Senior Bowl 2012: Players with Most to Prove in Mobile
The Senior Bowl has long been a showcase for mid-level NFL talent before the draft, and in 2012, there are plenty of players who will try to prove themselves one last time before the NFL draft.
In 2012, there are plenty of unproven quarterbacks who are fighting for the spot as the third-best quarterback in the draft to go along with quite a few disappointing players who need to rebuild their images and make better names for themselves at the Senior Bowl.
Here's a look at some of those players and more.
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Nick Foles put together another good year at Arizona with 4,334 passing yards, 28 touchdowns and a completion percentage of 69.1 percent.
But many scouts wonder if those numbers are simply a result of Arizona's offense or if Foles is a legitimate NFL quarterback. He has questionable footwork but great size—he's 6'5"—and scouts love big quarterbacks.
Foles needs to play well in Mobile to try and cement himself as a second-round pick. If he falters or looks shaky, he could drop.
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Quinton Coples followed the North Carolina tradition of being very highly touted entering his senior season as a Tar Heel, only to disappoint all season long.
He didn't have a terrible season, finishing with 55 tackles, 7.5 sacks and one forced fumble, but he didn't break out the way everyone thought he would.
That means he needs to prove himself this weekend to lock up the perception that he's the best defensive end in the draft. So far, he has used his speed off the edge and his hands to be one of the best defensive players in practice.
A good Senior Bowl could make Coples a lock as a top-10 pick.
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Kellen Moore has gotten tabbed as a great college quarterback, but one that won't succeed in the NFL. He also has his fair share of believers who think that he can be the next undersized signal-caller to become elite, following in the steps of Drew Brees.
In his final season with the Broncos, Moore set the NCAA record for career victories while throwing for 3,800 yards and 43 touchdowns to compile a passer rating of 175.19.
Regardless, Moore has struggled with accuracy in practice and will need to have an outstanding game in order to instill faith within NFL draft scouts.
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DeVier Posey has a lot to prove to NFL scouts in the Senior Bowl after being suspended for 10 games in 2011.
He was suspended for the first five games after selling memorabilia in the infamous Terrelle Pryor scandal and then suspended for five more games after being overpaid $720 during a summer job.
In his three games this season, Posey caught 12 balls for 162 yards and two touchdowns. During his junior season, Posey caught 58 passes for 848 yards and seven touchdowns. He has good size and athleticism, but obviously, NFL teams will be worried about his off-field issues.
Posey needs to not only play very well, but also interview very well if he wants to get his name called before the third day of the draft.
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Antonio Allen is a big, physical safety with the potential to stop big, physical tight ends like Vernon Davis, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez and Jimmy Graham.
The 6'2" Allen finished 2011 with 82 tackles, four forced fumbles and three interceptions for the Gamecocks but has yet to show that he can make plays on balls in the air.
If he can improve on his consistency on actual safety skills such as reading the pass and zone coverage, he can improve his stock and shed the label of solely applying big hits.
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Kirk Cousins was already very highly thought of before the Senior Bowl, but with a good showing, his draft stock could skyrocket.
Cousins finished 2011 having passed for 3,316 yards and 25 touchdowns with a passer rating of 145.12. He has great leadership skills and holds Michigan State's records in passing touchdowns (66), passing yards (9,131), completions (723), passing efficiency (146.1 rating), total offense (9,004 yards) and 200-yard passing games. But NFL scouts question his ability to throw the deep ball after faltering a few times in 2011.
With his great practices and a possible solid showing in the game itself, Cousins could possibly move up to as high as a second-round pick.
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Russell Wilson is very much like Kellen Moore in that he was a very good college quarterback, but because of his height, he isn't considered a serious pro prospect.
Wilson passed for 3,175 yards and 33 touchdowns en route to a Rose Bowl berth for the Wisconsin Badgers, but he's even smaller than Moore and not as good.
So far in practice, he has struggled and has overthrown many passes. A great Senior Bowl showing could help him save face.
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Marvin Jones knows he needs to have a great showing at the Senior Bowl after fading into obscurity at the end of the 2011 season.
Jones started off the season hot but didn't score a touchdown after Week 3 and didn't get more than 60 yards during a five-week stretch leading up to his 88-yard performance in the Holiday Bowl.
The talent has always been there for Jones, but he hasn't had the best quarterbacks throwing to him and made him inconsistent throughout his career at Cal, and he has been overshadowed by Keenan Allen.
Regardless, Jones has great athleticism and speed and has shown that so far in the Senior Bowl practices. He needs to prove that he's worthy of at least a fourth-round pick this weekend.
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Janoris Jenkins is a legitimate NFL cornerback with legitimate off-the-field issues.
But for all of his troubles, he also has great footwork, anticipation and speed that he has shown in each Senior Bowl practice.
Jenkins needs to prove his abilities are worth a first-round pick, and he needs to interview well to show that he has grown as a person since his last run-in with the law.
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Brandon Weeden's biggest problem is the fact that he's 28 years old. His next biggest problem is proving to scouts that it wasn't just wide receiver Justin Blackmon doing all of the work on the Oklahoma State offense.
Weeden is very mature and could be a great backup for a contender or quite possibly a starter in 2012 if he can prove himself in a pro-style offense this weekend. In the spread offense at OSU, Weeden threw for 4,727 yards and 37 touchdowns.
So far, he has looked very comfortable under center with good footwork and passing touch.
Weeden won't get any younger this weekend, but he can prove that he can provide an immediate impact on a team this weekend.
If he plays as well as he's been practicing, Weeden might even sneak into the end of the first round.