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Senior Bowl notes: Rivals continue combat as teammates

by | NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst

Georgia's Brandon Boykin got some shine for being the only DB to hang with Gators' star Chris Rainey. (Getty Images)  
Georgia's Brandon Boykin got some shine for being the only DB to hang with Gators' star Chris Rainey. (Getty Images)  

Over the last four seasons, Michigan defensive tackle Mike Martin and Ohio State center Mike Brewster played on opposite sides in possibly the greatest rivalry in college football. However, this week the defensive tackle from "the school up north" and the center from "Ohio" are playing for the same team, representing the North squad in the Senior Bowl. And while they'll wear the same uniforms this Saturday against the South team, that hasn't stopped these two from going at it once again in practice drills.

At 6-1, Martin is undersized height-wise, but he has a thick, compact build on his wrestler's frame. He fires off the snap with a relentless attitude and uses his low pad level and violent hands to tear through blockers.

Matched up against the 6-4 tall Brewster in one-on-one drills, Martin has done a nice job staying low to the ground and using his aggressive nature to rip past the Ohio State center. Brewster is technically-sound and uses body positioning to his advantage, but the former Buckeye pivot has struggled to keep Martin at bay through two practices.

Regardless of who got the better of whom, this match-up is about two competitors giving it all they got for the NFL scouts and decision-makers in attendance.

"He's one of my best competitors," said Brewster after practice on Tuesday. "If I'm not trying to kill him, then he's trying to kill me. I know what he's all about, he knows what I'm all about. I know he's going all out, I'm going all out, let the best man win."

Another former rivalry was on display in the South practice as Georgia cornerback Brandon Boykin looked to be the only defensive back with the wheels to stick with Florida running back/receiver Chris Rainey. The former do-everything weapon from Gainesville has shown off his versatility, practicing at running back, wide receiver and return man and showing the speed and explosion to barge past defensive backs.

But Boykin stood out on a few plays, using correct angles and his world-class speed to cut off Rainey's intended path and chase him out of bounds. Both SEC players are pint-sized in stature, but they have the natural God-given speed to stick at the next level.


--CB Dwight Bentley, UL-Lafayette: One could argue that the top cornerback from either practice on Tuesday was Bentley, a late add out of Louisiana-Lafayette. At 5-9, 176 pounds, he doesn't look like much physically, but he has quick feet with nice burst to drive on the ball. Bentley is very fluid throughout his frame and looks natural in his backpedal. He is a prospect to watch moving forward.

--QB Kellen Moore, Boise State: With such an impressive collegiate resume, Moore will get his shot at the next level, but, as he showed Tuesday in practice, he has an uphill battle because of his size and arm limitations. Moore has very good touch and anticipation on this passes, but, to little surprise, his lack of arm strength was exposed on several pro-style passes and scouts have been discouraged with his unorthodox mechanics. There is a place in the NFL for a brilliant offensive mind like Moore, but he hasn't shown anything in practice to warrant a pick in the top five rounds.

--QB Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State: Similar to Moore, Weeden is a rhythm passer with good touch on his throws and composure in the pocket. He has looked natural taking the snap from under center and in his drops, but he often throws to his initial read and doesn't actively go through his progressions. While Weeden has been arguably the top signal caller in Mobile through two practices, scouts are still skeptical about his ability to work through his reads and survey the defense while dropping back -- something that most of these practice drills won't show.

--S George Iloka, Boise State: Measuring at almost 6-4, 222 with above average length (nearly 34" arms), Iloka has had a very positive start to the week of practice. He has looked a bit tight when asked to cover in man and flip his hips, but he can plant and drive on the ball with good timing and ball skills. Iloka has shown the footwork and overall "feel" to match up against both receivers and tight ends so far in practice.

--OT Mike Adams, Ohio State: the big left tackle out of Columbus definitely looks the part and carries his weight well at 6-7, 323 (with 11-inch hands), but his lack of foot quickness has been evident in practice. He sets up quickly with a naturally wide base, which allows him to cover a lot of ground, but he looks heavy in his shuffle and really has a tough time on inside moves, struggling to recover. In tight quarters, he can be dominant, but his lack of lateral agility shows up in space.

--OLB Zach Brown, North Carolina: While he has only average size and strength, Brown's athleticism and playing speed have been elite, as expected. He has shown explosive quickness with the rare fluidity and change of direction skills that make him so special athletically. With that said, his instincts are very hot/cold and he needs to show better read/react skills. Scouts fear he might be limited as a "Will" linebacker at the next level in a traditional 4-3 scheme.


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