Posted: 8:54 pm Saturday, January 30th, 2010
By Post Staff
Coach Tony Sparano’s South squad had a tough day during a 31-13 loss to the North in today’s Senior Bowl.
Five turnovers and shaky offensive line play surely riled a man with no tolerance for either.
But in the end, Sparano and his staff were there to evaluate players close up, not win a football game.
No player on Sparano’s South squad stood out more than Tennessee nose tackle Dan Williams.
Williams was stout in the middle all day, but also got off blocks and showed the agility at 6-foot-2, 329 pounds to make some plays.
Williams had a tackle for loss, batted down a pass, blew up a screen pass and occupied blockers all day to free up tackles.
Working in studio for the NFL Nettwork, Jets four-time Pro Bowl Kris Jenkins gushed about Williams at halftime.
“I have two words and that’s ‘Dan Williams,’” Jenkins said. “I’m a fan. He went out there and for a defensive lineman to see a defensive lineman who possesses those types of intangibles, he was splitting double teams, just being a presence, making plays.
“I think he’s going to be a player.”
Williams likely will fall somewhere between the Dolphins first pick (No. 12) and second pick (No. 43), unless the team makes a move and gets him.
Meanwhile, Alabama nose tackle Terrence Cody has some ground to make up to become the No. 1 NT in the draft by late April.
Cody made a couple of nice plays in the backfield, but played less than Williams and has far less range and stamina at 6-foot-4, 370 pounds.
Here’s a few thoughts on other players who might have caught the eye of Sparano and Co.:
- Mizzou LB Sean Weatherspoon (6-0, 241) is a short for a 3-4 LB, but a playmaker in space Dolphins’ ILBs and Rolando McClain are not.
Weatherspoon – a favorite of one commenter here – ran sideline to sideline and also dropped back into coverage to intercept a pass. He then showed off his athletic ability during a nice return.
Word in Mobile is McClain is one-dimensional, two-down run stopper. That would help the Dolphins, but the linebacking group in general needs to generate many more big plays.
- USC free safety Taylor Mays’ ability to break on the ball and make up ground was questioned all week.
Saturday, he made a nice interception in the seam on goal line. But the 6-3, 231-pounder still has to show he can make plays out to the sideline.
- Alabama’s 6-5, 250-pound Colin Peek made a TD catch as he was about to get drilled, plus he blocked better than other TEs this week in Mobile.
It’s a combination sure to impress Sparano, who coached tight ends in Dallas.
- On the North side, Michigan DE Brandon Graham made plays everywhere to win MVP honors.
At 6-foot-1, 263 pounds, he might convert nicely to 3-4 strong side outside linebacker.
- Penn State defensive lineman Jerad Odrick also played at a high level all day.
Word is the Dolphins really like Odrick. He might have been the best player during practices and at 6-foot-5, 301 pounds could be a perfect 3-4 end.