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In the final on-field showcase before the 2012 NFL Draft, the North squad defeated the South 23-13 in the 2012 edition of the Senior Bowl. Michigan State's Kirk Cousins hit Gerrell Robinson for a 40-yard touchdown to give the North team a comfortable 20-6 second half lead. Cousins led the North team with 114 yards passing, as he saw significant second half action. Robinson is a 6'3 receiver out of Arizona State, and rode his 40-yard touchdown grab to lead the North with 63 yards receiving.
Isaiah Pead of Cincinnati received MVP honors. The Big East Offensive Player of the Year had 31 yards on the ground, and also 98 yards worth of punt returns. Pead's 60-yard punt return was a highlight of the first half, as the undersized but speedy running back consistently set the North team up with excellent field position.
On the South side, wideout Joe Adams from Arkansas had an impressive day, catching six balls for 116 yards. Adams is a middling prospect, but he lit up the North's defensive backfield throughout the day. On the defensive side of the ball, Quinton Coples, a projected top ten pick, dominated up front. The former Tar Heel had a huge week at practice, and carried that over to Saturday's game.
Going into the 2012 Senior Bowl, the unanimous opinions of scouts, including SB Nation's own Alfie Crow, who has been in Mobile, Ala. as a correspondent, has been that North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples is the best NFL prospect in camp. His performance in the game has reinforced that line of thinking, as his effort has led to sacks, disruptions and flags whenever he's been on the field. The offensive lineman on the North squad haven't been coming close to handling him.
Other players on the South team who have impressed are Zach Brown, Janoris Jenkins and Casey Hayward, who had great coverage on an interception late in the half against Kirk Cousins. Brown and Jenkins are projected as high draft picks, if not first-rounders, and have looked like the most athletic players on the field when they've been out there.
On the North side, playing for the team that's up 13-6 at halftime, the most impressive player has been Cincinnati's Isaiah Pead, who has been dynamic on punt returns. He's just 5-foot-9 and around 180 pounds, so he's undersized to be a running back at the next level, but he had two returns in the second quarter that went for 30+ yards and showcased his vision, cutting and straight-line speed. WR Devier Poseyhas shown impressive speed, but has a bad drop and made a bad play on Hayward's interception. QB Russell Wilson has looked good at times, showing a better arm than Kellen Moore, but has made some questionable throws when he was sitting comfortably in the pocket.
Our last mock draft included nine players who appeared at this week's Senior Bowl. Of those players, who improved their stock and who hurt themselves?
MOBILE, Ala. -- The 2012 Senior Bowl is often used as a proving ground for players before they take the next step to the NFL level. A lot of the times, just this week of football practices can determine quite a bit for a player, especially running backs. Boise State running back Doug Martin is a back a lot of people think is going to steadily climb draft boards, despite being from a "smaller" school. I asked Doug Martin if he felt like there was a bias in the draft against non-BCS players. "Yeah, I feel like it. That's why I'm here," Martin said with a smile. "To play with the big boys."
"I don't get wide eyed," Martin said about playing with some of the more elite level talent in the NCAA at the Senior Bowl. "There's a lot of great players here, you have to ignore that. I'm a great player, too." The compact running back from Stockton, CA finished up his senior season with 1,299 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns, Martin also had 255 receiving yards and two touchdowns catching the ball out of the backfield. Even though he played at Boise State, he's no stranger to playing big time competition, playing against multiple BCS schools in his career.
Martin was asked if he played with a chip on his shoulder, being from Boise State and his short stature. "You gotta have that chip on your shoulder," Martin said. "If you don't have one, you better find one." Martin definitely came into the Senior Bowl with that chip and has looked excellent in practices. "I feel like it's gone smooth so far," Martin said on Monday evening after the first day of practice. Given Martin's size at the weigh in, 5-foot-9 and 219 pounds, he's drawn the obvious comparisons to some shorter NFL running backs. "I hear Maurice Jones-Drew, Ray Rice. I love their game, I respect their game," Martin said. We asked Martin who he compared himself to, "I compare myself to Ray Rice. Someone also told me Jonathan Stewart. I like Ray Rice."
Martin told us one of the things he really wants to work on is recognizing the defenses pre-snap, but one thing is for sure, he likes to hit people. "First, I'd just run him over," Martin said what he prefers to do when he meets a defender one-on-one in the hole. "Then next time, I'll juke because he thinks I'll run him over," Martin added with a grin.
The 2012 Senior Bowl game kicks off on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. ET on NFL Network.
For more on the 2012 Senior Bowl, keep it locked to SB Nation's Senior Bowl StoryStream, featuring practice reports from Mobile and much, much more.
Below is a look at the rosters for the 2012 Senior Bowl, which takes place at 4pm ET on Saturday, January 28 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama.
The North Squad will be coached by the Minnesota Vikings coaching staff and features quarterbacks Kirk Cousins, Kellen Moore and Russell Wilson. Joining the trio of quarterbacks in the backfield are running backs Dan Herron, Chris Polk, Doug Martin, Isaiah Pead and Bradie Ewing.
Devier Posey of Ohio State headlines a North receiving squad that also includes Marvin McNutt, Gerell Robinson, T.J. Graham, Brian Quick and Marvin Jones. Michael Egnew, Emil Igwenagu and Brian Linthicum are the North's tight ends The North's offensive line is comprised of Mike Brewster, Senio Kelemete, Kevin Zeitler, Tony Bergstrom, Mitchell Schwartz, Kelechi Osemele, Johnnie Troutman, Mike Adams, and Rishaw Johnson.
