2011 Senior Bowl: Thursday Practice Report

SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 11: Linebacker Mason Foster #40 of the Washington Huskies celebrates with Willis Wilson #29 after tackling quarterback Ryan Nassib #12 of the Syracuse Orange and causing a fumble on September 11 2010 at Husky Stadium in Seattle Washington. The Huskies defeated the Orange 41-20. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Thursday is when the practices get a little lighter, so there isn't too much that comes out of them.  However, there were a few nuggets that seemed intriguing to me.  Today, we'll start with Yahoo! Shutdown Corner's Doug Farrar, who again gives us some great information from both morning and afternoon practices:

Washington LB Mason Foster:

Washington's Mason Foster had my eye Thursday; I think he could be a very good linebacker in zone defenses where nickel is frequently used. He reminds me of Indianapolis' Clint Session(notes) in that he's as good going backward as he is running downhill. Not an incredibly physical guy, not a dominant tackler, but he's good at covering tight ends on crossing patterns, passes off receivers well in zone, and he has excellent redirect when the play goes away from him.

Interestingly enough, Session's contract is up.  Could Foster be his replacement?

Oregon LB Casey Matthews:

Among the linebackers, Oregon's Casey Matthews impressed with a goal-line pick; something that personnel execs will like to see from a guy who blitzed so often in college. Like his brother, he may surprise when dropping back at the next level.

I think Matthews is a stretch to the Colts, especially because they already have a linebacker on the roster already that blitzed a lot in college, and has had trouble dropping into zone coverage, Philip Wheeler.  His brother is a stud, so I'm sure all 32 teams will be looking at him.

Sports Illustrated's Tony Pauline also gives us some great information from Wednesday:

Boston College OT Anthony Castonzo:

Castonzo looked terrific in all facets of the position -- his best practice of the week. He showcased his strength, knocking away bull-rushing defenders and not giving up an inch. Castonzo also displayed technique in pass protection, sliding off the edge then sealing defenders from the action.

Again, I like my OT from schools playing in cold weather, and Costanzo fits the bill there.  Add in a four year starter, three of them at LT, and he'd be a great pick for the Colts at #22.

DraftCountdown.com will round out our coverage today, as they have a few others to look at:

Colorado OT Nate Solder:

Fantastic pass protector who is smooth, fluid and really makes it look easy. That was especially evident today in 11-on-11's.

I think the Colts should focus on a great run blocker who can be taught to pass protect, than the other way around.  They could be understandably gun-shy about doing that, however, as that is what Tony Ugoh was.

Arkansas OT DeMarcus Love:

Improved from the day before, holding up for the most part. Didn’t show any power or a mean streak though. Allen Bailey got the best of him twice. Love is no longer in contention with that top tier of tackles.

If the Colts look at Love, it looks like it won't be before Round 2.

Clemson DT Jarvis Jenkins:

Had a good day. Very effective in the 11-on-11s at getting penetration inside and disrupting the quarterback. Jenkins packs a bit of a punch too and gets under the pads of the linemen. Very impressive.

Enough to make me want to learn more.

The Senior Bowl will be played Saturday afternoon at 4:00 ET on NFL Network.  We'll have an open thread, much like last week's East-West Shrine Game, and we'll be chatting about what we see.

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