Senior Bowl  

 

Smaller-school standouts show big-time skills in workouts

Print
Courtesy of Northern Illinois University
Larry English, a defensive end from Northern Illinois, is doing well at Senior Bowl workouts this week.


MOBILE, Ala. -- Postseason all-star games, more than the NFL Scouting Combine and individual workouts, tend to be the best gauges for smaller-school players trying to make it to the pros.

Two smaller-school prospects who are generating a lot of buzz at Under Armour Senior Bowl workouts are Northern Illinois defensive end Larry English and Western Michigan safety Louis Delmas.

English, a dominant pass rusher as a defensive end in college, is being evaluated at that position and as a potential 3-4 outside linebacker. He's a high-motored player who's showing that even though he's undersized (6-foot-2, 255 pounds), he's strong enough to set an edge against the run. More importantly, he has been too quick for most of the Senior Bowl offensive linemen to stop in pass-rushing drills.

Father-son reunion
Brian Robiskie is facing a unique situation at the Senior Bowl. The wide receiver from Ohio State is auditioning in front of NFL executives, scouts and coaches -- including his father,
Atlanta Falcons assistant Terry Robiskie. Dad says his son is "a 10" as an NFL prospect. More ...

English has yet to line up as an outside linebacker in team drills because the defense his North team is running is a base 4-3, the same system in which he played at Northern Illinois. English said he would like to see how he performs as a 3-4 outside linebacker.

"I feel like I can rush from a two-point stance off the ends," English said. "I also think I can make plays in space and cover. I guess we'll see how things play out."

Adding to him possibly having to transition to outside linebacker in the NFL is that English played a weak-side defensive end, which means he typically went to whichever side the offense didn't have a tight end.

As for Delmas, Saturday's game could be his real proving ground because there isn't any live tackling during practice.

Delmas is fiery and positions himself well to make plays. He's also a ball hawk in coverage, having converted to safety after his freshman season. He's viewed as a prototype player for a Tampa 2 defense, in which free and strong safeties are interchangeable in pass coverage and run support.

Getting on track

After a slow start, Oklahoma wide receiver Joaquin Iglesias is off and running.

Iglesias had the best catch during the North team's Wednesday morning practice when he nabbed a deep ball down the left sideline. He also made several sound catches at all levels during team drills.

"The first day was rocky," Iglesias said. "I tried to play better, and I got that done. I made some tough catches and did what I did today. I have room for improvement. I missed a couple blocks, and I have to get timing with my quarterback, but I did good today. I'm proud of myself, and I'm happy."


The NFL Network covers Senior Bowl week from start to finish. Here is the program schedule:

Senior Bowl practice:
NFL Network broadcasts the twice-daily workouts on Tuesday-Thursday starting at 10:30 a.m. and 2:45 p.m.

Path to the Draft:
Daily at 8 p.m. from Tuesday-Thursday, NFL Network shows highlights of practice and gives analysis of which players are making names for themselves.

The 2009 Senior Bowl:
Total Access starts at 6:30 p.m. with the pregame show, followed at 7 p.m. by the game telecast.

* All times eastern

Iglesias said one of the things he must prove to scouts and coaches with a short memory is that he isn't a spread-system receiver who worked exclusively out of the no-huddle -- a scheme rarely used in the NFL. Oklahoma's offense is predicated on timing routes, and Iglesias said he must show the ability to excel on all types of patterns against different coverages.

"My first three years, we huddled," he said. "It was just last year (that Oklahoma didn't). I have to show coaches that I can adjust well and handle coaching.

Iglesias has been reunited with former Oklahoma quarterback Rhett Bomar, who was dismissed from the team in 2006 after allegedly accepting illegal payments for work not being done. Bomar transferred to Sam Houston State, where, in just 19 games, he became the program's all-time leading passer with 5,564 yards.

The grind

Though practices were spirited Wednesday, players said they are starting to feel the grind of the week, which entails far more than practices. There are film breakdowns, meetings, interviews with NFL teams and discussions with player agents in attendance.

"It's a little hectic, but that's what happens on the pro level," Iglesias said. "You have to keep going. Coach even said after practice today, 'Don't complain about anything and keep going.'"

Many coaches and top-level team officials left Wednesday after three days of workouts, which is typical. Scouts and other personnel officials will stick around through Saturday's game, but a lot of the evaluation and interviews of players already have taken place.

Quote of the day

Atlanta Falcons wide receivers coach Terry Robiskie on why Roddy White, a fourth-year pro, made his first Pro Bowl this season:

"The one thing Roddy White's got is the guy loves football. Roddy White, I could go to his house at 11:30 at night and say, 'Let's go play in 10 minutes.' He wouldn't bother getting his shoulder pads or pants. He'd throw on a helmet and say, 'Let's go.' That's football. You grow up as a kid, and you're walking down the street with a football in your hand and yell out to your friends, 'Let's play.' The guys who jump up are football players. Those are the guys that teams are looking for. It's not as complicated finding football players as we sometimes make it out to be."

Print

Headlines

The previous element was an advertisement.

NFL Shop