The West team came on the field on Wednesday afternoon at St. Petersburg High School for their third practice of the week, as they prepare to take on the East team Saturday at Tropicana Field. Head coach Jim Zorn has his team practicing at a high intensity all week and that continued once again on Wednesday. In attendance were a number of familiar faces including analysts Mike Mayock and Charles Davis and numerous members of NFL front offices including former Bucs G.M. Bruce Allen. Bucs defensive line coach Joe Cullen was also in attendance and spent a good portion of practice in the east end zone watching the defensive linemen get work in one-on-ones against the offensive linemen.
During the one-on-ones, former FSU lineman Bobby Hart, who played tackle at Florida State is making the transition to guard for the NFL scouts. Hart was a standout in the drills showing nice leverage against some of the West team pass rushers. Hart doesn’t have the most physically imposing upper body, but does offer a wide lower base and once he gets players locked up, tends to keep them at bay. Footwork will be a key thing for Hart to improve on as when he was slow out of his stance on the snap count in Tallahassee, he tended to have to hold to keep ends off the quarterback. Playing inside at the next level will help and guards don’t worry as much about getting beat around the outside.
Washington wide receiver Kasen Williams (6-3 218) was all over the place during the West team’s scrimmage. From slants, to quick stops, to even a one-handed catch, he showed why some scouts were giving him a first round grade prior to his injury ridden junior year in 2013. After an underwhelming 2014 season, William’s stock has dropped, but he definitely showed some potential.
Another receiver who had a solid day was Regina’s Addison Richards. At 6-5, 210, he proved to be a deep -ball target during 11-11 play.
Moving over to the defensive side, Bobby McCain from Memphis was fluid during agility drills, showing great footwork. He was usually paired with USC’s Joshua Shaw, who also picked up right where he left off on Tuesday. The duo appeared to be the most natural players in coverage. McCain was also fielding punts, and we know the Bucs had issues with kick returners this season.
Nebraska cornerback Corey Cooper looked similar to Shaw, as they are both 6-1, physical and looked to be better suited for safety. Cooper was particularly impressive during back-peddling drills, where he consistently completed them before the other two defensive backs beside him did. He also showed some ability in run support during the scrimmage period.
Arizona wide receiver Austin Hill had the play of the afternoon when he went up for a high, sideline pass behind two defenders and came down with the ball. He showed great awareness while keeping his feet in bounds, as well as his wingspan in being able to go up and get it. Hill was a primary target for all three quarterbacks taking reps.
And on the defensive line, Northern Iowa’s Xaviar Williams (6-2 308) continues to impress. The nose tackle was a constant force in the backfield, giving every guard he faced a difficult time trying to defend him. He also was relentless in his pursuit during passing plays, moving the quarterback off his mark in the pocket.
The West team will practice again at St. Pete High on Thursday beginning at 2:40 and the practice is open to the public.
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at [email protected]
I can comment on the west players as I am a Pac 12 guy, Kasen Williams is nothing special watched him play many games with Washington and I attended the Cactus Bowl even though the qb in Wash was attrocious I just didn’t see anything special from Williams as far as Austin Hill is concerned he was a average wr at AZ playing second fiddle to Cayleb Jones who is the real stud on that team so to me neither of these guys I would even waste a draft pick on.
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