Marqueston Huff's (left) athleticism is sure to intrigue scouts looking for cover corners. (USATSI)
MOBILE, Ala. -- Blustery winds frustrated the quarterbacks practicing at the Senior Bowl Tuesday, but a day later it was the awareness and athleticism of defensive backs which made passing difficult.
Wyoming defensive back Marqueston Huff blanketed receivers, showcasing the light feet, fluid hips and straight-line speed to turn with the North's variety of receivers, ranging in size from former Cowboys' teammate Robert Herron (5-foot-9, 193 pounds) to Saginaw Valley State's chiseled 6-foot-2, 212-pound Jeff Janis.
Huff's athleticism is sure to intrigue scouts looking for cover corners and he's previously shown the toughness to handle NFL physicality due to his time at safety at Wyoming.
Another small but feisty defensive back catching the eye of scouts at the Senior Bowl was Northern Illinois' Jimmie Ward.
While lacking the frame scouts would prefer at the position, the 5-foot-10, 193-pound Ward is an aggressive downhill tackler, who crashed the line of scrimmage in run support and raced down the field as a middle defender on kickoff coverage.
Ward was moved all over the field by the Atlanta Falcons' coaching staff, lining up as a single-high safety, dropping down to cover tight ends as a traditional strong safety and splitting out to cover receivers out of the slot. In each case, his vision and burst to the ball consistently put him in position to make big plays.
One particularly impressive play came while he was backed up as a deep centerfielder. Reading a wide run to the right (his left) from West Virginia running back Charles Sims, Ward exploded towards the line of scrimmage, zipping past would-be blockers to "tackle" the 6-foot, 214-pound back in the open-field. Tackling is strictly forbidden during the all-star game practices, but Ward came in so fast, Sims had no choice but to attempt a jump-cut to his right, losing his balance and falling to the ground on a play in which he appeared to have an wide lane for an easy score.
Other standouts from Wednesday morning's North practice: