MOBILE, Ala. -- The 2012 Senior Bowl kicked off practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium on Monday afternoon after the conclusions of the weigh-in results. The practices today were held at the same time due to the morning weigh-ins, but are normally held split between the morning and the afternoon. The North Team's practice took place at Ladd-Peebles today while the South team took place across town at Fairhope Stadium. The practice was slow-paced in shells, so I focused my attention on the glory positions: wide receivers and quarterbacks.
The North team had the more prestigious quarterbacks of the two teams with Kellen Moore, Russell Wilson, and Kirk Cousins. Unfortunately for the North team however, only really Cousins was consistently solid through much of the practice. Moore's lack of arm strength was apparently early in practice when he missed badly on back to back seven-yard out throws. Moore muscled the ball, but just couldn't get the depth on the sideline the route required. Moore was also noticeable smaller than everyone else on the field, coming in at under six-foot and only 191 pounds. Cousins displayed plenty of arm strength in drills and hit on some nice deeper passes. Despite his lack of arm strength, Moore was able to hit a couple of nice passes down the field, dropping the ball right into the receivers hands. Wilson however, struggled on his passes deep down the field.
As for the wide receivers, California receiver Marvin Jones stole the show despite being a late addition to the game. Jones routinely plucked the ball out of the air and didn't let it get into his body like most of the other receivers in the practice. Jones also beat defensive backs down the field using a combination of quick cuts and his speed. Though Jones runs a bit awkwardly, almost a full "gallop", he gets down the field. Jones also made some great one handed catches and another grab off a ball that was tipped in the air that saw him literally crawl on his knees to get to the football and make the catch.
As for the other receivers, Iowa's Marvin McNutt was a natural catcher, plucking the ball from the air on most routes and showed he knows how to play bigger than his 6-foot-2 size. Appalachian State's Brian Quick and Ohio State's DeVier Posey struggled to catch the football, often letting it get into their body and fought to catch the ball. An under the radar receiver to watch is NC State's T.J. Graham, who had a nice consistent day of practice and show cased his ability to make smooth, quick cuts to get open.
With only two tight ends on the North Roster, Missouri's Michael Egnew took full advantage, showcasing his athletic ability and hands. Egnew showed he's physical as well, often making the catch in traffic and looking to lower his shoulder into a player.
On the defensive side of the football, cornerbacks Alfonzo Dennard from Nebraska and Leonard Johnson of Iowa State showcased the ability to stick with their receivers off the initial break and get back to the football to break up a few passes. Boston College's Donnie Fletcher also had a solid day in coverage, getting beat deep at times losing guys on their cuts, but overall had a nice day.