Todd McShay, Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl are blogging from the Senior Bowl. Keep checking in to see who is playing well and who's struggling during the first Senior Bowl practice.
Boise State's Titus Young was great in and out of his breaks. He can drop his weight without having to gear down and is a savvy route runner. In fact, he's a confident route runner -- he knows what he's doing. He was very streaky catching the ball today, but we are going to keep a close eye on him to see how he handles adversity and how he carries himself. There are times when he looks like he's the most confident player on the field and has a swagger, but then the second he dropped one pass, it seemed like he went into a shell. He dropped one, then dropped the next two as well. Two of those three he dropped were over his head, and we'll keep an eye on his ability to catch balls over his head as well. In the same time frame of dropping those passes, he also jumped offsides. In one drop, the ball went off his hands and into the DB's hands for a pick and he watched the DB go down the field without even making an effort to chase him. Also, all three of the drops were on shorter, quicker routes so we'll watch how he handles the ball coming at him with some velocity. If he's fighting the ball instead of plucking it cleanly, it can take away from his strength, which is getting upfield after the catch.
Harris makes some plays
TCU's Dwayne Harris seemed reliable and comfortable fielding punts and made a great one-handed catch but we'll keep a close eye on his route running and getting in and out of breaks. He looked really choppy today and had to gear down anytime they were working on start/stop or change-of-direction stuff compared with the other receivers.
Need more than speed
Nebraska's Niles Paul is fast, but he had too many drops. He runs very obvious routes. He doesn't sell his routes very well.
All the North QBs were a little bit fired up and you could see the adrenaline in their throws. If you talked to all three, they would say they had more juice than normal and, as in every all-star game every year, there are timing issues in the first practice between figuring out routes with WRs and how coaches want routes run. Overall, they were erratic. Expect them to be more consistent with their accuracy as each day goes on.
Watch the hitch
Nevada's Colin Kaepernick had fewer glaring misses than the other QBs today. He showed adequate arm strength and really good touch on throws that required touch. He just throws a nice catchable ball. But the biggest thing watching him live is he's trying (unsuccessfully) to hide the fact he has a long delivery. It's as if he has a hitch in his throwing motion. It takes too long and it's something that defenders can really pick up on. It's tough to just break a habit and that's something he's going to have to really fight. We knew he had it, but seeing it live it's a little more concerning.
Eyes on a Hawkeye
Iowa's Ricky Stanzi did a pretty good job today. He's clearly the second-best QB for the North team. Not a great athlete, but he had good footwork and very good touch and timing as a passer for the most part. He threw the best vertical sideline route of day during 7-on-7s. His arm strength didn't jump out either way. He doesn't have rifle but he passed the test from that standpoint today. When he missed, he missed high and it tended to be on throws between the numbers. He was missing high on curls and in routes and that's something to keep an eye on this week.
Checking in on Locker
Washington's Jake Locker's day was a little bit like a microcosm of his career. He made some unbelievable throws, like one fade route in the back of the end zone. Perfect timing, perfect touch and dropped it right in. He nailed a couple skinny posts where he led the receiver and put it in the perfect spot for yards after catch. And maybe his best throw of the day was a sideline comeback route where he just drilled it with perfect timing. But he can't bottle it up and do it consistently. He had a handful throws that he made one time, but didn't do it the next time. It's that inconsistency that is frustrating. If it was just today and you saw something else on film, you could attribute the inconsistency to just being Day 1. But if this pattern continues, this isn't going be the week he needs it to be. Still, he did not have a bad day. In fact, he had the best day of the QBs here and there is no doubt who is the most naturally talented QB here.
Mississippi State OT Derek Sherrod's tightness in hips and his lack of mobility was exposed by Arizona's Brooks Reed. Twice Reed beat Sherrod with quickness -- once to the outside and once using a double move. Reed has a quick get-off and uses his hands well.
A Bear inside
Baylor's Danny Watkins lined up at guard some and he did well. He was good in his sets, got a good base and showed some power. He went against Baylor teammate Phil Taylor and showed good technique and held his own.
Mississippi State's Pernell McPhee has power but not a lot of speed, making us wonder if he has the ability to be a pass-rusher on the edge.
Carimi makes an impression
Gabe Carimi worked at guard some today, but don't make anything of it yet. The coaches moved everyone around. But he is tough, mean and powerful. Once he gets his hands on you, it's over.
On second thought ...
Shows how quickly things can change. One minute, Texas' Curtis Brown is looking good. Later, his tightness and lack of speed get exposed in one-on-one drills.
Purdue DL Ryan Kerrigan versus Colorado OL Nate Solder has been great to watch all day. Kerrigan won battles some with power, while Solder won with quickness. Back and forth they go and it's fun to watch.
Hooked on Brown
Texas DB Curtis Brown has quick feet and is aggressive filling in run support. He looked good in drills too.
Oklahoma State's Kendall Hunter is the quickest of the North RBs so far in drills.
Nebraska WR Niles Paul is not polished a route runner and has dropped too many passes so far.
Brown, Young shine
Boise State's Titus Young is the quickest wide receiver on the North team, while San Diego State's Vincent Brown is showing off his great hands. He is catching everything. He just made a great catch, plucking the ball out of the air while on the run.
A quick look at the QBs on the North team: Washington's Jake Locker has made some great throws, but he's inconsistent with his accuracy. The same can be said about Iowa's Ricky Stanzi. Nevada's Colin Kaepernick is throwing the ball pretty well, but his long delivery is a little concerning.
In one-on-one run-blocking drills, Wisconsin's Gabe Carimi went head-to-head with Oklahoma DL Jeremy Beal. Beal looked to win with his initial quickness, but Carimi recovered and drove Beal out. Carimi just had too much power for Beal.
Nice moves for a big guy
Baylor DT Phil Taylor showing great feet through the bags for a 6-4, 337-pounder.
Where's the power?
Wisconsin OL John Moffitt off to a slow start. He's playing high, leaning and slipping off blocks. He showed better power on film.
Connecticut LB Lawrence Wilson looked stiff laterally during the bag work. He slipped on the bag at one point.