5 SEC Players Who Can Increase Their Stock at the Senior Bowl
The annual Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. is the premier college All-Star game. It routinely draws scouts from all 32 NFL teams to the gulf coast to get a look at some of the top NFL prospects in college football.
Considering the SEC has led all conferences in players drafted over the last six seasons, it should come as no surprise that players from the SEC litter the rosters for the North and South teams.
Which SEC players have shined over the first two days of Senior Bowl practice and could see their draft stock soar prior to the NFL Scouting Combine?
Our top five are in this slideshow.
5. Georgia DT John Jenkins
Former Georgia defensive tackle John Jenkins is projected to be a first- or second-round pick, according to CBSSports.com, but isn't exactly coming into the Senior Bowl with a ton of momentum.
The 6'4", 359-pound defensive tackle was ruled academically ineligible for Georgia's Capital One Bowl win over Nebraska, but impressed scouts in attendance during Day 2 of Senior Bowl practice.
Bleacher Report's Matt Miller was impressed with Jenkins despite an unimpressive weigh-in on the first day. He has the size to step into a 3-4 defense at nose and take up double teams, freeing up his mates on the defensive line and at linebacker to make plays in space.
Don't let his size fool you. Jenkins is incredibly quick for a big guy and can make a push to become a solid first-round draft pick with a good showing in Mobile.
4. Tennessee OL Dallas Thomas
Dallas Thomas made the move from tackle to guard prior to the 2012 season to make room for Antonio "Tiny" Richardson on the Tennessee offensive line, but that move appears to be only temporary.
The 6'5", 308-pounder from Baton Rouge, La. is ranked as the No. 5 overall prospect at the Senior Bowl according to Bleacher Report's Matt Miller. Unfortunately for Thomas, he was sidelined on Day 2 with an undisclosed injury and will likely miss the game on Saturday.
Thomas is projected to be a second-round pick by CBSSports.com, but if he shows scouts that he can pick up right where he left off at the tackle position during the evaluation process leading up to the NFL Draft, he could sneak up into that first round.
Wherever he lands, Thomas' versatility to play tackle or guard will be very valuable at the next level.
3. Florida RB Mike Gillislee
Running back Mike Gillislee was the focal point of the one-dimensional Florida offense in 2012. He rushed for 1,152 yards and 10 touchdowns in his first and only season as the feature back for Will Muschamp's team.
Not bad, especially considering everyone on the planet knew Gillislee was getting the ball.
The 5'11", 207-pounder is projected to be a fourth-round pick by CBSSports.com, but a good showing in Mobile could move him up draft boards.
Gillislee is fast, surprisingly physical and didn't get a ton of carries during his four years in Gainesville, which means he has some tread left on the tires. Don't be surprised to see Gillislee gain some momentum after he further proves that he's capable of being an every-down back during the evaluation process.
2. Kentucky OL Larry Warford
Kentucky wasn't exactly littered with superstars in 2012, but Larry Warford still managed to get noticed during his senior season en route to second-team All-SEC honors from the SEC's coaches.
The 6'3", 333-pound offensive guard from Richmond, Ky. didn't impress Bleacher Report's Michael Schottey during the weigh-in, but that impression changed when scouts saw Warford's agility on the football field.
Warford is slated to be a second- or third-round pick, according to CBSSports.com, but a strong showing in Mobile could solidify his spot in the second round.
The NFL is quickly becoming a quarterback-driven league, but you still have to be able to consistently run the football. Warford will be a big part of that equation, wherever he lands.
1. Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson
Tyler Wilson's senior season at Arkansas didn't exactly go according to plan.
The 6'2", 218-pound signal-caller was expected to lead his team into national title contention. One coaching change, a concussion and a 4-8 season later, and Wilson's Razorback career ended in relative anonymity, as some upstart freshman quarterback from Texas A&M named Johnny Manziel stole all of the headlines.
With that being said, Wilson may get the last laugh.
He struggled during the first day of Senior Bowl practice, according to Bleacher Report's Andrew Garda, but came back with a strong showing in Day 2.
His offensive line was a sore spot over the last two seasons and his running game was in constant disarray, but he still managed to throw for 7,025 yards and 45 touchdowns in the SEC. Not bad, to say the least.
Wilson is dancing around the first and second round, depending on what draft projection you're looking at. However, a strong showing in Mobile, at the draft combine and at Arkansas' pro day should solidify him in the first round.
He is going to be a star in the NFL.
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