Senior Bowl Practice Report-Tuesday A.M.

For the second day in a row it looked like the skies could open up at any time and dump a lot of rain on Ladd-Pebbles Stadium while the North squad was practicing. But just like Monday, coach Marvin Lewis got his team through a 90-minute session with nary a rain drop.

Here’s some of what I saw with the North team, and I was concentrating on the defense, and specifically the back seven – the North is playing a 4-3 defense in this game:

– The most impressive player in the North secondary is the smallest – 5-9, 181 pounds – CB Kendric Burney from North Carolina. What Burney lacks in size, he makes up for in fundamentals and the ability to compete. The only times he was beaten during the practice is when a receiver as running away from him. When there was a jump ball, or the receiver stopped to catch a ball, Burney was knocking passes down. He also had the most impressive defensive play of the day, when he made a diving interception and had sense enough to jump up and beginning running. Remember, college football rules say when the guy with the ball’s knee touches the ground, he’s down. Not so in the NFL, where the ball carrier has to be tackled. A lot of times college players forget the difference, but Burney did not.

The player he reminded me of was former Chiefs corner Kevin Ross. And just who happened to be talking with Burney after practice – Raiders defensive assistant Kevin Ross.

– The linebacker who always seemed to be involved in plays was Mason Foster out of Washington. At 6-1, 241 pounds, Foster showed a good burst when rushing the passer and on one snap was too much for RB Kendall Hunter to handle. Foster also showed the ability to react and move, and among all the linebackers, he seemed the best at dropping into coverage.

– When the first defense lined up here’s what it looked like: LDE Christian Ballard (Iowa), LDT Ian Williams (Notre Dame), RDT Jordan Cameron (California) and at RDE Ryan Kerrigan (Purdue). The linebackers were Casey Matthews (Oregon) and Mason Foster (Washington) on the outside with Greg Jones (Michigan State) in the middle. The secondary featured Kendric Burney (North Carolina) and Rashad Carmichael (Virginia Tech) on the corners, with Da’Norris Searcy (North Carolina) and Joe Lefeged (Rutgers) at safety.

– One guy who seems to be struggling a bit is DE Jeremy Beal (Oklahoma). At 6-2¼, 268 pounds, Beal was overrun when the offense kept the ball on the ground. On the pass rush, if Beal didn’t strike with his first move of the play, then he was all out of options.

– In the secondary, Carmichael showed some flashes and displayed good closing speed and CB Jalil Brown (Colorado) had a burst of closing speed when he held an out pattern to a small gain. At linebacker, Ross Homan (Ohio State) is on the small side – 6-0¼, 229 pounds – but he plays hard and throws himself into every play. Jones looks real good in between the tackles, but not so goodin the open field.

– Offensive moments: WR Niles Paul (Nebraska) continues to be impressive and he’s pretty much caught everything thrown in his general direction. Paul is very smooth getting into his routes and coming out of his breaks and he competes for every pass … QB Ricky Starzi (Iowa) has struggled but he made a nice throw when he was chased out of the pocket and he found WR Vincent Brown (San Diego State) open and threw a perfect pass on the run … RB DeMarco Murray (Oklahoma) looked really good on a screen pass. He was very patient and allowed his blocking to set up before he started to make his moves … OT Anthony Castonzo has another nice practice. He’s big and strong, with good feet and he just buried DE Jeremy Beal … QB Jake Locker had a nice practice as he was finding open receivers and making good decisions in where he threw the ball … WR Vincent Brown (San Diego State) continues to be impressive on just about every play.

We’ll get our first look at the South squad on Tuesday afternoon and we’ll focus on the offense in the workout.

One Response to “Senior Bowl Practice Report-Tuesday A.M.”

  • January 25, 2011  - MarkInTexas says:

    Bob, interested in your observations about Jake Kilpatrick, C, TCU. Rimington Trophy winner as nation’s best center. Didn’t play football until senior year of high school, but was an All-American by his junior year at TCU. May need improvement in raw strength, but gets high marks for athleticism, leadership and character. Projections range between the 2nd round (homers) and 6th round (uninformed). If he lasts to the 4th round, he might be a good value and need filler for the Chiefs.

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