2012 Senior Bowl: South Team – 10 Players To Watch

NFL Draft

Be sure to check out Steve’s other 2012 NFL Draft Coverage with his: Latest Mock Draft, Senior Bowl Coverage, Draft Blog, and Draft Page.

Here are 10 players to watch during this week’s Senior Bowl Coverage from the South Squad:

1. DE/OLB Melvin Ingram, South Carolina-

Ingram is one of my favorite prospects in this draft. He’s built more like a defensive tackle than an end, but is a non-stop motor guy. He’s got a great first step, and is one of the better pass rushers in the country. I expect a big week out of him, in which he will solidify a top half of the first round spot.

2. QB Nick Foles, Arizona-

Foles can take advantage of the absence of QB Ryan Tannehill and impress coaches and scouts with his high caliber arm. With a strong week Foles could push Tannehill for that third QB spot. Foles needs to show that Arizona’s poor record these last two years had more to do with the rest of the team than anything he did. If he is on target and displays some leadership, he should lock up a 2nd round pick.

3. WR Jeff Fuller, Texas A&M-

Fuller entered the year as one of the top Senior WR prospects, but an injury filled year led to his stock falling. Fuller needs to display crisp route, running and sure hands. If he can consistently gain separation this week he should be a strong candidate for a 3rd round draft pick.

4. OT Zebrie Sanders, FSU-

Sanders started out this season as the Seminoles right tackle, but an injury to Andrew Datko forced a switch. Sanders stepped up and had a strong year, and is now in the 1st round consideration. If he has a strong week, against a very impressive defensive line group it could seal up a late first round spot. Sanders looks capable of playing LT in the pros and if he can maintain that level of promise, watch his draft status skyrocket.

5. CB Casey Hayward, Vanderbilt-

Hayward quietly had a very strong season for Vanderbilt, but didn’t get the recongition he deserved given his team. A strong week shadowing some big physical receivers could help his draft stock immensely. Right now he appears to be a late 2nd round pick, but a lot of his stock could be determined this week.

6. S Brandon Taylor, LSU-

Taylor became one of the true leaders of the Tigers defense, and landed on scouts radar’s this year.  He might be slightly undersized for the position, but not to the point where there should be a concern that he can make it in the NFL. Right now he’s more of a later round pick, but he’s got some nice tools and a strong work ethic. Taylor is further helped, due to the fact that top safety prospect Mark Barron will have to miss the game due to injury.

7. OT Jeff Allen, Illinois-

Allen was a late add to the Senior Bowl, but he’s a very intriguing prospect. He was under the radar for most of the year, but he’s been incredibly consistent at Illinois, and displays alot of upside. Seeing how he handles the top pass rushers on the South squad, and compares to the other more higher profiled linemen will be really interesting to watch. Allen could go anywhere from the 3rd round to 6th round, making this week key for him.

8. QB Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State-

Weeden gets overlooked a fair amount given his age, but that type of mentality could land some team a mid-round steal. Sure Weeden isn’t a 10 year option for some team, but he could be a pretty good 5-7 year option. If Weeden was 21 or 22, he’d easily be a top 20 pick. Now the other big knock on Weeden is the fact that he’s been in the spread offense for his entire career. A strong performance this week could spark more early (2nd or 3rd) round interest in him.

9. C Ben Jones, Georgia-

Jones is probably the 2nd best center prospect in this draft, but there still appears to be a wide range of opinions as to where he should be taken. Working under Head Coach Mike Shanahan, Jones might be tested as more of a zone blocker this week. If he excels in that area, he could garner interest from ZBS teams (including Shanahan’s Redskins) which should help move his draft stock up.

10. ILB Emmanuel Acho, Texas-

In a surprising strong ILB/MLB class, Acho has gotten pushed down the rankings. But his lower ranking isn’t entirely deserved. Anytime you watch Texas play, Acho is constantly around the ball, and showcases good athleticism. Acho with a strong week could work his way into the 3rd round status, and he appears to be the type of inside linebacker who can contribute early.

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