The weather was perfect today for the 2015 NFLPA Bowl practice here in sunny southern California. The Players did have to deal with some shadows in the stadium during the early morning and late afternoon portion of the practice. The field held up very nicely and I didn’t notice anyone having issues with their footing. The grass is very short on the field so it is a “fast track” for the skill players and it showed.
By: Cody Tewmey
-In the morning the big winner was Brandon Bridge. He connected on quite a few deep balls in the individual drills, putting them right in front of the receivers facemask. This is what I expected from him and he did not disappoint. He has an absolute howitzer for an arm that you really have to see in person to appreciate. The speed that he gets the ball to the receivers is amazing. He needs to develop some touch on his passes to make it in the NFL, a few balls bounced off receivers hands because they were thrown too hard. He does hold the ball a little bit long sometimes and misses his first open read, although in the full team game this did allow him a big scrambling run. He will be a load to take down for NFL defenses when he is in the open field.
-The worst day of all, not just quarterbacks, goes to Andrew Hendrix. He looked lost, missed wide open receivers, threw into traffic, threw balls well over receivers out of bounds, and fumbled the snap multiple times. It came to the point were you began to feel bad for the kid out there. I am not sure if it was nerves or just a bad day, but this was one to forget for Hendrix. At the end of practice he fumbled the snap, again, in the team practice and the coaches followed that by 3 running plays and his day was done. Hopefully, he can rebound on day 2.
-Jameill Showers made some good reads and made some good throws but did not do anything spectacular today. He seems to be a pretty cerebral player, that will be held back in the NFL by his physical tools if anything.
-The best day goes to Malcolm Agnew, he broke free multiple times for some long runs. He showed a good blend of wiggle and speed that translates well to being a “scat” back at the next level. He made quick decisions in the holes, but was patient to let things develop as well. The defenders really had trouble finding him behind the line of scrimmage due to his small size and low pad level when running. No one had a overly bad day for the rest of the running back group, but no one else really stood out.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
-No real stand outs amongst this group. They all played pretty well and consistently beat the guys across from them. Many of there catches were uncontested or deep balls. There were not many drops. If I had to pick one guy that looked the best it would be Chris Conley, with his speed he beat the corners deep multiple times. The best catch of the individual drills goes to Dawan Scott from Miami with a great catch on a deep bomb from Bridge early in the drill. Demarco Robinson was in John Kitna’s dog house because lined up incorrectly and then Kitna rode him pretty hard for a good bit.
-Cameron Clear looks the part of an NFL tight end and he had a good practice with some good catches over the middle.
The biggest name in this group is Lean Orr, no doubt about it. He had a pretty good day and look very good in the individual drills. The most important thing I noticed with him is how he was paying attention when he wasn’t involved in the drill. When the coaches got on the group he took the criticism well, or at least he didn’t show lack of effort afterwards. I spend most of the time watching Orr and Marcus Rush. Neither of them got great pass rush, but they both made some smart plays. Orr got his hands up and batted down a pass from Bridge. Rush stayed at home on a fake sweep reverse and made the stop at the line of scrimmage. Quayshawne Buckley showed that he belonged with the big boys getting his hands on and stopping the running backs multiple times up the middle.
-The main reason that the defense looked so good in the afternoon was that none of the quarterbacks looked exceptional. Jerry Lovelocke takes the cake for the worst performer of the day. He missed reads, threw an awful interception, fumbled a snap exchange, and his throws were off target. Rakeem Cato had a few good scrambles in the full team practice but not much to be excited about in the passing game. Cole Stoudt probably had the most consistant day of the group, but again it was not a banner day for anyone. Many of the passes for all three were defended by DB, thrown off target, or were dump off passes after the ball was held to long.
I pleasant surprise from the running back group was Paul Lasike he had a few good runs and showed some good wiggle for a bigger guy. He was also a recipiant of some of the check down passes and showed some pretty good hands. The running back that struggled the most was Joe Bergeron who didn’t maintain balance as he turned the corner and stumbled over his own feet a couple times.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
The wide receivers didn’t show much in the afternoon because of the struggles of the quarterbacks. I will keep a closer eye on the receivers tomorrow to see who is the best of this group. Brian Volger had a few good catches and was a bright spot for the offense today. He is a lean guy as far as a body type for a tight end so I think teams will want him to add a little size at the next level. Mario Alford went against Troy Hill most of the day and the QBs avoided that side of the field.
The biggest guy in this group is Jarvis Harrison, he looks every bit of the 330lbs they have him listed and I be willing to bet he is more then that. He played well and really held the point of attack in the one on one drills and nearly threw a DL into the goal post when he tried to speed rush past him. In the team drill he did have a false start but won consistently vs. Botticelli.
-Sean Donnelly also had a great one on one session, he showcased some good footwork and bend. The two guys that helped themselves the most off the field were Takoby Cofield and Jarvis Harrison they were two of the last people off the field after interviewing with scouts & media members.
The defensive line in the afternoon was the best unit all day. Ethan Farmer had the best day of the group he showed a great initial burst and variety of moves to get past the OL group. He had a string in one on one drills were he won three straight meeting with three different drills.
-Cameron Botticelli has a really high motor and was high energy all day. I was infective and others definitely stepped up and did the same. He will have to work on his moves to succeed in the NFL, he relies a lot on the speed rush.
-Zach Wagenmann also flashed some good plays, but looked to be out powered by the offensive linemen at times. Brock Hekking really flashed great initial burst and I think will make a good tweener OLB/DE on the next level. I spoke with him after practice and he admitted he will have to learn the nuances of coverage’s since he has not done that a lot.
The two guys of note in this group were Troy Hill and Terell Floyd. They both had good days and were the main reason that the quarterbacks were struggling. Terell had a good interception when read the route and broke on the pass for what would have been a pick 6 in a game. Troy Hill had an exceptional day considering that he played in the national championship game less then 48 hours ago. He defended multiple passes early on and then the quarterbacks avoided him most of the rest of the day.