2015 Senior Bowl: North Practice Observations on Day Two

Iowa DL Carl Davis was unblockable at times during North Practice.

Iowa DL Carl Davis was unblockable at times during North Practice.

NEPD Editor: Mike Loyko

Today, all the pads went on at the Senior Bowl and the North Squad gave on-lookers a physical, competitive practice to watch. Linemen battled in a variety of 1-on-1s, which gave scouts the opportunity to learn a lot about some of these players. Overall, it was one of the better Senior Bowl practices I’ve been witness to in the last few years. Here are my observations and which players stood out during this morning’s session.

1) Iowa DT Carl Davis was a disruptive force in all phases of the practice. He was extremely difficult to block during 1-on-1s and carried the disruptive play over to the team drills. Davis has tremendous size, plays with power, and gets a great surge on first contact. Davis told me last night his goal was to sneak into the first round and today’s practice certainly didn’t hurt that.

2) Division III and Hobart College’s Ali Marpet showed he deserved to be at the Senior Bowl invite by battling hard against some of the top DL in the nation. Marpet showed good strength, hand placement, and was able to withstand the power of bigger defenders. In team drills he was asked to pull across the formation a number of times and looked capable of picking up his block on the move.

3) Duke WR Jamison Crowder continued to showcase an NFL skill-set on the Senior Bowl field. Crowder is a polished route running, with great quickness, and always competes at full speed. He’s able to create separation at the top of his routes with his ability to stop and change direction on a dime. He had multiple team’s scouts buzzing when he ran a sharp comeback route and almost made a circus catch along the sidelines.

4) Jeff Luc, LB, Cincinnati was a late addition to the mix after Eric Kendricks dropped out of the game, but he’s showing he should have been here all along. Yesterday, I talked about his incredibly thick, powerful frame and that was put to use in 11 on 11s today. Luc is so physical in the box and near the line of scrimmage. He’s comes downhill quickly and isn’t afraid to take on or dish out contact.

5) Oregon State CB Steven Nelson definitely looks like the best Cornerback when going through change of direction drills. He possesses those quick-twitch muscle fibers that allow him to “click and close” or break laterally in an instant. He’s undersized, but there is no doubt he can be a contributor as a Nickel or Dime Cornerback on some NFL roster.

6) Danny Shelton’s power was really evident throughout the practice. His first contact is really explosive and even though he can struggle with his countermove and hand usage, his ability to drive one or two blockers 3 yards into the backfield off the snap blew up plays today.

7) I thought the North Offensive Line as a whole had a pretty good day. I got to watch the majority of individual reps and every player had a moment. Donovan Smith was 4-0 in run blocking situations, but struggled badly when pass protecting. Rob Haverstein showed patience and ability to redirect an inside rush move during drills and Laken Tomlinson showed an ability to recover/re-anchor after getting pushed back. One offensive linemen who turned some heads was Tennessee State OL Robert Myers. He’s a powerful kid who creates a surge on contact and at one point pancaked ASU DT Marcus Hardison onto his backside.

8) Pitt OT TJ Clemmings was up and down once again. His inexperience and “rawness” gets exposed in some drills, but scouts here absolutely love his frame, potential. He seemed to struggle with Nate Orchard’s speed rush to the outside, getting beat off the ball and around the edge at least twice. Through two practices I’ve noticed when Clemmings is good, he’s really good and when he’s bad he’s really bad.

9) Yale’s Tyler Varga continues to excite onlookers. He does a number of things really well, including deliver lead blocks. On one occassion he leveled USC LB Hayes Pullard in the hole and cleared the way for a Jeremy Langford touchdown. NFL Scouts in the stands get a kick out of watching him play. He’ll find a role in the NFL.

10) In terms of edge rushers, I’ve felt Nate Orchard has stood out the most. He’s definitely the most athletic of the bunch, even though he’s more of a one trick pony. When Washington’s Hau’oli Kikaha is allowed to attack the line of scrimmage or rush off the edge he’s been good, but he’s struggling when asked to drop into coverage. Kikaha showed me in team drills he can really set a hard edge and uses his hands to control the edge blocker.

11) Quinten Rollins inexperience shows up in his technique and ability to read routes, but his recovery ability is pretty good. When he gets beaten he’s usually in position to recover and make a quick tackle. His biggest mistake today was taking a bad angle on a WR screen and he was left in the dust.

12) Utah DB Eric Rowe was moved to Safety today which was no surprise. At 6’2″ he’s probably too high cut to succeed at cornerback at this level. Rowe started off practice with an interception of Sean Mannion breaking on a deep seam pass.

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18 Responses to “2015 Senior Bowl: North Practice Observations on Day Two”

  1. Jeff says:

    How would people rank Marpet, Myers, and Tomlinson at potential picks at guard for the Pats? Interesting to hear that Marpet is holding up, that Tomlinson looks consistent, and that Myers is flashing some good potential.

    • steve earle says:

      I could see Tomlinson as our 3rd rd pick, depending on how things unfold, though I don’t see him as a year 1 starter. It’s thought he needs to get stronger to handle the pro running game. He does well as a pass blocker though.
      I’m Thinking your asking about Ali Marpet from Div III Hudson? He seems to be impressing and could be drafted. Thing is level of competition might effect how he will be valued by GM’s so guessing is wide open. Teams in need who don’t go o-line earlier could get a real value but he likely will need a year or two to break into a roster spot. I’d like to see BB pick him up as an UDFA if possable as long as he continues to show positive progress.
      Not sure who the Myers is you refer to, I don’t have him on my board.

  2. Dan Sullivan says:

    Stephen A. Smith great job speaking about this great organization the Patriots.
    Patriots stay focused and fans see them off Monday as they give the Seahawks
    a beating that the entire nation will see.