On the defensive side, Mike Martin, Alameda Ta'amu, Jack Crawford, Billy Winn, Shea McClellin, Derek Wolfe, Kendall Jones and Vinny Curry stock the defensive line. Lavonte David, Demario Davis, Audie Cole, Bobby Wagner, James-Michael Johnson, and Cam Johnson are the North's linebackers corps. In the defensive backfield are Asa Jackson, D'Anton Lynn, Jamell Fleming, George Iloka, Trenton Robinson, Josh Norman, Harrison Smith, Leonard Johnson and Donnie Fletcher.
Specialists for the North are punter Brad Nortman, kicker Carson Wiggs and long-snapper Kyle Wojta.
For the South Squad, which will be coached by the Washington Redskins coaching staff, the three quarterbacks are Brandon Weeden, Nick Foles and Ryan Lindley. Running backs Chris Rainey, Terrance Ganaway, Vick Ballard, Alfred Morris and Lennon Creer join the Weeden, Foles and Lindley in the backfield.
The wide receiver corps for the South consists of Joe Adams, Juron Criner, Dwight Jones, Jeff Fuller and A.J. Jenkins. Patrick Edwards was on the team but sustained an injury that will keep him out of the game. DeAngelo Peterson, Brad Smelley and Ladarius Green will play tight end for the South. Ben Jones, Will Blackwell, James Brown, Cordy Glenn, Jeff Allen, William Vlachos, Philip Blake, Matt McCants and Zebrie Sanders make up the South's offensive line.
On defense, the South's line will be manned by Melvin Ingram, Courtney Upshaw, Quinton Coples, Tydreke Powell, Kheeston Randall, Tony Jerod-Eddie, Jaye Howard, Malik Jackson and Brandon Thompson. Playing behind them are linebackers Nigel Bradham, Zach Brown, Keenan Robinson, Emmanuel Acho and Jake Bequette.
In the defensive backfield are Janoris Jenkins, Brandon Boykin, Ryan Steed, Dwight Bentley, Markelle Martin, Brandon Taylor, Casey Hayward, Dequan Menzie and Antonio Allen. The specialists for the South are punter Drew Butler, kicker Randy Bullock and long-snapper Josh Harris.
For more on the 2012 Senior Bowl, keep it locked to SB Nation's Senior Bowl StoryStream, featuring practice reports from Mobile and much, much more.
The 2012 Senior Bowl is one final hurrah for college football's senior class with the best of the best four-year student-athletes looking to improve their draft stock. On Saturday, the North and the South will take the field at Ladd-Peebles Stadium for one last game as college students.
This game features a solid group of quarterbacks who should all be selected over the first two days of the 2012 NFL Draft. With underclassmen like Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III unable to participate in this game, Boise State's Kellen Moore and Wisconsin's Russell Wilson are looking to show that their lack of adequate NFL size won't hinder them. They and Michigan State's Kirk Cousins are on the North squad.
The South team includes Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden, Arizona's Nick Foles and San Diego State's Ryan Lindley. They're all looking to show that even with their prototypical size that they can overcome issues of accuracy and injury.
These quarterbacks take center stage on Saturday afternoon.
Game time/date: 4:00 p.m. ET, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012
Location: Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, Ala.
TV: NFL Network
The 63rd Senior Bowl takes center stage this weekend, as some of the country's top college football players make their final on-field push toward improving their potential professional pursuits.
The Senior Bowl is arguably the nation's premier pre-draft event, annually featuring the country's best senior college football players on teams representing the North and South. This year, the North is being coached by Leslie Frazier and his staff from the Minnesota Vikings, while the South is being directed by Mike Shanahan and his staff from the Washington Redskins.
Last Year, Florida State QB Christian Ponder was named the game's MVP after leading the South to a 24-10 victory. Ponder, who went on to become a first- round draft pick of the Minnesota Vikings, threw for 132 yards and two TDs -- one to Miami-Florida's Leonard Hankerson, and the other to TCU's Jeremy Kerley.
Not that the outcome matters in the grand scheme of things, but the South has won three of the last four meetings, and leads the all-time series, 30-26-3. There were actually three games played as the AFC vs. NFC, and the former won two of those encounters.
The North will be led three of the nation's top QBs in Boise State's Kellen Moore, Michigan State's Kirk Cousins and Wisconsin's Russell Wilson. All three had sensational senior years, with Moore in particular leaving his stamp on the NCAA record books as his 50-3 career record is better than any signal caller to have ever played the game at the major college level. Moore completed just shy of 75 percent of his passes for 3,800 yards, 43 TDs and only nine INTs in 2011. As for Cousins and Wilson, their most memorable games from this past season came against each other, not once but twice, and both served their respective teams well as the Spartans won a regular-season thriller, and the Badgers got their revenge in the inaugural Big Ten title tilt. Cousins threw for 3,316 yards, 25 TDs and 10 INTs, while Wilson led the nation with a QB rating of 191.78 after throwing for 3,175 yards, 33 TDs and only four picks.
