Senior Bowl: Winners and Losers
NFL teams covet resiliency and fast-twitch change of direction skills in the open field.
Shifty Arkansas wide receiver Joe Adams displayed both of those traits during the Senior Bowl.
Adams lost a fumble following his first reception of the game, but recovered quickly from his miscue. He proved to be too slippery to tackle, running explosively after the catch to haul in eight passes for a game-high 133 yards to be named the South squad's Most Outstanding Player.
Cincinnati running back Isaiah Pead is an undersized prospect at 5-foot-9 and 193 pounds, but he separated himself from the pack with his punt return skills. He flashed creativity and acceleration, returning two punts for a Senior Bowl record 98 yards. He was extremely difficult to corral and nearly scored on a 60-yard return before being brought down. Pead also rushed for 31 yards on eight carries to garner Most Valuable Player honors.
Arizona wide receiver Juron Criner showed he understands route-running and how to fit into a spot to create an easy strike zone for his quarterback, Nick Foles (11 of 15, 136 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions) to zero in on. The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder finished with six receptions for 77 yards and a touchdown.
This was an important week for North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples, who played like a man among boys. Coples was constantly penetrating the backfield and showed a nice repertoire of pass rushing moves to get to the quarterback. When he didn't get there, he still disrupted passing lanes with his long arms. NFL teams don't question Coples' size, strength and skills. They do wonder if he'll consistently apply himself. He eased concerns about his motor this week. It looks like he's on his way to cementing his status as a top 10 draft pick.
Arizona State wide receiver Gerell Robinson is an imposing, ultra-productive target at 6-foot-3, 223 pounds. He caught 135 career passes for 2,071 yards and 12 touchdowns, including a career-high 77 passes for 1,397 yards and seven touchdowns as a senior. In this game, Robinson showed he's more than just a jump-ball artist or possession receiver. He ran extremely well after the catch on a 40-yard touchdown where he secured a short pass in stride and then bolted away from the defense.
LSU All-American offensive guard Will Blackwell is a mauling blocker and showed a lot of pop at the point of attack on pulling plays.
South Carolina hybrid defensive end-outside linebacker Melvin Ingram provides a lot of positional flexibility. He can play inside or outside and looks comfortable in a two-point or three-point stance. His swim move, rip move and spin move are all effective for him.
Ingram and Alabama All-American pass rusher Courtney Upshaw have been drawing comparisons all week to Pittsburgh Steelers standout outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley.
Utah State linebacker Bobby Wagner was named the North's Most Outstanding Player, recording seven tackles and one interception.
Facing some elite pass rushers, Ohio State offensive tackle Mike Adams fared better in the game than he did during one-on-one practice drills. He showed quick feet, an ability to anchor and a nasty streak.
Marshall defensive end Vinny Curry lacks the big-school pedigree, but that shouldn't stop him from succeeding at the next level. Curry gets off the ball with a great first step and uses his hands well to close in on quarterbacks.
Boise State running back Doug Martin is a nice all-around player who should fit in well as a third-down back.
North Carolina linebacker Zach Brown is faster than most running backs. He made up a ton of ground rapidly to shut down a screen play before it can develop. The question is whether he's big and strong enough to shed blocks in the NFL.
Virginia outside linebacker Cam Johnson drew a lot of praise from NFL personnel this week and likely made himself some money by boosting his draft stock.
Connecticut defensive lineman Kendall Reyes registered two sacks.
North Alabama cornerback Janoris Jenkins, the former Florida Gator, has recovery speed, is instinctive and grades out as a strong tackler. He bites on fakes and is a bit overaggressive, but his penchant for gambling can be curbed through coaching. He looks like a potential first-round draft pick. Off-field issues triggered Jenkins' exit from the University of Florida, so NFL teams will be scrutinizing his character closely as the draft process unfolds.
Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Wheeden drew praise during the week, but wasn't on the same page with his receivers today. He completed only 5 of 9 passes for 56 yards and was intercepted twice, throwing no touchdowns. Wheeden is an older prospect after playing minor league baseball.
Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson had his moments, throwing one touchdown and showing off his elusiveness. However, nearly all of his success happened on the run outside the pocket. When the relatively diminutive former minor league baseball player had to stay in the pocket and go through his progressions, he wasn't nearly as comfortable and tossed one interception. Wilson has ability, but will need to refine his game.
Texas A&M wide receiver Jeff Fuller has prototypical size at 6-foot-4 and 218 pounds, but showed no explosiveness after the catch.
Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore throws a nice, accurate, catchable ball, but is totally unimpressive physically. His lack of arm strength will be hard to overcome in the NFL due to cornerbacks' ability to break on the football.
Washington running back Chris Polk had a quiet game and looks like he needs to get leaner and faster.
North Carolina wide receiver Dwight Jones falls into a similar category as Fuller: Great size, but doesn't gain separation.
It was a somewhat muted game for Florida speedster Chris Rainey except for his 17-yard punt return. He seemed to be a marked man all day as his competition is keenly aware of how dangerous he is.
For more coverage of the NFL, go to profootball.scout.com.
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