Practices slowed down drastically in Mobile, Alabama today for the North Squad. The team came out in only helmets, so there was no contact throughout the hour and a half session. Players mainly focused on assignments and were running through the playbook. The practice was a little more intense than a walk-through, so I guess you could call it a “jog-through.”
Despite the little contact and action, two players stood out on the practice field Thursday. North Carolina defensive back Kendric Burney continued his impressive week and should see himself taken no later than the third round come April. I currently have him at a solid second round grade. Burney picked off both Jake Locker and Ricky Stanzi in today’s practice — another interception came off of his fingertips.
Locker and Stanzi once again struggled with their accuracy, however, Stanzi did seem to put more touch on the ball today and looked better than he did earlier in the week. As long as you don’t watch where the ball ends up, Locker looks like a top fifteen pick up until his release, however, his inaccuracy really causes concern and I have him at a second round grade.
There is some talk that Stanzi has worked himself into the second to third round range, but that is absurd. Stanzi has been so erractic and always has trouble throwing to his left. I’d be shocked if he went anywhere higher than the sixth round.
Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick had the most impressive showing at quarterback this morning. He was the only North quarterback not to throw an interception today. Kaepernick threw some beautiful passes down the center of the field and continued to show flashes of brilliance. He still has a long way to go, but Kaepernick has the most upside out of the quarterbacks down in Mobile.
Charlie Bernstein says, “The Seahawks and Chargers gave Nevada QB Colin Kaepernick an informal workout last spring. He ran a 4.43.” in the 40. I have heard reports that teams like the Dolphins and Vikings are also very high on Kaepernick and would consider taking him as early as the second round.
Ohio State wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher was a midweek addition, but he failed to make the best of his opportunity. He never stood out during the week until today, where he stood out for all of the wrong reasons with back to back awful drops and a few others on the day. One receiver who did make some big plays today was Boise State’s Austin Pettis. Pettis made a few spectacular grabs and while he has struggled more in his route running than expected, he has shown that he should be able to develop into a reliable target in the future.
DeMarco Murray has continued to show he is perhaps the best back here. He is a very fluid route runner and has shown soft hands. Murray is a dual-threat back and looks to be a potential stud at the next level. Not only can Murray catch and run lights out, he is a willing blocker.
As we’ve come to expect all week, defensive linemen Cameron Jordan and Christian Ballard continued to shine. Even though there was no contact, the two players were all over the field and constantly chasing down running backs downfield. They have shown all week that they are not only two of the best players, but they have two of the highest motors in the game.