NFLPA Bowl Day 2 practice recap

The weather was perfect again today, and the field was in great shape. The players still had some shadows to deal with but overall it was a perfect setting to play

NATIONAL

Quarterbacks
-From worst to first, Andrew Hendrix really had a good day today and the best day of the morning group. He hit some really good fade routes and was much more decisive in his decision making. Andrew did bobble one of the center quarterback exchanges, but I’ll give him a pass since he is working with a new center.

-Brandon Bridge showed the crowd why he is a project at the next level. He would make a great pass followed by one off target. He made a great pass over the middle to Cameron and then threw a pick on the next play. All the physical gifts make him an intriguing prospect, but he is still a project and likely won’t hear his name until middle or late day 3. Jameill Showers again had a solid day hitting some nice passes, but his read and accuracy were off.

Running Backs
Again the clear cut best back was Malcolm Agnew, if he can overcome his small stature he might be able to carve out a role on an NFL team. He has a great burst, shows good acceleration, and has good balance. The other two running backs that had some good plays were Ricky Seale and Jahwan Edwards.

Wide Receivers & Tight Ends
-What a day for Chris Conley; he was like a 7/11 today, always open and feeding us good stuff. He had multiple deep routes where took the top off and made nice over the shoulder catches. In the red zone drill he made a great shoestring catch from Hendrix in the corner of the end zone keeping both feet in bounds.

-The next best receiver was Nick Harwell; he made lots of plays today including a few nice TD catches. He looks like a guy that can find a place playing in the slot on the next level. He has average hands but he was catching the ball in his hands and not letting it get to his pads. He ran a great fade route and caught a TD in the red zone 11s drill, and got both feet in bounds.

-The best Tight End again was Cameron Clear with quite a few catches in traffic. The one play for him that scares me is a ball was thrown high by Bridge (during the red zone 11s) and he gator armed it when he hear d the safety closing in. I know it’s just one play but in the NFL as a tight end you have to be willing to take a shot or two even if your QB hangs you out to dry. Devin Mahina had a nice TD catch in the 11 on 11s as well.

Defensive Line
-In the morning session the guy who had the most “splash” plays was Marcus Rush. He really was using his intelligence and football IQ to beat guys on the edge. There was one sequence where he set up the OT with a speed rush to the outside, then on the next play started the same way then planted his foot and spun back inside. He had a wide open shot at the QB, had that been a game situation he would have had a blind side sack.

-Lean Orr had a couple of good splits of the A gap; his initial burst is really nice. Quayshawne Buckley continues to show he can hold up against the higher quality completion; he had multiple good stops up the middle and he had a pass breakup today. One of the things that really impressed me with Buckley is that as soon as he comes off the field he posts himself right next to the coach and is asking questions. He is making the most of the opportunity of having great coaches at his disposal.

-A guy I don’t remember seeing much from in day one, maybe I just missed it, but that was DeShawn William from Clemson, he had an excellent practice. That definitely changed on day two. He was getting off the ball very quickly and pushing the pocket from the middle. He was using a nice swim move to get past the center and guards.

-LaDarius Owens made a great play in 11s when he didn’t bite and chase the run fake away from him and when the QB went to bootleg his way he was right there. Since it was two hand touch the QB was able to buy some time and throw it away, but in a game that would have been a sack lunch for sure.

Linebackers
In the morning session they were in shorts and pads so it’s a little hard to say which linebackers really did well. They were all playing two hand touch and a lot of a linebacker’s skill has to be there tackling ability. The two players that I kept noticing around the ball the most were Zaire Anderson and D.J. Welter. They both were in the backfield multiple times early on a play and would have made a tackle for a loss. Now, I also take that with a grain of salt because the offensive linemen can’t block the same as full pads. Zaire also made a nice interception in traffic off of Brandon Bridge.

Secondary
-No one in the secondary was consistently shutting down their receiving counterpart. The offense won the battle of skill players all morning long. Al-Hajj Shabazz had a good pass breakup in 11s where he read the QBs eyes and jumped the route to break up the play.

-Chris Dunkley also had a decent day with a pass breakup as well. They had multiple calls on them for interference and there were plenty more that weren’t called. I am interested to see if it is that the wide receivers are better for the National team or if this secondary is weaker. Saturday will tell me a lot about this group.

AMERICAN

Quarterbacks
-Thursday was another unflattering day for the quarterbacks. Cole Stoudt probably had the best day with some good throws to Mario Alford in the individual drills. Cato had some nice passes but he still holds the ball too long and wants to scramble too much.

-Jerry Lovelocke looks like he is out of place, he fumbled a few snaps, his throws were off target, and the offense is stagnant when he is the QB.

Running Backs
-Paul Lasike had another nice day with some good receptions out of the backfield and some nice gains on the ground.

-The show today was stolen by Prince-Tyson Gulley he had an amazing practice. In the 11s he broke off two big gains and was setting up his blocks all day long. He looked like an NFL back on Thursday there was no question about it. He reminded me of an Ahmad Bradshaw type of player, he was catching the ball and running elusively with power and burst.

Wide Receivers & Tight Ends
-The struggles under center continued to hamper the receivers in the afternoon of day two. This time there were a few bright spots to mention though. Mario Alford really is a guy that I think will play on the next level. They had him running some kick returns and he is so fast it’s unreal. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him crack 4.4 on his 40 time. His big knock is his questionable hands, but I haven’t seen anything so far that would have me worried. I cannot recall any balls that he dropped that were catchable.

Kaelin Clay made a nice over the shoulder catch as well. He was the next best receiver besides Alford. Anthony Johnson looks the part; he’s big, long arms, and is fast for his size. The problem is his routes are sloppy and need polishing; he’s had a few drops, and really hasn’t made any terrific plays. I really wish that we would have got to see this receiver group with the other quarterbacks for a little while to see what they can do.

-Brian Volger again had a nice day for the tight ends and has be the most consistent pass catcher from that group.

Offensive Linemen
-The small school guy that I really liked today was Antoine Everett. He played tackle in college but they moved him to guard and that looks to be the future position for him. He has really powerful hands and he won over and over in the individual drills. He had a two play sequence against Hudson were he pancaked him and then stonewalled him on back to back plays.

-Jarvis Harrison had another quality day and was stifling his competition all day long. He beat Botticelli on back to back plays in individual drills as well; he basically stopped him right in his tracks both times.

Defensive Line
-Ethan Farmer had another solid day and he looks like he will be able to play DT or DE on depending on the team he goes to and their scheme. He has a great burst and strength and uses a good variety of moves to get by the offense.

-Cameron Botticelli has a great motor but he seems to rely on the speed rush up the middle too often. He will need to work on adding moves to be effective at the next level. Brock Hekking, Andrew Hudson, and Zack Wagenmann all had some positive plays, but none of them were able to do it consistently.

Linebackers
-The two linebackers that showed the most promise in the afternoon were Damien Wilson and J.R. Tavai. They were both flying around the ball a lot and Tavai had a great pass break up (he was yelled at for making too much contact, but I liked it) he went right for the ball and knocked the receiver in the process.

Secondary
-The best in the secondary seems to be Troy Hill. Terell Floyd had another good day but Hill is the best NFL prospect from the corners. He is being avoided by the QBs and when they come his way he makes them pay. He broke up more than one pass and he plays press coverage well. He has great speed so when he is in press and can look at the QB he can really be a menace.

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