MOBILE, Ala. — News, notes and observations from day three at the Senior Bowl:
1. I was pleasantly surprised with the improved performance of Oregon State standout Sean Canfield. He was by far the most decisive quarterback on the North squad today, showcasing good accuracy and timing on all levels of the field. Although at times Canfield was able to fit the ball into some tight windows outside the numbers, it still takes far too long for his throws to get there, and he doesn’t have the type of arm strength necessary to not be on time with a throw. Overall, I think he’s definitely taken some positive steps this week, but he still projects as a limited backup-type QB in the NFL.
2. One player who hasn’t shown well for himself is Cincinnati wideout Mardy Gilyard. He lacks the physicality needed to consistently fight his way through physical corners, hasn’t looked real explosive out of his breaks and has had a tough time separating vs. man. He has exhibited some flashes of being able to beat pressman and cleanly snap off routes vs. a free release, but overall, Gilyard has had a tendency to drop the football and hasn’t had the week many envisioned.
3. Central Michigan quarterback Dan LeFevour again failed to impress and has looked out of his element all week. Unlike Canfield, he appeared indecisive with the football today, failing to decipher information quickly and struggling with his accuracy any time he was asked to throw the ball down the field. LeFevour has a tendency to force throws into coverage, and when you evaluate his physical and mental skill sets, they just don’t add up to an impressive QB prospect.
4. There’s no denying that Missouri linebacker Sean Weatherspoon has some natural leadership qualities and can close on the football sideline to sideline. However, I still worry about his ability to hold up at the line as he too often gets washed out of plays inside. He does a nice job locating the ball quickly and can sidestep opposing linemen in space, but when he’s asked to play in tight quarters, the guy isn’t nearly as effective.
5. One prospect who’s flying under the radar on the North squad is Iowa linebacker A.J. Edds, who is simply Mr. Dependable on defense. He possesses good size, showcases great instincts inside and knows how to play off blocks and find the football. He was around the action all day, finishing off practice with a big tackle inside and then was asked to long snap after the session ended. He’ll never be a star in the league but is a versatile guy you can win with in the NFL.
6. Another player who seems to be improving throughout the week is Virginia Tech OT Ed Wang. Wang is a tall, gifted athlete who did a nice job dropping his base on contact and playing with a little more anchor than he’s shown in the first two practices. He still needs to get a little stronger and improve his flexibility out of his stance, but it was an encouraging day for Wang off the edge. He looks like an intriguing developmental-type left tackle prospect.
7. California cornerback Syd’Quan Thompson once again looked uncomfortable in press-coverage, providing little resistance off the line and struggling to turn and run down the field. There’s no denying he can close in space when he anticipates throws, but at this stage, I don’t think he has the footwork or fluidity needed to hold up in man-to-man coverage in the NFL.
8. Arkansas State DE Alex Carrington again displayed impressive power on contact during one-on-one drills this morning, generating a lot of explosion from his lower half and consistently jarring opposing lineman into the backfield.
9. One guy to keep an eye on is Murray State DE Austen Lane. He’s a tall, with long arms and impressive lateral suddenness off the edge for his size. He’s still learning how to use his hands and play with more leverage, but with some time, Lane looks like he could develop into an effective pass rusher.
10. Finally, Michigan DE Brandon Graham has been one of the real standouts here, using his hands and lateral suddenness to consistently sidestep opposing linemen and accelerate around the edge. He makes everything look easy and is one of the most NFL-ready prospects at this year’s Senior Bowl.
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