Senior Bowl 2012: Isaiah Pead and Players Who Boosted Their Draft Stock

Austin GreenCorrespondent IJanuary 28, 2012

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 05:  Isaiah Pead #23 of the Cincinnati Bearcats runs with the ball against the Pittsburgh Panthers on November 5, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Several of college football's finest upperclassmen boosted their NFL draft stock with strong performances in the 2012 Senior Bowl.

Just like the American Civil War, the North defeated the South, this time by the score of 23-13. Of course, winning isn't the main goal of this game.

The annual event is a prime opportunity for players to impress pro scouts, as representatives from all 32 NFL teams flock like locusts to Mobile, Alabama.

The following three prospects took advantage of the spotlight on Saturday.

Joe Adams, WR, Arkansas

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - SEPTEMBER 17:  Joe Adams #3 of the Arkansas Razorbacks runs the ball against the Troy Trojans at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium on September 17, 2011 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  The Razorbacks beat the Trojans 38 to 28.  (Photo by
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Joe Adams didn't get a lot of headlines this year, but he made his presence known at the Senior Bowl.

The 5'11", 174-pound wide receiver had six catches for 116 yards. He failed to reach the endzone, but he consistently shredded the North's secondary.

Adams had a good senior season at Arkansas, catching 54 passes for 652 yards and three touchdowns. He also had four touchdowns on punt returns, including one in the Razorbacks' Cotton Bowl victory over Kansas State.

This year's wide receiver class is pretty deep, but Adams climbed a few spots with his performance on Saturday. Coming into this game, he was widely projected as a fourth or fifth-round pick.

With his strong play, Adams put himself firmly in the mid-fourth round range.

Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina

BLACKSBURG, VIRGINIA - NOVEMBER 17:  Quarterback Logan Thomas #3 of the Virginia Tech Hokies is tackled by defensive end Quinton Coples #90 of the North Carolina Tar Heels at Lane Stadium on November 17, 2011 in Blacksburg, Virginia. (Photo by Geoff Burke
Geoff Burke/Getty Images

Quinton Coples capped off his impressive week by dominating the North's offensive line on Saturday.

He wreaked havoc all day long, disrupting plays with his elite athleticism. It was exactly the performance he needed after facing questions about his work ethic and motor.

Coming into 2011, Coples was projected as a potential top-five pick. However, he had a disappointing senior season, struggling against the extra attention he faced from offenses.

Still, Coples is a monster athletically and I would be surprised if he falls out of the top 10.

Isaiah Pead, RB, Cincinnati

CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 15:  Isaiah Pead #23 of the Cincinnati Bearcats runs for a touchdown during the game against the Louisville Cardinals at Paul Brown Stadium on October 15, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Big East Offensive Player of the Year added some more hardware to his collection, bringing home MVP honors on Saturday.

The elusive running back had 31 yards on eight carries and set a Senior Bowl record by racking up 98 yards on just two punt returns.

Pead had an excellent year for the Bearcats, rushing for 1,259 yards and scoring 15 total touchdowns.

He probably won't be a premier back at the next level, but he has the potential to have a Darren Sproles-like career. He's got blazing speed and is a threat to take it to the house every time he touches the ball.

Pead showed scouts exactly what they wanted to see from him on Saturday. I'm expecting him to be drafted in the late second or early third round.