2012 Senior Bowl: Five players to Watch

You draftniks ready for another year of speculation, frenzy and intrigue leading up to this year’s NFL draft? Here are five players to keep an eye on this Saturday the 2012 Senior Bowl kicks off from Mobile, Alabama.

Nick Foles, QB, Arizona
The consensus ranks Stanford’s Andrew Luck and Baylor’s Robert Griffin III as the top two quarterbacks in this year’s draft, but who will be the third signal caller to come off the board? Some like Texas A&M’s Ryan Tannehill but keep an eye on how Foles plays this weekend. He’s a big kid at 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds and made strides as a senior this past year despite playing behind two freshman tackles. Arm strength definitely won’t be a problem but his accuracy and decision-making has often been questioned throughout his collegiate career. Once Luck and Griffin come off the board in the top 10 picks, Foles could be selected anywhere between the first and third rounds. Thus, this is one player that could definitely improve his draft stock with a strong showing in Mobile.

Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina
Top-rated defensive tackle Devon Still of Penn State will miss the Senior Bowl with a sprained big toe, so here’s Ingram’s chance to steal the spotlight. This isn’t regarded as a very strong draft for pass rushers but Ingram is a raw talent that can get to the quarterback in a variety of ways. He’s a three-technique defensive lineman who proved he could consistently beat blockers on the inside while at South Carolina. That said, 4-3 and 3-4 teams will take a long look at him because he exhibits a fast first step and good burst off the ball. He does a nice job of shedding blockers in the run game as well so again, he’ll intrigue teams that run a 3-4.

Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State
USC’s Matt Kalil and Iowa’s Riley Reiff are projected to be the top two tackles taken off the board but Adams is already gaining some attention in Mobile because of his frame. He’s massive at 6-foot-7 and 323 pounds, with an 82 1/2 –inch wingspan and huge 11-inch hands. Despite his size, he’s a good athlete with natural bend and is being viewed as a left tackle at the next level (as opposed to some college prospects that are forced to move to the right side because of limitations in their game). He was suspended the first two games of the 2009 season for violating team rules, was cited in January of ’09 for misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia (chargers were eventually dropped) after being stopped for running a stop sign, and was part of the group that was suspended for “Tattoogate.” But he has all of the physical tools to become a top 15 pick in April.

Joe Adams, WR, Arkansas
The top receiver in this year’s draft, Justin Blackmon, is a junior, while Kendall Wright, Michael Floyd and Nick Toon have all been declared out of the Senior Bowl with various injuries. Thus, Saturday is a great opportunity for a guy like Adams to impress. He returned a punt for a touchdown in Arkansas’ victory over Kansas State in the Cotton Bowl, which was his fourth punt-return TD of the season. He’s a perfect fit in the slot because of his quickness and vertical ability, as well as the fact that he has trouble disengaging defenders at the line. He needs to improve as a route runner but NFL teams will definitely look at him as a returner and a potential No. 3 wideout.

Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
Jenkins was overshadowed earlier in his college career by former top-10 pick Joe Haden (Browns) at Florida and then was kicked off the team his senior year following his arrest on misdemeanor marijuana charges (his second run in with the law). If he can stay out of trouble this kid has a ton of natural talent and could be a steal in the second or third round. He played a lot of man at North Alabama and has the ability to develop into a very good cover corner at the next level. Because of character concerns he’ll likely fall further in the draft than he should, but he’s got first-round talent.

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