Tuesday UA Senior Bowl Notes: North Team

Scout.com's NFL Draft Analyst Chris Steuber points out some of the players who stood out during Tuesday morning's North team practice. Find out what wide receiver stood out and the two Oregon Ducks that continue to impress inside.

Washington State wide receiver Brandon Gibson was the most consistent offensive player at Tuesday morning’s North team practice. Gibson flashed exceptional hands and only dropped one pass during the hour and a half session. He ran smooth routes and was quick out of his breaks. Gibson was excellent in seven-on-seven drills. On one play, he showed good awareness on the left sideline when he pulled in a high Graham Harrell pass, while his momentum was pulling him out of bounds, and was able to tap both feet in bounds. Gibson seemed happy with his performance this morning, but wasn’t totally satisfied. “I have to start playing at my level and stop being so inconsistent,” he said. “I think I’ve been thinking too much out on the field; trying to adjust to the speed of the game. There’s very little room for error out here; everything has to be precise. I’m running with what I got and doing what I’m being taught. I’m looking forward to having a good week.”

After two solid showings at the Senior Bowl, Johnson's stock is on the rise.
Robert Laberge/Getty

Oregon running back Jeremiah Johnson is on a mission and playing with purpose. The versatile situational star has shown great quickness on the edge and deceptive strength between the tackles. This past season, Johnson shared the backfield with junior LeGarrette Blount and still managed to rush for 1,201 yards on just 168 carries. At Oregon, Johnson wasn’t used much in the passing game, but his versatility is being showcased at the Senior Bowl, and he’s enjoying his experience in Mobile. “There’s a lot of talent here, and you have to work hard at everything that you do, because the guy standing next to you has similar attributes,” he said. “You have to set yourself apart from everyone else, so when I get the ball in my hands, I’m just looking to finish off my runs and standout.” Johnson is currently the 11th ranked running back on Scout.com’s NFL Draft Rankings, but if he continues to play the way he has the first two days at the Senior Bowl, his stock will ascend.

Oklahoma OT Phil Loadholt has been very impressive the first two days and has generated a lot of interest from multiple teams. The 6-foot-7, 343-pound mauler has controlled the line of scrimmage and has surprisingly quick feet for a man of his size. During 11-on-11 drills, Loadholt, who had been working mostly on the right side, switched to the left side to face Connecticut’s Cody Brown. At 6-foot-2, 242-pounds, Brown is an athletic rush end who relies on his speed to get by bigger tackles. But as fast as Brown got off the line, in a matter of seconds, the only thing you saw was the name Loadholt as he completely manhandled Brown out of the play. Loadholt is one of the fastest rising prospects in Mobile.

Penn State WR/RS Derrick Williams continues to struggle on special teams. The usually sure-handed playmaker has great ability with the ball in his hands, but he’s pressing and is allowing the ball to play him. He mishandled a couple of punts during yesterday’s practice and continued his adventures this morning. But when he did catch the ball, it was obvious that he has great field vision and elusiveness.

In one of the weakest senior quarterback classes in recent memory, the North team hasn’t had a standout performance at practice from one of the three QBs on the roster. Texas Tech’s Graham Harrell and Sam Houston State’s Rhett Bomar have looked average, as they both have struggled with their accuracy. But Central Arkansas’ Nathan Brown looks small, confused and out of place among the top players in the country. Don’t expect to see a senior QB taken in the first three rounds of the draft.

Boston College DT B.J. Raji has been the most impressive defender on the North team. In linemen drills, Raji went one-on-one against Oregon center Max Unger, and Raji dominated inside against the top center in the country. At 6-foot-2, 334 pounds, Raji has uncanny quickness and balance that allow him to penetrate inside and be a force in the backfield. After the first two days, Raji elevated his stock considerably, and one NFL scout said, “I wouldn’t be surprised if he went in the top-ten; he’s a beast.”

Chung is a physical safety who's shown good ball skills in Mobile.
Otto Greule Jr/Getty

Johnson isn’t the only player from Oregon that’s making the most of his experience at the Senior Bowl; safety Patrick Chung is showing why he’s one of the top safeties in the country. Chung looked fluid in defensive back drills this morning as he displayed quick feet, which really showed when he backpedaled and transitioned with a receiver. He also displayed great ball skills during the drills and adjusted well to a few errant throws. Known more for his physical play and not his playmaking ability, Chung had a solid senior year for the Ducks and amassed 92 tackles, 6.5 for a loss, two sacks and an interception. Chung’s play this morning didn’t go unnoticed by the scouts, as he received interest from representatives with the Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskins.

Another safety that’s receiving attention in Mobile is Western Michigan’s Louis Delmas. During positional drills, Delmas displayed great positioning and awareness, and is one of the most physical defensive backs on the North roster. Delmas led WMU in tackles (111) and interceptions (4) this past season. Even though the Broncos finished with a 9 – 4 record, Delmas was a part of one of the worst pass defenses in the country, which allowed 249.4 YPG. When asked how he’s adjusting to the defensive scheme the Bengals coaching staff has incorporated, Delmas said, “It’s a slow process right now; I’m just trying to execute everything the right way. It’s starting to get easier as we continue, and I expect to do well as the week goes on.”

A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999. Steuber’s features are published across the Scout.com network and on FoxSports.com. If you wish to contact Chris Steuber, email him at: csteuber@scout.com.

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