The South offense will be run by QBs Brandon Weeden of Oklahoma State, Nick Foles of Arizona and Ryan Lindley of San Diego State. Weeden, the elder statesman of the group at 28 years old, is coming off a season in which he completed 72.3 percent of his passes for 4,727 yards, 37 TDs and 13 INTs. Foles threw for better than 4,300 yards, 28 TDs and 14 picks, while Lindley completed just 53.0 percent of his tosses for 3,153 yards, 23 scores and eight INTs.
For more on the 2012 Senior Bowl, keep it locked to SB Nation's Senior Bowl StoryStream, featuring practice reports from Mobile and much, much more.
Now that the full week of practices at the 2012 Senior Bowl have been completed and the vast majority of the NFL scouts and decision makers have left Mobile, Ala. it's time too look at who hurt themselves the most this week. Some players enter Senior Bowl week with a lot of hype and buzz, but just fail to do anything noticeable and sometimes look just down right awful.
Here are five players who really hurt themselves during the week:
Jeff Fuller, WR, Texas A&M: Fuller had a lot of hype surrounding him entering the 2011 NCAA football season but wound up disappointing and disappearing in some games. He did no different at the Senior Bowl, struggling to get off the line of scrimmage against small corners playing press coverage and he simply just couldn't catch. Whatever draft stock Fuller had entering the week, he likely destroyed it.
Dwight Jones, WR, North Carolina: Jones was talked about prior to the week as potentially being the second or third wide receiver drafted, but after his lackadaisical week in Mobile, he might be the sixth or seventh taken. Jones has the size and overall ability that scouts will look for, but his effort just wasn't there. As one NFL scout said who was standing next to me, "He's just going through the motions."
Zebrie Sanders, OT, Florida State: Sanders just had an awful week going up against a slew of very good pass rushers on the South team. He was beaten up badly by Quinton Coples and Melvin Ingram day after day and even struggled handling a bull rush and some of the more powerful defensive ends.
Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State: Many had concerns with Kellen Moore's arm strength and height prior to the Senior Bowl, but after the weigh-in and the first day of practice his lack of size was painfully obvious. Not only did Moore look like a high school player on the field, but his arm just wasn't good enough to get the football where it needed to be. He did hit some nicer deep throws, but the ball took quite a while to get there and were simple in one-on-one drills without a safety.
Courtney Upshaw, LB, Alabama: While Upshaw is physically impressive and imposing, after his first day of practice his performance kind of fell off. He showed the ability to rush the passer with his hand on the ground, but more often than not he was washed out of running plays and lacks real explosiveness and quickness. He looks like his best fit will be on the inside in a 3-4 defense, letting him play down hill and be a "thumper".
Now that the full week of practices at the 2012 Senior Bowl have been completed and the vast majority of the NFL scouts and decision makers have left Mobile, Ala. it's time too look at who helped themselves the most this week. The standard rule of thumb after talking with some scouts is that a player can help themselves as much as moving up a single round in the NFL draft, but that's about the limit of what a player can do.
Here are five players who really helped themselves during the week:
Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina: Coples didn't help himself so much as show exactly what the scouts were looking for. Coples came off a stellar junior season to have kind of a ho-hum senior season and there were rumors he kind of "took the year off". Coples came into Mobile and dominated all week long. He doesn't have the speed rush most look for in a defensive end, but he's got great size, power, and explosiveness who should fit right in at the left defensive end position.
Marvin McNutt, WR, Iowa: McNutt really separated himself from the other wide receivers in the Senior Bowl. While speed is going to be a concern when he runs his 40-yard dash, McNutt makes up for that in his route running. He's smooth out of his breaks and can create separation. Not only that, but he seemed to catch everything with his hands and plucked the ball out of the air. He also plays much bigger than his 6-foot-2 220 pound frame, boxing out defenders and going up for the football.
Chris Rainey, WR/RB, Florida: I was really curious to see how Rainey would do in Mobile, given his small stature. Last year, the coaches wouldn't even let Noel Devine participate in blocking drills and I expected the same for Rainey. After the first practice however, Rainey moved to wide receiver and really opened some eyes. One scout likened Rainey to a "faster Dexter McCluster", given his ability to simply just run right past defenders and surprisingly good hands.
Dwight Bentley, CB. Louisiana-Lafayette: The little Ragin' Cajun cornerback cemented himself as one of the best corners in the 2012 NFL draft during the week in Mobile. Bentley displayed the speed, quickness, and was physical with some receivers who were much bigger than him. With a good showing at the NFL Combine and his Pro-Day, Bentley could be a surprise early pick for a team looking for a starting cornerback.
Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State: Weeden had some question marks about his arm strength and if he was actually good or just a product of the Cowboys system and wide receiver Justin Blackmon. Weeden answered all of those questions with a stellar week in Mobile and proved himself to be far and away the best quarterback on either team. There are concerns about Weeden's age, but there is some talk he could potentially be the third quarterback taken.
The 2012 Senior Bowl marks the 63rd edition of the premier college football all-star game for NFL Draft prospects, and the 62nd year the game will be played in Mobile, Alabama after moving from Jacksonville. The records of the teams obviously don't matter much, but the South leads its all-time series against the North, 29-26-3, while the three-year period in which the teams were labeled AFC and NFC to stress the pre-professional nature of the game gave the AFC a 2-1 series advantage over the NFC it is unlikely to ever relinquish.
