Blue team primer

After a short week of practicing and interviewing with NFL scouts, players at the Blue-Gray game finally get to line up on Christmas day. This is the first opportunity for many of the players in this game to be seen by a national audience as the game features several players most football fans have never heard of. After scouting all the practices this week,&nbsp; here is a look at who we think is worth watching in the game and how each member of the Blue team fared every day in practice.<br>

When the Blue Has the Ball
A solid offensive line and several talented WR's should lead the Blue team. Matt Kranchick, the games tallest player, and Nate Lawrie should provide big targets in the middle of the field for the Blue team. Tony Johnson, Lance Young, and the week's most impressive player, Andrae Thurman should test the Gray DB's all day long.

Defensively the Gray team is led by a strong group of defensive linemen and defensive backs. John Bradley, Damane Douglas, Michale Spicer, and Anthony Maddox should keep the Blue OL busy and the Blue QB's moving around. In the backfield Chris Thompson, Deandre Eiland, and Rayshun Reed should battle with the Blue WR's all game long. Derrick Pope provides speed at the LB spot. Stevie Baggs will be a player worth watching should he get any reps at DE. The Gray defensive line and defensive backs versus the Blue offensive line and wide receivers should be the best matchup of the day.

Name: Steve Azar Pos: PK  School: Northern Illinois Ht:  5072 Wt:188
Saturday: Weak leg
Name: Steve Baker Pos: P  School: Southern Oregon Ht: 5111 Wt:196
Saturday: Weak leg.
Name: Jamaine Billups Pos: S  School: Iowa State Ht: 5090 Wt:191
Saturday: Did not stand out.
Sunday: Slow to react. Has trouble getting back.
Monday: Attacks the run.
Name: Dietrich Canterberry Pos: DT  School: UNLV Ht: 6031 Wt:301
Saturday: Did not stand out.
Sunday: Explosive off the snap and forces his way to the QB. Shows a quick first step and nice strength.
Monday: Holds his ground against the run, comes off of blocks and gets up field
Name: Quinn Christensen Pos: G  School: BYU Ht:  6056 Wt:312
Saturday: Mirrors his man in pass blocking situations. Plays high.
Sunday: Looks good as a pass blocker has nice footwork.
Monday: Anchors against the run. Moves his man or forces him to the ground. Shows inconsistent knee bend.
Name: Larry Croom Pos: RB  School: UNLV Ht: 5095 Wt:201
Saturday: Shows good balance and speed when running the ball.
Sunday: did not stand out.
Monday: Runs nice routes and does a good job of catching the ball with his hands off his body.
Name: Randee Drew Pos: CB  School: Northern Illinois Ht: 5095 Wt:177
Saturday: Does not play a physical brand of football. Tends to shadow his man but not smother him. Comes out of his backpedal very early.
Sunday: Did not stand out.
Monday: Good awareness but slow coming out of his cuts.
Name: Christian Ferrara Pos: DT  School: Syracuse Ht: 6032 Wt:290
Saturday: Does not stand out
Sunday: Holds his ground versus the run but does not get any penetration.
Monday: Has difficulty coming off blocks.
Name: Ronnie Ghent Pos: TE  School: Louisville Ht:  6023 Wt: 243
Saturday: Does not appear to be bothered by his previous knee injuries.
Sunday: Does not look comfortable in space.
Monday: Runs nice routes and extends his hands to make the catch.
Name: Jonathan Harrell Pos: ILB  School: Northern Iowa Ht:  6016 Wt:234
Saturday: Did not stand out.
Sunday: Looks good playing against the run.
Monday: Does not show the speed necessary to get outside.
Name: Marvin Jackson Pos: CB  School: Chadron State Ht: 5111 Wt:179
Saturday: Athletic and strong. Has a nice vertical jump and gets up in the air to make a play on the ball.
Sunday: Quick to react and has good speed but comes out of his backpedal early.
Monday: Sticks to his man and follows him all over the field.
Name: Tony Johnson Pos: WR  School: Penn State Ht:  5105 Wt: 206
Saturday: Extends his hands and runs nice routes. Does not look fast.
Sunday: Does a nice job grabbing the ball at it's highest point.
Monday: Runs good routes and makes a play on the ball.
Name: Derek Kennard Pos: DT  School: Nevada Ht: 5116 Wt:291
Saturday: Did not stand out.
