Monday, January 20, 2014
What's hot from South team practice
By Mike Rodak
MOBILE, Ala. -- The South team held their first practice of Senior Bowl week Monday evening. Here's what hot:
Light attendance from Bills: The Buffalo Bills were well-represented at the North team practice earlier Monday, with coach Doug Marrone and defensive coordinator Doug Whaley among those in attendance. However, neither was spotted at the South team practice. By our count, just a few Bills scouts were in the stands. The North and South teams will practice in the same stadium on Tuesday and Wednesday, which should give Marrone and his staff a chance to see that half of the Senior Bowl squad.
Quarterbacks shaky: The three quarterbacks expected to be chosen first in May's draft -- Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater, and Blake Bortles -- were all ineligible to play in the Senior Bowl, leaving this week's roster thin at the position. The North team was represented by Clemson's Tajh Boyd, Miami's Stephen Morris, and Virginia Tech's Logan Thomas, and none of the young signal-callers had a particularly strong showing. Harris seemed to struggle with accuracy, while Boyd uncorked some passes with an awkward, sidearm delivery that might turn off some scouts. Thomas, at 6-foot-6, towered over his counterparts.
Pedersen shows up: Wisconsin tight end Jacob Pedersen made several catches during team drills, catching the eye. At 6-5, 240 pounds, he's considered more of a "move" tight end than an on-the-line player, but he showed some ability as a pass-catcher during Monday's practice. The Bills could be in need of another tight end if Scott Chandler departs through free agency.
Dixon lands hard hit: Practices during Senior Bowl week are held in full pads but there isn't wrap-up tackling during team drills. That didn't stop some defensive players from cracking pads with receivers, including one hit by safety Ahmad Dixon that drew an "oooh" from the scouts in the crowd. The Baylor product is the top-rated safety at the Senior Bowl, according to Scouts, Inc. Like tight end, safety could be a position of need for the Bills if Jairus Byrd departs through free agency.