Monday started well for the quarterbacks at the weigh-in portion of the day, but the afternoon practice was a different story for the signal callers on the North squad. Mike Glennon (NC State), Ryan Nassib (Syracuse) and Zac Dysert (Miami, Ohio) all struggled through practice on day one, battling issues with timing, ball placement and touch. With some hiccups expected on the first day, their inconsistencies weren't entirely unexpected, but with Geno Smith and Matt Barkley not participating, this year's Senior Bowl is where one of these three quarterbacks (and Tyler Wilson on the South squad) could shine and vault up draft boards.
Glennon (6-7, 220) definitely looks the part and towered over Nassib and Dysert on the practice field with his tall, lean frame. He displayed his powerful arm and made some impressive throws to all levels of the field, but his touch appeared off much of the afternoon with many of his passes sailing past the intended target or falling short. Glennon also struggled with his timing and needs to improve his comfort in his drops to stay poised, make his reads and deliver.
Nassib (6-2, 223) has a snap delivery with very good arm strength on his short-to-intermediate passes, and he earned some praise at one point Monday for his smart, quick decision-making in the pocket. However, his deep ball touch and overall ball placement were an issue all day as he struggled to control the velocity on his throws, which led to incompletions. Nassib is the type of quarterback who will try and throw the ball through his receiver at times and scouts want to see improved touch throughout the week.
Dysert (6-3, 224) didn't necessarily stand out in any one area, but he didn't disappoint either. He looked balanced in his drops, made quick reads and stepped into his throws, usually delivering catchable passes to his target. However, he did make several head-scratching throws as well, struggling to get into a rhythm. Dysert plays with the poise and confidence to steal the show. He just needs to play with the consistency to get it done.
When thrown into an all-star environment such as this with new coaches and teammates, it can be tough for quarterbacks to adjust to the surroundings, causing issues with timing. While Monday wasn't a strong performance for any of the three, it will be important to see which quarterback on the North team returns strong Tuesday, Wednesday and the rest of the week.
- It was a rough day for Ohio State linebacker John Simon, who looked like a fish out of water attempting to cover running backs and tight ends one-on-one in man coverage. He often found himself turned around, lacking the natural hip movement or footwork to quickly adjust and blanket his man. As a college defensive lineman, it's unfair to judge him based on the first practice, but it's obvious Simon will need a lot of coaching if he wants to stay at linebacker.
- After a great weigh-in Monday morning (6072, 305, 34” arms), Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fisher finished strong with an excellent Monday practice, doing terrific in pass-protection drills. He showed off his nimble feet and natural body coordination to square his frame and control the rusher in front of him. Fisher's lack of elite upper- and lower-body strength showed at times, but overall it was a great start to the week as he competes with Oklahoma's Lane Johnson to be the first senior offensive tackle drafted.
- A pair of pass rushers made noise all of Monday's practice on the North squad: Texas defensive end Alex Okafor and UCLA defensive end Datone Jones. Okafor was playing with a full tank and beat blockers with aggressive power and a fiery attitude ripping through the line of scrimmage. Jones was similar with his short-area burst, winning with strength and quickness at the point of attack. Considered second rounders entering the week, both Okafor and Jones made strong cases as to why they should be considered top-32 selections.
- During the North's practice, there are three different color jerseys: white (offense), blue (defense) and then also yellow (quarterbacks). And Michigan's Denard Robinson, who played quarterback in Ann Arbor but is listed at wide receiver on the Senior Bowl roster, also had a yellow jersey despite not taking any snaps from center. He participated in several wide receiver and special teams exercises but wasn't involved in many contact drills, which is probably due to the arm/hand injury he suffered last fall. Robinson looked natural with the ball in his hands, but he didn't display ideal ball skills, something that will take some time as he adjusts to a different position on offense.
- In a talented safety group, Florida International's Jonathan Cyprien stood out on Monday with his aggressive playing style and active demeanor. He practiced at full speed and left it all out on the field, not shying away from getting physical. Whether it was a contact drill or not, Cyprien is going to meet the ballcarrier with a pop, refusing to let up. With Kenny Vaccaro (Texas) and D.J. Swearinger (South Carolina) deciding to skip Mobile, Cyprien has a chance to emerge as one of the top safeties at this year's Senior Bowl.