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  • May 18, 2019
    First impressions go a long way. Players on both squads had
    to make do through
    windy Mike Person
    , drizzly conditions, immediately putting them on the spot for what
    is the biggest stage in many of their young careers. Some rose to the challenge,
    other left more to be desired throughout the week. SouthDefensive lineLet’s
    start from the ground up. Off the edge, Montez Sweat (Mississippi State) was a
    terror in 1-on-1 drills. Sporting a lanky 6-foot-6, 250 pound frame with 35 and
    5/8 inch arms, Sweat looks like a stretched-out cartoon character, but plays
    like a controlled beast. Sweat showed a number of times in drills the ability to
    set up offensive linemen to expose their chest, then fire forward to blow them
    off the ball. His combination of raw power mixed with just the right amount of
    craftiness lead to a great first day for Sweat. Though not quite as impressive
    as the monstrous Sweat, is fellow edge rusher Jaylon Ferguson (Louisiana Tech).
    Ferguson is a thicker, less explosive rusher, but showed a number of times
    throughout the day that he could keep offensive tackles off balance with his
    hand placement and strength.Carl Granderson (Wyoming) may also be of note, but
    not necessarily for the 49ers. Granderson put up a few great reps in run drills,
    which complements his tackle for loss numbers in college, but looked a smidge
    stiff as a pass rusher. He did not look to thrive in getting around the edge
    comfortably. If teams want a Michael Johnson type, they could keep an eye on
    him. The standout interior lineman on the day was Daylon Mack (Texas A&M). A
    former high school and college freshman standout, Mack never finished his
    college career the way many hoped.
    Regardless Patrick
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    , Mack made a knockout first impression in
    Mobile, blowing just about every lineman he faced off the ball with ease. His
    low center of gravity and natural power proved to be too much for many OL to
    handle. LinebackerMoving to linebacker, maybe the clearest picture of a player
    painted during Day One was of Terrill Hanks (New Mexico State). Linebacker
    drills are largely useless in Mobile, and may be the toughest guys to evaluate
    during the practices, but their 1-on-1 coverage drills can be useful. Hanks
    showed the duality of a cover linebacker. On one rep, Hanks got dusted by a
    running back on an out route, but followed it up on his next rep by crushing his
    opponent trying to run a drag route. Thankfully Hanks made up some ground from
    his out-route-fiasco with great work in the team run drills. David Long Jr (West
    Virginia), to nobody’s surprise, appeared to be the most fluid guy in space. His
    ability to pass off zones and collapse to ball carrier’s in the quick game was
    impressive, but also the exact type of play to be expected of a small linebacker
    such as himself. CornerbackThe South cornerbacks as a whole had issues sticking
    to their opponents. With a slew of talented wide receivers on the South roster,
    a Day One practice can favor the wide receivers, so the hope is that the group
    bounces back Day Two and provides more competition. If anyone, the primary
    standout would be Isaiah Johnson (Houston). Johnson is the Legion of Boom style
    cornerback that Robert Saleh could be looking for opposite Richard Sherman. More
    so than his peers, Johnson was able to stick to opposing receivers and remain in
    position to work for the ball when it came time. SafetyAt safety, the Kentucky
    duo of Mike Edwards and Darius West made it clear they should be zone corners.
    Now, plenty of teams can make that work just
    fine ,
    but neither Edwards or West looked great in mirroring in 1-on-1s or breaking
    with the tight ends. They appeared more capable as players who could play from
    their heels and approach what is laid out in front of them. Juan Thornhill
    (Virginia) had a disappointing day given his draft stock. Thornhill is viewed by
    many as a versatile, safety-cornerback hybrid, but Thornhill too looked slow in
    keeping up with opposing tight ends. It may have been the conditions, but
    Thornhill just did not have the best time in matching his opposition
    athletically. Hopefully he can recover in Day Two because he is a clearly
    capable player on film. NorthDefensive lineThe North’s defensive line roster is
    鈥?peculiar. The interior defensive line group is no less mixed than in previous
    years, but there is hardly any true edge talent for the North to display. Zach
    Allen (Boston College), for example, is a quality prospect who showed out in his
    first day in Mobile, but weighed in at 280 pounds. In essence, Allen is Solomon
    Thomas size, which is not what the 49ers are looking for. Guys like LJ Collier
    (TCU), Anthony Nelson (Iowa), and Charles Omenihu (Texas) fall into a similar
    category. However, a few interior defensive linemen were of interest, if the
    49ers so choose to bolster that position. Renell Wren (Arizona State) was a
    wrecking ball in 1-on-1 reps. Wren blasted a number of different offensive
    linemen off the ball, primarily from the nose position, and created absolute
    terror from the middle of the defense. It is not a flashy
    job DeForest Buckner
    , but having a standout nose can go a long way in the NFL. On the
    other hand, Byron Cowart (Maryland) reminded of a familiar, ever-repeating draft
    story: supreme athlete who does not really know what to do with his athleticism.
