Day 2 Wide Receiver and Defensive Backs update- North Team

Posted: January 23, 2013 in 2013 Senior Bowl

One of the most entertaining parts of practice is watching the wide receivers and defensive backs go at each other one on one. It really is the epitome of the competitive spirit in a football player. Now, granted there are no referees so pass interference calls are on honor like a game of pick up basketball. But it makes for some interesting moments in practice for sure. This was a big, long, period for the players and there were a lot of battles of note throughout the session. One of the most intriguing players to watch was obviously Michigan’s record setting quarter back turned wide receiver Denard Robinson. At 5’11” 197 he isn’t the prototype outside receiver. But his skill set warrants a lot of consideration in the slot. He has his moments throughout the practice where he flashed an elite skill set, but he showed his limitations as well. He has had limited time as a receiver so route running leaves a little to be desired. But what he does make up for it with is his explosiveness. He won quite a few reps but has to improve on his hands and his route running. He rounded his routes and did not understand body position on a lot of his reps. He has good burst and probably would add a lot to the return game because of his shiftiness and elusiveness. He reminds me of Armanti Edwards (sorry Michigan fans for bringing that name up) and will make a name for himself in the NFL with his return skills. However, he has a lot if work to do until then.

Here are some other players who stood out.

-Chris Harper of Kansas State is a guy that doesn’t get a lot of credit in these drills except the fact that he wins the majority of them. He is 6’1″ and 228 pounds and really uses that great size with his routes. He understands separation and has great press coverage beating moves. Harper has great feet and catches everything away from his body. His stock will rise with a good week/combine and if he runs in the 4.5’s I think he will warrant Day 1 consideration.

-Texas’s Marquise Goodwin, 5’9″ 180, has world class speed and it showed throughout the day. The North coaching staff tries hard to get Goodwin and Oregon State’ s Markus Wheaton the ball on a lot of outside run plays and misdirections. Goodwin has all the speed but doesn’t do a good job of harnessing that in his route running. He is so fast out of his stance and gets to top end speed so fast that he has troubles getting into and out of his breaks. He did beat a few guys on his deep routes but he will have to work to control his body better in his route running. Track speed is great but eventually defenses can take away a one dimensional player in the NFL.

-I will jump on the Jordan Poyer bandwagon for a minute. The Oregon State All American is one of the most insticitive players on the field. He jumps routes and reads wide receiver’s body position better then his group mates. Poyer stands a shade under 6′ and is a little slight at 187 pounds but he plays very physical. He showed great hands and hips in press coverage and is really just a ball hawk. His speed is the question. Poyer has first round intangibles as far as his instincts and ball skills are concerned but his limitations and draft status will heavily rely on his combine and pro day 40 time.

-One guy who stood up for all the wrong reasons is Utah State’s cornerback Will Davis. He has adequate size at 5’11” 182 pounds, But after what I watched yesterday that’s kind of where the good news stopped. He started out the drill by getting beat deep by Aaron Dopson of Marshall and his troubles continued from there. Texas’s Goodwin ran a poorly rounded Out route that Davis still could not find the instincts to jump and make a play on. Another time, Denard Robinson ran a great speed out and absolutely fooled Davis and his backpedal. Davis will have trouble at the next level against elite competition. Now, on the positive side for him is that this is a competition. And if he comes back with a great day it all could be forgotten in time with big plays. Corner backs have to have a bad memory and Davis needs to live by that.

Some other news from the practice out of this group… Elon’s Aaron Mellette came out of his shell today and flashed elite skills. He did great on slant routes beating press man and he blew by UCONN’s Blidi Wreh-Wilson on a hitch and go for a score…speaking of Wreh-Wilson, he and his UCONN teammate Dwayne Gratz had tough days in drills. They are both good sized players who have had successful playing careers, but they looked pedestrian at times in coverage. Both got beat in press man and both gave up the deep ball at times. Gratz and Wreh-Wilson need to have better days today… Best moment of the day was Desmond Trufant calling out Wheaton for the last rep and subsequently holding Wheaton as he was beating Trufant. Trufant is a very entertaining guy to watch compete.

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