Senior Bowl 2012: 4 Players We're Most Excited to Watch

John RozumCorrespondent IJanuary 23, 2012

Senior Bowl 2012: 4 Players We're Most Excited to Watch

0 of 4

    On Saturday Jan. 28, the 2012 Senior Bowl kicks off and NFL Draft prospects have hopes of increasing their value to get selected higher.

    That being said, the Senior Bowl is just the first step in the transition from college to the pros, but a very important one at that.

    So, here are four players to really look for when Saturday afternoon rolls around.

     

    Click the link to view the Senior Bowl rosters

Melvin Ingram: DE/OLB, South Carolina

1 of 4

    Arguably the most versatile and dynamic player in the 2012 NFL Draft, South Carolina's Melvin Ingram can rush the quarterback, drop into coverage, run stuff on inside stunts and keep contain on the edge.

    Additionally, Melvin played on the hands team and in punt coverage, proving his value as a complete player.

    He simply has a knack for finding the football as he recorded 19 sacks the pass two seasons along with 76 tackles.

    In the Senior Bowl, look for him coming off the edge as a blitzer as well as dropping underneath the slant and crossing routes for coverage.

Markelle Martin: Safety, Oklahoma State

2 of 4

    A strong hitter and sure tackler, Oklahoma State's Markelle Martin recorded 129 tackles between the past two seasons while also defending 24 passes.

    The leader of the Cowboys' defense that won the Big 12 and the Fiesta Bowl over Stanford, Martin forced two fumbles and had five tackles for loss in 2011.

    In 2010 he picked off three passes and wasn't challenged nearly as much his senior season, so his ability to drop back, roll down and help with run support has earned Martin solid exposure.

    Provided that he can keep that display rocking in the Senior Bowl, he will only increase his draft stock to a potential early second-rounder. He's arguably the best safety in the draft, so Martin can really shine bright on a big scouting stage.

Kellen Moore: QB, Boise State

3 of 4

    Although Boise State's Kellen Moore is only expected to be a sixth or seventh-round pick, college football's winningest quarterback (50-3) of all time deserves more recognition.

    A Heisman Finalist in 2010, Moore had the luxury of targeting receivers Titus Young and Austin Pettis, who combined for 142 receptions and 19 touchdowns. Moore had a completion percentage of 71.3 and threw 35 touchdowns to just six picks.

    So, you would expect his numbers to drop in 2011, right? Especially after having lost his two best and favorite targets to the NFL.

    Well, Moore did even better against a more difficult schedule in throwing for 3,800 yards, 43 touchdowns to just nine picks and a 74.3 completion percentage.

    With less talent against harder opponents, Moore increased his numbers but isn't getting any respect. Well, the Senior Bowl is a good place to start turning the skeptics around.

Alfonzo Dennard: CB, Nebraska

4 of 4

    Arguably the best cornerback in the 2012 NFL Draft, Nebraska's Alfonzo Dennard really proved his worth as a lock down defender without Prince Amukamara opposite.

    As a junior in 2010 Dennard was challenged quite a bit because of Prince but held his own by picking off four passes and recording 30 tackles.

    So, when 2011 came around, Dennard was rarely challenged but still recorded 31 tackles. Being left on an island most of the time, Dennard didn't get many opportunities to help with run support, but was effective when doing so.

    He's physical and doesn't back down despite being only 5'10".

    Any team needing a stud defensive back that will isolate a slot receiver next season needs to look at him, because Alfonzo is a solid long-term corner in the NFL.

    In the Senior Bowl, he'll get that opportunity against some talented SEC and Big 12 receivers.

     

    John Rozum on Twitter