Senior Bowl Day Three: North Team Notes

Doug Martin

MARTIN: ... most complete running back in Mobile this week. (PHOTO: ANDREW MASON / MAXDENVER.COM)

MOBILE, Ala. – Notes on some of the North team players and their work during practice Wednesday morning at Ladd-Peebles Stadium here:

  • RB DOUG MARTIN, BOISE STATE: He’s become the best of the running backs here, not just because of what he’s done, but also because of Chris Polk’s struggles. As the Washington Huskies running back has struggled to handle incoming linebackers in one-on-one drills and find holes in team and nine-on-seven periods, Martin has excelled, showing a decisive burst to the hole, holding up better than expected in blocking drills and displaying a somewhat unexpected ability to gain separation downfield. When Martin has been covered on a post or flag route by a linebacker, he’s dominated, gaining multiple steps of separation, then catching everything in sight cleanly and crisply. Martin might not be in the first-round mix yet, but he’s joined the mix of second-tier running backs behind Alabama’s Trent Richardson, a group that includes early entries Lamar Miller of Miami (Fla.) and Virginia Tech’s David Wilson. Polk, meanwhile, appears to have slid to the third tier of this year’s running back class.
  • TE EMIL IGWENAGU, MASSACHUSETTS: I’ve written and said little about the tight ends this week, because they haven’t distinguished themselves much in team periods, and at this point, none look like elite prospects in the making. But Igwenagu is the most intriguing of the tight ends on the North side, in part because he’s raw, but also because he has some physicality and separation ability. He showed this in a one-on-one duel with Boise State safety George Iloka, who’s enjoyed a fine week but got shoved to one side by Igwenague, who used his left arm to get three yards of separation on a crossing route, which he used to make an easy reception.
  • DT KENDALL REYES, CONNECTICUT: We’ve touched upon Reyes’s footwork and quickness, which hasn’t been adversely affected by the 55 pounds the 300-pounder added to his frame during this matriculation in Storrs, Conn. Wednesday, he displayed his power, bull-rushing offensive linemen and getting the better of one-on-one drills on a consistent basis. He did struggle at times against the run; he was pushed out of the play by a single blocker on a too-frequent basis. DT Mike Martin of Michigan doesn’t have the same problem; this is why Martin is the best at his position on the North team this week.
  • LB JAMES-MICHAEL JOHNSON, NEVADA: Against the run, he’s showed flashes of brilliance, twice bursting through gaps to stuff runners behind the line of scrimmage — in one case engulfing the afore-mentioned Martin before he had a chance to do anything.
  • QB RUSSELL WILSON, WISCONSIN: Wilson accounts for his short stature by jumping as he throws — not too high, but enough to help him fire the football over the offensive line. It could be dangerous, but given Wilson’s innate feel for the pass rush — he has had no problem eluding opposing defensive linemen when pressured — it isn’t as big a problem as it might first seem.
  • WR BRIAN QUICK, APPALACHIAN STATE: The epitome of a raw prospect — he didn’t play high-school football until his senior year and before that hadn’t put on the pads since his pee-wee years — Quick’s route-running has palpably improved this week. He had fewer dropped passes Wednesday than Tuesday.
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About Andrew Mason

Andrew Mason has covered the NFL since 1999, when he worked as an editor on when the site was managed by He worked six seasons (2002-07) covering the Broncos on their official website and two (2008-09) on the Panthers' site. He began in 2010 and now contributes to, The Sporting News and The New York Times.
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