Sunday: Plays low to the ground, shows good leg drive.
Monday: Strong at the point of attack.
Name: Tom Koutsos Pos: RB  School: Southern Illinois Ht:  5101 Wt: 217
Saturday: Does not stand out.
Sunday: Does not stand out.
Monday: Was not at practice.
Name: Matt Kranchick Pos: TE  School: Penn State Ht:  6064 Wt:258
Saturday: Big guy that runs nice routes. Not fast enough to get downfield but big enough to make the play in traffic.
Sunday: Shows nice athleticism. Not a great blocker but willing.
Monday: Extends his hands and uses his body to shield the ball from the defender.
Name: Ryan Krause Pos: WR  School: Neb-Omaha Ht:  6027 Wt: 231
Saturday: Big guy that looks slow.
Sunday: Runs nice routes and extends his hands. Not afraid to make plays in traffic.
Monday: Did not stand out.
Name: Nate Lawrie Pos: TE  School: Yale Ht:  6060 Wt: 258
Saturday: Did not stand out.
Sunday: Willing blocker that has the size and tools to get better. Good athlete but he looks like he needs polish.
Monday: Did not stand out.
Name: Dusty McGrorty Pos: RB  School: Southern Oregon Ht: 5107 Wt:218
Saturday: Slow into the hole. Does not look strong or fast.
Sunday: Did not stand out.
Monday: Runs poor routes and drops too many balls.
Name: Chris McKelvy Pos: T  School: Penn State Ht:  6030 Wt:332
Saturday: Used at guard exclusively. Inconsistent knee bend. When he bends his knees he shows good strength and holds up well against the pass rush.
Sunday: Not quick may not be able to play in an offense that asks him to pull.
Monday: Locks on to his man and does not let go.
Name: Nate McPeek Pos: T  School: Marshall Ht:  6033 Wt:325
Saturday: Has difficulty playing in space. Does not show great footwork.
Sunday: Looks good at OG. Pushes his man out of the path of the QB.
Monday: Continues to struggle in space but shows well at OG.
Name: Josh Minkins Pos: CB  School: Louisville Ht:  5096 Wt: 183
Saturday: Did not stand out.
Sunday: Did not stand out.
Monday: Made several nice plays on the ball today. Fluid in his backpedal but sloppy and often comes out of it too soon. Shows a burst when breaking on the ball.
Name: Brett Mitchell Pos: QB  School: Evangel Ht:  6034 Wt:229
Saturday: Has a weak arm. ¾ release.
Sunday: Makes some questionable decisions throwing the ball.
Monday: ¾ release.
Name: Jim Molinaro Pos: T  School: Notre Dame Ht:  6062 Wt: 304
Saturday: Looks very good at LT. Displays the feet needed to play on the left side. Amazingly looks like he's lost at RT.
Sunday: Continues to dominate his man at the point of attack forcing him either outside or to the ground. Has a mean streak in him. Still can't play on the right side.
Monday: Shows good knee bend and body lean. Gets his arms on his man and stays with him.
Name: Lance Young Pos: WR  School: Iowa State Ht: 6000 Wt:181
Saturday: Did not stand out.
Sunday: Did not stand out.
Monday: Runs very good routes and does a nice job of extending his hands to make the catch. Shows the ability to get separation with his speed and his route running ability.
Name: Sean Mulcahy Pos: DT  School: Connecticut Ht: 6054 Wt:297
Saturday: Did not stand out.
Sunday: Strong enough to move his man but he plays very high.
Monday: Big strong guy. May be too tall to play DT. Not very fast or quick.
Name: Ben Nauman Pos: S  School: Augustana Ht:  6016 Wt:196
Saturday: Looks the part. Tall physical guy that is high in his backpedal. Unable to cover men down the field. Show nice sideline to sideline range
Sunday: Reacts quickly to the run but seems uninterested in making a hit. Loafs to the ball. Makes plays on the ball once it's in the air.
Monday: Has difficulty coming off of blocks. Not physical at the point of attack. Does not mix it up with anyone other than WR's.
Name: Gabe Nyenhuis Pos: DE  School: Colorado Ht: 6032 Wt:268
Saturday: Does not look strong enough to hold his ground. Plays high and off balance.
Sunday: Not overly fast or strong.
Monday: Plays strong against the run. Shows the speed to get outside and the strength to force his man backwards into the pocket. Is having a good 3rd day of practice.
Name: Mike O'Brien Pos: DT  School: Western Illinois Ht: 6017 Wt:284
Saturday: Quick first step and good hustle.
