ST. PETERSBURG - The West team took the field at St. Pete High for their first practice in full pads, so I paid close attention to the offensive and defensive lines. The West roster has quite a bit of small school players on their roster, which is good because it's my first impression of a lot of these players.
Here's a few players who stood out to me, in both good and bad ways.
Zach Sudfeld, TE, Nevada: The Nevada tight end continues to look like a good target for the quarterback, getting open and catching almost everything thrown to him, even hauling in passes in traffic. I can't say much about Sudfeld's blocking, but that's probably an aside for some scouts because he's more of a joker/move-tight end than anything else.
Travis Johnson, DE, San Jose State: Johnson didn't seem to have great size for the defensive end position, but he's much stronger than you expect. He knocked down a couple offensive lineman and was able to power through some blocks, but his biggest problem is he seems so much slower off the snap than anyone else. If he can't find away to be more explosive off the ball, he will get neutralized by NFL offensive lineman rather easily.
Caleb Schrebeis, DE, Montana State: Schrebeis was another small school defensive lineman I was impressed with. He was consistently able to get pressure, especially on stunts. He drove with his legs and used his hands well to get past offensive lineman.
Brandon Thurmond, DE/LB, Arkansas-Pine Bluff: Thurmond was the best rusher off the edge I saw on Wednesday, including the East team's practice. He seemed to constantly run past the offensive lineman he faced, but he did it mostly with speed. One play in particular however, he had a lineman cross up after and inside out move. Another play in 11-on-11 drilled he had an offensive lineman on rollerskates with his bull rush. Thurmond looks like a great candidate for a 3-4 rush linebacker at the next level.
Wes Horton, DE, Southern Cal: The USC defensive end had a solid day of work in pass rushing drills, especially his ability to bend around the edge and beat the offensive lineman. He also tried a couple of spin moves to the inside on tandem rushes, but none seemed to get home. Horton doesn't really have a pass rushing repertoire and needs to work on using his hands to get by the offensive lineman, but there is something to work with there.
Khalid Wooten, CB, Nevada: I spent most of the day watching the defensive line, but Wooten continued to stand out and make plays in drills. He seemed to be able to stay with his man down the field rather easily and tracked the ball well. Wooten seems to play best in press man coverage, staying with his receiver down the field.