Jeff Risdon, DLD Editor
I’ve been to a lot of All-Star games over the past few years, and it pains me to say that this was the least conducive practice session for scouting purposes that I can recall. There was almost no positional battling, a freakish amount of attention to stretching, and a healthy dose of special teams dominating the session at St. Petersburg High.
Among what I was able to glean:
Baylor TE Jordan Najvar stood out. He stands out from his sheer size and presence at 6’6” and 255ish pounds of rock-solid humanity. Najvar made several impressive catches, plucking the ball with soft but strong hands both high above his head and well out from his body. He also threw a bone-crushing block in the too-brief team drills.
Valdosta State WR Seantavius Jones was the focus of my early attention in the session. He is definitively bigger than all the other receivers at a legit 6’3”
He’s No. 81 in the picture.
They ran a square gauntlet drill where the wideouts run around a square and catching passes from short range at three different points. His first pass through was clean, but in the second try two balls bounced off his pads. He’s a long-striding athlete, though he does have decent feet for a bigger guy. He dropped a low throw later on in the 11s session after using a nice hesitation step to get free.
Toledo WR Bernard Reedy and Pitt State WR John Brown are very similar. Brown is a little taller but both are sub-6’ speedsters with small frames and very little meat on the bones.
Brown has a quicker, more efficient release off the line. Reedy tends to take a hop step to get going, whereas Brown hit the ground running right from the blocks. Both were able to blow past corners (notably San Jose State’s Bene Benwikere) on deep routes. Reedy appeared to have a little extra burst at the top of his route, though the difference was slight.
As far as catching the ball, Brown clearly won that battle. Reedy let balls get into his pads too readily. Brown cleanly snatches the ball from the air, but in the aforementioned gauntlet drill his lack of arm length was noticeable. I was reminded of Patrick Edwards, a downfield blazer in a slot receiver’s body and small catch radius.
North Dakota State CB Marcus Williams looked good in his first impression. He’s well-built at a hair under six feet, and he’s got quick-twitch reaction that others lack. On one rep he easily carried Brown on his outside hip all the way down the field. His head is always moving around, showing very active eyes. This was my first exposure to Williams and based on the smoothness and alacrity I saw today, I’m looking forward to seeing more.
Penn State safety Stephen Obeng-Agyapong made a nice deflection on a quick hit up the seam, bumping the ball right to Notre Dame LB Prince Shembo. The Irish backer quickly seized the ball and flipped his momentum to become a return man, and he looked good with the ball in his hands.
I’m an unabashed fan of Sam Houston State RB Tim Flanders, but this was not his best performance. He double-caught two separate balls and looked more tentative with the ball in his hands than before. I’ve seen him play live twice and he was much more impressive than he was here.
On the QB front, Ball State’s Keith Wenning has a rocket launcher compared to both Washington’s Keith Price and especially Notre Dame’s Tommy Rees. As I tweeted:
Wenning has so much more mustard than Rees. Like going from Charlie Hough to Randy Johnson.
— Jeff Risdon (@JeffRisdon) January 13, 2014
Price earned universal disdain for scrambling and ultimately tucking and running in a 7-on-6 drill with no pass rush. There’s lack of pocket presence, and then there’s Keith Price. He checked down to his shallow middle option way too quickly for the coach’s liking.
Hopefully the rest of the week brings more useful sessions.