January 25, 2010

MOBILE, Ala. -- Practices for the final major all-star game kicked off Monday in Alabama. The Senior Bowl annually draws in the nation's best talent, along with the largest number of NFL personnel people, and this year is no different. It's one last opportunity for players to improve their draft stock on the field and that's what many did in the workouts. Here's the first of our daily breakdowns of the practices:

Geno Atkins/DT/Georgia: Atkins disappointed scouts with his play in 2009 but elevated his game on the first day of Senior Bowl practice. Atkins was explosive and unstoppable for most of the afternoon session. He was constantly getting penetration behind the line of scrimmage and regularly beating bigger, stronger opponents.

Perrish Cox/CB/Oklahoma State: Many NFL scouts rate Cox as the top senior cornerback, and he showed why today. Cox shut down just about every receiver he faced and displayed top ball skills. His fundamentals were solid as was his athleticism.

Terrell Skinner/S/Maryland: The former Terp cornerback showed off his coverage skills Monday, culminating with an interception of quarterback Tony Pike. Already possessing very good size, he was physical throughout practice and has many believing he could eventually start at the next level.

Michael Hoomanawanui/TE/Illinois: Hoomanawanui overwhelmed the linebackers and safeties that attempted to cover him all day. He caught the ball very well and did a better-than-expected job at blocking. Hoomanawanui is trying to reverse what was a poor senior season at Illinois and is off to a good start.

LaGarrette Blount/RB/Oregon: Blount was a late addition to the Senior Bowl, and he displayed the skills which made him such a highly rated running back coming into the season. He ran tough between the tackles and showed a burst, which many did not know he possessed.

Mitch Petrus/G/Arkansas: Petrus, a former fullback at Arkansas, has improved his play the past three seasons and looked terrific in his first Senior Bowl practice. He moves well on his feet and does a terrific job blocking in motion. Petrus surprised scouts with his power. He not only handled opponents at the point of attack, but drove larger defensive linemen off the ball throughout the afternoon.

Mike Johnson/G/Alabama: Johnson was an imposing-looking figure Monday morning, measuring 6-feet, 5½-inches and 306 pounds during weigh-ins. The former Alabama starter played to his size during practice, dominating opponents. Johnson did not give up an inch against anyone he faced and was solid as both a run blocker and in pass protection.

Dan Williams/DT/Tennessee: Williams was ferocious on the inside and pushed blockers around all day. He possesses terrific power and was able to collapse the pocket or bullrush opponents off the ball. Williams continues to move up draft boards.

Terrence Cody/DT/Alabama: Cody looked poorly conditioned on Monday, tipping the scales at a sloppy 370 pounds. During practice he quickly tired and struggled to keep pace with the rest of the linemen. He was pushed to the ground and handled by lesser opponents on a number of occasions.

Selvish Capers/T/West Virginia: Capers struggled from the get-go. He was beaten around the corner by speed rushers or pushed back off the line by power opponents. All too often Capers was left to pull himself off the field after being pushed to the ground by opponents.

• One of the more interesting prospects on the field is former Alabama-Birmingham quarterback Joe Webb, who's exclusively lining up at receiver during the Senior Bowl. After some early bumps in practice, Webb got his feet underneath him and looked like the transition to his new position would be a smooth one. Webb's day culminated when he beat Florida State's Patrick Robinson on a deep route and made a difficult, over-the-shoulder reception.

Myron Rolle, the Rhodes Scholar recipient who did not play football last season, looked solid for a someone that's been away from football for a year.

• Florida quarterback Tim Tebow drew the largest crowds, but it was a coach who received the biggest cheer. At the start of the South's practice Monday afternoon, a black SUV made its' way onto the practice area. Nick Saban then stepped from the vehicle to the thunderous applause of the Alabama faithful, many who jumped to their feet to cheer their national-title-winning coach.

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