The Senior Bowl has always had NFL coaches, general managers, scouts, and so on involved, but some of the bigger names in the game's history came in the early years. Legendary Cleveland Browns coach Paul Brown went 4-4 in his eight games as a Senior Bowl coach from 1952 to 1959, and Tom Landry went 2-1-1 from 1962 to 1965. The only coaches with more than two wins and no losses? Lou Saban, who went 2-0-1, and Marvin Lewis, who boasts the only 3-0 record in Senior Bowl annals.
The Senior Bowl's reputation as a must for NFL Draft-eligible players is well-established, thanks to the slew of big names that has gone through Mobile. Walter Payton, Bo Jacskon, Lynn Swann, Ray Nitschke, Jack Youngblood, and Joe Greene are just some of the legends to have played in the Senior Bowl. But even winning the Senior Bowl's MVP award doesn't necessarily guarantee a long NFL career: just ask 1999 Senior Bowl MVP Cade McNown, or 2009 Senior Bowl MVP Pat White.
MOBILE, Ala. -- Thursday's Senior Bowl practices were essentially cancelled due to the weather and tornado warnings in the area. The North team was scheduled to practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium this morning, but it was pouring down rain at the facility and officials moved "practice" to the convention center at the team hotel. The North team then proceeded to do just a walk-through of sorts inside the convention center.
via Senior Bowl
The players were just in shorts or workout clothing and did a simple walk-through of drills. Obviously the risk of injury practicing in a convention center is much too great. As it stands right now, the South team's practice will also be in the convention center, but it's possible the weather could clear up before the afternoon start time.
MOBILE, Ala. -- As Wednesday's practice came to a close, North Alabama cornerback Janoris Jenkins had a flock of NFL scouts and personnel men to speak with after practice. The former Florida transfer has been on a mission to rebuild his draft stock after some questionable off the field decisions that ultimately forced him to leave Gainesville. In the week of practices thus far, Jenkins has shown he's got the ability to be one of the top corners in the 2012 NFL Draft, at least on the field. In the first three days, Jenkins hasn't given up much in terms of separation and receptions to the South team's wide receivers, but he was turned around and beaten deep a few times on Wednesday. He's shown very good quickness and anticipation while covering the receivers. He's also very physical even for being a shade small for an NFL corner.
Jenkins isn't the only impressive defensive back on the South roster however, as Georgia's Brandon Boykin and Louisiana-Lafayette's Dwight Bentley also have impressed. Bentley was beaten a couple of times on Wednesday when the receiver was able to get off the jam on the initial snap, but outside of those handful of times he's locked down the receivers he's been up against. Boykin has also been very physical and was able to lock up the South's bigger wide receivers. Vanderbilt's Casey Hayward struggled a bit early on in practice, but when the team moved into the passing skeleton drills he really started to shine.
Speaking of receivers, Texas A&M's Jeff Fuller might have helped his draft stock more by skipping the game all together. Fuller has really struggled to get off the jam against the South's physical corners and really couldn't get any separation. When Fuller was able to get open he struggled to catch the football. A player who has been impressive even after a position switch has been Florida's Chris Rainey. After the first day of practice Rainey switched to receiver and has looked good in both days of practice. Despite Rainey's size, he's been a very tough cover for the South's cornerbacks. He's blown right past guys like his former teammate Janoris Jenkins to get deep down the field. Arizona's Juron Criner has also had a steady week and shown some scouts what they've wanted to see coming back from an illness that forced him to miss playing time. North Carolina's Dwight Jones however seems to just be going through the motions in practice, which is disappointing because the talent is there.
On the defensive line, I felt like Alabama's Courtney Upshaw had a poor practice overall. When he's rushing the passer, he's able to often beat the offensive lineman but he's not overly fast after the initial burst. Not only that, but in running drills he was constantly sealed off and washed out of plays. North Carolina's Quinton Coples however once again dominated in about every drill he participated in. South Carolina's Melvin Ingram also struggled in run defense a bit, but overall had a nice practice.
MOBILE, Ala. -- The North team practice kicked off this morning at Ladd-Peebles stadium with players warming up in individual drills. Surprisingly, all of the North team's quarterbacks have good enough footwork when working on drop back drills. Typically, the guys at the Senior Bowl will have clunky footwork in the drop backs, but all three on the North squad don't have that issue.
As for the wide receivers, Cal's Marvin Jones continued to show strong in practices. Jones continues to beat press coverage and drive defenders off in his cuts. He doesn't seem to waste any movement in his routes either and seems to catch everything. Jones also gives maximum effort on every play and held his own in run blocking drills. Iowa's Marvin McNutt also continues to shine, doing everything well. McNutt was beaten badly in run blocking drills by defensive back Asa Jackson, which was unexpected given the offense McNutt played. Appalachian State's Brian Quick was hyped heading into the week and was very disappointing in the first two practices, but really showed himself well in practice on Wednesday morning. Quick isn't fast off the line of scrimmage, but he's big and strong enough to beat press coverage and runs routes well. He began catching the ball more with his hands today rather than letting everything into his body.
Michigan State's Kirk Cousins seemed to check too many passes down again on Wednesday, opting for the shorter safer through in the passing skeleton drills than trying for something deeper down the field. Russell Wilson struggled with his accuracy again, especially on some out routes. Wilson did throw a beautiful deep ball in one-on-one drills, but wide receiver T.J. Graham just couldn't haul the ball in. Boise State's Kellen Moore continued to struggled getting the football to spots, especially on out routes. On most passes deeper than about 15 yards, Moore either threw the football at the receivers knees or over their heads. While his lack of arm strength isn't a shock to most people, it's clearly going to limit what he's able to do in the pro game.
