• Today I spent a lot of time watching WR/TE/CB/S. The players among those positional groups that impressed me the most were WR Terrance Williams of Baylor, CB Leon McFadden of San Diego St., and CB Robert Alford of SE Louisiana.
• Terrance Williams made an incredible diving catch on a 55 yard bomb down the sidelines. Great job tracking the ball in the air, while fighting off the DB to make the play. It was Alford who he beat on the play, but the coverage was good. Just an all-around good football play. Later there was another deep ball that was somewhat up for grabs, which Alford broke up, although Williams was almost able to make a circus catch anyway on the deflection. That was a great battle today. On the negative side for Alford, he struggled catching punts. He had one that he fielded off his facemask, and another that he outright muffed. But the coverage skills are there. The Eagles spoke with Alford after practice.
• Leon McFadden stayed in the hip pocket of opposing WRs the entire day. Nobody sniffed separation on him. PBUs all over the field, and he even had a phenomenal one-handed pick along the sidelines in which it looked like he was able to keep both feet in bounds. I think he really helped his stock today.
• There weren’t any safeties that stood out today in a good way. I thought Bama’s Robert Lester had a rough day. He was beaten several times by TEs, which is a weak position here at the Senior Bowl this year. There was also a feeling among other draft guys that Bacarri Rambo of Georgia had a bad day, although I didn’t notice it.
• The QBs underwhelmed. The South QBs are EJ Manuel, Tyler Wilson and Landry Jones. Of the three, I thought Jones probably had the best day, but that’s not saying much. Wilson’s arm looked weak, and EJ Manuel was very inconsistent, which is actually kind of consistent with his college career. There were some throws that he would fit into tight windows with zip and accuracy, making it look effortless, and then other throws where he would miss receivers by 5 yards. Manuel might be more of a long-term project, but he clearly does have talent.
• Florida St. kicker Dustin Hopkins had a good day. He didn’t miss any FGs, ranging from 30 to 48. There is a growing trend of good young kickers in the NFL, with 3 teams in the NFC East getting in on that action. I think a kicker might make sense for the Giants this year. Hopkins looked good today, and Caleb Sturgis of Florida had a great performance when I watched him at the East-West Shrine Game last week. As an added bonus, Hopkins even practiced with the punt block team (although as noting more than a body). Gotta love seeing a kicker line up in a 3 point stance an going hard after the punter (to the right):
• Duke WR Conner Vernon was letting too many balls get into his body. I don’t know if that was a normal thing for him at Duke, but you have to make catches with your hands in the NFL.
• Ezekiel Ansah had a great batted pass at the line. Got up high and smacked it down. Obvious athleticism. The Eagles spoke with Ansah after practice.
• B.W. Webb of William & Mary did a nice job aggressively running up and fielding a short punt. That’s a very underrated skill in the NFL. How often do you see a crappy punt that goes 25-30 yards roll for an additional 15-20 because the returner either doesn’t recognize the punt is short, or they simply don’t hustle up and try to catch it. Hidden yards count too.
• How did the NFC East teams speak with after practice?
Sorry guys. I only saw the Eagles being active after practice today. The Skins are typically talking with a number of prospects at these events, but even they were quiet (or I simply missed them). I’ll keep trying to spot whoever I can for you throughout the week though.
- BYU DE Ezekiel Ansah: 4.5 sacks in 2012, 13 TFL. I’ve seen it stated that he turns 24 in May, although BYU does not list the ages of their players.
- SE Louisiana CB Robert Alford: 9 INT over the last 2 seasons