Sunday, November 23, 2014
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Senior Bowl practice notes: Day 2

Day 2 of Senior Bowl practices is in the books, with one more worthwhile day of practices to go. Here's what happened down in good ol' Alabama today. Practice notes:

Senior Bowl practice notes: Day 2

UCLA wide receiver Shaq Evans. (Jae Hong/AP)
UCLA wide receiver Shaq Evans. (Jae Hong/AP)

Day 2 of Senior Bowl practices is in the books, with one more worthwhile day of practices to go. Here's what happened down in good ol' Alabama today.

Practice notes: 

• The best player on the field today was Auburn DE Dee Ford. He was unblockable around the edge with his speed rush, and once he had opposing tackles leaning too far outside, he was beating them inside as well. There was one play in which he beat the LT around the corner, but the QB got the ball out quickly to the opposite side of the field. Ford just kept right on trucking after the football, and caught the play from behind. His estimated path to the receiver:

• The North QBs are all having an awful week. They would be Clemson's Tajh Boyd, Miami's Stephen Morris, and Virginia Tech's Logan Thomas. They've been so bad, and so inaccurate, that they've made it very hard to watch practices. When they can't throw passes on target, you can't see wide receivers and corners finish plays. The receivers are trying to make an impression and they have to be frustrated, because the QBs have just been brutal.

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• It also doesn't help that the North team corners are holding receivers on every play, and the Falcons coaching staff is letting them get away with it. CB Nevin Lawson of Utah State is by far the biggest offender of defensive holding. Lawson has held receivers so much that the North receivers are going to need new jerseys by the end of the week. 

• The best receiver here, in my opinion, is Jordan Matthews of Vanderbilt. He had the catch of the day. It was semi-diving catch about 30 yards down the field along the sideline. He has had some drops, which is a concern, but his raw ability is clear as day.

• Another receiver that has caught my eye is Shaq Evans of UCLA. A corner came up to press Evans, and Evans just put him on the ground. Very physical play. He also showed good long speed on a deep ball, and he has decent size at 6'1, 210.

• During 1-on-1 pass rush drills (LBs and safeties vs TEs and RBs), the best pass blocker of the bunch was Georgia TE Arthur Lynch. The best pass rusher was Christian Jones of Florida State. Telvin Smith of Florida State struggled to get any pressure at all. Smith has been working out at LB for the South team, but his size and build (6'3, 218) say he's a safety. Smith made it clear to me in an interview that he does not want to play safety. He needs to re-think that. To his credit, Smith did have a nice forced fumble today.

• Neither kicker at the Senior Bowl is all that appealing. The North kicker in particular, Chris Boswell of Rice, has an even weaker leg than Alex Henery.

• The punter for the North team is Kirby Van Der Kamp. He's a lefty. The Eagles had Donnie Jones and Brad Wing in camp last year, who are both lefties as well. #DonnieFootball is a free agent, although I would expect the Eagles to re-sign him after almost single-handedly winning the Eagles a Super Bowl in 2013, but you never know. If Van Der Kamp isn't drafted and the Eagles do indeed have an affinity for left-footed punters, they may opt to try to bring him in to give Jones some competition, or so that the punt returners get more reps. Kirby Van Der Kamp would be the first Eagle to have a 4-initial nickname, although "KVDK" isn't very catchy.

Who did the Eagles talk to?

As noted yesterday when we reported that Eagles scouts and coaches talked to 12 different players, the Eagles will speak with every prospect during the "speed dating sessions" while they are here, but it is still interesting to see who the scouts and assistant coaches specifically spend some extra time with after practices.. They were far less active active today, as they only spoke to two players, who again, were defenders.

Deone Bucannon, S, Washington State (6'1, 216): Bigtime hitter, and playmaker (10 INTs the last two seasons). Bucannon also had 3 INTs against Chip Kelly's Oregon Ducks in 2011 and 2012.

Christian Jones, ILB, Florida State (6'3, 234): Jones has been impressive this week, and could potentially be taken in the first round. He runs well, covers well, rushes the passer well, and is a solid tackler. There's not a lot to dislike about him. The Eagles spoke with Jones after practice for the second consecutive day. He is absolutely a player that could be (and should be) on the Eagles' radar.

Howie hates rocking the boat

Eagles GM Howie Roseman was nice enough to spend some time with reporters today after one of the practices, and he spoke about the importance of bringing in high character players.

"You want to make sure that you're bringing in guys who will fit into your culture," said Roseman. "Right now we have a good culture, and that's the fun part of it. You want to make sure you continue that, and you don't want to bring in anyone who is going to rock the boat. It's such a team sport, with 53 guys coming togther. When you think about where all these guys come from, it's different backgrounds, different cities, and you have to fit them all in. I think that's why being a head coach in the NFL is such a tough job. It's our job to make sure that we're not bringing in outsiders who rock the boat."

The Eagles targeted high character players in 2013, and have already taken one character concern player off their board completely. Expect that to continue.

Additional notes:

• We reported yesterday that the Eagles were giving Oklahoma CB Aaron Colvin a lot of attention after practice on Monday. Today he was injured and had to be helped off the field. It appears that he tore his ACL.

 

 

Colvin was playing well this week. That's a horrible break for him.

• After each practice, a few Eagles scouts go around measuring prospects' wrists and around their knees. Here they are measuring around the knee of Georgia Tech CB Jemea Thomas.

This is to determine how lean the prospect is, which helps the Eagles figure out how much weight the prospect can carry. Last year around draft time, Lane Johnson explained the practice to Jeff McLane.

"They want to see how lean you are. They'll measure your wrists, around your knees and ankles to see what your body can hold and they told me [it was] around 315, 320."

The Eagles are the only team that is doing this out in the open. 

You may think that scouts measuring knees is not newsworthy, but when the Eagles raise the Lombardi Trophy in 2016, I can guarantee you that the first thing Chip Kelly attributes his success to is knee measuring.

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