Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Senior Bowl: Jags' Wednesday observations
By Michael DiRocco
MOBILE, Ala. -- Here are 10 observations/thoughts from Wednesday's Senior Bowl practice(s) and interviews:
North team linebacker Chris Borland (Wisconsin) is a bit undersized at 5-feet-11 but that hasn't stopped him from making an impression this week. He's a stout 245 pounds so he's held up well in the run game and has been able to shed blocks. He also read Logan Thomas' eyes and easily intercepted a pass intended for running back David Fluellen (Tulane) during 11-on-11 drills. He also made a nifty juke to get by cornerback Pierre Desir (Lindenwood) during a kickoff coverage drill.
North receiver Josh Huff (Oregon) nearly made the catch of the day but just couldn't quite pull in a deep pass from Stephen Morris (Miami) in the end zone. Huff got a good release off the line of scrimmage and got behind cornerback Marqueston Huff (Wyoming). Huff has had a solid week.
Morris came right back several plays later with a good throw to receiver Mike Campanaro (Wake Forest) on an in cut. Morris was very accurate and looked better than Tajh Boyd (Clemson) and Thomas during that pass skeleton drill.
North Cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste (Nebraska) played well in 11-on-11, capped off by knocking away a fade pass in the back corner of the end zone intended for receiver Jared Abbrederis. Jean-Baptiste has the kind of size the Jaguars like in their corners (6-2, 215 pounds) but would be a luxury pick. The secondary is one area the Jaguars don't need to address this offseason.
South defensive end Brent Urban (Virginia) will miss the rest of the week and the game after suffering an ankle sprain. He had been having a solid week and was a player the Jaguars were keeping an eye on.
I really like the intensity and tenacity shown by South tight end Crockett Gillmore (Colorado State) during 9-on-7 drills. One personnel evaluator said they liked the 6-6, 255-pound Gillmore but he needed to improve as a blocker. He looked pretty darn good on Wednesday, though. He handled linebacker Adrian Hubbard (Alabama) on back-to-back snaps and took down defensive end IK Enemkpali (Louisiana Tech). He blocks through the whistle. He's a converted defensive end that brings a bit of nastiness to the position.
The Jaguars had defensive end Kyle Van Noy (BYU) working at outside linebacker and defensive coordinator Bob Babich was really pleased with Van Noy's performance in footwork and reaction drills. The Jaguars are looking for a leo (hybrid end/linebacker) and Van Noy is someone to watch.
The coaches also switched several offensive linemen around to see how they may fit at another position. Center Travis Swanson spent some time outside and really struggled with the ends during a pass rush drill. Guard Jon Halapio (Florida) took a few snaps at center and said after the practice that was the first time he had ever snapped.
South cornerback Chris Davis (Auburn) measured shorter than anticipated (5-10 ¾) but has shown the ability to deal with bigger and more physical receivers. He out-fought the 6-3 Jordan Matthews (Vanderbilt) for a ball on the sideline and ripped it from Matthews' hands to force an incompletion.
North guard Brandon Linder (Miami) may have increased his draft stock with a solid three days of practice. The 6-5, 316-pounder had a reputation for being technically sound and that showed up this week. Linder, a three-year starter for the Hurricanes, was projected to be a late-round draft pick but that could change if he finishes the week strong.