Wednesday’s practice for the west was by far the best of the week. Several offensive linemen really stood out as well as a number of linebackers. Here’s our final breakdown from Shrine Week plus some notes on what scouts are saying about invitations to the combine.
Max Hall/QB/BYU: Hall did a terrific job commanding and controlling the offense all day. He’s very accurate and very much a leader on the field. Questions lingered about his arm strength and Hall has yet to answer them. Wed Threw some very accurate short passes today. Was never asked to throw the ball further than 15 yards.
Matt Nichols/QB/Eastern Washington: Nichols also displayed terrific poise and accuracy. A strong arm he does not possess. Wed Again; good short accuracy but passes lack zip.
Pat Paschall/RB/North Dakota State: Paschall was the best ball carrier of the day. He’s a smooth back with a gliding style that was able to pick and choose his way on the inside. More often than not Paschall was able to create yardage and popped out of nowhere when it seemed he was dead in his tracks. Wed Not as effective as Tuesday but still had a solid day and raised some eyebrows.
Dimitri Nance/RB/Arizona State: Nance is a bit underrated in our eyes and showed why this afternoon. He ran hard and really got as much as possible out of each carry.
Keith Toston/RB/Oklahoma State: Toston had several very nice runs today. He’s very explosive and showed the ability to pop one off every once and a while. Wed Ran hard on the inside and was tough to knock off his feet.
Nathan Overbay/TE/Eastern Washington: Overbay must be broken down into two players. Overbay the blocker struggled all day. At times he was overwhelmed at the point of attack and he must improve his strength. Overbay the pass catcher was stellar- he caught everything thrown his way and consistently beat linebackers down the field during drills. Wed Caught the ball well but one thing that caught our eye is Overbay is very slow getting off the line, which will pose problems for him at the next level.
Dennis Pitta/TE/BYU: Pitta caught the ball well, which was expected. He also did an better than expected job blocking. Wed Was probably the best pass catcher on the West squad. Made some incredible one-handed receptions and looks very natural.
Seri Ajirotutu/WR/Fresno State: Looks the part yet very inconsistent. Snatches the ball out of the air and beats defenders then drops some very easy throws.
Kerry Meier/WR/Kansas: Really fought hard to get separation and made some tough catches. Physical from start to finish. Limited quickness and not burst. Solid for most of the day.
David Reed/WR/Utah: Looked solid most of the day. Was effective on the underneath routes displaying good hands and effectively using his body to shield away defenders.
John Estes/C/Hawaii: Estes had a very god day. He’s technically sound and works his blocks hard. He’s not the biggest of lineman but the ability to get leverage on defenders and work his hands gave Estes a decided advantage. Wed Another sensational day. The most fundamentally sound lineman on the field. Handled bigger opponents all afternoon. On several snaps Estes did a terrific job getting out to the second level, blocking in motion and destroying linebackers.
Brandon Carter/G/Texas Tech: Carter is a monster and easily controls opponents once engaged in a block. He had a strong practice. Wed Most dominant lineman of the day. Just manhandled anyone he went up against. Blocked with good fundamentals and his power is obvious.
Cole Pemberton/T/Colorado State: Pemberton has an impressive build and is one of the bigger linemen in attendance. That said he looked stiff, cannot slide laterally and was often beaten by nimble opponents.
Mike Tepper/T/California: Like Pemberton, Tepper had a difficult time handling speed. He was beaten badly on successive plays by Jeffrey Fitzgerald of Kansas State. Wed Showed good power at the point and worked very hard. Definite improvement over Tuesday. Best on the right side, maybe at guard.
Shelley Smith/G/Colorado State: Smith looked very athletic on the field and moves well. He must get stronger as he was often rag-dolled in the middle of the line.
Marshall Newhouse/OL/TCU: Newhouse played tackle all day, which is surprising as most project him to guard. He did a solid job when he blocked with good fundamentals and got his hands into defenders. Wed Played guard most of the day and looked more at home. Was strong and also nimble. Definitely improved his draft stock today.
Martin Tevaseu/DT/UNLV: Tevasea looked big, powerful and tough to stop all day. He clogged the middle and pushed linemen off the ball. He’s also built low to the ground, which helps his cause. Wed Could not keep the momentum going and looked very ordinary today. Handled by smaller opponents and rarely got penetration up the field.
Jeffrey Fitzgerald/DE/Kansas State: Fitzgerald was terrific and was applauded by scouts throughout most of the day. He makes a lot of athletic plays on the field. He told us afterwards he spoke at length with Scott Pioli of Kansas City and spent time with the Baltimore Ravens. The latter is interesting as we feel Fitzgerald has long term potential as a two gap end. Wed Seemed to be tiring and wearing down. Was handled a number of times. With that said, Fitzgerald’s athleticism really stood out on the field.
Jan Jorgensen/DE/BYU: Jorgenson struggled, could not get off blocks and was beaten most of the day. Wed Continued to struggle and was handled from the get-go.
Earl Mitchell/DT/Arizona: Mitchell had a solid week of practice and definitely elevated his draft stock. He was applauded by coaches on a number of occasions for his solid play. He’s explosive, quick and built low to the ground, which he uses to his advantage. Mitchell also displayed good power, getting a nice amount of push up the field.
Dexter Davis/LB/Arizona State: Davis played linebacker almost exclusively all day and showed a lot of skills defending the run. He’s able to slide down the line, makes plays laterally and does a nice job staying with tight ends in coverage. It’s obvious he does not yet have a feel for coverage and was beaten deep on a number of occasions, yet it was a solid outing. Wed Davis was slightly better at linebacker today. He was move cognizant of moving in reverse. He now must learn to make plays when the ball is in the air.
Jason Beauchamp/OLB/UNLV: Beauchamp looked strong and athletic all day. He was a forceful run defender who surprised us by making some plays in coverage. His ability to go sideline-to-sideline was also impressive. Wed Another good day for Beauchamp. He’s big and looks very athletic on the field. Definitely built some momentum for himself.
Reggie Carter/LB/UCLA: Not a good performance by Carter. He lacks instincts and is too slow reacting to the action. He was caught out of position several times and also easily blocked at the point.
Kristik Keaton/OLB/Oregon State: Keaton was the opposite of Davis; he was terrific n pass coverage yet could not hold his own against the run.
Darrell Stuckey/S/Kansas: Made a lot of nice plays against the run and was applauded by coaches. Usually lined up in the box at strong safety.
Alterraun Verner/CB/UCLA: Looked smooth and fluid in coverage all day. Terrific footwork and looked very natural. Scouts on hand have given Verner a second round grade. Wed Verner had another good day. He’s natural in all his ball skills. His forty time at the combine will be critical.
Jamar Wall/CB/Texas Tech: Wall was consistently beaten today. He was often turned and gave up a lot of receptions.
Scouts on hand admit that more top senior prospects were left off this years combine list than ever before. One insider points out the problems retrieving game film from schools is likely to have played a part in it. It was pointed out teams have still not received any game film from Arizona State this season.
Some of the team officials on hand today included Marty Hurney, Mark Dominik, Ted Thompson, Bill Parcells, Bruce Allen and Scott Pioli. Todd Halley and Jim Schwartz were the head coaches in attendance.