Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr, who has landed with the Cincinnati Bengals in one mock draft, showed impressive arm strength during Monday's practice. Writes Rob Rang with NFLDraftScout.com (via CBSSports.com):
The ball explodes out of his hand and caught a few of his new teammates by surprise with how quickly it got to them. Carr showed good anticipation, often delivering passes before his receivers turned back to look for the ball.
However, it seems that Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who earned a Senior Bowl invite after winning the MVP at the East-West Shrine game, had the better day.
"Jimmy Garoppolo didn’t get the opportunity to thrive during the Shrine Game practices last week, but his quick release was on display on day one in Mobile," writes Eric Galko with Optimum Scouting. "While his rollouts and drop back seteps need work, he has plus velocity across the field, and his quick release allowed for his throws to reach his receiver faster than Derek Carr, despite the drop in arm strength."
As for the North team, Virginia Tech Logan Thomas turned had the better day, especially compared to Stephen Morris and Tajh Boyd; both of whom struggled on Monday. However, he still struggled with accuracy and none of the North's quarterbacks did much to impress anyone. Mike Mayock compares Thomas to Cam Newton and Ben Roethisberger, in regards to size. It's accurate. Thomas is 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds.
Mayock said if you only watched tape of Thomas' performance against Michigan in the Sugar Bowl at the end of his sophomore season, "he's the first pick in that entire draft. However, since then it's been mostly bad tape. He lacks the anticipation, pocket awareness. He had a really good game against Miami this year and then a bunch of bad games." Fellow NFL Media draft analyst Charles Davis noted that some college teams recruited Thomas as a tight end out of high school and that "tight end talk is back in play for him."
The Senior Bowl is a little short on cornerbacks this year, missing most of the big-named players with decent projections. Injury and a fear of losing stock on a mistake/error typically keeps well-known and high-placed prospects away from all-star games. However, Nebraska cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste had a good practice. NFL Media senior analyst Gil Brandt compared Jean-Baptiste to Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman.
Jean-Baptiste has rare size (6-foot-2 3/8, 215); he looks like a clone of Richard Sherman. I'm sure the Seahawks, among most NFL teams, will be paying close attention to this player. He's a junior-college transfer who only played cornerback for a season and a half at Nebraska after switching from wide receiver in 2011. Has very long arms (78 3/8 wingspan) and is a willing tackler. Looks fast in coverage and has quickness.
Doug Brugler with NFL Draft Scout wrote he and Linenwood cornerback Pierre Desir had strong practices.
...both tall, long defensive backs who have the athleticism to turn and run with receivers downfield. They both did a nice job in press-man to get physical at the line of scrimmage and then ride the receiver through the route, although both got away with a little too much holding. Neither are elite when controlling their start/stop momentum, but neither are allergic to contact either. And with several teams who utilize press-man techniques on defense looking for the next Richard Sherman, both Desir and Jean-Baptiste are players to watch this week.
- Nothern Illinois safety Jimmie Ward is the "top safety prospect" this week and he "played like it on Monday."
- Oklahoma cornerback Aaron Colvin "demonstrated good speed and fluidity in coverage". He was the "best cornerback on the field for the South".
- Utah cornerback Keith McGill "sustains leverage through initial contract" and "displayed impressive fluidity in coverage during practice."
- Wisconsin wide receiver Jared Abbrederis had a "superb practice".
- BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy garnered the label "most impressive performer of the day" for the South squad and a projected top-20 selection (remember, it's January).
- Pitt defensive tackle Aaron Donald was described as "an unstoppable force."
- Wyoming wide receiver Robert Herron and Oregon wide receiver Josh Huff (along with Abbrederis) "looked good on Monday before, after and during the catch".
- Ohio State offensive tackle Jack Mewhort "did an excellent job sinking" his body and "digging his cleats" while "stonewalling rushers."