    Free Agents for Patriots
    Roy Helu RB Redskins
    Mike Adams S Colts
    Da Quan Bowers DE Tampa
    Rey Maulauga ILB Bengals

    Patriots Mock Draft
    1 Owamamgbe Odighizuwa DE UCLA
    2 Jeremiah Poutasi OT Utah
    3 Chi Chi Ariguzo OLB Northwestern
    4 Laken Tomlinson G Duke
    4 Jamison Crowder WR Duke
    6 Greg Manz C Toledo
    7 Chris Conley WR Georgia
    7 Austin Collinsworth SS Notre Dame

    The Patriots have something to prove in this Super Bowl. I can’t wait.

    • Jeff says:

      Your mock certainly targets positions of need. Does Mike Adams at safety mean you’re anticipating saying farewell to McCourty? Otherwise, too many safeties, especially with the late rounder. I also think there may be a signing at guard (even if it is a vet minimum contract) to increase options at the position before the draft.
      I’m interested to see how the Pats handle the running back position, with Blount, Gray, Bolden, and White all under contract, plus Gaffney coming off of IR. Even without re-signing Ridley or Vereen, you’ve got a crowded group.

    • steve earle says:

      I like this draft fairley well Dan the only question is Chi Chi Ariguzo in your 3rd. He’s a little undersized as far as BB likes them though you may not be predicting but stating your preferances as I usually do. As for the FA’s Halu has injury problems otherwise okay if they could be had at reasonable cost.

  3. Daniel R. Martin says:

    Is anyone else worried that Gooddell is going to come down on our Pats like a proverbial ton of bricks in order to acquiesce to public opinion, especially in the wake of such a staunch avalanche of criticism concerning the Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson situation? Of course domestic violence shouldn’t be conflated with deflated footballs, but anything to appear tough and appease the masses. My main fear is that we will be bounced from the Superbowl. Logically, I realize this is very unlikely. Doesn’t mean I’m not concerned about it though.

    At the very least, I suspect I should do a mock before picks are taken away. It’s just like the so-called “spygate” witch hunt in a way. Everyone does it, and in this situation it can’t even be proven, but that doesn’t quell the howling of the masses. And if this whole thing were to miraculously blow over overnight, damage has already been done. The Patriots have already lost valuable preparation time to this silly distraction.

    • steve earle says:

      Agree with you Dan, Gooddall has the spine of a jelly fish and the mass histeria is a joke. Already there is plenty of reports that indecate teams often “push the envelope” in regard to the balls. It’s like doing 50 in a 45 mph zone. Sure its against the strict letter of the law but everyone does it. Still I wish BB hadn’t, don’t know why he thought it was necessary? It puts an astric beside everything done in NE in the past 15 years.

  4. steve earle says:

    Change of subject guys. What are your thoughts on the under inflated balls. Is this going to hurt us? How much?

    • Russell says:

      Hard to prove anything, and did the NFL check this out all season long?

      • steve earle says:

        Good point Russell if it’s such a big deal how come the game balls aren’t weighed before each game? Ref’s or players are unlikely to feel the differance because it’s not two pounds of air like many are saying it’s two psi (pounds per square inch) hardley noticable in something the size of a football.

        • Russell says:

          AND the Ref’s touch the ball on EVERY play, you would think IF there is a differance they would feel it.

        • steve earle says:

          Very true Russell and besides all the balls were inspected by the Refs before the game. One thing I’ve mentioned before is the media are all talking about 2 lbs when actually it is 2 psi a pressure not a weight. Seems to me 2 psi, besides being darn hard to feel, could be lost when balls filled inside at say 68 degrees were taken outside wher it was 34 degrees. The more I read the more I’m convinced this is all BS. Wonder just how Colts were able to decide they were under pressure?

    • td says:

      I don’t know, probably some cash or a later pick. The referee’s are complicit in this too as they handle the balls every play. If the balls were low before game time, what happened? Did they inflate them to spec. or not before the game started? Also, not to involve a CSI investigation, but what is the chain of custody on those balls? The ref’s didn’t notice low inflation the whole game or before Indy raised a stink? Did Indy take out some of the air on the sidelines? How much air escapes when someone inserts the pressure gauge, like about a hundred times? I know when I put the pressure gauge on my bike tires, the psssst sound is air pressure escaping.

      Other than that, haters gotta hate. Browner had a great tweet, check it out.

      • steve earle says:

        Thanks td I’ve been trying to figure this out sense last night. From what I’ve read you appear to be right. What’s more it seems it’s not uncommon for balls to be adjusted one way or another to fit a teams QB’s preferance. Read Panthers use to heat their game balls, Aaron Rogers has his over inflated, other QB’s have them massaged or roughed up so I’m begining to lean back to the sour grapes I first thought it was. After all Luck couldn’t complete his passes, their def couldn’t stop our running game, our def did stop their run game, they muffed a punt and were intercepted twice, Luck passed for 126 yds Brady 226 yds, we rushed for 181 yards Colts rushed for 83 yds. So all the balls were inspected by the officials before the game and passed muster. Did anyone check the Colt’s balls after the game? Yea, it’s sour grapes and Pat’s haters.

  5. Russell says:

    Jeff Luc is a force, powerful tackler, he has some good game tape, I like him alot !

    • steve earle says:

      Right, but can he cover or is he another Spikes like LB? Mike isn’t clear on that so far.

      • Russell says:

        Steve I would say Luc covers better than Spikes no question. IMO he is very much like LB Mayo, who’s coverage is just OK.

        • Mike Loyko says:

          Luc will be a two down LB in the NFL. He’ll struggle in coverage and his lack of size will get exposed vs. bigger TE. On run downs just let him come downhill and attack.

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