Senior Bowl Practices: Tuesday Observations

Even though he's not down in Mobile watching practice live, NorthwestFootball.net's Scott Eklund did take the time to watch the two one-hour workouts on the NFL Network and here's what he saw including who he thought looked the best and who struggled...

The Stand-Outs

USC OL Jeff Byers - After Idaho's Iupati, Byers has looked the best of all the linemen I've seen. Byer's was rated the number one offensive lineman in the country when he graduated high school back in 2004 and several recruiting analysts called him the best high school offensive lineman they'd ever seen. However, injuries in his first three years sapped him of some of his athleticism and quickness and he had to work hard just to get back on the field. That being said, he's shown in his first two days of practices why he was so highly thought of. He's stuffed his man on all of his attempts during the one-on-one pass-rushing drill. He also showed outstanding footwork and anchored well. If he keeps this up he might be able to creep into the late second round of the Draft.

Washington LB Donald Butler - After having watched Butler for the past four years, I already knew about his skills and talents. However, he burst on the scene Tuesday with an outstanding practice. He looked good in seven-on-sevens, getting deep drops and playing well in space, but it was his pass-rush that really flashed on the screen, beating Wayne State's Joique Bell and Virginia's Rashawn Jackson on consecutive one-on-one drills. On both plays he showed outstanding quickness and athleticism. Butler could play almost anywhere at the next level, but he's probably a better fit outside at a SAM (strongside) position.

Cincinnati WR Mardy Gilyard - After a poor day catching the ball on Monday, the talented wideout came back strong on Tuesday looking fluid and getting off of press coverage well. On one play, the DB came up to press him and he made a quick inside move and then burst outside to get down the sidelines. On another, Gilyard sold the deep pass, but cut his route off short and had the corner covering him twisted up like a pretzel. According to those on site, Gilyard was suffering from cramps Monday and that caused him to struggle. We'll see how he does as he continues to show what he can do.

Rutgers CB Devin McCourty - McCourty continues to show why teams are moving him up their draft boards. He's looked great the past two days and continued his outstanding effort, blanketing every receiver thrown at him.

Mississippi RB/WR Dexter McCluster - What a playmaker. McCluster is a player who could play a multitude of positions at the next level, but he probably won't be an every-down player. Some have compared him to Minnesota's Percy Harvin, but McCluster isn't as big as the former Florida Gator and isn't quite as fast, although speed is a big-time asset for the senior from Ole Miss. McCluster made a great diving catch beating Alabama CB Javier Arenas in one-on-ones and flashed his big-play potential on another route where he beat Kentucky CB Trevard Lindley on an inside route.

Wisconsin TE Garrett Graham - Loved the look of this athletic TE/H-Back hybrid. He's only about 240 pounds, so I doubt he will be able to play a traditional tight end role, but he's a fluid receiver with soft hands and because of his speed and athleticism he easily gets separation from the safeties and linebackers that will be covering him.


The Stand-Ins

Florida QB Tim Tebow - I've never understood the Tebow-hate from many who watch college football. The guy is just a flat-out winner and he's a great leader. However, on Tuesday, while evaluators like NFL Network's Mike Mayock and DraftNasty.com's Corey Chavous thought he had a good day, I thought he looked terrible throwing the ball other than when he threw it long. He's got a very slow delivery and almost all of his passes wobbled. He also appeared to aim the ball, rather than just letting it fly. A lot of that has to do with his lack of confidence in things right now, but he'll likely struggle the rest of the week as he gets used to playing under center. Tebow does throw a nice long-ball, allowing his receivers the ability to run under his passes and he threw is the right trajectory, keeping the ball away from the defender. However, his short and intermediate passes left a lot to be desired.

USC S Taylor Mays - One of the biggest reasons Mays showed up in Mobile was to prove he was better in coverage than people thought. If that was his plan, so far, he's failed miserably. Mays plays way too high and is much too stiff to be anything but an in-the-box safety. On several plays he held his man instead of mirroring him and then breaking on the ball. Mays will still be drafted relatively high, but expecting him to be much more than a run-stuffing safety in the mold of Dallas' Roy Williams would be a huge stretch.

Utah OL Zane Beadles - Had a really tough day in the one-on-ones. Now, that wasn't totally his fault. In at least two instances, he faced off against Michigan's Brandon Graham who is an unbelievable talent. However, Beadles' feet were very heavy and he was duped by double-moves at least three times that I saw. Beadles will probably need to move inside to maximize his talents. He's got average athleticism, but according to those who have watched him, he's smart and someone who picks up things quickly.

Tennessee OL Chris Scott - Scott started outside and was absolutely owned by the man playing head up on him. Scott was slow out of his stance and he didn't get a good power-step, meaning he didn't get good depth off of his first step, and that allowed the defensive end to run right by him. Scott projects better inside in my opinion, where he can use his great strength and drive-blocking ability to be successful.


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