MOBILE, Ala. -- The North team practice kicked off this morning at Ladd-Peebles stadium with players warming up in individual drills. Surprisingly, all of the North team's quarterbacks have good enough footwork when working on drop back drills. Typically, the guys at the Senior Bowl will have clunky footwork in the drop backs, but all three on the North squad don't have that issue.
As for the wide receivers, Cal's Marvin Jones continued to show strong in practices. Jones continues to beat press coverage and drive defenders off in his cuts. He doesn't seem to waste any movement in his routes either and seems to catch everything. Jones also gives maximum effort on every play and held his own in run blocking drills. Iowa's Marvin McNutt also continues to shine, doing everything well. McNutt was beaten badly in run blocking drills by defensive back Asa Jackson, which was unexpected given the offense McNutt played. Appalachian State's Brian Quick was hyped heading into the week and was very disappointing in the first two practices, but really showed himself well in practice on Wednesday morning. Quick isn't fast off the line of scrimmage, but he's big and strong enough to beat press coverage and runs routes well. He began catching the ball more with his hands today rather than letting everything into his body.
Michigan State's Kirk Cousins seemed to check too many passes down again on Wednesday, opting for the shorter safer through in the passing skeleton drills than trying for something deeper down the field. Russell Wilson struggled with his accuracy again, especially on some out routes. Wilson did throw a beautiful deep ball in one-on-one drills, but wide receiver T.J. Graham just couldn't haul the ball in. Boise State's Kellen Moore continued to struggled getting the football to spots, especially on out routes. On most passes deeper than about 15 yards, Moore either threw the football at the receivers knees or over their heads. While his lack of arm strength isn't a shock to most people, it's clearly going to limit what he's able to do in the pro game.
On the lines, Marshall defensive end Vinny Curry once again had a nice day. He shows very good burst off the snap of the football and used some rip moves on Wednesday's practice to beat the offensive lineman rather than just bull rushing or running around them like he did the days previously. Virginia's Cam Johnson also continued to consistently get pressure and showed well against the run in Wednesday's practice. Michigan defensive tackle Mike Martin also continues to look good, making the most of his ability with his unstoppable effort.
On the offensive line, Ohio State's Mike Adams continue to play very well and holds his own against pass rushers. He will get beat at times, but he always seems to rebound and shut down the pass rusher on the next play. Iowa State's Kelechi Osemele also had a nice day of practice. Ohio State center Mike Brewster continues to shine and looks like a guy who could be an early round pick by a team in need of a center who can step in right away.
Iowa State's Leonard Johnson had his best day of practice and showed he's not afraid to mix it up and get physical on Wednesday. Leonard told me after practice he was looking forward to being able to play press coverage and get in the receivers faces. Johnson and Boston College's Donnie Fletcher showed just how physical they can be in the run blocking drills, often blowing through the wide receivers. Nebraska's Alonzo Dennard also had his best day of practice, coincidentally when he was allowed to play a lot of press-man coverage. Boise State safety George Iloka struggled a bit when asked to play in man coverage, but he still breaks to the football really well and is very fluid as a defensive back despite his massive size at the position. Notre Dame safety Harrison Smith has quietly had a solid week of practice and continued to do so on Wednesday. He doesn't do much great, but seems to do just about everything well.