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Re: The Official 2012 Senior Bowl Thread
DEs dominate Senior Bowl action
Three defensive linemen, one cornerback on another level during practice week
By Todd McShay
Originally Published: January 27, 2012
The practice week has come to a close at the Senior Bowl, and while plenty of prospects stood out for one reason or another, four players clearly separated themselves as the elite talents in Mobile, Ala.
Here's a look at what makes those four top-end talents and where they might fit in the NFL.
North Carolina DE Quinton Coples (Scouts Inc. grade: 95)
Coples (6-foot-5¾, 281 pounds) did not have his best season in 2011, failing to play with the consistent aggressiveness we saw on his junior tape from 2010. That's not to say he was dogging it, just that his motor wasn't running in its highest gear at all times. That has raised some concerns about the work ethic he'll show at the next level, but if a team can get him to work hard, Coples can be an elite difference-maker along the defensive front.
He's a versatile lineman who can be disruptive as an interior pass-rusher. Although Coples doesn't have elite top-end speed, he showed the ability this week to set up offensive tackles with his hands, using his initial quickness to get into power moves and flashing quickness and fluidity on both inside and outside pass-rush moves.
Coples also has the long arms and upper-body strength to be effective against the run, and he's one of the top three or four natural talents in this year's class. Depending on how things shake out with the top quarterbacks on the board, Coples likely won't last long past the Cleveland Browns at No. 4 or the Washington Redskins at No. 6, where he would find his best fit as a 4-3 defensive end.
South Carolina DE/OLB Melvin Ingram (94)
Coming into the week we rated Alabama's Courtney Upshaw slightly ahead of Ingram (6-1⅞, 276), but based on film study and what we saw in Mobile, it appears Ingram is more ready to make the leap. They are similar players who are about the same size, but Ingram had a quicker first step and showed more explosive initial power.
He can get into the body of an offensive tackle and knock him back, and he has the athleticism to follow that with a quality pass-rush move. Ingram's ability to make the tackle respect his power, then work inside or outside based on the reaction, is impressive. He can also rush the passer from the inside on occasion, and Ingram flashes strength and range against the run.
He will find his best fit at end in a 4-3 scheme, which could make him a target for the Seattle Seahawks at No. 11 or 12 (depending on a coin flip with the Kansas City Chiefs). Ingram could also play for 3-4 teams that don't mind shorter outside linebackers, which could mean interest from the Arizona Cardinals at No. 13.
Alabama DE/OLB Courtney Upshaw (93)
Upshaw (6-1½, 273) is just slightly behind Ingram, and after helping Alabama win the BCS title on Jan. 9, Upshaw didn't seem to have the same fresh legs or explosiveness as other prospects who came in having had more time off. He didn't play badly, but he did lack the excellent burst we've seen on tape.
However, Upshaw still showed a lot of power. He is a thick, solidly built player who uses his hands well and has the potential to develop a wider array of pass-rush moves. We also like the ability he showed to maneuver in tight spaces. Upshaw was able to get into tackles, then use a rip or swim move to get past them; he showed good torso flexibility when bending back toward the quarterback off the edge. He's also relentless as a pass-rusher.
Upshaw is very strong taking on blocks against the run, and even though he doesn't always diagnose plays as quickly as one might like, he is disciplined within the scheme and does a nice job with gap assignments. He'll fit best as a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL, and Arizona might be a best-case scenario at No. 13. The New York Jets are also a possibility at No. 16 and the Green Bay Packers would give Upshaw a long look should he somehow last until the 28th overall pick.
North Alabama CB Janoris Jenkins (90)
Jenkins was a sure first-rounder based on the tape of his 2010 season at Florida, a dominant year in which he held last year's No. 6 overall pick A.J. Green and likely 2012 first-rounder Alshon Jeffery to just 95 combined receiving yards. However, off-field issues led to his dismissal at Florida and Jenkins spent the 2011 season under the radar after transferring to North Alabama.
There is little reliable film of him from this season, so Senior Bowl week was a huge opportunity for Jenkins to show he is still the same player. No question, he was the best defensive back on either roster. He doesn't have elite size (5-9⅞, 177) or speed, but Jenkins is fast enough and is one of the elite corners in recent years in terms of foot quickness and fluidity.
He can open his hips and turn to run with receivers so quickly and easily that it makes other players look like high schoolers. Jenkins will gamble at times -- he guessed wrong on a double move by Texas A&M WR Jeff Fuller at one point during the week -- but more often than not he is anticipating the route correctly. His man-to-man cover skills are excellent, he's willing in run support and can also contribute as a punt returner.