On the lines, Marshall defensive end Vinny Curry once again had a nice day. He shows very good burst off the snap of the football and used some rip moves on Wednesday's practice to beat the offensive lineman rather than just bull rushing or running around them like he did the days previously. Virginia's Cam Johnson also continued to consistently get pressure and showed well against the run in Wednesday's practice. Michigan defensive tackle Mike Martin also continues to look good, making the most of his ability with his unstoppable effort.
On the offensive line, Ohio State's Mike Adams continue to play very well and holds his own against pass rushers. He will get beat at times, but he always seems to rebound and shut down the pass rusher on the next play. Iowa State's Kelechi Osemele also had a nice day of practice. Ohio State center Mike Brewster continues to shine and looks like a guy who could be an early round pick by a team in need of a center who can step in right away.
Iowa State's Leonard Johnson had his best day of practice and showed he's not afraid to mix it up and get physical on Wednesday. Leonard told me after practice he was looking forward to being able to play press coverage and get in the receivers faces. Johnson and Boston College's Donnie Fletcher showed just how physical they can be in the run blocking drills, often blowing through the wide receivers. Nebraska's Alonzo Dennard also had his best day of practice, coincidentally when he was allowed to play a lot of press-man coverage. Boise State safety George Iloka struggled a bit when asked to play in man coverage, but he still breaks to the football really well and is very fluid as a defensive back despite his massive size at the position. Notre Dame safety Harrison Smith has quietly had a solid week of practice and continued to do so on Wednesday. He doesn't do much great, but seems to do just about everything well.
The 2012 Senior Bowl in Mobile is a great opportunity for NFL coaches, scouts and evaluators -- as well as NFL fans at large -- to get a good look at a large group of college football players who will soon be entering the 2012 NFL Draft.
Matt Bowen of the National Football Post is in Mobile watching the practice sessions this week. He provided a report on some of the standout players on the squads. Here is his take on Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Courtney Upshaw and North Carolina Tar Heels defensive end Quinton Coples:
During one-on-one pass rush, both Alabama DE/ OLB Courtney Upshaw and UNC DE Quinton Coples stood out. With Upshaw, there is enormous power to his game but he also demonstrated the ability to use his hands (and multiple moves) to win. With Coples, we are looking at a legit edge rusher. Speed to turn the corner and athletic ability that isn't matched by anyone on the field for his size (6-6, 281).
Michigan State Spartans quarterback is fresh off leading his team to a triple-overtime victory in the 2012 Outback Bowl and is turning some heads in this week's practices. Here are Bowen's observations:
Michigan State QB Kirk Cousins stands out on the North roster because of this arm strength compared to Boise State’s Kellen Moore and Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson. And talking with scouts, his stock may start to rise.
The week leading up to the Senior Bowl, not to mention the game itself, will be filled with analysis of these young prospects. Many players are such to use this week's extra scrutiny to put forward their best possible performances.
MOBILE, Ala. -- I was able to get my first look at the South Team in the 2012 Senior Bowl on Tuesday afternoon. On Monday, both teams practiced at the same time but at different facilities so I could only observe one of the teams and I opted to go to the practice that didn't require a 25-minute drive.
The South Team features the better wide receiver corps with some familiar big time NCAA wide receivers such as Arizona's Juron Criner, Texas A&M's Jeff Fuller, North Carolina's Dwight Jones, and Arkansas Joe Adams. Of the receiver group, Criner seemed to have the best day. He has nice size at 6-foot-2 220 pounds and seems to try to catch the football with his hands more often than not. Criner also does a nice job of blocking out the corner and getting in position to make the catch. He also made an impressive one handed grab on the sideline with a corner draped all over him. As for Jeff Fuller, he had more of a rough day struggling to get off the jam when the corners were allowed to play press. He wasn't very physical and allowed the football to get into his body too much. Dwight Jones looks the part of NFL wide receiver and caught nearly everything, but didn't really do anything that really stood out.
As for the quarterbacks, Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden has been the best looking quarterback out of both squads. He's got what most teams would look for in a quarterback as far as the size and his arm, but everyone always brings up the fact that he's already 28-years old. Outside of that knock, he effortlessly put the ball in spots for the receivers to make plays on the football. The other quarterbacks in Arizona's Nick Foles and San Diego State's Ryan LIndley on the other hand were both pretty erratic. Foles has more than enough arm, but his accuracy was all over the place. He'd often overshoot receivers deep or throw the ball behind them on the shorter routes over the middle.
On the defensive side of the football, the South squad sports some impressive defensive backs. Despite being a smaller small school guy, Lousiana-Lafayette's Dwight Bentley drew a lot of attention from scouts after an impressive practice. Bentley didn't really get beat by much in coverage, and when he did it was simply because of excellent route running or getting boxed out by a bigger receiver. Vanderbilt's Casey Hayward and Markelle Martin had nice days. Martin broke on the football a few times from the safety position nearly picking the ball off.
