The South practice took part at Fairhope Stadium just outside of Mobile, Alabama while the North squad practiced at Ladd Peebles Stadium.
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â†‘ BRANDON WEEDEN – QB – OKLAHOMA STATE: Of all the South quarterbacks today, Weeden looked the best. He was crisp on his throws and displayed some of the best accuracy all day. Even Weeden’s arm strength was impressive with a number of throws audibly being heard hitting receivers. He definitely has a great command of the huddle and doesn’t appear to have any difficulty making the tough throws, like the deep outs, the slants, the flag routes or even taking the edge off on touch passes. A great start for Weeden thus far and if he keeps this up, people are going to start downplaying his age instead of blowing it out of proportion.
â†‘ JOE ADAMS – WR – ARKANSAS: Adams was definitely the star of South practice today, showing off his lightning quickness and ball skills all day. He absolutely torched Vanderbilt’s Casey Hayward on a flag route that was unfortunately overthrown by San Diego State’s Ryan Lindley. Adams seemed to haul in everything thrown his way and made a beautiful tip-toe grab on the sidelines that drew a few oohs and ahhs from the crowd. The Razorback definitely brings bigtime deep speed to the table but he has the ball skills and intelligence to win his matchups and consistently get open against the South corners.
â†‘ LADARIUS GREEN – TE – LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE: The big man had a terrific outing at Fairhope, showing off terrific ball skills and agility that defies his super sized frame. Green twice made plays on overthrown passes in the skeleton drill portion and dominated in the seven on seven drills. He made a wicked catch on an underthrown pass that was directly over Texas linebacker Keenan Robinson’s head but the impressive part is that he made the catch look easy and quickly went upfield for more yards. Green was a runner up for the star of day one award just behind Adams but regardless, he’s going to do a lot for his draft stock if he keeps up his stellar play.
â†‘ JURON CRINER – WR – ARIZONA: I’ll go ahead and confess my bias for a prospect that I’m pretty smitten with, as the receiver from Arizona has great ball skills, terrific size and he has a much better release than he’s given credit for. Criner had a great showing with a number of consecutive catches that was only broken by a slant route that was broken up by “Bill” Bently of Louisiana-Lafayette. Criner torched Ryan Steed on a nine route up the right sideline and there weren’t any moves made on the route, he just took him for a ride. The Wildcat made a play on everything and converted on some poorly thrown passes but also made some plays that should have his stock a little more buoyant as the draft draws near.
â†‘ DWIGHT “BILL” BENTLY – CB – LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE: I have to credit Scott Wright of Draftcountdown.com for being one of the first to tip me off on Bently but I should also credit Bently for making it blatantly clear today that he’s a player. He consistently drew praise from Raheem Morris, the Redskins’ new defensive backs coach, and for good reason, thanks to his physical play and great instincts in coverage. He intercepted a Nick Foles throw on a pass intended for Jeff Fuller who was running a curl route but Bently actually beat him on the outside to cut the angle and take the football back the other direction. If there was a defensive MVP of day one, it would have to go to “Bill” Bently from my view of the sidelines.
â†” JANORIS JENKINS – CB – NORTH ALABAMA: The former Florida Gator had a so-so day, having issues lineup once and biting on a double move by Edwards. He is one of the more physical corners on the roster with his ability to bump receivers and close quickly on ball carriers. He absolutely blew up a check down pass after a clear out attempt by the receiver but he closed out the lane and knocked Terrence Ganaway out of bounds into a couple of scouts. (That’ll teach ‘em) All in all, a decent start but he’s definitely a player that I simply have to see a full week of because of the background issues that haunt him.
â†” RYAN STEED – CB – FURMAN: Steed had his moments of impressiveness but also some regrettable lost battles against the South receivers. He was right on top of Fuller on a curl route that he was able to break up and he also beat Fuller to the football on an outroute by breaking on the ball and cutting directly underneath the intended receiver. Steed did have his difficulties with double moves and was beaten by Juron Criner on a nine route easily that Steed almost caught back up to but his two misteps put him out of that matchup. There’s no question that he’s an NFL player and has terrific athleticism, I’d just like to see a little more consistency tomorrow.
â†” JEFF FULLER – WR – TEXAS A&M: Fuller had an up and down day today but some of the drops I will credit to first day jitters and even though he lost his footing twice during the practice, the field at Fairhope stadium was completely soaked so I’ll be interested to watch Fuller at Ladd Peebles tomorrow. The guy made a really nice adjustment on an underthrown Ryan Lindley pass and also was able to recover after a miscommunication between he and Nick Foles, as Fuller turned inside initially but Foles threw a back shoulder pass and Fuller was able to spin around off of his jump and haul the football in but as I mentioned above he had a very difficult time matching up with Steed.
â†” TERRENCE GANAWAY – RB – BAYLOR: I wasn’t really impressed with Ganaway, who had a drop in the sekeleton drills and did not look explosive at all through the running lane drills. Ganaway was another player that suffered through footing issues but I’ll once again, chalk that up to the field conditions at Farihope, either way a runner has to find a way to overcome the elements. There certainly wasn’t a lot to glean from today’s work so I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt here but he should be able to show a lot more when the do the pass blocking drills, backs on backers and more live scrimmages.
â†“ PATRICK EDWARDS – WR – HOUSTON: Edwards has impressive speed and his back story is one to know and love, as he’s a former walk-on that has been through a rough patch of injuries. He did, however have a few drops on the day and isn’t a consistent hands catcher. He had an extremely noticeable drop out of the slot, as he ran a nice turnaround over the middle but let the ball bounce right off his chest. He also had a big drop on a slant route that, to his credit, he was wide open on but it was another pass that he let into his body and he simply could not control.
â†“ RYAN LINDLEY – QB – SAN DIEGO STATE: Maybe it’s because Weeden looked so polished and that’s what made Lindley appear to be extremely rough around the edges but his ball placement was terribly inconsistent today. Lindley has adequate arm strength and a nice delivery but his release is a bit elongated and his accuracy is still an issue on all ranges off attempts. He had a number of overthrows on deep routes and his mid range game is lacking, as he twice hit Jeff Fuller on the shoe laces and also couldn’t seem to throw his receivers open on the large number of slant routes that were run today.
DRAFT NOTES: Bulldogs OG Cordy Glenn actually saw a lot of reps at left tackle and the big man from Georgia looked very comfortable there. Although his future is more likley at the guard position, he’d be able to play on the outside in a pinch and could feasibly play on the right side with his length and power.
Arkansas DE Jake Bequette is listed here in Mobile as an “LB” and that’s exactly where Bequette saw a lot of action in today’s practice but it was not to his benefit, as his 271 pound frame took quite the effort to manipulate in space. There are certainly teams looking at him as an outside linebacker but he will be best served playing with his hand in the dirt as a base end.
It looks like the injury bug has already biten the South team with not only Marquis Maze of Alabama coming in with a hamstring injury, but now Texas A&M RB Cyrus Gray had to leave practice early with an undisclosed injury. I wasn’t able to confirm with Cyrus what his injury is but he appeared to be walking fine and at one point in the practice told a Raiders scout that he’s going to play in the game. I’ll definitely follow up on Gray and any other injuries that pop up… probably should use the word “pop” but oh well.