ST. PETERSBURG, Fl. – Intermittent rain showers did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of the first day of practice at the East-West Shrine Game. A number of receivers and lineman stood out as players practiced in full pads today. The quarterbacks, on the other hand, struggled. Here's a breakdown of my Risers and Sliders from day one practice.
David Parry/DL/Stanford – Parry, listed as 6-2, 305, is not a lineman who will pass the eyeball test as he's smaller than one would expect. Fact is he played big today and was unstoppable despite his lack of classic measurables. Built low to the ground, he gets leverage on opponents and then showcased a variety of hand moves to get around blocks. He beat almost every opponent he faced in one-on-one drills and left a positive impression on teams.
BJ Finney/OL/Kansas State -- Finney was the one player who found a way to stop Parry. At 6-4, 312, he too lacks great dimensions but handled defenders with a terrific combination of technique and smarts. Finney, who lined up at both center and guard, out-positioned defenders and did not get beat all day.
Deon Long/WR/Maryland -- From the get-go, Long, 6-1, 195, looked ready to play football and impressed scouts with his overall game. He's exceptionally quick and beat defenders off the snap of the ball then ran scissor-sharp routes to come free. He caught all the catchable passes tossed in his direction and even snagged a few wayward throws. The only element Long seemed to be missing today was field-stretching speed, but he showed enough to peak the interest of teams needing a fourth receiver.
Darren Waller/WR/Georgia Tech -- Waller was another who came out of the gate hot and physically dominated opponents in the early going. He's an impressive specimen and, at 6-6, 240, he looks as though he could be a successful small forward in the NBA if his NFL career doesn't pan out. During full scrimmage Waller was just okay, but the impression he left on scouts at the start of practice will surely last.
Derrick Lott/DL/Tennessee Chattanooga -- The small-school lineman took full advantage of his opportunity on the big stage today. Lott, 6-4, 298, looked athletic, powerful and on more than one occasion dominated opponents. He needs a bit of refinement on the nuances of the position but there's no doubt scouts came away impressed with Lott's opening performance.
Taiwan Jones/LB/Michigan State -- When breaking down the linebackers at the Shrine Game there's Taiwan Jones and then there's everyone else. Right from the initial drill, it was easy to see that Jones, 6-3, 250, is head and shoulders above the rest. He's quicker, more athletic and more explosive but Jones also displayed instincts and discipline during scrimmage. There's a good chance Jones' play here in St Petersburg springboards him to the Senior Bowl next week.
Jonathan Feliciano/G/Miami-Fl -- Feliciano was not dominant today rather very steady and workmanlike. He wasn't flashy, but at the same time Feliciano never got beat. It was the type of performance that pushes a player into the middle rounds of the draft, which is where Feliciano, 6-5, 320, will hope to hear his name called.
Chucky Hunter/DL/TCU -- I personally like Hunter as a prospect, but in all honesty he was beaten early and often today. The interior lineman, just 6-1, 307, was handled at the point, smothered by opponents and rarely got off a single block.
Cole Farrand/LB/Maryland -- Farrand grades well in the areas of toughness, effort and smarts, but his athleticism lags behind and it showed. At 6-3, 245, he struggled making plays in space, struggled getting outside the box with any speed and was often beaten during coverage drills.
Anthony Boone/QB/Duke -- Boone is athletic and has a big arm but that's where it ends. All too often he missed open receivers in practice and had a tendency to spray passes around the field.