On the defensive line, North Carolina's Quinton Coples had a nice practice playing at both defensive end and defensive tackle. The offensive line struggled to slow him down and he's got great size for the position at 6-foot-5 and 281 pounds. Alabama's Courtney Upshaw lived up to his impressive look and was tough for the South offensive lineman to block. In some plays, Upshaw would line up with his hand on the ground to rush the passer and get pressure and he also handled himself well playing stand up linebacker. He's definitely an impact player that is showing he's scheme diverse, which will do nothing but help his stock. Clemson defensive tackle Brandon Thompson also had an impressive day collapsing the pocket from the inside and stuffing running plays in the backfield.
Ohio State offensive tackle Mike Adams is already considered one of the top prospects heading into the 2012 NFL Draft. But that doesn't mean he can't help his stock, something he apparently has done during practices for the 2012 Senior Bowl, according to Wes Bunting of the National Football Post.
Ohio State OT Mike Adams has a real presence about him. He’s a big kid with a long set of arms and when he shoots his hands inside on contact, he has the ability to control blocks and slide his feet through the play. However, the only time he gets himself into trouble is when he doesn’t extend his arms and looks to catch opposing lineman at the point. Nevertheless, the talent is there for this guy to be a top-20 pick.
Even before the Senior Bowl practices started, Adams was pegged to go No. 13 in SB Nation's latest NFL Mock Draft. Mocking the Draft wasn't so sure, though, as they have him ranked as the 34th best prospect. Although, they do acknowledge that the 6-foot-8, 300-pounder could move up the charts quickly: "If Adams adds some weight prior to the combine he will be a late 1st round selection."
MOBILE, Ala. -- 2012 Senior Bowl practice kicked off on the second day with the North team practicing in the morning session. The sessions began with some special teams drills with N.C. State wide receiver T.J. Graham muffing a punt and then fumbling a punt a few attempts later as he was trying to pick up some yards on the return. In the drills, Wisconsin punter Brad Nortman boomed his kicks and routinely got quite a bit of hang time, garnering him some attention from a few scouts after practice.
On the offensive side of the football, Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore rebounded a bit from a really rough outing the day before. Moore still struggled to put some velocity on the football, but this was a known issue. Moore seemed to get the football out early on Tuesday morning, unlike the day before. Russell Wilson also rebounded a bit from Monday, getting better as the day went on. Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins, however, really came back to earth on Tuesday morning. Cousins opted to check down often and seemed to just blindly throw some of his deeper passes without setting his feet when he was pressured in full team drills.
As for the wide receivers, Iowa receiver Marvin McNutt really put on a show for the NFL scouts. McNutt isn't going to run past many defensive backs and didn't on Tuesday morning, but he did display the ability to box out with his body and pluck the football from the air with his hands. Cal wide receiver Marvin Jones took a step back from the day before, but was still very solid. Ohio State's DeVier Posey just doesn't catch the football naturally and fought with the ball, often letting it get into his body instead of catching it with his hands. Brian Quick, the wide receiver from Appalachian State, has caught the eye of a lot of scouts and looked much better on Tuesday than he did on Monday, but you can tell he's still a bit overwhelmed with the step up in competition. He still struggled catching the football and isn't very quick (no pun intended), but he builds speed and has great size. Quick admitted after practice yesterday to reporters that he's never really had a wide receivers coach before, but he has that upside teams like.
On the defensive side of the football, Virginia's Cam Johnson and Michigan's Mike Martin displayed some nice ability to beat offensive lineman in one-on-one pass rushing drills. On one particular play against Ohio State tackle Mike Adams, Johnson initially took the outside, but quickly swam over and cut inside as Adams didn't even really get a hand on him. Martin, on the other hand, had some battles with Ohio State center Mike Brewster. Most everyone else Brewster stood up and didn't budge, but the two former college rivals battled multiple times, with Martin winning most and driving Brewster backwards, leaving the two to get into a bit after the play. Another player on the defensive line who had a very good day was defensive tackle Alameda Ta'amu. Ta'amu is huge at 6-foot-2 and 341 pounds. Often Ta'amu would just over power the interior lineman and blow up running plays in the backfield. Connecticut defensive lineman Kendall Reyes has generated a lot of interest from scouts and showed why in pass rushing drills, dipping his shoulder and clubbing the offensive lineman's hands off of him to get to the "quarterback" cone in the drill.
Boise State safety George Iloka has turned some heads as well, and not just because of his size at 6-foot-3 and 222 pounds. Iloka moves very well for a safety that size and even picked off Kirk Cousins when Cousins tried to force a ball into a window as he was pressured by new addition Derek Wolfe. Marshall defensive end Vinny Curry gets low when he comes off the edge, but looks a bit stiff at times and doesn't really seem to have a wide array of pass rush moves. On one play against Iowa State offensive tackle Kelechi Osemele, Curry tried to spin to the inside but Osemele locked him up and stoned his rush move.
MOBILE, Ala. -- The Senior Bowl is an excellent venue for players to carve their niche for the NFL and impress scouts of all 32 teams. The 2012 NFL Draft class is loaded with talented wide receivers and Iowa Hawkeyes wide receiver Marvin McNutt is looking to make an impression and separate himself from the rest of the group.
A lot of people might not know who Marvin McNutt is, but if you watched the 2011 Insight Bowl he's the guy on Iowa who was nearly killed by the falling ESPN SkyCam. "It was scary as... It was scary," McNutt said when I asked him to relive the experience. "It was weird because you're just running out and all the sudden you hear a big crash. Then the next thing you know you feel a cable that's stronger than you pulling on you. It was an experience like 'How did this happen, who's trying to kill me?'".
