SOUTH PRACTICE REPORT – WEDNESDAY

Another big crowd on hand that followed Tebow around the entire practice. This was the last time we were going to see the south squad in full pads until the game on Saturday, so it was their last chance to impress the scouts, coaches, and general managers as most of them depart tonight.

OFFENSIVE LINE

-Some impressive play from Chris Scott (Tennessee) today. At 6’5 – 346 pounds, Scott clearly stands out among his fellow offensive linemen. He holds that weight on his massive frame and his footwork was better than I anticipated. He got a few looks at left tackle and more than held his own against speed rusher George Selvie. His long arms and powerful punch completely stop the momentum of the rusher and his balance remains throughout. I still see him on the right side at the next level but its nice to know he can hack on the left side in a pinch.

-Center Ted Larsen (NC State) is a very stout blocker from the center position and he showed a lot of strength, holding up well against Terrence Cody. He swings his hips in to the hole and keeps his man at bay. Under the radar guy that could be a starter at the next level.

TIGHT ENDS/RECEIVERS

-Shay Hodge looked brilliant today in almost every drill I watched him. He was making acrobatic grabs, getting two feet down near the sidelines, and running nice routes on all three levels. He is the kind of receiver that quarterbacks love to have as a security blanket.

-Jimmy Graham (Miami) had an up and down practice. His receiving ability is there, as he was catching nearly everything thrown his way. He made some nice adjustments to the ball at the last second and plucked the ball out of the air that was behind him. However the blocking portion of his game needs a lot of work, as he was driven back repeatedly with some inconsistent footwork.

-Another impressive day by Andre Roberts (Citadel) who is reminding me a lot of Steve Smith from the Giants. He is clearly the top route runner here and he made some tough catches in with a corner draped all over him.

RUNNING BACKS

-Roy Upchurch (Alabama) is a relative unknown because of depth chart concerns at Alabama, but he showed ability today. He consistently caught the ball out of the backfield, including a wheel route to the corner of the end zone where he made the catch of the day while getting two feet down before exiting the back of the end zone.

-Ben Tate (Auburn) is making an argument for himself to be considered the best power back here. He is running hard in between the tackles and the smaller linebackers are having a hard time stopping his momentum,

-Dexter McCluster (Ole Miss) with another big day from all over the place. He broke off the best run of the day, displaying explosion that nobody in this game has. He just flies by defenders, even the ones that have the initial angle advantage on him.

QUARTERBACKS

-I continue to be impressed by Tim Tebow (Florida). I can understand the issue with his long release, but I watched him closely and something came to mind. I think, on purpose, he is slowing everything down to ensure he gets his footwork right. This is the first time he has dropped back while making reads, and I think he is focused on that more so than his release. With time, his release will be worked on and quickened enough to pass in the NFL. He connected on several deep balls yet again and the zip he can put on the ball is the best I’ve seen this week. His progression is there and that’s all you can ask for right now.

-Zac Robinson (Oklahoma State) was very up and down today, much like his career in college. He was very accurate and confident with his underneath and intermediate passes, but his deep balls were wobbly for the most part. He also threw a few picks over the middle in the team drills after a couple of bad decisions .

DEFENSIVE LINE

-Terrence Cody is not an attractive player when he is standing around, but he is playing well in the middle. The thing about him is that he is a strong 370 pounder, not just a chubby body that gets knocked around. He constantly demands double teams and when he only has one blocker on him, he can clog up a lane (or two) with ease. 3-4 defenses are going to like him a lot.

-George Selvie (South Florida) had an up and down day but I think he showed some things to scouts that he absolutely had to. Everyone knew his explosion off the edge was there, but he showed a lot of hustle. His relentless motor aided him in getting to the quarterback when the speed rush didn’t work. I’d like to see more out of him in terms of rushing the tackle’s inside shoulder though. His ceiling remains as high as some put it a couple years ago.

LINEBACKERS

-Big day by Miami middle linebacker Daryl Sharpton. His speed is something that caught my eye, as he made it sideline to sideline with time to spare and he dropped in to deep coverage in a blink. At just 229 pounds, it is easy to question his physicality but he delivered some pops today which made a different sound than the other linebackers here. He is fighting an uphill battle because of his lack of size, but he plays a lot bigger than he is.

-Cameron Sheffield (Troy) has been spending a lot of time as a defensive end, but I think he shows a ton of promise as a 3-4 outside linebacker. He explodes off the edge and uses a nice straight arm to maintain separation between himself and the blocker. Those long arms are used correctly and when you see his comprehension of the technique combined with his athletic ability, he could be the next Troy edge rusher to make it at the next level.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

-Put the eyeball on Taylor Mays (USC) and Myron Rolle (Florida State) today. I want to like Mays because of the overall package he has, but he looks slower than every safety here by a wide margin. He has no anticipation ability and he spends too much time on the hashes. He loves to make the bone-jarring hits over the middle and it looks like that is the only thing ever on his mind. Rolle on the other has been a step or two behind mentally as well, which is to be expected. I like how he keeps his head on a swivel but I was hoping to see him make some breaks on the ball and he, like Mays, reacted to slowly to the ball in the air.

-Perrish Cox (Oklahoma State) had himself a day. He picked off teammate Zac Robinson twice in a matter of four plays, both of which had a high difficulty rating. He has the ideal body for a press corner and he needs to show scouts he can move well enough downfield. His hip movement was inconsistent but I think he has the potential to be a star if he can focus a little but more on his technique issues.

-Nate Allen (South Florida) is frustrating me a little bit. He is mirroring tight ends and receivers in man coverage, giving the quarterback a very tight window to fit the ball in to. But he is weak with the ball in the air, as he was not getting his head around and making plays on the ball. If he can learn to do that with balance, his ceiling is as high as any safety in Mobile this week.

Wednesday’s Winners

Perrish Cox – CB – Oklahoma State

Cox needs to have a strong pre-draft process to get his stock back to where it was in December. However a lot of that will occur in interviews because of the red flags that arise with his character. With that said, Cox showed premiere ability today with top notch ball skills.

Shay Hodge – WR – Ole Miss

As I said before, the hands and route running ability are NFL ready and he has the ability to be an immediate impact receiver. He showed tons of willingness to go over the middle to try and make the catch despite knowing the safeties and linebackers were about to deliver a pop.

Wednesday’s Losers

Eric Norwood – LB – South Carolina

Something seems off with Norwood down here. He has the thick frame to handle the physicality but he struggled to get off blocks in the live team drill. His feet were got stagnant in coverage, making him an easy target for QBs to pick on.

Patrick Robinson – CB – Florida State

At 190 pounds, Robinson is about the average size of a corner, but he lacks a power game. He was pushed around by Joe Webb at the attempt of press coverage and he was easily moved downfield by receivers when a fight for the ball was oncoming.