MOBILE, Ala. -- The 64th edition of the Senior Bowl got underway this morning as over 100 future NFL players individually stepped onto a stage in Mobile, Alabama to be measured and weighed in front off all 32 franchises. Later in the afternoon it was time for practice as college prospects were run through NFL formations on the field and asked to display their skills. Here's a breakdown of who did well on the first day for the South team, as well as the players who disappointed.
Leon McFadden/CB/San Diego State: McFadden was strong the entire day and by far the best cornerback on the South squad. He was technically sound, displaying both quickness and athleticism in his game. McFadden showed good footwork, moving in reverse with the ability to quickly flip his hips then run downfield with opponents. His ball skills were outstanding as McFadden picked off one pass and almost came away with a second interception. It's quite possible that McFadden was the biggest winner of practice on Monday.
Larry Warford/G/Kentucky: Warford was a blocker who was not to be beat on Monday. He was dominant all day and controlled opponents in drills as well as scrimmage. Once Warford got his hands on a defender it was game over. He's a big, strong lineman with a wide body and the type of prospect who will be sought out by a power running offense.
Johnathan Jenkins/DT/Georgia: Jenkins tipped the scales at 359 pounds this morning but looked more like a 250-pound linebacker moving around the field. He was cat-quick off the snap and quickly penetrated the open gaps of the offensive line or bull rushed blockers into the backfield. Most impressive was Jenkins' ability to immediately change direction and pursue the action outside the numbers to the sidelines. He offers rare athleticism for a big man, though scouts question Jenkins' desire to play with that athleticism every time the ball is snapped.
Garrett Gilkey/OL/Chadron State: Most times players from small schools like Chadron State show some trepidation at the Senior Bowl facing off against players who hail from national powerhouses. Not Gilkey. Lining up at both guard and tackle, Gilkey was not intimidated by anyone and attacked his assignments. On one occasion, he knocked big John Jenkins off the line with a violent punch of his hands. Gilkey stayed on his feet and stayed with the action all day.
Stepfan Taylor/RB/Stanford: Taylor was the most effective ball carrier of day one at the Senior Bowl. The compact running back displayed terrific vision, instincts and burst. Taylor showed the ability to explode through the hole and made defenders miss in the open field. He also proved himself to be effective catching the ball out of the backfield. Taylor is a complete back and will rise up draft boards if he continues the momentum of Monday's practice.
Vance McDonald/TE/Rice: McDonald had a strong practice as a blocker and pass catcher. He made several tough receptions down the middle of the field, coming away with errant passes or making the difficult catch in a crowd. As a blocker, McDonald showed a willingness to attack assignments and the strength to finish off opponents. He's an under the radar tight end who displayed a lot of skill today.
Terrance Williams/WR/Baylor: Williams was sensational throughout practice on Monday. He was fast off the line, ran good routes and showed the speed necessary to beat defenders down the field. Williams showed tremendous focus and came away with several acrobatic receptions throughout the day. The receiver class in the 2013 NFL Draft leaves a lot to be desired but Williams made his mark Monday at the Senior Bowl and ranks near the top of the senior class at the position.
Chase Thomas/LB/Stanford: Thomas has been rated by some as a second round pick. Today, he looked like a last round selection. During coverage drill Thomas was routinely beaten by slow tight ends. He showed minimal quickness and athleticism in his game. Thomas is what teams consider a "tweener"; to small for defensive end and too slow for linebacker.
Bacarri Rambo/S/Georgia: Rambo comes off a sensational senior season but looked indecisive and hesitant in Monday's practice. He was constantly late to the action and made plays after the fact.