In the second edition of Draft Stock Survey, Bucs beat writer Eric Dellaratta showcases which NFL draft prospects have improved their stock and which have hurt their stock based on their Senior Bowl week performances. Upcoming Draft Stock Surveys will feature prospects on the rise and decline after the NFL Combine and pro days.
Utah State LB Bobby Wagner
Wagner had a great week of practice and was named the Most Outstanding Player of the North squad. He finished his Senior Bowl performance with seven tackles, one tackle for loss, one interception, and one pass defended. The Utah State senior was the best special teams player on Saturday, which will catch the eye of NFL teams.
Wagner looked great during the weigh-in, where he weighed-in at 6-foot, 241 pounds and looked ripped. He played the outside linebacker position during Senior Bowl week, despite playing middle linebacker for Utah State. Wagner was physical and was a factor against both run and pass. He’s a solid athlete that moves well laterally. The Utah State stud amassed an astounding 147 tackles as a senior, which was good enough for eighth in the country.
Wagner definitely helped his draft stock last week, and should receive some third-round consideration, much like Buccaneers linebacker Mason Foster did last year after his great Senior Bowl week.
Boise State RB Doug Martin
Boise State running back Doug Martin showed the explosiveness that scouts wanted to see last week. He was good in pass protection and also showed off a nice pair of hands. Martin is a very balanced runner that possesses quick feet and a low center of gravity.
Last week, Martin told PewterReport.com that he models his game after Baltimore's Ray Rice. The resemblance is easily seen because they are both compact, shifty runners that aren't afraid to fight for the extra yard. The stud running back had a great week of practice and really improved his draft stock. He entered the week as a third-round prospect, but after a good week of practice and a decent performance in the game, Martin could end up being selected in the second round.
Arizona WR Juron Criner
Last week, PewterReport.com listed Criner as a sleeper heading into the Senior Bowl, and the Wildcat standout did not disappoint. Criner caught nearly every ball thrown to him this week and looked very polished as a route-runner. He showed the ability to go up and get the football over defenders and also was a solid blocker.
Criner might have had the catch of the week during practices, where he was forced to reach back with one hand to snag a poorly thrown pass by one of the South quarterbacks. The Arizona senior also had a great game on Saturday. Criner ran a nice post route between two defenders and hauled in a touchdown pass from his former teammate Nick Foles. The senior totaled six catches for 77 yards and a touchdown.
He is a well-rounded receiver and projects to be a good possession receiver in the NFL. Coming into the Senior Bowl, Criner was projected by most to be a third or fourth-round pick. After a great week, Criner could be selected on day two of the NFL Draft.
Illinois OT/OG Jeff Allen
Jeff Allen is an underrated offensive lineman that had a very good Senior Bowl week. He neutralized some of the best interior and exterior defensive lineman in the nation during the one-on-ones in practice, including the likes of Melvin Ingram, Cam Johnson, and Courtney Upshaw.
Allen is a versatile offensive lineman that was positioned all over Illinois’ offensive line in 2011. He was shuffled all over the South’s offensive line during last week’s practices, but really looked best as a left guard. The Illinois senior played every offensive line position except for center last week. His versatility will definitely be something that scouts like.
Allen is a finesse offensive lineman that doesn’t rely on pure strength to stop the opposition. He plays with good technique and possesses terrific footwork. Allen could use to get a little stronger for the NFL, but lack of elite strength won’t stop him from being a second-day pick. He should warrant a third-round grade after his great Senior Bowl performance.
North Carolina DE Quinton Coples
Last week in Mobile, North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples showed that he is one of the draft’s top prospects. He was a dominant pass-rusher and run-defender that used power and technique to beat offensive lineman. Coples showed NFL scouts a nice repertoire of moves that kept some of the nation’s best offensive lineman off balance.
During scrimmages last week, Coples was causing issues for the South offense on a regular basis. The Tar Heel standout recorded three tackles, two tackles for loss, one pass defended, and one sack against the North squad Saturday night. Coples solidified his status as a top-15 selection, and looks to be an ideal fit in a 4-3 scheme as a defensive end.
Arkansas WR Joe Adams
Arkansas’ speedy receiver had a huge game on Saturday to follow up a solid week of practices. Adams finished his Senior Bowl performance with eight catches for 133 yards. He looked like a true play-maker that can make something out of nothing. The Razorback senior excelled in the short passing game, but also made some nice catches down the field.
