Best of 2012 Senior Bowl … Friday Cup O’Chiefs

That’s DL Melvin Ingram going against OL Jeff Allen during a Super Bowl practice this week.

From Mobile, Alabama

There was a lot of rain, a lot of rumors, a lot of coaching types looking for jobs. And, there was a lot of football as over 100 players prepared for Saturday’s Senior Bowl.

After spending the week watching the North and South squads practice there were some players that simply stood out above the others. It does not mean they will be better NFL players or should be drafted at a higher position.

It just means that this last week their performance rose above their peers.

Here’s my All-Senior Bowl team for 2012.

  • Quarterback (South) – Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State

The 27-year old former minor league baseball player seemed to adjust quicker to the conditions of Senior Bowl week than the other quarterbacks. He found out he had to get rid of the ball quickly, because pass protection is very shaky in all-star games where the big boys upfront have no history of playing together. He showed a good arm on deep balls, but really excelled at more short and underneath stuff. If Weeden can put together a good game performance, then Senior Bowl week will have helped his draft stock. Other QBs worthy of mention – none.

  • Running back (South) – Chris Rainey, Florida

A miniature (5-8½, 179 pounds) back out of “The Swamp”, Rainey has a bit of the tools that Dexter McCluster possesses. Rainey is probably straight-line faster than McCluster, while Dexter has more wiggle and quickness. Rainey has been impressive coming out of the backfield catching passes. He’s impossible for a linebacker to cover and it’s tough for defensive backs to keep up with him once he gets rolling. He’ll also be returning kickoffs and probably punts as well, something he did quite well at Florida. Despite being one of the smallest players on the field, he’s a cocky kid, who said this week that “he was the best player on the South team.” Other RBs worthy of mention – (North) Doug Martin, Boise State; (South) Lennon Creer, Louisiana Tech.

  • Wide receiver (South) – Joe Adams, Arkansas

He’s small of stature (5-10½,174 pounds) but large in speed and talent, Adams can out run some corners and doesn’t appear to be afraid to run routes across the middle. That’s something he did all week and took a pounding from the South’s physical secondary. Adams showed skill on punt returns, something he did quite well for the Razorbacks in 2011 with four return TDs (he had five overall in his career.) Other WRs worthy of mention – (North) T.J. Graham, North Carolina State.

  • Tight end (South) – Brad Smelley, Alabama

There are better receiving tight ends in this year’s Senior Bowl than Smelley. But there aren’t better prospects when it comes to being a classic, old school tight end that blocks and catches passes. Smelley also comes out of the Crimson Tide offense that is largely a pro offense and one where ‘Bama frequently used two tight ends. He would line up not only tight, but at times as an H-back in motion, or even at fullback. In Mobile, Smelley caught everything thrown his way and more than held his own in run blocking drills. Other TEs worthy of mention – (South) Ladarius Green, Louisana-Lafayette.

  • Offensive line – (South) Ben Jones, Georgia & (North) Mike Adams, Ohio State

Jones was a 48-game starter for the Bulldogs and is very solid playing the right guard spot. He seldom gave up much ground in pass protection and what few runs broke for any yardage seemed to come in the hole between RG and RT. He’s 6-2 ½, 304 pounds and plays smart, with just the right amount of feistiness. Plays with good feet and especially good use of his hands, and Jones showed he can also take some snaps at center if needed. Adams is huge (6-7, 323 pounds) and left the Buckeyes with 25 career starts. Working at left tackle, he showed very good feet and moved well, whether it was taking on a rusher or shuffling and pushing him out wide of the pocket. Adams has very long arms, huge hands and an 82½-inch wingspan. In many of his pass protection snaps during practice he showed that if he got his hands on the pass rusher, the guy had no chance. Other OL worthy of mention – (South) Cordy Glenn, Georgia.

  • Defensive line – (South) Melvin Ingram, South Carolina & (South) Quinton Coples, North Carolina

Coples is a top 10, possibly top five pick, the highest rated player in this year’s Senior Bowl based on the talk of scouts this week. He’s quite a physical specimen at just under 6-6 and 281 pounds. Very well built and he loves to rush the passer; he’s shown that in the one-on-ones where he’s rushed against both right and left tackles. Ingram is one of those players where a computer would spit him out with his 6-1, 276 pound frame. Where does he fit in? Can he play end, or tackle? He’s showing in Mobile that teams will find a place for him to play because his motor never turns off. He’s been one of the most impressive performers all week, including on Monday when he went the first hour of practice without a helmet; he forget to bring his and they Redskins equipment staff didn’t have one big enough. Other DL worthy of mention – (South) Kheeston Randall, Texas; (North) Billy Winn, Boise State.

  • Linebackers – (South) Zach Brown, North Carolina & (North) Vinny Curry, Marshall

Brown should be taken in the first half of the first round and he’s shown nothing in Mobile to alter that prediction. At 6-1½, 236 pounds he’s not particularly big, but he has showed in all the drills that he can deliver a blow, he can drop in coverage and he can rush the passer. Brown plays mostly in the middle or inside. Curry works off the edge and while some think of him as a DE, he’s really an outside linebacker. He’s shown a real pop rushing the passer from the edge. He also appears to hold his ground well against the run. Other LBs worthy of mention – (South) Jake Bequette, Arkansas (outside); (North) Audie Cole, North Carolina State (inside).

  • Cornerback – (South) Bill Bentley, Louisiana Lafayette

Largely unknown coming into Senior Bowl week, Bentley has made believers out of a few personnel types with his practice performances. Despite his small size (5-10, 176 pounds) he’s willing to mix it up physically with the receivers he’s covering. He shown good closing speed to make up ground if he loses touch with his receiver. Where he’s really stood out is with his ability to play the ball. He’s very aware of ball, man and himself. That’s the toughest thing for cornerbacks to learn coming into the NFL. Other CBs worthy of mention – (North) Donnie Fletcher, Boston College; (South) Brandon Boykin, Georgia.

  • Safety – (South) Antonio Allen, South Carolina

The safety group is not very deep or all that talented; Allen plays like the most talented and does it with some consistency. He’s just a shade over 6-1 and 202 pounds. He seemed comfortable playing center field, not as comfortable coming down into the slot and handling press coverage. He isn’t afraid to get after the receivers. Other S worthy of mention – (North) Trenton Robinson, Michigan State.

Comments are closed.

Get the Flash Player to see the slideshow.


Other News