McNutt ended his senior season at Iowa with 82 receptions for 1,315 yards and 12 touchdowns, but set a school record with 28 career touchdown receptions. The former quarterback who made the transition to wide receiver credits his coaches and hard work. "It says I play around a great group of guys and have been coached by a great group of coaches," said McNutt. "There could have been times they could have given up on me and I could have given up on myself, but Coach (Erik) Campbell and Coach (Kirk) Ferentz keep pushing me and pulling me forward."
"It's a great experience here to be around a top group of guys and top talent," McNutt said about playing at the Senior Bowl in front of NFL scouts, head coaches, and personnel guys. With the Hawkeyes, McNutt played in more of a "pro-style" offense and he thinks that will help him make the transition to the next level. "I think the route running as well as the way we scheme the offense and the passing game, the protections," McNutt said. "Knowing when certain things happen you have to break off routes or with certain coverages."
One of the things McNutt will be able to showcase in the game and did so in his first practice is his ability to get up and get the football. We asked McNutt about that ability to go up for the football and why he's so good at it. "Since I was a kid, I've always had a knack for going up for the ball and when it's in the air I want it," McNutt said. "That's just a mentality."
For more on the Senior Bowl and complete draft coverage, check out SB Nation's 2012 NFL Draft page and Mocking the Draft. For more on the Iowa Hawkeyes visit SB Nation's Iowa blog Black Heart Gold Pants.
MOBILE, Ala. -- The 2012 Senior Bowl kicked off practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium on Monday afternoon after the conclusions of the weigh-in results. The practices today were held at the same time due to the morning weigh-ins, but are normally held split between the morning and the afternoon. The North Team's practice took place at Ladd-Peebles today while the South team took place across town at Fairhope Stadium. The practice was slow-paced in shells, so I focused my attention on the glory positions: wide receivers and quarterbacks.
The North team had the more prestigious quarterbacks of the two teams with Kellen Moore, Russell Wilson, and Kirk Cousins. Unfortunately for the North team however, only really Cousins was consistently solid through much of the practice. Moore's lack of arm strength was apparently early in practice when he missed badly on back to back seven-yard out throws. Moore muscled the ball, but just couldn't get the depth on the sideline the route required. Moore was also noticeable smaller than everyone else on the field, coming in at under six-foot and only 191 pounds. Cousins displayed plenty of arm strength in drills and hit on some nice deeper passes. Despite his lack of arm strength, Moore was able to hit a couple of nice passes down the field, dropping the ball right into the receivers hands. Wilson however, struggled on his passes deep down the field.
As for the wide receivers, California receiver Marvin Jones stole the show despite being a late addition to the game. Jones routinely plucked the ball out of the air and didn't let it get into his body like most of the other receivers in the practice. Jones also beat defensive backs down the field using a combination of quick cuts and his speed. Though Jones runs a bit awkwardly, almost a full "gallop", he gets down the field. Jones also made some great one handed catches and another grab off a ball that was tipped in the air that saw him literally crawl on his knees to get to the football and make the catch.
As for the other receivers, Iowa's Marvin McNutt was a natural catcher, plucking the ball from the air on most routes and showed he knows how to play bigger than his 6-foot-2 size. Appalachian State's Brian Quick and Ohio State's DeVier Posey struggled to catch the football, often letting it get into their body and fought to catch the ball. An under the radar receiver to watch is NC State's T.J. Graham, who had a nice consistent day of practice and show cased his ability to make smooth, quick cuts to get open.
With only two tight ends on the North Roster, Missouri's Michael Egnew took full advantage, showcasing his athletic ability and hands. Egnew showed he's physical as well, often making the catch in traffic and looking to lower his shoulder into a player.
On the defensive side of the football, cornerbacks Alfonzo Dennard from Nebraska and Leonard Johnson of Iowa State showcased the ability to stick with their receivers off the initial break and get back to the football to break up a few passes. Boston College's Donnie Fletcher also had a solid day in coverage, getting beat deep at times losing guys on their cuts, but overall had a nice day.
A bunch of old guys watched a bunch of young guys take their shirts off, and National Football Post has a big spreadsheet full of numbers as a result. It's 2012 Senior Bowl weigh-in day!
NFL Draft blog Mocking the Draft has a breakdown of the most important measurements, including the smallness of Wisconsin Badgers quarterback Russell Wilson (five-foot-10) and Boise St. Broncos quarterback Kellen Moore (a cerebral 191 pounds) and the gigantism of Ohio St. Buckeyes defensive tackle Mike Adams (11-inch hands!) and Georgia Bulldogs offensive lineman Cordy Glenn (346 pounds!).
Elsewhere, Iowa St. Cyclones tackle Kelechi Osemele is praised for having really long arms, Alabama Crimson Tide end Courtney Upshaw's stubby limbs become cause for concern, not that you'd ever say it to his face, and big Boise State safety George Iloka may emerge as the training table culprit behind Moore's tiny frame. There are only so many potatoes to go around, you see.
Almost everyone will be extensively weighed and measured again at the NFL Combine, but for the time being, this is the most important weigh-in in 2012 NFL Draft history. Treasure it, creepily.
