The North team took the field for the first practice on Day 2 of Senior Bowl week, and the quarterbacks had good days.
Boise State's Kellen Moore (5-foot-11¾ , 191 pounds) was the best of the bunch, despite his lack of ideal arm strength causing the ball to flutter at times in windy conditions. Moore was clearly comfortable with the offense and what he wanted to do, manipulating coverages with his eyes, working through his progressions and getting the ball out on time. And despite his somewhat weaker arm, Moore was more willing than his counterparts to attack the intermediate zones and beyond.
Wisconsin's Russell Wilson and Michigan State's Kirk Cousins, on the other hand, both showed the arm strength to cut through the wind. Wilson (5-10⅝, 203) started slowly with a lot of dump-offs and multiple pumps when looking for receivers, but he competed hard as the day went on and made some good throws to Ohio State's DeVier Posey during seven-on-seven drills.
Cousins (6-2¼, 202) throws a crisp ball that comes out of his hand well, and he displayed touch and arm strength on a nice ball deep down the left sideline that ended up being dropped by Iowa WR Marvin McNutt.
However, Cousins needs to learn when to take something off the ball -- he zipped a ball to Missouri TE Michael Egnew (6-5¼, 251) on a 5-yard out and made it hard for Egnew to bring the ball in -- and he also made a poor decision when rolling to his right and trying to hit his tight end working across the field.
That pass was picked off by Boise State S George Iloka, and we'd like to see better decisions from Cousins as the week progresses.
Passing game impressions
• It was an up-and-down day for Appalachian State WR Brian Quick (6-3.5 , 222), who is one of the top small-school prospects on the board. Quick struggled to get off the line against the press coverage of Boston College CB Donnie Fletcher (6-0¼, 201) and he had a hard time recovering in his routes. Quick did make some nice catches when extending his arms and plucking the ball out of the air, but he also dropped at least two passes.
• McNutt (6-2.5 , 216) looked the most natural catching the ball despite his drop on the ball from Cousins, and he did a nice job beating the press coverage of Nebraska CB Alfonzo Dennard over top during one-on-one drills.
• Losing that drill against McNutt was part of a tough day for Dennard (5-10, 203), who on the very next play allowed too much cushion in off-man coverage and did not close quickly when the pass was completed in front of him. He did a good job staying with N.C. State WR T.J. Graham on a double move, but it was a disappointing day overall for a player looking to hold on to a late-first-round grade.
• Iloka (6-3⅝ , 222) does not have the most fluid hips, opening up slowly against Arizona State WR Gerell Robinson and allowing too much separation on breaks, but he was much better working against tight ends. He showed good ball skills on the interception of Cousins, showing the ability to make plays in coverage and moving well for his size.
Iowa State duo stands out
Iowa State CB Leonard Johnson checked in at just 5-97 and 198 pounds, but he's competitive and knows how to use his hands to help mask his lack of size. He did not back down from bigger receivers, played with balance, showed good quickness and change-of-direction skills in space, and closed well when the ball was in the air.
It was also a good day for Cyclones OT/G Kelechi Osemele (6-53, 333), who is not an elite athlete but is very aggressive and uses his length well. Osemele lined up at right tackle today and moved better in space than I anticipated, and with his size and demeanor he appears able to play right tackle at the next level.
Ups and downs for linemen
• Ohio State OT Mike Adams (6-7, 323) looked natural in his movements, showing good athleticism and doing a good job climbing to the second level to cut off defenders. Once there, Adams was able to lock on and shuffle his feet to sustain blocks.
He over-set and was beaten by Virginia DE Cam Johnson (6-36, 267) on an inside swim move at one point, but overall Adams made a good impression. As for Johnson, that swim move along with power, the ability to play with leverage and good hand use stood out.
• Things did not go as well for Adams' college teammate Mike Brewster, who does not have a good power base or much lateral quickness. Brewster (6-4¼, 310) lined up at center and had trouble sinking his hips to anchor against inside rushers, and because he often played with his head down Brewster had trouble staying in front of defenders.
Marshall DE Vinny Curry (6-3, 265) isn't the most athletic prospect in terms of open-field quickness and bending the edge, but he is a strong player who flashed the ability to use power moves and violent hands to disrupt off the edge. His motor and effort were outstanding as well.
• Wisconsin C Kevin Zeitler was up and down over the course of practice, but he was able to get into initial position and sustain blocks at times during one-on-ones and the team period. We also liked Zeitler's ability to recover against rushers. He did not panic and stayed within himself when he got off balance.