National Football Authority

The Cleveland Browns took the field this afternoon to accommodate new player additions and re-signed players, but they still were not all practicing with the rest of the team.

At least for the first hour of practice, that is.

Then all players put on their helmets—it was a helmet practice only, no pads—and began playing with the rest of their teammates.

While live tweeting at camp today, the following are my observations on a few players.

Jayme Mitchell, DE

-A giant among the defensive unit, in height. Mitchell was playing with the first team defense at left end along with rookie Phil Taylor to his right, then Ahtyba Rubin and finally rookie Jabaal Sheard on the other end.

-Right away I could see Mitchell’s explsoiveness off the snap as he was creating pressure on the quarterbacks—regardless of who was at right tackle or trying to defend him. He will be heavily watched at Friday morning’s practice session.

Evan Moore, TE

-During red zone 7-on-7 drills, against the much smaller cornerback rookie Buster Skrine, Moore had a spectacular grab at the back of the endzone. Moore was able to one-hand the pass directly over the top of Skrine, due to the height mis-match (Moore is 6’6″ and Skrine is 5’10”).

Buster Skirne, CB

-Speaking of Skrine, he was mis-matched on more than the play described above against Moore. His smaller size seemed to come into play several times when he was participating in bump-and-run drills, getting dominated by the bigger receivers.

-Otherwise, Skrine looked fast and was playing the nickelback with the 1st team for much of the practice and until Dimitri Patterson took over the role later in practice.

-Skrine was also returning kickoffs because Josh Cribbs was still ailing from a leg injury.

Brandon Jackson, RB

-Once again Montario Hardesty was not taking reps this afternoon and I will be the first to admit it is starting to scare me a bit. Anyway, Jackson looked quick and agile, while showing off his speed on several reps during 11-on-11 drills.

-Jackson’s calves are huge too. They are like the size of Peyton Hillis’s biceps—literally.

Carlton Mitchell, WR

-Right away I could see Mitchell had a hop in his step and seemed very eager to get out on the field to run routes—in a receiver group which is getting more and more competitive each day.

-He showed off his speed on several pass routes, but also showed some signs of rust due to not being able to participate in the past few sessions (shoulder injury). I will be monitoring him on Friday as well.

Misc. Observations

-Receiver Jordan Norwood was still making plays in the slot, but the coaching staff sit back to chill for the last hour of practice. Head coach Pat Shurmur said Norwood injured his hip but it is nothing serious.

-Receiver Johnathan Haggerty was getting a ton of reps today and made the most of them by running crisp routes, getting open consistently and catching a lot of passes from the quarterbacks. Keep your eyes on him.

-Quarterback Colt McCoy looked more accurate than he did during Tuesday’s practice, completing more passes than he had incompletions.

-Quarterback Jarrett Brown still has a cannon on his shoulder and it is really fun to watch the ball launch—every time he throws it.

-Cornerback Joe Haden was still locking down his assigned receivers all session long. He made several great pass break ups showing tremendous closing speed.

August 4th, 2011

Posted In: NFL

While Clemson defensive end Da’Quan Bowers seems to be stealing all the headlines for defensive players in the 2011 NFL Draft class, North Carolina defensive end Robert Quinn has gone under the radar. Until now.

On Wednesday April 6 national conference call, Pro Football Weekly draft expert Nolan Nawrocki talked about many topics, to reporters on the call, including Quinn.

Nawrocki said that NFL teams are being very cautious of Quinn since he has “red flags” just like Bowers does. Quinn’s concerns deal more with his medical history, the fact he missed the entire 2010 college season due to taking illegal benefits and his Pro Day performance was nothing to shout out about.

Also, Nawrocki said Quinn has “learning concerns,” though no further details were said about this.

As of right now, Quinn is trending to be the top defensive end picked on draft day and his draft stock benefiting all the bad press surrounding Bowers.

He has seen to be moving up in first round mocks across the ‘Net, especially in lieu of Bowers’ recent surgery news, but it remains to be seen if he is yet a Top 10 pick due to all of his concerns Nawrocki listed on the conference call.

Despite not playing this past season, Quinn has 11 sacks as a sophomore in 2009 and could be a great fit for a team in need of added pass rush talent. Quinn is said to be a fit in either a 4-3 defensive scheme as a defensive end or in a 3-4 scheme as an outside linebacker.

April 7th, 2011

Posted In: CFB