There's no question in my mind that Jenkins is one of the elite physical talents on the board. He's just behind LSU's Morris Claiborne and just ahead of Alabama's Dre Kirkpatrick among cornerbacks. However, it will be interesting to see how far Jenkins drops because of his character baggage. The Dallas Cowboys will be in the market for a cornerback at No. 14, though that might be a bit early. The Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 24) and New England Patriots (No. 31/32) could also be possible landing spots.
In the end -- especially after the Baltimore Ravens took a chance on the similarly talented and similarly checkered Jimmy Smith in 2011 and were rewarded -- it will surprise me if there's not a team among the top 40 picks willing to bring in Jenkins and have a plan for keeping him out of trouble.
Re: The Official 2012 Senior Bowl Thread
Earlier, I posted an article from Sporting News' Russ Lande about prospects who helped their stock at the Senior Bowl. Now comes the follow-up...
Senior Bowl: Russell Wilson and players who hurt draft stock in practices
With the padded practices for the Senior Bowl completed, nearly all the NFL types have left Mobile. The game is on Saturday, but for pro scouts, the three padded practices carry the most weight. Below is a breakdown of the nine players who struggled the most this week:
Russell Wilson, QB, Wisconsin, 5-10½, 203, 4.60; projected free agent.
After a great senior season in which he led Wisconsin to the Rose Bowl, Wilson did not fare as well at the Senior Bowl. It started off badly when he measured under 5-11, and then he struggled with accuracy throughout the week. He showed good mechanics to get rid of the ball quickly and a very strong arm to make every NFL throw without a problem. However, teams can’t ignore his height and lack of consistency as a pocket passer. He likely won’t be drafted because his performance this week showed that he will be, at best, a backup quarterback in the NFL.
Will Blackwell, G, LSU, 6-3, 314, 5.30 40 time; projected late-round pick, priority free agent.
Blackwell looked out of place athletically all week and did not show us he has the tools to start in the NFL. He is stiff, lacks hip flexibility and has slow feet, all of which hinder his ability to set up quickly and adjust side-to-side against good pass rush moves. Despite having good size, he struggled to play strong at the point of attack and was driven backward by bull rushers too easily.
Mike Brewster, C, Ohio State, 6-4, 310, 5.25 40 time; projected late-round pick, priority free agent.
Brewster struggled badly in the first practice of the week, and it did not get any better after that. He was physically dominated at the point of attacked too easily. Bull rushers were able to drive him backward and defeat his blocks to pressure the quarterback far too often. He struggled to adjust and block well in space and too often ended up overextending and falling off his blocks. For a player with his national reputation, Brewster needs to really step up in Saturday’s game if he wants to make sure he gets drafted.
Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska, 5-10, 203, 4.55 40 time; projected third- or fourth-round pick.
Dennard came to the Senior Bowl competing to be the third cornerback drafted overall, but things went bad quickly. And now that he will also miss the game because of a hip flexor injury, he will be under pressure to shine at the Combine and his pro day. At the weigh-in, it was surprising to see how thickly built he is; he looked more like a running back than a cornerback. Throughout practice, he displayed bad footwork and poor anticipation, and his lack of catch-up speed allowed receivers to beat him deep consistently. If you did not know Dennard was a top prospect, you would have thought he was a borderline free agent based on his play all week.
Jeff Fuller, WR, Texas A&M, 6-4, 217, 4.60 40 time; projected fourth- or fifth-round pick.
With his height, long arms and muscular build, Fuller definitely looks the part of a big NFL receiver. However, he displayed a lack quickness off the ball, did not use his hands or strength well to fight through press coverage and lacked burst out of cuts to get separation from defenders. In addition, Fuller did not catch the ball well, which is vital for a big receiver. He not only needs to play better in the game to help his draft stock, but he will need to run and work out well at the Scouting Combine and his pro day.
Terrance Ganaway, RB, Baylor, 5-11, 241, 4.60 40 time; projected fifth- or sixth-round pick.
Ganaway had been viewed by many NFL scouts as a “sleeper” after a breakout 2011 season, but he did not play well in the Mobile practices. He lacked the quickness to get started fast, could not make jump-cuts and lacked explosive burst to get through the hole before it closed. He also did not show the speed to get around the corner on outside runs. To revamp his standing, he needs to shine in the game and at the Combine.
Dwight Jones, WR, North Carolina, 6-3, 226, 4.60 40 time; projected fourth- or fifth-round pick
For a player who came to Mobile competing to be one of the first receivers drafted after Justin Blackmon, he definitely didn’t help his stock. He not only lacked quickness off the ball, but he did not run his routes with aggressiveness and often seemed to lack urgency in his play. He was consistently upright and stiff running routes and lacked burst out of cuts to get any separation. He needs to really step up the rest of the spring to avoid sliding further on draft boards.
Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State, 5-11¾ , 191, 4.95 40 time; projected free agent
Coming to Mobile, Moore needed to really step up, but things could not have gone much worse for him. Not only did he measure under 6 feet, but he showed below-average arm strength and lacked accuracy on passes longer than 10 yards. He did not show the arm strength to make all the NFL throws with good velocity and had a long delivery and release, which made it easier for defenders to break, close and make plays on his passes. Moore will have to be amazing at the Combine and his pro day if he hopes to get drafted.
Zebrie Sanders, OT, Florida State, 6-5, 308, 4.90 40; projected third- or fourth-round pick.
Sanders looked like an athletic offensive tackle on Florida State film, but this week he looked limited athletically and did not seem to be the same player. Too often, he was upright in pass protection, bent at the waist and reaching to make contact with defenders. That led him to overextend and fall off blocks. He also struggled to run block with leverage and get movement in his blocks.
Re: The Official 2012 Senior Bowl Thread
Adams is a top 15 -20 pick....may even sneak up to top 10.....forget about him in round 1
Re: The Official 2012 Senior Bowl Thread
Senior Bowl Postscript
TFY Draft Insider
2 Feb, 2012
Final notes from the Senior Bowl with a few last nuggets from the Shrine Game. Martin up but Polk down plus two west coast linebackers moving up draft boards.
- We continue to hear nothing but good things about Boise State running back Doug Martin off of last week. Several scouts have stamped Martin with a first round grade. And though a first round grade does not necessarily mean Martin ends up a top 32 pick, he won’t be far off.
- On the other hand Chris Polk may have been better off applying for a red-shirt season and returning to school as the former Washington running back is taking a tumble down draft boards. Scouts were less than impressed by his ball carrying skills during Senior Bowl practices. Polk looked very straight-linish and upright taking hand-offs, displaying no ability to create yardage. Worse yet we’ve been told by several sources his interviews during the week were awful. Scouts were caught off guard by many of the responses Polk gave to questions posed. The answers to follow-up questions were just as worrisome for scouts who completed interviews. Polk is now being graded as a last day pick by a number of teams.
- More and more people we’ve spoken with feel that Nebraska cornerback Alfonzo Dennard will ultimately be ranked as a safety by teams come draft time. They point to his body type, specifically a thick lower body, and the stiffness he displayed all week.
- Georgia cornerback Brandon Boykin is moving in the opposite direction on boards. The feisty cover man impressed scouts with his speed and quickness to the action. His ball skills really stood out and Boykin now grades as top 75 choice.
- Don’t stamp Janoris Jenkins with a first round grade just yet. We’ve been told his height (5′ 9.5″) is a concern and teams are not sold that Jenkins will be an immediate starter at the next level, intangibles that could push him into the second round.
- Utah State linebacker Bobby Wagner is another that has been much talked about after his performance at the Senior Bowl. Scouts loved his combination of athleticism and smarts. We presently rank Wagner as a 3rd rounder but have been told he will go much earlier than anyone presently predicts.
- Scouts were justifiably impressed by the play of Shea McClellin from Boise State. The college defensive end made the seamless transition to linebacker all week as we reported. Now scouts want to see how McClellin runs at the combine. The consensus the past few days is times in the low 4.7’s will secure McClellin a spot in the second day of the draft.
- Praise continues to be heaped on Mitchell Schwartz of Cal. Teams like his versatility and feel he’ll be an invaluable back-up at all the offensive line positions in the NFL. What’s strange is with all the trouble the North squad had with quarterback/center exchanges at the Senior Bowl, Schwartz stepped in Monday immediately after Garth Gerhart was injured and did a solid job at center, yet was never used on the pivot again during the week.
- We were high in our praise of Washington defensive tackle Alameda Ta’amu, especially after his performance during the Senior Bowl game. Reviews have been mixed though and some thought his week in Mobile was reminiscent of his career at Washington; dominant on some occasions yet rather ordinary in many other instances. The frustration is not with his ability rather the consistency of his game.
- A few final notes from the Shrine Game. We spoke glowingly of Cal punter Bryan Anger, whose moon shots during Shrine practice made the eyes hurt watching them. We were not the only ones to notice as several scouts stamped Anger with a second round grade as they left St Petersburg.
- While at the players hotel in St Pete we inquired about North Carolina State outside linebacker Terrell Manning, a player we like yet were surprised to see he entered the draft. Sources told me Manning had made his mind up to enter the draft during the season. While he enjoyed his time at NCSU, Manning was done with college football and felt it was time to move on.
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