It’s amazing that one game, an all-star game at that, can have an impact on a young college football player’s draft stock. Four years of playing with your peers is obviously nowhere near as telling as one week with all-stars – in a vanilla play environment – with vanilla rules – with vanilla preparations. Removing my tongue from my cheek, here are some guys that really helped themselves last week in Mobile:
Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
His only knock is that he isn’t consistently great; but he was great all week at practice, had a sack and three tackles, to post a near-great game as well. He won’t have to wait long to hear his name called at the 2012 NFL Draft, and his impressive Senior Bowl week could prove to make that wait even shorter.
Isaiah Pead, RB, Cincinnati
Earning the game’s MVP honors is definitely a fairly good way to go about guaranteeing that the Senior Bowl improved your stock. Pead posted 31 yards rushing – including the game’s longest run – and delighted the crowd twice, with long punt returns of 60 and 38 yards. Was he a little underrated coming in to the Senior Bowl? He won’t be underrated anymore – expect to see his stock rise in the next round of mocks.
Vinny Curry, DE, Marshall
In a draft starving for pass rush talent, many likely took note of Curry’s two sacks on Saturday. A week to show off his motor and a solid performance on game day, have the young man moving up, and maybe right up into the bottom of round one.
Mike Adams OT, Ohio State
Impressive all week at practice by all accounts, all Adams did on Saturday was shut down two of the highest regarded defensive end prospects in Melvin Ingram and Courtney Upshaw. He should be taken in the top half of the first, and the big, athletic tackle will be protecting someone’s blind side well for the next ten years.
Bobby Wagner, LB, Utah State
He was all over the field racking up 7 tackles, and had an interception as well. There were a lot more people talking about his athleticism after the game and winning the North’s ‘Most Outstanding Player’ award, than there were before the game, so he’s categorically a riser.
Honorable mentions: Joe Adams, WR, Arkansas; Juron Criner, WR, Arizona; Cordy Glenn, OT, Georgia; Doug Martin, RB, Boise State; Marvin Jones, WR, Cal
Unfortunately, not everyone sees their stock rise when they get to Mobile. Here are some guys that may have fallen on some boards:
Chris Polk, RB, Washington
After looking very one dimensional at practice all week, Polk failed to do anything in the game either. Granted 6 carries aren’t much of an opportunity for any running back to show their talents, but his 15 total yards certainly weren’t able to erase the final impression from practices, which was that his blocking and receiving are sub-par, and that he really only runs North-South. He may develop into a better rounded NFL RB one day, but he will likely have to wait until about the third round to hear which team he’ll be working on his craft with.
Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska
At the beginning of the week, Dennard was struggling to keep up with the best receivers and then he suffered a hip flexor injury. The injury kept him out of the game, and that makes the last press that the cornerback received, coverage of his footwork issues and his susceptibility to the deep ball – not great traits in a guy who was the third or fourth top rated CB on many draft boards.
Will Blackwell, OG, LSU
Perhaps more than any other offensive lineman, Blackwell appeared to struggle with the rise in talent lining up across from him this week in Mobile. His massive size may get him by against second tier talent, but against top tier talent, he just looked slow and even stiff at times.
Dwight Jones, WR, North Carolina
One catch for seven yards in the game, and a week full of lackluster practices have Jones’ stock heading South. His routes weren’t crisp through the week – he struggled to separate from defensive backs – and a guy that was being mentioned in the next group of guys behind Justin Blackmon, suddenly finds himself being mentioned in the group after that.
Ryan Lindley, QB, San Diego State
After struggling all week at practice, Lindley couldn’t turn it around on game day either. His final ‘statement’ was an interception, and the result might be looking for work in the rookie free agent pool.
Also rans: Matt McCants, OT, UAB; Jeff Fuller, WR, Texas A&M; Zebrie Sanders, OT, Florida; Brian Quick, WR, Appalachian State; Michael Egnew, TE, Missouri
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