Senior Bowl 2012: Brandon Weeden and Stars Who Need a Huge Game

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistJanuary 28, 2012

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 02:  Brandon Weeden #3 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys celebrates with fans after Oklahoma State won 41-38 in overtime against the Stanford Cardinal during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on January 2, 2012 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Oklahoma State won 41-38 in overtime.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The 2012 Senior Bowl is a way to give college football players about to enter the NFL Draft one final live showcase of their talents at game speed.

While they will all have a chance to highlight theirs strengths at the NFL Draft Combine, there are many players that perform far better in game action and need to prove that.

All of the following players will need to have their best on Saturday if they want to help scouts look past their flaws.


Brandon Weeden

At 28-years-old, there is no time like the present for Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden to show the NFL that taking a chance on him is the right move. Despite the fact that he would be in his 30s before his rookie contract is up, he is a solid player.

No matter what happens at the Senior Bowl, a team will take Weeden as, at the very least, a backup to their backup plan. Weeden has the ability, though, to play himself into a situation that could lead to a starting job with a big game at the Senior Bowl.

If he can dominate the best defensive players college football has on a big stage like the Senior Bowl, there is no doubt that at least one team will be willing to take a risk and pick the star higher than expected.


Courtney Upshaw

The stock on the Alabama Crimson Tide and their players couldn’t be any higher than it is right now and Courtney Upshaw has been swept up in it all. While he is a great prospect, he needs this Senior Bowl to make up for his lackluster size.

While the Alabama Crimson Tide website lists the outside linebacker/defensive end at 6’2”—and 265 pounds—it still remains to be seen if that is his actual height. It may be an inch or two smaller when measured at the combine.

The height difference that may be there isn’t a huge deal, but many teams will look at that as a downside that could make Upshaw fall down the board. A stellar performance in the Senior Bowl could stop any talk of not making it in the NFL.


Melvin Ingram

At just 6’2”, the biggest knock on Ingram is that some scouts question whether or not his lack of size will hinder him at the defensive end position in the NFL. He is too talented not to be an effective player, and the Senior Bowl will be his chance to shine.

While the former South Carolina Gamecock had tremendous success in college, his tweener size will have eyes heavily scrutinizing his work on Saturday and beyond. With a spin move comparable to Dwight Freeney’s, watch for Ingram to make his mark early and often.

Ingram will showcase the wide array of moves he has obtained during his tenure at South Carolina, and impress enough people to warrant a mid-first round draft pick


Check back for more on the NCAA Football as it comes, and check out Bleacher Report’s College Football Page to get your fill of College Football.