    Cowart is not a Robert Nkemdiche-level prospect, but he suffers from the same
    mishaps and inconsistency. LinebackerGermaine Pratt (North Carolina State) was
    more or less the player he was assumed to be. In coverage, Pratt showed plenty
    of range and movement skills to keep up with all kinds of skill players. He
    showed the ability to collapse on check down options as well as follow guys in
    space. And lucky for Pratt, the 11-on-11 drills do not really incentivize
    offensive linemen to crush linebackers, so Pratt may scoot by without that being
    much of a problem for him this week. Just behind Pratt, Te’von Coney (Notre
    Dame) had a solid day through drills and 11-on-11s save for a passing drill in
    which he completely left a defender free in the flats. Still, he overall had a
    good showing. CornerbackMaybe the most frustrating player on the day was Amani
    Oruwariye (Penn State). Among all cornerbacks on the day, Oruwariye was the best
    in keeping pace with opposing receivers and sticking right to their hip pockets,
    not giving them an inch. However, Oruwariye could not find the ball at all, be
    it on curl routes or down the field. It was a conflicting day for the heralded
    cornerback, but at least you would rather he constantly be in position so many
    times than blatantly being cooked. The other standout cornerback was Kris Boyd
    (Texas), not for being outstanding, but playing true to his identity so
    perfectly. Boyd excelled in press and had no restraint in trying to scrap with
    players throughout routes.
    Conversely Garry Gilliam
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    , Boyd showed a tendency to open his hips a tad early
    and get beat with some crafty early route running. It is on him to show some
    more versatility moving forward. SafetyArguably the most disappointing
    performance of the day was Nasir Adderley (Deleware). A wildly versatile player
    in college, Adderley struggled to play in short zones and in man-to-man during
    practice. Adderely simply did not seem ready for the challenge of quicker,
    bigger, stronger players than he may have been used to. Granted, this does not
    take away from Adderley’s excellent range as a one-high safety, but it does
    partly dispel the notion of him being an all-around versatile safety. Darnell
    Savage (Maryland), on the other hand, was the only player out there who could
    deal with wide receiver Andy Isabella in any capacity. Isabella gave almost
    everyone the work with his shifty route running, but Savage showed patience
    against Isabella and was able to contest catch points against him. Most other
    defensive backs out there were lucky to be within five yards by the time the
    ball got to Isabella. Late Monday, reports came out that the 49ers are planning
    to hire Ben Peterson to head up both the medical and strength departments. This
    was part of a plan to bring both departments together. After getting the post
    together, I went and watched a YouTube video he put together on injuries in the
    NHL. It’s really an interesting watch and displays his data gathering/research
    skills and how he evaluates injuries. It also has geese shouting in the
    background. All jokes aside, the 49ers needed to do something, what they had
    wasn’t working. Bringing both strength/conditioning together with the medical
    side should be great for everyone to communicate methods and status reports on
    rehab in a much more efficient manner. Peterson seems like a great person for
    it. It’s still early to see how this shapes up, but it looks like they are on
    their way. Here’s some links: Report: 49ers to add Ben Peterson to staff in
    sports science role (Pro Football Talk)Kyler Murray officially chooses NFL,
    could alter 49ers pre-draft plans (Madson)You make the 49ers first draft pick of
    2019 (Cohn)49ers projected $60M in salary cap space with free agency a month
    away (Maiocco)Video: Highest paid quarterbacks most likely to make the playoffs
    ( players 49ers could target in trade back from No. 2 overall pick