10 College Players with the Most to Gain/Lose at the Senior Bowl

Carl StineCorrespondent IJanuary 24, 2013

10 College Players with the Most to Gain/Lose at the Senior Bowl

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    The 10 players on this list have a ton riding on this week at the Senior Bowl.

    With solid performances, they will see their draft stock get a boost—in some cases all the way near the top of the first round.

    With less-than-stellar showings this week, many of them will drop to Day 2 of the draft.

    Between now and the draft, there are limited opportunities for players to boost their stock, meaning the Senior Bowl is a prime chance to leave a mark on NFL scouts and coaches that are watching.

    Take a minute and check out the 10 players who have both the most to gain and the most to lose during this week's Senior Bowl.

10. Eric Fisher, OL, Central Michigan

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    There are few guys with as much to gain at the Senior Bowl as Eric Fisher.

    The average college football fan does not know a whole lot about him, as he plays for Central Michigan, but Fisher has a chance to boost himself into the top round of the NFL draft with a solid performance this week.

    Judging from the buzz he's creating on Twitter, Fisher has already seen his stock heading in the right direction.

    He's confirmed his place near the top of the available tackles in this draft and could go as high as the top 10 if his excellent performance continues.

    On the off-chance that he suffers a setback of epic proportions or a sudden weakness comes to light, Fisher will drop out of the first round, so the pressure is on.

9. Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma

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    Look, there is no denying that Landry Jones was a very good college quarterback,

    As a senior in 2012, Jones put up big numbers again, scoring 30 passing touchdowns, but also throwing 11 interceptions.

    And there's the rub.

    The level of pressure from the pass rush Jones can expect to face in the NFL is much higher than what he faced in the Big 12, and it's against pressure that he seems to struggle. His penchant for throwing picks in big games against pressure is a huge concern.

    If he can prove that this is an issue he can overcome, Jones has a very productive pro career ahead of him.

    If not, he will be nothing more than a journeyman backup.

8. Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon

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    Here's the thing: Barner is a superb talent, and his speed and elusiveness make him perfect for the perimeter game in the NFL.

    Where he has something to lose is when it comes to his pad level and blocking.

    There are some question marks about his ability to fix both of these issues, and he needs to demonstrate that he can do so in order to compete for an NFL roster spot.

    Barner's talent is obviously there. He shredded every defense he faced in 2012. But he needs to show that he can handle the blocking assignments and tough yardage between the tackles in order to rise in the draft.

    So far, so good:

    #WalterCamp All-American RT @mcnamarauo: Kenjon Barner impresses at Senior Bowl practices #GoDucks ow.ly/h2Bge

    — Miguel Rodriguez(@TheNational) January 22, 2013

7. Conner Vernon, WR, Duke

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    Vernon has had a positive impact on at least one interested party at the Senior Bowl:

    BREAKING: Patriots blog has great review on Conner Vernon at Senior Bowl practice, fails to mention Wes Welker nepatriotsdraft.com/2013/01/2013-s…

    — Ben Swain (@thedevilwolf) January 23, 2013

    The main concern is his speed, as he has the hands and skills to be a great underneath option in the NFL.

    The ACC's leader in career receptions, Vernon needs to prove he can play with the speed needed to contribute against NFL-caliber defenses. If he does he'll see his stock climb dramatically this week.

6. Quinton Patton, WR, Louisiana Tech

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    Bleacher Report's own Matt Miller had some heady praise for Patton after his performance thus far this week.

    Patton is pretty well known already for his exploits at La. Tech, but will start shooting up draft boards with his demonstration of speed this week.

    His toughness seems to be what might separate him from the rest of the receivers of his ilk at the Senior Bowl, as well as his ability to handle press coverage and work between the hash marks.

    Patton is going to be a great contributor in the NFL and will see his stock ascend rapidly with a continued excellent performance.

5. Zac Dysert, QB, Miami (Ohio)

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    Dysert has the potential to be a steal in this draft. He's quite possibly the best-kept secret in the draft.

    He possesses excellent accuracy, solid mobility and great size. If he can deliver this week against solid competition, he's going to make an NFL roster and contribute at the next level.

    Thus far, his week has not been the greatest, but there is a huge diamond in the rough here, and there is still time for Dysert to improve his stock dramatically this week.

4. Ezekiel Ansah, DL, BYU

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    Ansah is one of several heralded underclassmen that enter the draft as excellent pass-rushers.

    He's one of the more interesting prospects on the board for the 2013 draft.

    Ansah has the potential to dominate the Senior Bowl, can rush against elite competition and plays with a high motor.

    If he demonstrated this week that he can produce against solid competition for an extended period of time, he will find himself taken much higher in the draft than initially anticipated.

3. Denard Robinson, WR, Michigan

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    Denard Robinson enjoyed immense amounts of hype during his time as quarterback at Michigan—and with good reason.

    "Shoelace" is incredible in open space and does things with the ball in his hands that induce plenty of involuntary dropped jaws.

    But he's not an NFL-caliber passer.

    So he goes into the draft preparing to play as a wide receiver, a position at which he has little experience.

    With a solid performance this week, he could solidify the belief that he can contribute on an NFL roster as a kick returner/wide receiver. If he cannot step up and demonstrate the basic skill set needed by an NFL receiver, he will struggle to have any kind of productive career at the next level.

    As it stands, he's not having a great week:

    A scout's critique of Denard Robinson at the Senior Bowl: "Not good." Said he's still draftable, but not nearly as high as he thought

    — Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) January 23, 2013

2. John Jenkins, DT, Georgia

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    Jenkins has big-time potential at the next level.

    He has to prove he can remain consistent with his rush and remain productive for an entire game against elite NFL offensive lines.

    He has the power to rush through just about any lineman placed in front of him and seems to be showing off his speed and other skills against his opposition thus far at the Senior Bowl.

    With continued success this week, his draft stock will jump. With a bad week, he will drop to Day 2 of the draft. But that seems unlikely at this point.

1. E.J. Manuel, QB, Florida State

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    Manuel has been awful at times, throwing the ball up for grabs down the middle of the field when under pressure and making terrible decisions, especially against top-flight competition.

    That said, there is a ton of potential in this guy.

    He has the size and physical tools to be a great quarterback in the spread and the strong arm to make big plays downfield, even at the next level.

    He must demonstrate that he can make better decisions and not panic when he feels pressure. But if he does, Manuel is going to go higher than expected and will be a solid NFL quarterback.

    Apparently, he already has a connection in the NFL:

    Eagles met with Florida State QB E.J. Manuel at the Senior Bowl. He was recruited by new Eagles coach Chip Kelly when Kelly was at Oregon.

    — Kevin Noonan (@KevinNoonan32) January 23, 2013