Senior Bowl: Day 3 - South practice

Bear Report continues its coverage of the 2012 Senior Bowl from Mobile, Ala. Jeff Curts analyzes Wednesday's practice session for the South squad.

Roster announcements:

Florida Atlantic RB Alfred Morris has been added to the South roster. He replaces Chad Diehl (concussion) of Clemson. Of note, Morris becomes the first player from FAU to earn an invite to the Senior Bowl.

Other players dropping out after injuries include North CB Alonzo Dennard of Nebraska, who is out with a hip flexor. Dennard was physical and competitive in both full-pad sessions. He'll be replaced by Josh Norman of Coastal Carolina, who shined in last week's East-West Shrine game. Also out is Alabama WR Marquis Maze.

Observations from the last of the full-pad practices for the South team:

-The South defensive line continues to shine with potential first rounders Quinton Coples of North Carolina, South Carolina's Melvin Ingram and Courtney Upshaw (LB) of Alabama. Ingram was the standout Wednesday afternoon. He's similar in stature to the Steelers Lamar Woodley: short and squatty (6-1, 276) but stays low and uses leverage to get underneath blockers. Ingram also possesses excellent first-step quickness.

-Keep an eye on three South linebackers who fit the Chicago Bears profile: athletic and fast, but undersized. Texas's Emmanuel Acho (6-0, 235) has good bloodlines. His brother Sam plays for Arizona. Acho flashed during one-on-one drills with his quickness and range. He can play either the weak or strong side. Miami's Sean Spence has marginal size (5-11, 228) but flies around the field. He appears fundamentally sound and displays a physical presence. Spence played middle linebacker for the Hurricanes but may be better situated on the outside. North Carolina's Zach Brown set the school's 60-meter indoor record in 2009. He's fast, athletic and quick with good striking ability. However, his work during practices mirrored his 2011 campaign: flashes of brilliance sandwiched around stretches of inconsistent play.

-Oklahoma State QB Brandon Weeden enjoyed another solid day and has outplayed both of his South counterparts -- Arizona's Nick Foles and San Diego State's Ryan Lindley. Weeden's poise and ability to assimilate to the pro concepts are a plus, regardless of his age (28). He has the size (6-3, 219) and arm strength necessary, and his accuracy has been evident in practices.

-Georgia OT Cordy Glenn enjoyed a solid day, stonewalling Courtney Upshaw in a one-on-one battle. Glenn is huge (6-5, 346) and has the long arms necessary to engage defenders. He showed a decent punch in Wednesday's session, fending off oncoming rushers and then anchoring his massive build. He adds versatility with the ability to kick inside to guard. A name worth remembering come draft time for the Bears. Borderline first rounder.

-A pair of South defensive backs, Dwight "Bill" Bentley of Lousiana Lafayette and Florida's Janoris Jenkins, have generated buzz all week. Bentley had the better of it on Wednesday. He's small (5-9, 178) but tenacious in press coverage. Bentley shows the ability to flip his hips and mirror wide receivers. He plays with an air of confidence and has backed it up all week, moving from a late-round prospect to a solid third- or fourth-round pick. Jenkins possesses all the athletic traits but the former Gator squatted on too many routes in one-on-ones, trying too hard for interceptions. He may be too overconfident in his skills.

-Another small college corner, Furman's Ryan Steed had an up-and-down day. He possesses good size (5-11, 190) and challenges wide receivers, but wasn't as consistent with his footwork and technique.

-Steady is the appropriate word for Vanderbilt CB Casey Hayward (5-11, 188). He demonstrates a smooth and fluid backpedal with good ball instincts. He was turned around though in a one-on-one matchup with Houston WR Patrick Edwards. Hayward isn't elite but would be a safe mid-round choice. Edwards was showing well too, before an apparent hamstring injury late in practice.

-Florida RB Chris Rainey has helped himself this week by showcasing his versatility. He ran routes with the wide receivers in addition to working out of the backfield. Rainey appears to have elite speed, and though he's small (5-8, 178), he could offer teams a strong third-down specialty option. He has looked natural as a pass catcher, running good routes and catching the ball cleanly. Rainey could be what the Bears hoped Devin Hester would be all along, a multidimensional weapon who can catch a few deep balls, return kicks, and pick up yardage on reverses and gadget plays.

-Arizona WR Juron Criner had another good day. He displayed excellent body control in one-on-one drills and continues to catch the ball well. Criner showcases good instincts and the ability to get open.

-Alabama C William Vlachos (6-3, 306) won't win any bathing suit contests but was stout in one-on-one drills. He does a nice job of using a hand punch and is quick out of his stance. Vlachos is probably destined for the late rounds, but could add depth to a Bears line that will need to eventually replace Roberto Garza.

-Georgia CB Brandon Boykin shined. He's been one of the week's most-consistent performers. In one-on-one drills, he demonstrates toughness, quick instincts and change-of-direction skills, and an aggressive, physical nature that belies his 5-9, 183-pound frame. Boykin uses his hands well and appears to enjoy press coverage. His return skills add value.

-Florida State LB Nigel Bradham is a thumper. He's big (6-1, 237), fast and physical. He displayed good coverage skills and instincts, blowing up an intended reception by the running back in one-on-one drills.

-Louisiana Lafayette TE Ladarius Green followed up yesterday's solid workout with another impressive outing. He's a huge target (6-6, 237) with soft hands and good route-running skills. If the Bears want a receiving threat to bolster the tight end position, Green would fit nicely to give the club an option down the seam. Fellow tight end Brad Smelley of Alabama is limited athletically but caught everything in sight.

-OT Matt McCants (6-5, 309) of UAB struggled in one-on-ones, getting walked back to the quarterback and bull rushed on consecutive sessions.


Jeff Curts has written for the Bleacher Report, Examiner.com, NFL Draft Dog and published The Slant...NFL Draft Newsletter. Curts is a graduate of Sports Management Worldwide, having completed the Scout & General Manager course under the direction of former NFL scout and current Sporting News draft expert Russ Lande. Jeff is founder and publisher of the Web site Bears Claws and hosts the program "Bears Claws" on BlogtalkRadio. He is a regular contributor to BearReport.com.

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