Sunday: plays low to the ground and continues to drive his legs. Does a nice job countering his blocker and breaking free.
Monday: Good burst over the first few yards.
Name: Raheem Orr Pos: DE  School: Rutgers Ht: 6034 Wt:248
Saturday: Gets penetration and flows down the line in run support.
Sunday: Shows a great burst to the outside. Nice counter moves allow him to be effective rushing on the inside also. Looks stronger than his size would indicate.
Monday: Very quick off the snap.
Name: Scott Rislov Pos: QB  School: San Jose State Ht: 6010 Wt:222
Saturday: Weak arm. Looks small.
Sunday: Does not have the arm to throw the deeper patterns.
Monday: Mobile in the pocket but not accurate.
Name: Nick Romeo Pos: C  School: Syracuse Ht:  6006 Wt:304
Saturday: Small fiery guy that locks onto his man. Looks like a smurf.
Sunday: Gets to the second level. Is able to turn his man but does not force him off the line.
Monday: Clings to his man and difficult to shake. May not be strong enough.
Name: Luke Salmons Pos: G  School: Marshall Ht:  6020 Wt:304
Saturday: Doing a nice job of moving his man in pass blocking drills. Did not get beaten all day.
Sunday: Shows good footwork and knee bend but not very big or strong. Gets to the second level.
Monday: May not be physical enough to hold up against big DT's. A step slow off the snap.
Name: Justin Sandy Pos: S  School: Northern Iowa Ht:  5117 Wt:202
Saturday: Did not stand out.
Sunday: Looks good in run support. Reacts quickly and takes good angles in pursuing plays. Has difficulty coming off of blocks.
Monday: Struggling with run support. Having trouble getting depth.
Name: Rich Scanlon Pos: OLB  School: Syracuse Ht: 6014 Wt:246
Saturday: Gets up field quickly.
Sunday: Tries in pass coverage. Gets to his position and Gets to the men in his zone. Does a nice job of holding his ground but can be out muscled by bigger TE's. Does not react well to the ball once it's in the air.
Monday: Not fast but puts forth a good effort in pass coverage. May be a step slow in getting to the sidelines against top level competition.
Name: Kurt Sigler Pos: G  School: Eastern Washington Ht:  6044 Wt: 307
Saturday: tough time playing in space. Does not look strong at the point.
Sunday: trouble in space. Being tried at RT.
Monday: Does not play with good knee bend or balance. Slow to react and is easily beaten off the line.
Name: Andrae Thurman Pos: WR  School: Southern Oregon Ht: 5113 Wt:187
Saturday: Does a very good job of getting downfield. Extends his hands and plucks the ball out of the air at it's highest point. Understands how to shield the ball from the defender.
Sunday: Continues to make plays all over the field. Very quick into and out of his cuts made several diving receptions. Runs very good routes and plays at least 2 inches taller than he is.
Monday: On 1 play during this afternoons scrimmage two of the Blue defenders, who were watching from the sidelines next to me both commented about how good Thurman was after he made a nice leaping grab.
Name: Deryck Toles Pos: OLB  School: Penn State Ht: 5117 Wt:216
Saturday: Intense fiery competitor. Does a nice job of filling his gap responsibilities.
Sunday: Looks average in pass coverage. Good speed but maybe better playing downhill.
Monday: Shows sideline to sideline range. Does a nice job of hitting the ball carrier, even though it's a non contact scrimmage.
Name: Daryl Towns Pos: ILB  School: Nevada Ht: 6001 Wt:225
Saturday: Does not stand out.
Sunday: Does not stand out
Monday: Looks comfortable in pass coverage. Shows sideline to sideline range.
Name: Derrick Ward Pos: RB  School: Ottawa Ht: 5111 Wt:226
Saturday: Did not stand out
Sunday: Did not stand out
Monday: Runs with nice vision and balance; does a nice job running routes but his hands are only average.
Name: Renauld Williams Pos: OLB  School: Hofstra Ht:  5111 Wt:221
Saturday: Did not stand out.
Sunday: Very natural and fluid in pass coverage. Looks like a strong safety. Does a nice job of staying with receivers and reacts well once the ball is in the air.
Monday: Shows speed to the flanks and reacts quickly to the run. May be too small for OLB.

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