The third day of practices in Tropicana Field featured some of the most focused drill work I’ve seen with the prospects and coaches, notably on the East squad.
Syracuse WR Jamal Custer hadn’t done much for me in the first two days, but the long-levered wideout really impressed on Wednesday. It can be tough for taller receivers to get off jams, but Custer proved adept at using his long arms to protect his chest and a big 1-2 step with his long legs to get separation quickly. He’s every bit of 6-5 and might have the longest arms of any player here, WR of otherwise. It paid dividends in the red zone drill.
Kentucky CB Derrick Baity had a rough Monday session but bounced back nicely on Wed. morning. Baity showed much cleaner footwork and transition movement. He still tends to panic and grabs jersey when he loses lateral leverage on a route, something that was a big problem earlier in the week. While there is little live hitting, Baity showed he’s attentive and willing in run defense. He also made an opportunistic INT out of the hands of Auburn WR Ryan Davis, who will not be featured on anyone’s “winners” list this week.
Kansas DT Daniel Wise is a man amongst men on the West DL, which for my money is the best overall unit here on either roster. He’s too strong for the more finesse blockers on the West OL, too quick for the hog mollies. Consistently destructive, going a step better than disruptive, Wise took over parts of Wednesday’s session.
Toledo CB Ka’dar Hollman continues to impress. I liked what I saw on Monday and the 6-0/190-pound Rocket built on it this afternoon. There’s nothing flashy about Hollman but he’s sticky in coverage and is one of the few West DBs who doesn’t hold on every cover rep. He was very good in the red zone drill, including this rep:
Others who impressed on Wednesday:
Syracuse WR Jamal Custis
Georgia WR Terry Godwin
Temple DL Michael Dogbe, playing inside
Maryland LB Tre Watson, very good in coverage
Oregon LB Justin Hollins, who destroyed San Diego State OT Ryan Pope in a pass rush drill
Arkansas State OG Lanard Bonner, though he also fell victim to Wise on a couple of reps
Texas TE Andrew Beck
Texas A&M DE Daylon Mack
Colorado safety Evan Worthington, impressive in red zone drill
North Dakota State QB Easton Stick is probably the marquee player here, so what I’m about to say will likely not be popular. But it’s my truthful assessment based on watching him for three days: hard pass. Stick lacks the requisite arm strength to play in the NFL. When he tries to put more mustard on the hot dog, the bun gets soggy and the throw loses accuracy and spiral. NDSU fans who want him to be Carson Wentz 2.0 need to take a deep breath and appreciate that he was a fantastic FCS-level QB for a juggernaut in the way Steve Walsh was at Miami back the in day.
McNeese State LB B.J. Blunt has boundless energy and enthusiasm, and he’s got coverage savvy and body control. Alas, he’s about 6 feet tall and the listed 220 pounds has to include about 5 lbs of (really nice) hair. He’s got potential as a box safety-as-LB, though most guys who play that role in the NFL come up from the safety spot, not back from the LB spot. He has the trappings of a special teams dynamo and took his reps on punt coverage seriously.
Angelo State DE Markus Jones bagged a pair of would-be sacks in the team drill, using a quick upfield burst and decent bend to close to the QB. He’s got some technical work to do but there are physical tools to make it worth the investment. As we like to see in watching up close, his game improved from Monday to Wednesday.
Sam Houston State DE Derick Roberson has not had a great week, though Wednesday was also his best day. When he attacks against single blocking he typically wins, but Roberson gets washed out too easily in the run game and appears tight athletically for an NFL edge.
North Alabama safety Chris Johnson looks the part at a chiseled 6-2 and 200, probably a bit heavier than that (not in a bad way). He performed better in team drills than 1-on-1s.
Morgan State OG Joshua Miles is tall at 6-6 and plays too tall, unfortunately. On reps where he has been conscious about keeping his pad level down, you can see why he’s at a postseason all-star game. It needs to happen with far more frequency. He does get to the second level well in the run and screen game.
James Madison CB Jimmy Moreland has not built upon his great first day. I still like him and his in-air ball skills. His jamming and route anticipation has not been superlative since Monday.
Princeton WR Jesper Horsted seems to draw an unusual amount of targets over the middle. He’s been nondescript to me. The same is true for Villanova OL Ethan Greenridge as well as Elon OL Oli Udoh, who was better Monday than he was Wednesday.
Line of the week, pt. 1
“If I have to tell you to hustle you don’t belong on my team,” a position coach on the East team, quite early in the practice too. The player he was admonishing is in no danger of being drafted.
Line of the week, pt. 2
“Don’t throw the ball at his nuts, aim for the (expletive) hands,” East QB coach to Purdue’s David Blough after he missed an open receiver too low. Blough’s next handful of reps were outstanding. Coaching!
One of the goals for several players here, or more correctly phrased, their agents, is to get a callup to the Senior Bowl next week. I don’t see many players here other than the four guys at the top of this list meriting serious consideration other than their being available. If I had to pick one QB to replace Northwestern’s Clayton Thorson, who withdrew from the Senior Bowl due to injury, it would be Oklahoma State’s Taylor Cornelius.