Senior Bowl: North Observations

Nassib (Ryan Penner - USA Today Sports)

Here are some of the standout performances from Monday's North practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Among the impact performers was a hard-hitting safety and two players with familiar last names.

MOBILE, Ala. -- Here are some of the noteworthy performances from Monday's North practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. The practice was conducted in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts.

None of the North's quarterbacks looked particularly sharp, though that's probably to be expected as they try to learn an offense and the skills of a bunch of pass-catchers they only just met. Syracuse's Ryan Nassib probably threw the best balls and had some zip on some out-breaking routes.

Ty Powell, an outside linebacker from Rutgers, and Arthur Brown, a linebacker from Kansas State, did not practice. Brown said he was awaiting results of an MRI on his right shoulder. Michigan quarterback-turned-receiver Denard Robinson took part only in noncontact drills. He muffed one punt and misjudged two others during a special-teams period. Robinson, who said he's battling a sore ulnar nerve, hopes to practice on Tuesday.

Oregon's Kyle Long, the son of Hall of Fame defensive end Howie Long and the brother of standout Rams defensive end Chris Long, is incredibly patient and calm in pass protection. He just waits and waits and waits before slamming the door on oncoming rushers. The question is, with his 32 1/8-inch arms, will that patience work in the NFL?

At 256 pounds, Ohio State's John Simon is easily the biggest linebacker in Mobile. Big, however, isn't necessarily better. He had a hard time keeping up with running backs Kenjon Barner and Johnathan Franklin in pass coverage.

Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant has a familiar last name as the brother of longtime NFL standout corner Marcus Trufant. If Trufant can walk that fine line between aggressive and too aggressive, he might be as successful as his brother. Trufant broke up at least five passes, including beating Elon receiver Aaron Mellette to the spot on a slant. Later, however, Trufant would have been penalized Oregon State's Markus Wheaton well past 5 yards.

One corner who didn't fare as well was Utah State's Will Davis. There's been a decent buzz surrounding Davis but he got off to a poor start when he tripped over a dummy during a footwork drill, then dropped an interception during another individual drill. Later, he struggled in a press-coverage drill, got toasted by Marshall's Aaron Dobson and probably would have been flagged for interference when he broke up a pass to Kansas State's impressive Chris Harper.

Florida International safety Jonathan Cyprien missed few opportunities to hit anyone carrying the ball. In the span of four plays during a 9-on-7 running drill, Crypien stuck Franklin, nailed Fresno State running back Robbie Rouse and then flexed his muscles for the scouts after joining several defenders in stopping Franklin in the hole.

The two defensive linemen making the most noise were North Carolina's Sylvester Williams and Texas' Alex Okafor. Williams (6-3, 313) knifed into the backfield on the first play of the 9-on-7 period. Okafor (6-5, 261) seemingly spent half the practice in the backfield. He's got long arms and could fit as a 4-3 end or 3-4 outside linebacker. As a whole, the offensive and defensive lines spent too much time on the ground.

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