MOBILE, Ala. -- The third day of practices at the 2010 Under Armour Senior Bowl represents the most important workday in the minds of scouts.
Players seem to have settled into the routine of playing in a new system under the direction of pro coaches. The frazzled nerves that contributed to some of the sloppy play during the initial workouts have been replaced by renewed confidence buoyed by the successful execution of positive plays in front of hundreds of evaluators.
Although some prospects have failed to live up to hype that preceded their arrival in Mobile, a strong workout during today's practice can salvage some of lofty draft status in the eyes of scouts.
Given the importance of Wednesday's workouts, let's take a look at some players who have stood out after three practices:
LeGarrette Blount, RB, Oregon
Blount entered Senior Bowl week amid a host of character questions following his lengthy suspension following a postgame scuffle in the season opener against Boise State. While his character assessment remains a work in progress, Blount has impressed scouts with his solid play throughout the week. Blount has displayed a nice blend of speed and power as a runner, and his nifty footwork allows him to slither in and out of holes. Throw in the fact that he catches the ball as well as some receivers, Blount's value as an every-down back has started to rise in the minds of many scouts.
Jacoby Ford, WR, Clemson
Ford got off to a shaky start this week, but the speedster has started to come on in recent practice sessions. The track standout has shown exceptional explosiveness off the ball, and his ability to separate from defenders on vertical routes is extraordinary. Although Ford doesn't appear to be a natural pass catcher, he has caught the ball well this week, and has scouts envisioning him blossoming into a legitimate vertical playmaker on the next level.
Ed Wang, OT, Virginia Tech
The unheralded Wang has improved throughout the week, and capped it off with another solid performance Wednesday. The former Hokie showed good footwork and lateral movement skills while taking on highly regarded pass rushers in team drills. Wang showed that he could handle a power rush off the edge, and flashed some nastiness while finishing his blocks. Although Wang will need to work on neutralizing speed off the corner, his steady play at left tackle has undoubtedly earned him high praise in scouting circles.
Daryl Washington, LB, TCU
Washington has flown under the radar for most of the season, but the Horned Frogs' star has emerged as one of the top linebacker prospects with his play this week. Washington shows good instincts for the position, and flashes the requisite toughness to be forceful player at the point of attack. While Washington still needs to show better skills in coverage, he has earned high praise for a solid combination of skills.
Lamarr Houston, DT, Texas
Houston has quietly put together a solid week of practice, and has seen his value rise in the eyes of evaluators. A stout player at the point of attack, Houston has routinely created penetration against single or double teams, and is showing the potential to be a disruptive force as an interior defender. While he is still viewed as more of a run defender than pass rusher, Houston is on the cusp of being a hot commodity as a defensive tackle prospect.
Vladimir Ducasse, OT, Massachusetts
The small school standout entered the week as a potential first-round pick, but his struggles in pass protection have certainly dropped his stock in the scouting community. Though Ducasse has immense potential as an offensive tackle prospect, he is raw in several technical aspects and has difficulty handling elite rushers off the edge. He will still rank high on many boards, but viewing him as a franchise-caliber offensive tackle is a reach at this point.
Danario Alexander, WR, Missouri
The hulking pass catcher has tantalizing size for the position, but this week's practices have raised questions about his speed and explosiveness. Alexander has struggled getting in and out of his breaks, and is unable to create separation from corners in tight coverage. Additionally, he has struggled catching the ball in individual and team drills. With few positive plays on his record in three days of practice, it is not surprising that scouts have singled out Alexander as a notable disappointment.