Rosters for the 2012 Senior Bowl have been made official after weeks of construction. While not every player who'd been hoped to make it to Mobile will play in the game -- Baylor Bears wide receiver Kendall Wright and Penn St. Nittany Lions defensive tackle Devon Still are two potential NFL Draft first-rounders who won't play -- we know pretty much everyone who will participate.
The North team's roster, coached by the Minnesota Vikings staff, will be quarterbacked by Kellen Moore of the Boise St. Broncos, Russell Wilson of the Wisconsin Badgers and Kirk Cousins of the Michigan St. Spartans. Potential first-rounders include Ohio St. Buckeyes DT Mike Adams, Nebraska Cornhuskers CB Alfonzo Dennard and Iowa St. Cyclones OL Kelechi Osemele.
The Washington Redskins coaching staff's South roster features Oklahoma St. Cowboys quarterback Brandon Weeden, along with Nick Foles of the Arizona Wildcats and San Diego State's Ryan Lindley. North Carolina Tar Heels DE Quinton Coples, South Carolina Gamecocks DE Melvin Ingram, and Georgia Bulldogs OL Cordy Glenn are among the top picks on the South side.
Related: 2012 NFL mock draft.
Senior Bowl week is starting up and NFL teams will descend upon Mobile, Alabama to begin their preparation for the 2012 NFL draft.
Kendall Wright was expected to be one of the wide receivers in attendance at the 2012 Senior Bowl, but an injury has reportedly forced him to withdraw from the annual event. The Baylor Bears wide receiver apparently didn't want to chance playing less than 100 percent on his ankle.
Wright will instead focus on gearing up for the combine, according to ESPN's David Smoak.
Baylor's Kendall Wright will not be attending @SeniorBowl, he played thru an ankle injury all season, it's not 100% and focused on Combine— David Smoak (@DavidSmoak) January 22, 2012
SB Nation's Mocking the Draft has more on exactly what this injury means for those hoping to find the next big thing at this year's college football all-star game:
Wright is now the second top wide receiver to pull out of the Senior Bowl. Last week, Notre Dame's Michael Floyd decided to not play in the game. Without Wright and Floyd, the top wide receiver at the Senior Bowl now is North Carolina's Dwight Jones. Players like Jones, Arizona's Juron Criner, Iowa's Marvin McNutt, Ohio State's DeVier Posey and Appalachian State's Brian Quick will be getting the full attention of NFL scouts.
For more on Wright and the rest of the Baylor Bears, be sure to visit Our Daily Bears. For more on the Senior Bowl and complete draft coverage, check out SB Nation's 2012 NFL Draft page and Mocking the Draft.
On Wednesday, the Senior Bowl announced the addition of nine players from the Pac-12 to the roster. One of those players, Washington running back Chris Polk, turned more than a few heads since his school lists him as junior. So what happened?
The assumption stemmed from Polk's shoulder injury in 2008 that forced him to miss all but the first two games of the season. It qualified him for a medical redshirt, but Polk never applied. As a result, his eligibility ran out following the Huskies' 2011 season.
"We made sure that we followed proper protocol before we invited Chris and that entailed getting everything cleared through the NFL and Coach Sarkisian at the University of Washington," Senior Bowl President and CEO Steve Hale said.
Polk is a very well-regarded prospect. He accumulated 4,049 rushing yards and 26 touchdowns. He averaged 101 yards per game in 40 career games and an average of 5.1 yards per carry.
Mocking the Draft, SB Nation's NFL Draft hub, ranks Polk fourth on the list of running backs in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Polk was one of nine Pac-12 players added, for a total of 10 players from that conference. Arizona quarterback Nick Foles was the only Pac-12 player previously announced.
The 2012 Senior Bowl in Mobile, AL gets started on Jan. 22 with the official weigh-ins, followed by a week of practice leading up to the game on Jan. 28 in Ladd-Peebles Stadium.
Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd is one of the top rated receivers entering the 2012 NFL Draft. He's also one of the few senior receivers rated highly and originally was going to play in the 2012 Senior Bowl. Floyd however has pulled out of the Senior Bowl according to a report by SI.com's Tony Pauline.
Michael Floyd/WR/Notre Dame has pulled out of the Senior Bowl. 1st Shrine report in 90 minutes— TonyPauline (@TonyPauline) January 17, 2012
Outside of Baylor's Kendall Wright, Floyd was one of the few senior receivers who could really separate himself from a logjam of talented players at the position. He'd have faced off against the potential NFL caliber cornerbacks and given a first hand impression to some NFL coaches. Currently, Mocking The Draft rates Floyd as the second best receiver in the 2012 NFL Draft, but that could change depending on how some guys play in All-Star games and the NFL Combine.
Fans of obscure college football players, the NFL Draft, and helmet fashion, rejoice: it's time for college football all-star games, from the little ones to the 2012 Senior Bowl.
Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill reportedly suffered a "significant foot injury" while training last week. It's unknown exactly what's wrong or whether this could affect his 2012 NFL draft stock.
Devon Still is the top defensive tackle eligible for the 2012 NFL Draft, but it's yet to be seen if the former Penn State Nittany Lion will be able to get selected in the top 10.
The 2012 Senior Bowl has begun sending out invites for the annual all-star game and a handful of Boise State Broncos have booked their flight to the game in Mobile, Alabama.
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