Rain causes stir in North practice
While some players were impacted, others shrugged it off. Both Eddie Royal and Dorien Bryant didn’t seem bothered. Royal said it was just another day in Blacksburg, Virginia while Bryant called it Big Ten weather at its finest. Receivers Marcus Smith, New Mexico, and Adarius Bowman both seemed to let it have an effect on them. Offensive guard Roy Scheunning played on as if nothing was different. "This is nothing," he said. "It rains all the time in Oregon. It was like being at home." When receiver Lavelle Hawkins, whose had a good a week as any, dropped a pass, he blamed nothing on the rain. Instead, he immediately began doing push-ups. "That's my own thing," Hawkins said. "I don't like to drop passes. If I drop a pass, I do like 10 push-ups."
Erik Ainge under the microscope
It was a day to forget. After Brian Brohm withdrew from the Senior Bowl late, it was Erik Ainge that received the invite. He’s shown more or less what he’s done all year. He has the size and arm for an NFL quarterback, but needs to improve spotty accuracy and wobbly footballs. Though the conditions weren’t spectacular on Thursday, Ainge still could have played a cleaner game. Ainge is considered a third round prospect at this point and the only thing that’s change this week is the warming competition. “I just need to keep listening to him and take advantage of every rep I get whether it’s before practice, taking drops or whether it’s individual practice. I need to take advantage of that.”He’s keeping his head up and that’s what you like to see from a young quarterback.
Better late than never.
After injuries to Owen Schmitt (knee) and Chris Johnson (shoulder) had sidelined the two backs, Oregon State’s Yvenson Bernard got the late call (between 8PM and 9PM Pacific time). He took the next flight out and arrived for the latter portion of the North team’s practice. He couldn’t play because his helmet still hadn’t arrived. There was a problem with his jersey as well; his name wasn’t on the back. Though I doubt Bernard gets many looks in the Senior Bowl, here’s a guy who is a sleeper. He can’t do anything stupendously, but he has a great all-around game that includes running, receiving, and blocking.
Proud father watches son Sam Baker Practice
Sam Baker’s father is the commissioner of the Arena Football League so he is accustomed to watching the NFL Draft process and scouting it for talent. This season is different from him. He’s looking at every aspect with such detail with his son going through the process. “‘This is such a beauty contest,’ said David Baker, referring to the measurements, strength tests, speed tests and interviews that all prospects will endure.” The father keeps reminding his son that greatness is measured by character something that can’t be put in numbers. Sam Baker has shown plenty of that and quite a bit more at the Senior Bowl. He was reunited with Coach Lane Kiffin and has looked pretty impressive throughout the week’s activities.
Jack Ikegwuonu done for 2008
Though unrelated to the Senior Bowl, Jack Ikegwunou’s injury is a serious headline for draft fans. Wisconsin’s corner was widely regarded as one of the better talents in the draft with his great size and speed. After forgoing his final season of eligibility, Ikegwuonu suffered tears of the ACL and MCL along with damage to his kneecap while working out at a training facility in Davie, Florida. He was a projected second-third rounder prior to the injury, so this essentially seals his fate as a late day two corner. If he can heal strong, he could be a solid player somewhere along the line in 2009.
As week of practices close, which players came out winners?
Almost all of scouts agreed that Joe Flacco was the only potential first round quarterback at this week’s practices. He has all of the physical tools, can make all of the throws, but just needs to adapt taking snaps from under center. Chad Henne impressed likewise, throwing great deep balls and proving some critics wrong with his good arm. Both quarterbacks are second rounders as of now, but Flacco has the ability to move into the first.
Like the two aforementioned QB’s, Lavelle Hawkins was the top receiver with no questions asked. He’s displayed great speed, quick cuts, natural athletic ability, and the knack for making the acrobatic catch. Look for him to be in that second round range, with a change of cracking the end of the first, like Anthony Gonzalez last year. Ironically, both were overshadowed by a dangerous athlete for their respective schools.
Sedrick Ellis, the defensive tackle impressed scouts every day of the week from Monday-Thursday. He came in weighing way over his expected weight at 308 pounds. He looked explosive on the field and tormented linemen all week long. He leaves Senior Bowl week as a sure fire top 10 pick.
Where were the losers?
While the two lesser known quarterbacks looked impressive, the guys on the other side, Andre’ Woodson and Colt Brennan, severely disappointed. Brennan came in shorter and skinnier than expected and was fairly inconsistent. Early in the week he struggled with drop backs and realized the difficult transition he’d have to make from sitting back in shotgun for his entire career. On the other hand, Woodson had one of the slowest releases seen in quite some time. It was almost impossible to not notice and he very well may have dropped out of the first round.
Oklahoma State’s wide receiver Adarius Bowman didn’t exactly stand out this week for his stellar play either. He was played by drops all week long, though showed some improvement later in the week. He didn’t get much separation and cut off some of his routes. He’s a big physical receiver who isn’t expected to really improve his stock much at the combine. Getting back into day one (second round) would be a solid, realistic goal for Bowman at this point.
Random Thoughts: From Our Forums
“Jason Jones- He has been impressive. He has shown a nice burst and has a future” –elwayfan07
“Xavier Adibi- He only weighed 219, but he is a bad man. He has sideline-to-sideline range and long arms. He understands coverages. I think he will really showcase himself in the Bowl Game” –elwayfan07
On Sedrick Ellis: “It's like that kid at two-a-days who no one wanted to go up against because they knew that by the afternoon practice, they'd be hurting.” –Big7BenMVP
“Andre Woodson is going to plummet. He has a lot of the skills like ability to read a D and being able to evade pass rush, he throws a very nice ball, but the most underrated part of a passer the release if just horrible. I would have to say it is the slowest I have ever seen. He takes a massive wind up and flings it. He really needs to work on that or he will be punished in the NFL.” –khodder