Moderate temperatures and a brisk wind at Ladd-Peebles Stadium cooled things off for the South’s Tuesday practice, but several individuals stayed hot in the workout and continue to enhance their draft stock in front of the entire League. Perhaps the two top performers of Tuesday’s practice for the South were Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr (pictured, right) and Tennessee defensive tackle Daniel McCullers.
A compact and quick delivery, sound decision making, poise in the pocket and just generally looking the part make Carr an appealing prospect for teams looking to add talent to their quarterback depth chart. But on Tuesday, for me at least, Carr provided another reason for consideration: arm strength. You won’t mistake his velocity for that of an in-his-prime Brett Favre, but I came away quite impressed with it on Tuesday because his passes cut through the wind – a tight spiral on a frozen rope to the intended receiver. Winds were steady throughout the two-hour practice and were gusting upwards of 25 mph at times, but Carr seemed unaffected by the adverse conditions and went about his business.
McCullers (pictured, left) made sure anyone trying to block him plus anyone carrying the ball was quite affected. He was a disruptive force for much of Tuesday’s practice, both in individual drills and in team periods. On Monday, McCullers measured in at a shade under 6-7 and at 348 pounds, and through two practices he’s demonstrated an ability to use that size to overwhelm blockers. He’s able to do this because of his power but also because of some quickness and a good motor.
Here are a few other notes from the South’s practice on Tuesday…
-- Arkansas defensive end Chris Smith impressed today with his pass rushing ability. In nearly every individual drill he was giving his blocker a hard time and was at times dominating. Measuring in 6-1 266 pounds, he doesn’t have prototypical 4-3 defensive end size and may be best-suited for an odd-man front alignment. Perhaps that will change or perhaps it won’t. What we do know for now is that Smith is an explosive edge rusher who can turn speed to power if need be, and he ranks fourth in Arkansas history with 21.5 sacks.
-- A pair of LSU defenders stood out in a pass rush drill that featured linebackers and safeties against running backs, fullbacks and tight ends. Linebacker Lamin Barrow (pictured, right) and safety Craig Loston each got home twice during the drill. Also impressive for the South defense in this drill were Georgia Tech linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu with his speed off the edge and Florida State linebacker Christian Jones with a quick spin move. It’s not all bad news for the offense in this drill, though, because running backs Antonio Andrews (Western Kentucky) and Lorenzo Taliaferro (Coastal Carolina) both had multiple solid reps as blockers; fullback Jay Prosch (Auburn) also put in a good rep before the drill concluded.
-- One of the South’s top cornerbacks, Aaron Colvin (Oklahoma) went down with a knee injury during one-on-one drills with the receivers. He did not return to practice, as doctors/trainers were looking at his knee. Colvin had a great day on Monday and was off to another great start on Tuesday.
-- Florida cornerback Jaylen Watkins had an impressive day, displaying sound jam technique at the line of scrimmage. He’ll be one to watch for the rest of the week, particularly if Colvin doesn’t return to action.