIVE LINE

-I put the eyeball on two defensive linemen today that I did not get to watch as much as I was hoping to yesterday.  Alex Carrington (Arkansas State) certainly looks the part at 6’5 – 284 pounds, but his technique and power off the snap impressed me most.  He plays with outstanding pad level and balance which enables him to use a variety of ways to beat his man.  He is the only defender I’ve seen to this point that has made Iupati look silly.  The second guy I watched closely was Cam Thomas of North Carolina.  He has a nice body for a defensive tackle, looks comfortable at 331 pounds  with very long arms and a huge rear.  But he gets way too high when he is engaged, making it easier for a blocker to keep him at bay.  But I liked his hustle and he is a guy that if coached correctly, will be a force in the league.

-Mike Neal (Purdue) is very explosive off the snap.  But I didn’t see much in terms of secondary moves as once he got locked on to, he turned in to a non factor.

LINEBACKERS

-Another fun day watching Sean Weatherspoon.  He keeps the guys moving, always chatting up a storm.  On the blitz pickup drills, Weatherspoon completely blew up Wayne State running back Joique Bell and he let him know about it.  The next time around, Weatherspoon went at Bell hard and then used a move to the outside but that extra explosion wasn’t there, making it easy for Bell to sustain the block.

-Koa Misi (Utah) looked very slow in comparison with the other North linebackers.  He doesn’t have the short area quickness and because he is so big, he makes for an easy target to lock on to.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

-I kept a close eye on the safeties today.  Terrell Skinner (Maryland) has a nice, long frame and he can really move once he gets going.  But he is slow to react to the pass and his ball skills looked horrific at times.  He didn’t track the ball well and when he was there to make the interception, the ball just bounced off his hands a couple times.  Larry Asante (Nebraska) is clearly the slowest of the group.  Slow to react and his hips are very stiff.  On top of that, he dropped a few passes in drill work.

-Syd’Quan Thompson (California) is a very natural mover in space.  His hips are fluid but I question how well he can turn and run with a speedy receiver.

-Devin McCourty (Rutgers) showed a nice, low, quick back pedal but he does not explode out of it well when making a break on the ball.  He seems manufactured when attacking the ball in the air.

-Brandon Ghee (Wake Forest) struggled mightily in the drill where the corners had to jam a receiver at the line.  Guys were blowing right by him with ease as Ghee would mistime his punches.

Tuesday’s Winners

Alex Carrington – DE – Arkansas State
With his size and athleticism, Carrington is going to catch the eye of a lot of evaluators.  His display of leverage and hand use today was better than any defensive lineman here.

LeGarrette Blount – RB – Oregon
His pure domination in the blitz pickup drills is something every coach wants to see and when a 6’1 – 245 pound back runs with the pad level he did today, he turns in to a guy that no lone tackler can take down.

Tuesday’s Losers

Brandon Ghee – CB – Wake Forest
He may have proved today that he is a limited cornerback at the next level because of his lack of ability to play press coverage.  A weak puncher at the line, Ghee struggled turn and run with receivers.

Tony Pike – QB – Cincinnati
Footwork still looks shaky at best, and his throws remain wobbly and off target.  Pike is looking like the third best quarterback on the North squad.

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