- Kevin Weidl, Scouts Inc.
SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- Cold weather once again affected practice for the Texas vs. Nation all-star game, but even with shortened practice sessions there was more than enough time for prospects to make impressions on scouts.
NT Ellis and OT King stand out
On the defensive side, Hampton NT Kenrick Ellis continues to shine. Ellis has outstanding natural power in the upper body and is as athletic as a 6-foot-5, 336-pounder can be. He used his quickness to get across the line and get to the quarterback during the team period, and his quick hands and feet also showed up against the run.
Ellis does play a bit high and get caught in the wash at times, but he is hustling all over the field and trying to put to rest some of the character/motivation concerns he brings with him. Overall, Ellis is on the rise and could be the highest pick to come out of this game, perhaps early in the fourth round.
Offensive tackle Jarriel King of South Carolina showed impressive upper-body strength today. King has a strong punch and good finishing strength, and he showed the ability to stone pass rushers with his hands and a good inline power base to create movement in the running game.
King had a nice kickout block to open a running lane at one point, and later on a draw play he did a good job selling pass before chipping his defender and getting to the second level to cut off a linebacker. He does not have great lateral quickness and gets off-balance and has trouble recovering at times, but King is having a decent week and should end up in the mid-round discussion.
Yates comes back to earth
North Carolina QB T.J. Yates took a step back on Day 2 and accuracy and arm strength were his biggest issues. He short-hopped some throws, missed the mark on others and simply didn't see the field well. He made a big mistake when he panicked late in one play and tried to squeeze the ball in on a dig route and had the ball intercepted. Yates didn't see the field well, held the ball too long and was slow in his progressions during the team period.
Tayor quietly rising
H-back Ryan Taylor, a teammate of Yates with the Tar Heels, is quietly having a solid week. Taylor is savvy with his route running, gets out of breaks well and is effective on corner routes when lined up inline. He knows how to uncover against zone and has caught everything thrown in his direction, including a nice one-handed grab today on a deep crossing route. Taylor doesn't appear to have the strength or power to transition to fullback but teams looking for a pass-catching H-back in the later rounds will surely give him a hard look.
Good day for a Buckeye
Ohio State CB Devon Torrence put on an impressive performance on Tuesday. I like Torrence's smooth movement and good feet. He is fluid flipping his hips and gets in and out of cuts well, and he did a good job using his hands in press coverage to disrupt receivers at the snap. His anticipation was also impressive. Torrence stepped in front of several balls and intercepted two, and overall had the best day of any defensive back here. How far his stock ultimately rises will depend on how fast he runs during workouts, but Torrence has talent and has certainly helped himself this week.
Tough day for WR Holmes
Hillsdale WR Andre Holmes had several drops today, fighting the ball all day and showing little in the way of ball skills. Holmes did not track the ball well, had trouble getting in and out of breaks and had problems getting off press coverage.
The quarterback play was a little better than on Day 1, thanks in large part to the absence of the strong winds that hampered the first day of practice. It also helps that the passers are becoming a little more familiar with their targets.
Texas Tech's Taylor Potts still missed the strike zone at times, but I liked the touch he displayed throughout the session. Potts also showed improved accuracy in terms of finding passing windows in the intermediate areas of the field.
It was another tough day for Fresno State's Ryan Colburn, though. His lack of arm strength is becoming a glaring weakness, and his accuracy was off as well. Colburn missed high, short-hopped receivers and generally forced them to adjust to the ball far too much.
Wideouts looking good
Marcus Harris of Murray State is one of the faster players here this week. I like his explosiveness out of cuts and ability to separate, and Harris showed good hands as well. He did have a couple drops but displayed the ability to open up and make catches outside his frame. He also has the speed to get behind defensive backs and stretch the field.
Ricardo Lockette of Fort Valley State is showing the skills that landed him at Georgia to begin his career. Lockett is not as quick or fast as Harris but did show good body control and hands when going to make a tough catch. He also gets in and out of breaks smoothly.
Skrine continues to impress
Tennessee-Chattanooga CB Buster Skrine continued to stand out on Day 2. Skrine has the best movement skills of any defensive back here, showing quick feet when transitioning forward to play the ball. He's a bit undersized (5-foot-9, 186 pounds) but his overall showing has helped him gain momentum and put him in the late-round discussion.
Linemen up and down
Notre Dame OL Chris Stewart moves well for his size (6-4, 346) and has shown some late-round potential this week. Stewart got good initial movement as a run blocker during the team period, putting a nice down block on Ole Miss DT Jerrell Powe at one point, and he did a good job sliding and mirroring pass rushers during one-on-one drills. I'd like to see better leverage and anchor in his pass sets and he is a bit limited in space, but overall it was a good day for Stewart.
Southeast Louisiana OL Kevin Hughes moved well and showed good feet, but he leaned into defenders too much during one-on-one drills and was seen giving up the edge as a pass blocker. He was off-balance at times and at one point over-set to the outside and was beaten back inside on a double move.
Missouri C Tim Barnes continues to excel in pass protection, which is no surprise given his experience in the Tigers' pass-heavy spread system. Barnes moves well laterally to stay in front of pass rushsers, but he's not used to power run blocking and struggled to get movement in that area. He was knocked back at times and didn't always play on the right side of the line of scrimmage.
Kevin Weidl breaks down the buzz from Day 2 practices at the Texas vs. Nation game, including quarterback struggles and defensive prospects who stood out.