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Senior Bowl: Monday Buzz

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; MOBILE, Ala. -- Here's what the scouts are saying after watching practices for the 2004 Senior Bowl: North practice -- Jan. 19 Minnesota FB Thomas Tapeh surprised everyone with his soft hands and fluid route-running skills for such a big ...

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Old 01-20-2004, 12:05 PM   #1
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Senior Bowl: Monday Buzz

MOBILE, Ala. -- Here's what the scouts are saying after watching practices for the 2004 Senior Bowl:

North practice -- Jan. 19
Minnesota FB Thomas Tapeh surprised everyone with his soft hands and fluid route-running skills for such a big back. He looked good in 7-on-7 catching the ball but because the team practiced in shells we were unable to get a good read on his ability as a blocker. Although he has some size, Tapeh is kind of slender for a fullback so we're anxious to see him mix it up.

Iowa WR Maurice Brown had the worst afternoon out of all the receivers, dropping a number of easy throws including one that bounced off of his facemask. All told, the total came to five drops. He seemed to fight the ball and failed to get into any sort of rhythm. There were times when he didn't get his head around quick enough and others when the ball went right through his hands. He seemed to have the most trouble on the slant route especially when the ball was placed low. Granted, it was cold and the balls were hard but the rest of the wideouts, particularly Michael Jenkins (Ohio State) and James Newson (Oregon State) enjoyed solid days. One positive note about Brown, he displayed good speed and consistently got behind defenders in the 7-on-7 drill.

Pittsburgh TE Kris Wilson was also surprisingly unsteady catching the football. Wilson does not have great speed, but the reason he is regarded as a mid-round prospect is that his hands were always so consistent at Pittsburgh. However, that wasn't the case on Monday when Wilson seemed to be fighting the ball early in practice and then started to let the ball get into his pads later on. He needs to put these first-day jitters behind him and bounce back with a solid next few practices.

None of the North linebackers stood out. Oklahoma's Teddy Lehman is the best of the bunch, but even he is a little bit stiff in the hips and has some trouble when forced to change directions in coverage or when chasing the run. West Virginia's Grant Wiley looks small when you line him up with the rest of the group and Nebraska's Demorrio Williams, who weighed in at just 208 pounds, looks like a safety trying to play linebacker. Purdue's Niko Koutouvides and Notre Dame's Courtney Watson have good size and are tough, aggressive players but neither looks like they have the athleticism or speed to become much more than backups and special teams players in the NFL.

Purdue DS Stuart Schweigert gets a lot of the media attention when it comes to this year's class of safety prospects, but Bob Sanders was the most impressive in practice today. If Sanders was three inches taller and 10 pounds heavier we'd be talking about him as a first round lock. As it is, Sanders still will likely be drafted in the second round at 5-8/195. While Sanders lacks good size, he plays like a 220 pound strong safety at times. He is absolutely fearless when it comes to supporting the run and he also has exceptional all-around instincts. Sanders, who was clocked at 4.33 in the 40-yard dash, is one of the quickest, smoothest and fastest defensive backs in this game -- and we're including cornerbacks.

Nebraska PT Kyle Larson has the wind to blame for some of his problems, but the bottom line is that he struggled mightily on his 15 attempts in practice. Larson did seem to get into a rhythm on his last three punts, but 10 of his first 12 punts went no more than 35 yards. Larson needs to bounce back with a strong performance the next couple of days to prove that he just wasn't loose and that the wind was playing a bigger role in his struggles than scouts thought today.

South practice -- Jan. 19
Philip Rivers, the record-setting quarterback from NC State, has an unorthodox delivery and showed it today. There will be some debate whether his throwing motion will need to be refined or it should be left alone. Rivers' style has been effective, though. When he didn't wind up too much, he showed the ability to get rid of the ball quickly. Fellow South QB J.P. Losman from Tulane kind of felt his way through the practice, but he should get more comfortable during the week. Losman can really put some zip on the ball. He needs to show accuracy and consistency

There's some good talent on the South's defensive line. Florida State's Darnell Dockett was extremely powerful all afternoon. LSU's Chad Lavalais doesn't have the best looking body, but he was very sound on the field today. He has a great motor and it was on display throughout the workout.

RB Greg Jones from Florida State is a straight-line type runner and caught the ball well today. Arkansas' Cedric Cobbs looked more like a strider than a quick-footed back in the workout. Mewelde Moore from Tulane proved to be a good receiver and looked comfortable split out. He could be a good third-down back.
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