Senior Bowl Stock Report
Quinton Coples
NFL reporter
Posted Jan 27, 2012
Aaron Wilson


The Senior Bowl is an elite proving ground where reputations are built, and occasionally ruined. Although the NFL scouting combine, private workouts and Pro Day campus workouts will all loom large in the draft evaluation process, the practice sessions this week in Mobile, Ala., can leave lasting impressions with decision-makers around the league.

Here’s a look at which draft prospects’ stock got a boost and who fell heading into Saturday’s game at Ladd-Peeples Stadium:

ON THE RISE

Imposing, talented North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples aced the eyeball test.

Coples blends ideal size, speed and strength at 6-foot-6, 280 pounds, drawing several comparisons to Julius Peppers. He made up some ground toward altering the perception that he would take plays or even entire games off to protect himself against injury.

Coples had a stellar junior season, but his production dipped as a senior because he shifted to the right side and got double and triple-teamed.

Coples dominated blockers during drills, locking out tackles, disengaging with his upper body strength and lightning quick first step and accelerating to the football.

Look for him to go in the top seven to nine selections of the first round in April, perhaps even to the Carolina Panthers.

Alabama outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw is extremely explosive and difficult to block.

He displays the speed and toughness that NFL teams covet from pass rushers.

Upshaw recorded 17 ½ career sacks, 36 ½ tackles for losses and six forced fumbles, earning All-American and All-Southeastern Conference honors.

Another pass rusher who had a strong week is South Carolina standout Melvin Ingram, a consensus All-American.

Ingram recorded 10 sacks and 15 tackles for losses as a senior. He also scored a touchdown on a fake punt against Georgia.

Ingram is powerful, but short.

NFL teams are still trying to determine where Ingram fits best in the NFL, whether that’s defensive end, outside linebacker or as a gap-shooting defensive tackle.

He shapes up as a force on the next level.

Florida wide receiver/running back Chris Rainey has blinding speed and has the versatility and ball skills in the open field that NFL teams are looking for. He’s a natural athlete who plays with a lot of confidence.

Northern Alabama cornerback Janoris Jenkins had a solid week on the field and has done a good job of being candid with NFL personnel about his off-the-field issues that ended his career with the Gators program. Jenkins knows how to control his body to get in position to make plays.

Arizona wide receiver Juron Criner had his moments. He’s capable of dominating and showed the ability to separate and make over-the-shoulder catches.

It was a positive week for Louisiana-Lafayette wide receiver LaDarius Green, Iowa’s Marvin McNutt and Arkansas’ Joe Adams.

McNutt had some dropped passes early in the week, but shook it off to have a good Senior Bowl.

North Carolina linebacker Zach Brown has running back speed and was very productive last season.

However, he needs to add more bulk without sacrificing speed.

Brown had 105 tackles, 5 ½ sacks, three interceptions and three forced fumbles last season.

In general, Ohio State offensive tackle Mike Adams had a strong week. He’s looking like a strong projection for the second half of the first round.

He had trouble dealing with Marshall defensive lineman Vinny Curry’s fast-twitch quickness.

Nevada linebacker James Michael Johnson showed leadership skills and toughness playing Mike linebacker.

North Carolina State linebacker Audie Cole is another tough guy. He’s got a nice pedigree as a former high school quarterback and Gold Gloves boxer.

Receivers don’t come much bigger than Arizona State standout Gerell Robinson. He’s a good, not great athlete, but gets in and out of breaks well for a large wideout.

Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson helped himself this week with his outstanding mobility, escaping from pass rushers.

Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden’s arm strength and accuracy were big pluses all week. Not to mention his maturity as an older player.

Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins has a gun and can fit the football into tight windows.

Boise State running back Doug Martin has an NFL physique and projects well as a potential all-purpose back and kick returner. Keep an eye on him in the third round or second round.

Virginia’s Cam Johnson is an intriguing 4-3 or 3-4 possibility as a hybrid defensive end-outside linebacker.

FALLING

Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore is severely undersized, perhaps so much so that it will prevent him from being drafted until the later rounds

He was unimpressive physically, but throws an accurate ball. He’s a West Coast Offense candidate and likely only as a third-stringer or an emergency backup.

Nick Foles was inaccurate, too.

Georgia offensive lineman Cordy Glenn is massive at 6-5, 346 pounds, but needs to improve his footwork and quickness to be an effective pass blocker on the next level.

Glenn battles, though, and could be a nice draft target.

Florida State offensive tackle Zebrie Sanders got shoved around and was flailing as he tried to combat pass rushers.

He may project better inside as an offensive guard.

North Carolina wide receiver Dwight Jones has a lot of tools: size, speed and leaping ability.

He needs to gain polish in his pass patterns, though.

Nebraska cornerback Alfonzo Dennard didn’t live up to expectations. Some analysts even said he might need to play safety if he can’t loosen up his hips.

It wasn’t a particularly strong week of drills for Miami linebacker Sean Spencer as he had his issues in coverage against running backs.

Texas A&M wide receiver Jeff Fuller had a rough week, dropping five consecutive accurate throws during one stretch.

And Washington running back Chris Polk has a long history of durability issues and could stand for some more time in the weight room.

Aaron Wilson covers the NFL for profootball.scout.com
Follow him on Twitter: @RavensInsider



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