The South team turned in a solid practice with more than a few big plays and unfortunately a couple of big injuries, as both Dallas Goedert and Adam Brenaman are OUT for the rest of the week with what appeared to be hamstring injuries. There will be a roster addition of Deon Yelder from Western Kentucky but Goedert’s impact will be missed.
LIKED WHAT I SAW
ILB Tre Williams, Auburn – Williams won the day. He made two wow plays in practice, he was a tone setter in drills and brought energy on every rep. He broke through on a running play where he absolutely crushed Rashaad Penny on an inside run, drawing the “ooohs and aaahs” from the crowd and he flashed some real ability out in coverage. The guy isn’t just a down hill rusher, he has great feet and his hands are strong. He can really run and he bends well, he beats blocks and he has natural base strength. Williams is an inside backer but he has some pass rushing ability outside of what he can do in coverage and he showed that off today. Big day for the Bayou Bengal.
S Quin Blanding, Virginia – The Cavalier represented his school well today with some real closing speed, great anticipation and flat out “go get it” type of acceleration when he breaks on the ball. Blanding is a long lanky safety at 6’2” with enough athleticism to close and a real knack for finding the football, striking the ball carrier and finish plays. He broke up a pass against Adam Breneman early in the day and he batted down an attempt for Jordan Akins later. Ian Thomas was able to get open on him on one rep but outside of that mistake, the guy was just all over it today and really showed what kind of pro he can be today.
TE Dallas Goedert, South Dakota State – Even though Goedert may have left practice early with an ice bag on his leg, he still flashed his natural ball skills with those big hands (10⅛) and his rare ability to gain separation at 260 pounds and flat out get open against his man. He runs well, he has more than adequate measurables and length but his competitiveness is evident when you watch him play. There’s just a lot of “want to” and the kind of determination you get from a former walkon in this guy. Mike White found him multiple times early in the session and it’s just unfortunate that Goedert won’t finish the week because he would have likely dominated the game.
DE Kylie Fitts, Utah – The guy went full boar today. He showed he can bull rush, he flashed some violent hands and won some of his one on ones. Fitts has an adequate frame, a thick build and he has he motor that will speak out to teams. The Kyle Whittingham product showed off what the Utes’ program is known for; sound technique, hustling to the ball and bringing the attitude every play. Fitts has a chance to be a base end and it will be interesting to see how the rest of the week goes and if he has a chance to flex out in some coverage drills at all. He carries his 259 pounds well and regardless of where he gets drafted, I think he has a chance to make an impact as a situational pass rusher at the least.
WR DJ Chark, LSU – Chark put his ball skills on display today. He cleanly caught the ball in drills, Chark plucks the football and is a true hands catcher. The guy just looks the part with his sleek moves, stellar ball skills and long frame. He is a bit high cut and could use to thicken out but at 196, he’s got enough size to survive the hits at the next level as well as break through contact. Chark caught passes thrown behind him (Looking at you Brandon Silvers), he won in jump ball situations, he located the ball well on the back shoulder drills and logged an exemplary day one for himself. DJ Chark was a highly touted prep prospect and could end up being a much better pro than a collegiate player if he lands in the right spot.
TE Ian Thomas, Indiana – I am pulling for this guy because he has a tremendous story but the bottom line is that Ian had a number of drops, he miss-timed his routes, he couldn’t get open or gain separation and appeared to be fighting the ball all day. Thomas was in slow motion on a zig route that batted down by Quin Blanding, he dropped a simple out route and he couldn’t get open against Tre Williams on a short dig. Thomas is a big athletic move tight end, he has adequate length and he’s strong in jump ball situations. Ian Thomas has the upside as well as the skills but he needs to have a strong day two, start consistently catching passes and rebound from today if he wants to salvage his draft stock.
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