Senior Bowl 2012: Players in Need of Big Performances

Justin WeltonAnalyst IIJanuary 28, 2012

CHAMPAIGN, IL - NOVEMBER 19: A.J. Jenkins #8 of the Illinois Fighting Illini moives across the end zone against the Wisconsin Badgers at Memorial Stadium on November 19, 2011 in Champaign, Illinois. Wisconsin defeated Illinois 28-17. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Playing in the Senior Bowl can give you an edge over your draft class only if you play well. If you play poorly, that is the lasting image of game play for your career.

These three players need big performances in the 2012 Senior Bowl to push them to earlier rounds. If they play poorly, they could slide.


A.J. Jenkins

Illinois wide receiver A.J. Jenkins didn’t have the opportunity to play in a premier offense in college football. His quarterback play was shaky and their offensive line didn’t help either.

BLOOMINGTON, IN - OCTOBER 08:  A.J. Jenkins #8 of the Illinois Illini catches a pass while defended by Lawrence Barnett #23 of the Indiana Hoosiers during the game at Memorial Stadium on October 8, 2011 in Bloomington, Indiana.  Illinois won 41-20.  (Phot
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

But he still produced at a high level. He recorded 90 receptions, 1,276 yards and eight touchdowns this season.

He continues to get better and better every time he touches the field. Right now he is sitting in the later rounds of the draft, so a big time performance could definitely push him up to a third-round selection.

We will see how he performs with top-notch quarterbacks. It should be a good indication to what he could do in the NFL.


Joe Adams

Arkansas wide receiver/punt returner Joe Adams is an athletic, speedy player that can take any play to the house. The problem is his 5’11”, 174-pound frame. Will he be durable in the NFL?

Adams caught 54 passes for three touchdowns this season, but what makes him special is his ability to be a major factor in the return game.

Right now he is looking to be a late-round selection. If he can play well while showcasing his dynamic speed, he may get into the third round.


Chris Polk

Washington running back Chris Polk will be selected a couple of rounds ahead of Jenkins and Adams. However, Polk is a first-round type of talent that could really put his stamp on the NFL Draft with a solid performance.

SEATTLE - NOVEMBER 05:  Running back Chris Polk #1 of the Washington Huskies rushes against Michael Clay #46 of the Oregon Ducks on November 5, 2011 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington. Oregon won 34-17. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Polk rushed for 1,488 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2011—he has rushed for 1,000 yards in three straight seasons.

At 5’10”, Polk is a smaller back, but that shouldn’t make teams wary of selecting the star, because he has a high ceiling. He proved to be a workhorse at Washington with 799 carries which is a program record. He also holds a career average of 101.2 rushing yards per game, which is another school record.

Polk has the resume to be a first rounder.

Polk can supplant his position as a possible first-round pick with a dominating performance on Saturday.