The college football Senior Bowl is an opportunity for some of the NFL draft’s top prospects to not only be honored for their outstanding seasons and careers but also showcase their talents for NFL scouts during the game and week of practice leading up to it.
While today’s Senior Bowl will feature a number of top prospects for the 2012 NFL draft, there will be some notable names not in attendance. Of course, juniors aren’t allowed to participate, so that explains not seeing guys like Luck, Griffin and Blackmon, but there will also be quite of few seniors not participating due to injury.
For the most part these injuries aren’t typically serious—more just a reason for guys to not participate for fear of hurting their draft status.
Here are some of the big names who will not be seen playing today.
Considered the top defensive tackle prospect in the draft, Penn State’s Devon Still is out for the Senior Bowl with a turf toe that has been affecting him since the Nittany Lions’ bowl game against Houston in January. Still is not yet at full speed on the injured toe, so it was not worth risking draft stock to play at less than one hundred percent.
Still was first team Walter Camp All-American and a finalist for the Outland Trophy, which is given to the best defensive lineman in the country, as well as a finalist for the Chuck Bednarik Trophy, given to the best defensive player in the country.
At 6’5”, 310 pounds, Still is a big body player known for his power, aggression and ability to stuff the run.
The guy everyone saw catching passes from RGIII this season, Baylor wide receiver Kendall Wright, will also be absent from the Senior Bowl with an apparent ankle injury.
Despite being just 5’10” and 190 pounds, Wright is considered by most draft experts to be the second or third best wide receiver prospect in the draft due to his great speed, sure handedness, and ability to get open on routes.
Wright finished this season with 108 receptions for 1,663 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Nebraska cornerback Alfonzo Dennard did participate in Senior Bowl practices this week but was forced to pull out of the game with a hip flexor injury.
Coming into the week with high regard and projected as one of the top cornerback prospects in the draft, Dennard had a rough week of practices leading up to the games. According to draft experts at the game, Dennard was beat by lower rated receivers on numerous occasions, causing his draft stock to drop immensely.
Alabama strong safety Mark Barron withdrew from the Senior Bowl with an undisclosed injury, so there is a good chance he is just protecting his draft stock by not playing.
Barron is considered the top safety of the draft class and was finalist this year for the Jim Thorpe award for college football’s best defensive back.
Barron is known for his ability to hit hard and keep plays in front of him. He finished with 66 tackles this season.
Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd is not injured, but he still opted not to participate in the Senior Bowl.
Widely considered the second best receiver in the draft, Floyd will wait to display his talents at the NFL combine.
At 6’3”, 224 pounds, Floyd is a much bigger body than Kendall Wright but lacks the blazing speed. Floyd finished an excellent senior season with 100 receptions for 1,147 yards and nine touchdowns.
Skipping the Senior Bowl may not have been a wise decision for Floyd, as a good week would have given him an advantage over Blackmon and Jeffrey, who could not participate due to being juniors, as well as Wright who was out with injury.
Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill is forced to miss the Senior Bowl with a broken foot that he suffered while training.
The injury is a huge blow to Tannehill and will likely be a substantial hit to his draft stock. Tannehill was considered to be the third best quarterback prospect in the draft, behind Luck and Griffin but may see that spot slide away with the injury.
Having only started for A&M for the half the season, Tannehill had a lot to prove to draft scouts and this would have been an opportunity for him to do so.