Senior Bowl 2012: 5 Players Who Improved Their Draft Stock
One such event is the Senior Bowl which took place last weekend. The Senior Bowl allows prospective rookies to show off their talents against fellow rookies.
Depending on their performance, players can greatly improve or hurt their draft stock. This article will focus on five players who moved themselves up draft boards with impressive showings at the Senior Bowl.
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Marvin Jones is not a big-name receiver in the 2012 draft class. Even while playing for the California Bears, he was overshadowed by Keenan Allen.
Jones, who is listed at 6'3" but measured in at 6'1", stood out in Senior Bowl practices. He was regularly able to gain separation from coverage due to his clean route running.
Jones followed up a solid week of practice with a touchdown catch on Saturday. He did a comeback route in the end zone and was able to shield the corner back to present a nice target for Russell Wilson.
NFL teams who are looking for a solid possession receiver are hoping that Jones falls to them in the third or fourth round. At worst he looks like someone who can add depth, at best he could be the next T.J.Houshmandzadeh (when he was still with the Bengals).
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Aside from Trent Richardson and Chris Polk, all of the running backs in the 2012 draft class are lacking size.
Lamar Miller, David Wilson and LaMichael James are all speedy backs but are too small to carry the ball 20-plus times per game.
Listed at 5'9" and 215 pounds, Doug Martin out of Boise State also belongs in the "small backs" category. But after the Senior Bowl, he looks like he is the most complete back out of the bunch.
He runs low to the ground with a great deal of power. Martin is tough to bring down and is always fighting for extra yards. He utilizes a sneaky spin move which helps him find space when it seems there is none.
This week at the Senior Bowl he also looked decent in pass protection and catching the ball out of the backfield, which will help his draft stock tremendously.
It will be interesting to see if his performance this last week was enough to move him up the boards and into the second or early third round.
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Whether he is playing defensive end or outside linebacker in the NFL, Vinny Curry will be a special player.
Coming out of Marshall, he is not getting the same attention as Quinton Coples or Courtney Upshaw, but he has the potential to be just as good at the next level.
Curry outplayed all pass rushers in the Senior Bowl. He accumulated a strip sack on Nick Foles and got pressure on Brandon Weeden which resulted in an interception. Curry plays with a relentless motor and tenacity which is great to see in a young pass rusher.
Prior to the Senior Bowl he was projected to go in the second or third round, but do not be surprised if he earns the right to be a borderline first-rounder as the draft nears.
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Isaiah Pead from Cincinnati rose out of obscurity after winning the MVP in the Senior Bowl. He did not put up spectacular numbers running the ball (eight carries for 31 yards) but he wowed with his punt return abilities.
He had two highlight-worthy punt returns for a total of 98 yards. On both he did everything but score. Pead showed off his vision by patiently waiting for blocks before taking off down field.
At 5'11" and 200 pounds, Pead looked like a small Arian Foster. He was very decisive in his cuts and ran with a lot of momentum. Pead also showed the ability to lower his shoulder at the end of his runs.
Pead likely will not go until the third or fourth round; regardless, he is a name that should be remembered come draft day.
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If it were not for a fumble early in the game, Joe Adams out of Arkansas may have beaten out Isaiah Pead for the MVP of the Senior Bowl.
Adams finished the game with eight receptions for 133 yards. What was most impressive about the 5'11" 190 pound receiver was his ability to break tackles. He was not so much elusive as he was impossible to tackle.
His impressive performance in the Senior Bowl matched with his dangerous kick and punt return skills has NFL teams interested in snagging him earlier than previously expected. If he is able to run a blazing 40 in the combine, he could be picked as early as the second round.