South Team Intro and Day 2 Practice

Posted: January 24, 2013 in 2013 Senior Bowl

After a heavy dose of the North team and their practice results and analysis, I finally got a first hand look at the South Team. As you would probably expect, it is a loaded group with 22 players from SEC teams. This does not help dispel all the doubters of the SEC being he power conference in collegiate football. The South squad is also the highlight of the Quarterback class in this game. The three signal callers from the South squad are much more highly touted guys then the South. Mike Glennon front he North team may get the nod as the first QB taken in the draft, the three players on the South team have had much more “career success” and are used to the limelight.

Oklahoma's record setting quarter back Landry Jones

Oklahoma’s record setting quarter back Landry Jones

I will get into the quarterbacks a little later in the blog this week, but at quick glance I would have to give the most pro ready nod to Landry Jones, 6’3.5″ 221 lbs., of Oklahoma. He is the BIG 12 career passing yards leader and throws a great deep ball, also showing above average arm strength on his intermediate throws. The knock on him is that he is a “shotgun guy” and that he will have trouble with the footwork and center exchanges that the NFL playbooks will bring. That myth has been dispelled time and time again as of late with the innovation of offensive coaches really throwing that out of the window. Now it comes down to how many throws in college did he make that are NFL throws, i.e. the deep outs and the opposite hash throws that so many systems require now. Shotgun or not, I think he can play at a high level in the NFL and he WILL be a Day 1 pick by some of the QB needy teams in the league (hello Buffalo and Jacksonville).

– Again, the other two QB’s will get much more coverage from me in the later days and weeks, but they are no slouches either. Tyler Wilson or Arkansas and E.J. Manuel of Florida State are the other signal callers for the South Team and each player has big game experience Wilson has good arm strength but I see a little hitch in his throwing motion that could lead to more sack fumble situations then other QB’s. Manuel is a big, mobile guy, but don’t think that he is a Cam Newton look-a-like. He lacks Newton’s elusiveness and I don’t think his arm is as good as Newton’s. He has great upside and has played a lot of football. I need to do more work on him in the coming months but he is a guy that is going to be able to make a lot of money if he kills it during the week and the Combine.

The South Team is loaded with talent and intriguing prospects and here are some notes from the Day 2 practice and some standout players from the drills and team periods.

-B.W. Webb of William and Mary had a good day and did not show any tepidness towards playing against elite competition. He is 5’10” and 183 pounds and had great instincts at corner. He did a great job jumping a Terrence Williams route (who is a burner!) and did a good job breaking up a few passes some of the better receivers  He worked out wide and in the slot, proving today that he could be a great addition to a team as a nickel or dime corner. He can use this week and the Combine to sneak up a round or two.

B.W. Webb of William and Mary

B.W. Webb of William and Mary

-Two other corner backs that stood out are Robert Alford of Southeastern La. and Leon McFadden from San Diego State. Both are in the 5’10” range and about 190 pounds so size isn’t a huge issue but they might scare away some teams who are now coveting the more physical, big corners for press and cover 2 man schemes. What both Alford and McFadden have is closing speed and instincts There were a few times that both players got beat with a deep ball move or a quick slant and had the hip flexibility and quick twitch to adjust and close the gap on the receiver Corners are a premium position and I think both guys will be gone by the end of Day 2.

– As far as the receivers are concerned, it seemed that throughout the draft-buzz process that Quinton Patton of Louisiana Tech was getting a lot of publicity, as he should. But the two players that jump off the screen to me are Tavarres King of Georgia and Terrence Williams of Baylor. Both players are a shade over 6′ and carry a playing weight around 200 pounds. King showed amazing route running ability and really knows how to use momentum in his breaks to get the DB’s second guessing what he will be running. He made a lot of great plays on crossing routes and corner routes and he has great footwork and release ability. The play that really stood out for Williams is when he absolutely made Georgia’s Bacarri Rambo look pedestrian in one rep. Rambo had no chance to catch up with a Williams’s corner route and Rambo showed that he isn’t the best deep ball defender. Both receivers are speed guys who can play on the outside in the NFL.

Lane Johnson of Oklahoma

Lane Johnson of Oklahoma

-As far as the offensive linemen are concerned, the headliner is Lane Johnson of Oklahoma. He is 6’6” 300 pounds and has some of the longest arms in the all star game. The thing that really jumps out about Johnson is that he uses his great length to set the edge of the pocket much further out then most tackle prospects. His kick step is continuously setting back and not turning perpendicular and forcing the QB to have to step up in the pocket. He has the feet and punch to be a prototype left tackle in the NFL. He has the makeup of a first round pick and he will fight with the North team’s Eric Fisher for the second tackle taken behind Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel.

-One of the more versatile prospects of the OL group on the South is Florida’s Xavier Nixon. He is 6’5” and 310 pounds and has a tremendous anchor. Nixon moved around a lot and looks more natural at guard; however, he does show the footwork and athleticism to play right tackle in the NFL. He showed one of the most violent punches of any lineman and did a great job of showing patience in his sets. He still needs work with his feet, as most of these prospects do, but he looks like a great OL prospect for a power running team.

-The defensive linemen that stole the show both hail from the University of Georgia. John Jenkins and Cornelius Washington have the most NFL ready skills on the South team. I am not saying that these two will go first, but the skill set is there to be elite. Washington is a 6’4” pass rushing machine who has tremendously long arms and a nasty disposition. He shows the elite balance and hand fight skills that you covet in a speed rusher, and like Datone Jones of the North team, he will more than likely show how he can play as a 3-4 linebacker at the combine and in his workouts throughout this draft process. Now to Jenkins, the heaviest guy in this game at 359 pounds. Jenkins is a disruptive force who flashes the Vince Wilfork like ability for spurts, but is definitely in need of an off season program that is structured and will help him lose and keep the weight off. Jenkins has great bull rush skills and is surprisingly nimble and that is what makes him such a force inside. Both are first round talents that will need to continue to impress in this draft process in order to capitalize with their rise up peoples draft boards.               Georgia's John Jenkins

Georgia’s John Jenkins
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