It was a windy day (and not just because of all the media there!), with steady gusts of between 10-15 miles per hour according to one fellow media member.
So going into the day, I knew it would be a tough practice for the quarterbacks.
All of them struggled a bit with accuracy Tuesday, and once again there was no 'stand-out' North quarterback. If there is one guy who intrigues me the most, it's Logan Thomas from Virginia Tech. As with Monday, he continues to be 'consistently inconsistent,' showing good accuracy one minute and a lack of it the next.
We keep hearing about how good Thomas is doing, but nobody I am around is seeing it. He shows flashes of accuracy and his mechanics look pretty sound, but he can also look really rough. The current theory is that people are not seeing more than a few throws of his and are basing it off that or the bar is set so low coming in (and by the other quarterbacks) that he looks good compared to what you expect.
Thomas has a big arm, has the prototypical measurables coaches love in a quarterback but he strikes me as very raw. His upside, because of the arm, will attract some team to him, potentially too early. I don't dislike what I see, but I'm not as big a fan as some here seem to be.
Again though, he intrigues me because you can see the potential there and he has a heck of an arm.
Miami's Stephen Morris loves to pat the ball (or in Draft parlance, burp the baby) before he throws. It's the sort of thing you'd prefer he stop doing because the last thing you need is the cornerback getting tipped off that the ball is coming. Morris had several balls sail on him and had the overall worst day of this group.
Clemson's Tajh Boyd aka "the undraftable quarterback" also struggled in the wind, as he had multiple throws wobble and at one point threw the ball directly into a defensive lineman. He also bobbled a snap, though it was delivered a little bit high. Boyd continues to be a project quarterback, as is nearly every quarterback in Mobile this week.
I watched a lot of one-on-one battles between the defensive and offensive line and came away impressed, though an awful lot of both would jump before the simulated snap. Chalk it up to excitement, I suppose.
I thought Virginia Tech's James Gayle (defensive end) did well in drills, showing good drive, power and aggression on his rushes, pancaking a few offensive linemen as he rushed the passer. Trent Murphy from Stanford did a good job as well, coming hard off the edge and making the opposition miserable.
The standout for the morning was defensive tackle Ra'Shede Hageman from Minnesota, who was an absolute beast in drills. He's pretty much a one trick pony, or at least was in drills yesterday, but that one move (his bull rush) annihilated guys. I ran into Ty Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and told him to take note because Hageman could be a great interior fit for a Green Bay line which is desperate for a big monster in the middle to stop the run.
For the running backs, West Virginia's Charles Sims continued to impress when running the ball, but was not as good in the backs-on-backers blocking drill, being overpowered too often. Meanwhile, Wisconsin's James White was incredibly nasty in the same drill, showing great aggression up to, and sometimes beyond, the whistle.
ESPN Denver's Cecil Lammey called him "feisty" and it was a good description. I got some good quotes from him after practice which I'll try to compile tonight or tomorrow along with the others I got.
Overall, the Atlanta Falcons continue to run a practice with a very casual feel to it. The pace is laid back and it felt a bit disjointed to me, though we got some good looks at the prospects. I still liked the tempo from the Jacksonville Jaguars led practice on Monday, but as you'll see, that didn't hole up either.
Unlike Monday, the Jaguars-led South practice lacked the quick pace and high energy of Monday's. Maybe they took their foot off the gas a bit to keep from burning the kids out or maybe Gus Bradley blew out his voice. Either way, I missed the pace of Monday's drills, though we saw a lot of good stuff Tuesday.
As with the morning group, the wind was a factor, and nobody suffered from it like San Jose State's David Fales. Fales was having the ball float on him Monday without the high wind so you can imagine it was ugly at times during a much windier practice.
I really don't like his release point and follow through (or lack thereof) and even throws which he seemed to drive the ball more effectively sailed on him. His ball also wobbled quite a bit on shorter passes, making it hard for his target to catch it cleanly. Suffice to say, it hasn't been a good week for Fales.
Derek Carr of Fresno State did better, though he too had some wobbles on his passes, and had one or two sail high. Overall though, he showed a nice drop back and delivery and threw a few dimes to his receivers in drills. He continues to be the "safest" of the quarterbacks here. I'd say "best" but in this group it's such a relative term it kind of loses meaning.
The guy with the most upside on the South team continues to be Jimmy Garoppolo from Eastern Illinois. He was throwing too hard on Monday, but that worked to his advantage as his throws were generally more accurate - even when he threw sidearm, which I have to admit made me cringe but was impressive.
There was a drill where the coaches had the quarterbacks throw across their body - a tough thing for any quarterback - but Garoppolo probably made the nicest throws in the drill. Overall I've liked the way he throws the ball, feel like he steps up in the pocket well and has a quick release.
He's not a finished product but there is a lot to like. Like Logan Thomas on the North side, he's an interesting project quarterback.
Interestingly, Garoppolo told reporters after the game that the wind wasn't a factor for him as he "plays football in the Middle of Nowhere, Illinois." It's often very windy he said, so he felt very comfortable in the conditions Tuesday. It showed.
As with the morning group, I saw a lot of defensive line drills.
Will Sutton, the defensive tackle from Arizona State, continues to have a pretty strong week and got some good penetration during his drills against the offensive line and I saw outside linebacker Jordan Tripp get some good rushes off the edge as well.
Princeton's Caraun Reid also continues to play well, and had a nice couple of moves on 9-on-9 drills. He consistently drove offensive linemen backwards on rushes and overall looks very strong.
Virginia's Brent Urban had a tougher day, getting completely fooled on a play-fake, though he got good penetration overall.
I'm off to Wednesday's practices, so I'll be back tonight with some more Senior Bowl notes. I have a lot of good pictures too, so I will try to get some of those up somewhere as well.
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