SENIOR BOWL: What They're Saying, Showing

After two looks at the North team, the South team made its first television appearance on Tuesday afternoon. Here's what we observed and what some of the NFL Network analysts had to say about the players practicing for the South team.


Questions prevailed about Colt Brennan's arm strength, and there were instances where those questions appeared justified.

"He's rail thin, and part of that goes to, can he drive the football outside the numbers?" said NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock, who questioned his arm strength often.

Brennan was announced at weigh-ins as being 185, which he said was due in part to a stomach virus that accounted for much of a 10-pound weight loss in recent weeks.

"When you look at Colt Brennan and hear 185 announced at this stage of his career, I think that was a surprise to a lot of people," said NFL Network's Charles Davis. "Six-two and 185 and they're saying, ‘OK, how do we get the proper weight on this guy so he can absorb the hits he's going to take?'"

Kentucky quarterback Andre Woodson didn't have his arm strength questioned, but he did take 118 sacks over the last two years during his career.

"He got sacked an awful lot over his four years of time at the University of Kentucky," Mayock said. "Part of that, I think, is decision-making and part of that is playing in a tough conference. When you take a good look at him, trust me, he had a lot of good offensive firepower around him."

Although he had an impressive 40 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 2007, coaches tape showed by NFL Network did indicate some problems with consistent accuracy and holding onto the ball too long.

The other South quarterback was Eric Ainge, who appeared to have strange footwork in dropping back, and he looked like he wanted to get out of the pocket early. On the upside, he has a quick release and looked fairly accurate.


  • Kentucky's Rafael Little can get to the edge and seems to read his blocking well, but he doesn't have great sustained speed. He can also get some looks as a punt returner because of his short-area quickness.

  • Matt Forte ran for more than 2,000 yards at Tulane, but the question about him will be the level of competition he faced. He does seem to have ideal NFL running back size at 6-1, 221. "He was a man among boys (in Conference USA)," Mayock said. "… What I saw was really quick feet in the hole. Can make you miss, but also a big enough back to push the pile."
    Alabama's D.J. Hall can get some separation coming out of breaks. He also has good size at 6-2, 190, but he needs to drive the cornerback to turn his hips on comeback routes.

  • LSU's Jacob Hester is probably going to end up being a fullback-type at the NFL level.

  • Arkansas' Peyton Hillis is a bigger back and will have to move to fullback in the NFL.


  • Alabama's D.J. Hall can get some separation coming out of breaks. He also has good size at 6-2, 190, but he needs to drive the cornerback to turn his hips on comeback routes.

  • Houston's Donnie Avery has big speed to gets deep consistently. He needs to show he can run the intermediate routes, according to Mayock. He did show he can hang onto the ball when taking a hit and isn't afraid to expose his body to defenders to get to the ball. He did drop one ball on a reverse.

  • Louisville's Harry Douglas looked good at getting into cuts.


  • UTEP's Oniel Cousin moved from defense to offense earlier in his college career and is still making the transition, providing some solid upside. "He's aggressive. He's nasty, he's tough. But he's got an ideal skill set physically," Mayock said. Cousin worked at tackle but will likely become a guard in the NFL.

  • Texas A&M center Cody Wallace looked good at establishing leverage.

  • Clemson tackle Barry Richardson proved to be a good run blocker, but he doesn't appear to have great quickness to handle quick edge rushers or defenders with multiple moves.

  • Vanderbilt's Chris Williams is "one of better finesse left tackles," and needs to work on his hand placement, according to Mayock. He is ranked No. 2 at the position, according to He generally seemed to handle most of the defensive linemen he went up against.

  • Bowling Green's Kory Lichtensteiger is a bowling ball at center who can keep his leverage. He plays with a scrappy attitude.


  • Arkansas defensive tackle Marcus Harrison brings with him some injury concerns.

  • Iowa State's Ahtyba Rubin was a late addition to the Senior Bowl roster. He is a big nose tackle who appears tall but kept his pad level down during the drills we saw.

  • Wake Forest defensive end Jeremy Thompson displayed good quickness but seemed to drive too deep on his pass rush on one-on-one drills and doesn't appear to have too many moves, just straight-line quickness.

  • Hampton defensive end Kendall Langford was listed as 275, pretty light for the NFL. He needs to add some size but appears to have some moves with his hands.


  • LSU's Ali Highsmith is a cousin of Alonzo Highsmith. "Tremendous running ability," Mayock said of Ali. "I think he's much better when the play is away from him. … In my camp, he's my kind of linebacker."

    Highsmith can get to the defender when the ball is in the air to defend it, but he isn't overly quick. He is the type of defender that Cover-2 teams would like, according to Mayock.


  • Troy's Leodis McKelvin is Mayock's top-ranked cornerback and's third-ranked corner. He is 5-10 ½, 190 pounds. "I think he's got that package where he can play press man, he can play off man, zone concepts. He's a punt returner. The only thing he doesn't have are great ball skills," Mayock said.

    NFL Network showed McKelvin making many plays on the ball but either over-pursuing it or simply knocking it down instead of catching it. McKelvin told Mayock in a post-practice interview that he loses concentration at times when going for the ball. He gets to the ball in a hurry and can knock it loose before the wide receiver secures it. He is also a good tackler of wide receivers and helping against the run.

  • Tennessee State's Domonique Rogers-Cromartie is the cousin of the Chargers' Antonio Cromartie and has a similar build. "He's a track guy who's got great speed. He's got to show that he can play up to this level of competition," Mayock said. "I know he's got straight-ahead speed. What we need to see is him flip his hips, cover receivers and see how physical he'll be."

  • Auburn's Patrick Lee didn't surrender much of his cushion during drills against wide receivers.

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