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Moore, Wilson stand out at Senior bowl

1/25/2012

Here's a sampling of the impressions we took away from early action on Day 3 of Senior Bowl week:

Boise State's Kellen Moore was not as sharp Wednesday as he was over the first two days, forcing a couple of throws into coverage. However, Moore continued to show the most polish of the North team quarterbacks.

He got the ball out quickly and was decisive with his throws, which helps mask his lack of arm strength. He also showed good anticipation and touch, and Moore's pocket presence when avoiding the rush was impressive.

Wisconsin's Russell Wilson has the strongest arm on the North roster, flashing the ability to drive the ball vertically, and his athleticism continues to shine through. However, Wilson struggled during the team period because his short stature (5-foot-105) forces him to move within the pocket to locate passing lanes, causing him to be late on throws. He delivered some nice balls during 7-on-7 drills with no linemen in front of him, but the negative impact of Wilson's height was on full display Wednesday.

Michigan State's Kirk Cousins continues to be very steady overall. He didn't do a lot to get excited about in terms of playmaking ability, but he made good decisions and flashed some arm strength when he put good zip on a deep out to the opposite hash.

Wideout report

Iowa's Marvin McNutt had one of the better days among the North wide receivers, showing some savvy route-running to find ways to get open. McNutt (6-24, 216) isn't overly explosive but he is quick enough for his size. He caught the ball well away from his body and showed good body control.

Marvin Jones of California was generally good snatching the ball with his hands and he showed a good feel for getting open against zone coverage. Jones also displayed some polish on his routes, showing the ability to set up defenders out of his breaks.

N.C. State's T.J. Graham has some speed, suddenness and explosion to his game, but he has to do a better job tracking the ball. Graham was late getting his head around to locate a deep ball at one point, though he showed some feel for zone coverage and caught a nice ball on a seam route during 7-on-7s. He has some added value as a return man, where he is smooth changing directions and can hit creases with his explosiveness.

DBs are underwhelming

There is not much overall speed among the North defensive backs. Iowa State CB Leonard Johnson has some quick-twitch, short-area movement skills and is a scrappy player, but we still have questions about his ability to run with receivers and limit separation at the next level.

Nebraska CB Alfonzo Dennard continues to struggle to limit separation, at one point getting beaten by McNutt on an inside move. Dennard has tight hips, and you have to wonder about his top-end speed and playmaking ability.

On a more positive note, Notre Dame S Harrison Smith has looked good. It's sometimes hard to get a good read on safeties in all-star practices because tackling is limited, but Smith is competing hard and putting himself in the right spots. He could clean up his angles to the point when the ball is in the air, but overall Smith is helping himself this week.

Different days for LB duo

Utah State LB Bobby Wagner continues to play well and show he can handle a step up in competition. He was good in coverage on Day 3, making it hard for Michigan State TE Brian Linthicum to get off the line. He did an excellent job getting into the flat to take running backs out of the underneath passing game. We haven't seen him rush the passer during Senior Bowl week, but he can be seen doing so on film.

Nebraska LB Lavonte David is an athletic prospect who shows good range on tape, and he has the potential to be a solid run defender and above-average man-coverage linebacker in a scheme that values smaller linebackers with speed. However, this week he's not finishing plays in coverage. David is showing the ability to stay on the hip of underneath receivers, but he's making tackles rather than plays on the ball.

RBs look good

Boise State RB Doug Martin showed good vision and patience on Day 3, and he caught the ball well. Martin made a nice grab above his shoulders on a pass over the middle and brought in a waist-high throw in the flat and turned smoothly upfield. He didn't look natural fielding kickoffs, but overall it was a nice day for Martin.

Massachusetts FB Emil Igwenagu hasn't had a great week but did bounce back a bit Wednesday. Igwenagu made a good grab over his head when working across the field, and he was more aggressive and physical, putting a nice kick-out block on Wagner at one point.

Ohio State RB Dan Herron is running hard and finishing plays by delivering blows, but it's hard to know exactly what to make of that because of a lack of live tackling. It will be interesting to see whether that carries over into the game this weekend. Herron didn't show great burst, though, failing to get behind Boise State LB Shea McClellin on a wheel route.