Commentary

QBs continue to struggle

Scouts Inc. has all the buzz from Day 2 of the North team's Senior Bowl practices, including QBs who continue to struggle and the emergence of a Big Ten WR.

Originally Published: January 20, 2009
By Todd McShay | Scouts Inc.

MOBILE, Ala. -- The second day of practice for the North team at the 2009 Under Armour Senior Bowl was notable for a few reasons, including the emergence of an Ohio State receiver and the continued struggles of the QBs.

• On Monday, we said that Boston College DT B.J. Raji is the clear front-runner to emerge as the top prospect at lineman -- defensive or offensive -- in his class by the time we leave Mobile. After this morning's practice, we now feel that he is one of the top two or three prospects here regardless of position. Raji continues to showcase his rare blend of size, burst and agility, and he manhandled highly touted Oregon C Max Unger on more than one occasion. In fact, he got under Unger's pads, drove him back and then put him on his back on one snap during one-on-one pass-rushing drills.

• At this point, Raji's collegiate teammate DT Ron Brace is probably used to living in his shadow, but Brace's play hasn't gone unnoticed by the coaches and front-office personnel in attendance. Brace isn't as explosive or athletic as Raji and is a little too top-heavy at times, but he's doing a good job of holding his ground and flashing the ability to collapse the pocket. In other words, he played like a late second-round or early second-day pick today.

• Northern Illinois's Larry English is separating himself from another undersized defensive end/outside linebacker prospect -- Connecticut's Cody Brown -- and working his way into the first day of the draft. English is playing with more of an edge and showing better upper body than Brown as a run defender. He has also been a step quicker around the corner than Brown has been in rushing the passer.

• While Unger clearly had problems sinking his hips and anchoring in pass protection Tuesday despite weighing in at a respectable 299 pounds, Cal C Alex Mack fared better. Missouri DT Ziggy Hood did beat Mack with a spin move during one-on-one pass rush drills, but Mack did a better job of holding his ground. In addition, he looks to be a split-second quicker than Unger.

• Connecticut OT William Beatty has made a favorable impression during his first two days of practice. Beatty clearly needs to get bigger, but he has room on his frame to bulk up and he's already stronger than his size suggests. More importantly, he moves well and has the long arms to ride edge-rushers past the pocket.

• Unlike Beatty, Oklahoma OT Phil Loadholt's stock continues to slip. Loadholt continues to have problems preventing edge-rushers from turning the corner despite his long arms and a frame built for riding rushers past the pocket. It's also clear that he doesn't have the foot speed or balance to handle double moves, so he is going to have play right offensive tackle to succeed at the NFL level.


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