2012 Senior Bowl Results: Winners and Losers for the NFL Draft

Jon Dove@https://twitter.com/#!/Jon_Dove42Contributor IJanuary 29, 2012

2012 Senior Bowl Results: Winners and Losers for the NFL Draft

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    The annual Senior Bowl is one of the many parts to the NFL Draft process. It gives the participating prospects and opportunity to showcase some of their talents, and maybe even improve their draft stock. However, the most important thing is to take this piece of the puzzle with a grain of salt.

    I personally use the Senior Bowl to confirm what I seen during the prospects college career. One week at the Senior Bowl shouldn't override a prospect's entire career's worth of production. However, this remains an important part of the process and has major ramifications.

Brandon Weeden, Quarterback, Oklahoma State

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    Senior Bowl Impact: Stock Rising

    Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden finished his college career with a win over Stanford and likely No. 1 overall pick Andrew Luck in the Fiesta Bowl. In his two years as the starter, Weeden amassed over 9,000 passing yards and 71 touchdowns; however, his play during the week at the Senior Bowl has impacted his draft stock more.

    Weeden showed during both the week of practice and the game that he possesses a strong arm and good accuracy. He may have worked himself into the early third-round range and made himself a candidate to see the field early in his career.

    However, the fact that he will be 29 years old when the season starts limits his upside. His Senior Bowl performance raised his stock, but it's unlikely to push him into the first- or second-round range.

Alfonzo Dennard, Cornerback, Nebraska

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    Senior Bowl Impact: Stock Falling

    Nebraska's Alfonzo Dennard's stock may have taken the biggest hit because of his Senior Bowl appearance. Due to an injury, his week was cut short, but not before damage was done. Dennard's play raised questions about his long speed and hip fluidity. These issues have left many questioning his ability to be a top-level cover man.

    His injury only exacerbated the problem, as it left him unable to end the week on a high note. Some scouts may write off Dennard based on his struggles at the Senior Bowl. Hype and making a good impression are very important parts of the draft process.

    This past week may have very well cost Dennard a shot at landing in the first round.

Vinny Curry, Defensive End, Marshall

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    Senior Bowl Impact: Stock Rising

    Playing at Marshall didn't offer Vinny Curry many opportunities to get his name out to the masses. However, he made the best of his Senior Bowl opportunity. Curry showed why he is considered one of the top pass-rushers in the 2012 draft class.

    He boasts a wide array of pass-rush moves that complement his athletic ability. Curry might not have elite speed, but his snap awareness helps him gain the edge and get after the quarterback. Playing in the Senior Bowl offered him the opportunity to show that he can be effective against some of the best players in the country.

    Curry worked his way into the early second-round discussion, and a good showing at the combine could earn him some first-round consideration.

Gerell Robinson, Wide Receiver, Arizona State

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    Senior Bowl Report: Stock Falling

    Arizona State's Gerell Robinson was one of the prospects I was most interested in seeing perform at the Senior Bowl. During the past season, Robinson showed that he's capable of racking up yardage and making big plays. It's his combination of size and leaping ability that makes him such an intriguing prospect.

    His inconsistency throughout the week, however, has really hurt his draft stock. The biggest problem was his tendency to lose focus and drop catchable passes. He doesn't possesses the elite top-end speed or suddenness to gain a ton of separation, which makes his inconsistency more concerning.

    Robinson remains an intriguing prospect, but appears to be more of a mid-round project type.

Kirk Cousins, Quarterback, Michigan State

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    Senior Bowl Impact: Stock Rising

    Michigan State's Kirk Cousins isn't the type of prospect who stands out in a crowd; however, he plays the game with consistency and excellent leadership. Cousins utilized his time at the Senior Bowl to show scouts that he could be a starter at the next level.

    Too often, teams fall in love with impressive physical attributes and overlook the effectiveness of a player. Cousins is a winner and does all the little things needed to win football games. He also possesses the arm strength and instincts needed to succeed. His ability to anticipate throws is his most impressive skill set.

    I wouldn't consider it a reach for Cousins to come off the board late in the second round.

Jeff Fuller, Wide Receiver, Texas A&M

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    Senior Bowl Impact: Stock Falling

    Texas A&M's Jeff Fuller entered his senior season as a firm first-round prospect, but injuries and inconsistency derailed his stock. He hoped to use his Senior Bowl opportunity to show that he's worthy of being back in the early round discussion; however, his play only brought more questions, and his stock is at an all-time low.

    Fuller's limited explosiveness and questionable focus were the two main problems. He struggled to gain a lot of separation, something needed to succeed at the next level. Fuller shows the ability to make some amazing catches, but really struggled with the routine plays.

    After this week, Fuller will be lucky to come off the board somewhere in Round 3. His only hope at this point is to have a strong showing at the combine.

Quinton Coples, Defensive End, North Carolina

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    Senior Bowl Impact: Stock Rising

    North Carolina's Quinton Coples is one of the most physically gifted prospects in the entire 2012 NFL draft class. His combination of excellent length, size and quickness gives him the potential to develop into a top-notch pass-rusher. However, Coples came to the Senior Bowl with something to prove.

    His motor and consistency came into question this season after he failed to accumulate an impressive sack total. After his performance this week, nobody should question his ability to create pressure, and maybe he just needs the right coach to keep him motivated.

    Coples was able to use his time at the Senior Bowl to solidify himself as a top-10 selection.

Zebrie Sanders, Offensive Tackle, Florida State

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    Senior Bowl Impact: Stock Falling

    Florida State's Zebrie Sanders had a tough time this week, and a lot of his weaknesses were exposed. Sanders is a fluid athlete who does a nice job reaching the edge and protecting the quarterback. However, his limited bulk impacts his ability to anchor after contact.

    During the week of practice, Sanders routinely found himself off balance and getting pushed back into the backfield. His struggles against the bull rush will be something every NFL pass-rusher will be able to exploit.

    Sanders went from a potential early second-round prospect to more of a late third-round developmental tackle.

Courtney Upshaw, Linebacker, Alabama

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    Senior Bowl Impact: Stock Rising

    I wasn't surprised to see Alabama's Courtney Upshaw dominate this week. He is one of my top overall prospects and warrants top-10 consideration. His combination of quickness and power will make him a threat to approach double-digit sacks each year.

    Upshaw's pass-rush ability isn't his only strength, as he also does a great job playing the run. His hand usage and good anchor allow him to set the edge and turn the play back inside. He may be one of the most well-rounded prospects in this draft class.

    Prior to his Senior Bowl performance, Upshaw was looking at a mid first-round grade, but has since elevated himself into the top-10 discussion.

Kellen Moore, Quarterback, Boise State

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    Senior Bowl Impact: Stock Falling

    Boise State's Kellen Moore didn't have a strong draft stock to begin with, but his time at the Senior Bowl only confirmed the issues. At 5'11", 191 pounds, Moore doesn't possess the height or bulk to hold up as an NFL starter. His lack of size is only part of the problem, as he also lacks the arm strength needed to excel at the next level.

    Moore may find himself coming of the board in the seventh round, but the more likely scenario is an undrafted free agent contract. The athletes in the NFL are much different from the ones he faced in the Mountain West Conference.