• The player of the day today… and in my opinion it wasn’t even close… was South Carolina DE Devin Taylor. Taylor, of course played opposite Jadeveon Clowney all season, and his production, at least statistically, was underwhelming. 3 sacks. That was down from 6 in 2011, which was down from 7.5 in 2010.
Taylor is lean, and very long. 6’8, 267. The East team OL couldn’t block him today, although I wonder how much that had to do with poor talent on that side of the ball. Here’s what Taylor did on three consecutive plays:
- He beat LT Nick Speller (UMass) to the inside for a sack.
- Won again to the inside on Speller and blew up a run play.
- Tried a speed rush to the outside, was blatantly held, and still got the sack.
That was all against Speller. For the sake of comparison, other DEs weren’t doing the same thing to Speller. Plus, Taylor was able to beat other blockers as well. For example, Taylor absolutely smoked Terron Armstrong, a more highly thought of prospect, on an inside spin move, only to find himself getting hit by the guard. He then split the two linemen, got pressure, and forced a bad throw. Great effort. Then later, he got a sack on what would have been a safety.
He was an absolute animal today. I’d love to see him against better competition at the Senior Bowl. 6’8 DEs don’t grow on trees. Give this man a better challenge.
• Jordan Devey (OG, Memphis) is very aggressive, in good ways and bad. You have to love a guy that wants to hit everything that moves until the whistle, but he seems a little too preoccupied with making the “highlight hit.” On two different screen passes, rather than continuing to run up the field and block for the back, he peeled by and tried to lay out defenders in pursuit. That wasn’t the better play on either occasion.
• Rodney Smith (WR, Florida State) had a good day. I mentioned yesterday that the Shrine Game has a lot of WRs with good size. Smith is another one of those guys. 6’6, 219. He made two nice catches on the sideline that were thrown high. Huge target.
• Pair of picks today for Georgia CB Branden Smith. A lot of guys at these practices seem to be playing “not to mess up.” Smith is looking to make plays. He looks like he thinks he’s better than the other talent here, and is playing like it.
• The kicker from the East team has a monster leg. Crushes the ball. His name is Caleb Sturgis, from Florida. I’ll be shocked if he’s not kicking in the NFL next year. He was hitting 55 yarders with all kinds of room to spare. At the end of practice, HC Jerry Glanville set up a situation where Sturgis had to hit a 57 yarder for the win. Glanville even iced him. Sturgis nailed it. Giants… New kicker, maybe?
Here’s who I spotted some scouts talking to after practice:
- Rod Sweeting, CB, Georgia Tech
- T.J. Johnson, C, South Carolina
- Trent Steelman, WR, Army