Adams had a good week of practices, where he showed off some good route running abilities and a reliable pair of hands. The Arkansas receiver projects to be a good slot receiver that can take the top off of the defense with his great speed. Adams did nothing but help his stock this week, and he could help it even more with a good showing at the combine next month.
Other risers: Cincinnati running back Isaiah Pead, California wide receiver Marvin Jones, Marshall defensive end Vinny Curry, Connecticut defensive tackle Kendall Reyes
Arizona QB Nick Foles
Foles really showed that he will be a project as a quarterback in Mobile last week. Some have touted Foles as a potential first-round selection, but he has a lot of work to do if he wants to be an NFL starter. He has great size and shows all the tools needed to be a great NFL quarterback, but Foles needs to improve his decision-making and needs to read defenses better.
Foles had a rough week of practices, where he threw a lot of errant passes and even a few interceptions. He did not look natural in Mike Shannahan’s offense, as he did not display great mobility. Foles is a true pocket passer that will need some work before he is given the keys to an NFL offense.
Despite a rough week of practices, Foles played surprisingly well against the North team on Saturday. He finished his Senior Bowl performance with 11 completions for 136 yards and a touchdown. Even though Foles played well in the game, the practices did a significant amount of damage to his draft stock. After a frustrating week of practices, his stock has dropped to a third round pick.
Nebraska CB Alfonzo Dennard
Alfonzo Dennard did not look like a first-round pick last week. In the practices, Dennard had issues keeping up with the faster receivers. His lack of straight-line speed showed during one-on-one drills, as he was consistently beat if he didn’t win the battle at the line of scrimmage.
Consistency remains to be one of Dennard’s biggest flaws. He’ll get beat badly one on play, but he’ll come back the next snap and will blanket some of the best receivers in the country. This was confirmed at last week’s practices.
It seems that Dennard could only reach his maximum potential in a scheme that runs lots of press coverage with safety help over the top. The Cornhusker senior had to pull out of the Senior Bowl Wednesday due to an injury he sustained at practice. Dennard needs to perform well at the combine if he wants to rebuild his draft stock.
Boise State QB Kellen Moore
Some, including PewterReport.com, thought that the Senior Bowl would be Moore’s best shot to move up draft boards, but the Boise State signal caller had a poor week of practices and didn’t shine during the game. He did not look the part of an NFL quarterback, as he weighed in at 5-foot-11, 191 pounds.
Moore struggled to throw deep passes accurately and his intermediate throws didn’t have much zip. He was inaccurate and threw too many errant passes. The senior didn’t have a great performance in the game on Saturday. Moore finished the game with just 50 yards passing on 12 attempts.
A team will probably pull the trigger on the quarterback late in the draft because of his intelligence and his production at Boise State. Moore only looks to be worth a sixth or seventh-round pick come April.
North Carolina WR Dwight Jones
North Carolina has put out some quality receivers over the last few years, pumping out talents such as first-round pick Hakeem Nicks and second-round pick Greg Little. The latest receiver to enter the draft is 6-foot-3, 226 pound Dwight Jones, who most regarded as a second-round selection prior to the Senior Bowl. The Tar Heel standout had a great chance to make some noise in Mobile but failed to do so.
Jones was one of the most disappointing players during practices, and only recorded one catch for seven yards in the game Saturday. He was consistently jammed at the line of scrimmage and failed to get good amounts of separation once he was in the open field during practices. Jones failed to make any big plays during practice, despite having some big-armed quarterbacks throwing him the ball.
Jones was out-shined by most of the other South receivers including Joe Adams, Jeff Fuller, and Juron Criner. The North Carolina senior didn’t help his draft stock last week, and he looked like a receiver that would warrant a third or fourth round grade.
Washington RB Chris Polk
An unimpressive Senior Bowl week has likely done some damage to the draft stock of Washington’s Chris Polk. The Washington running back is a downhill runner that is at his best when he’s running in between the tackles. The one thing that Polk needed to display was some agility and speed, but he did neither of those.
He didn’t appear explosive at all during the team scrimmages, and did not look natural in the open field. Polk didn’t perform well in pass-protection drills during the practices, and looked limited in the receiving game.
The Washington senior reminded me of Cincinnati running back Cedric Benson. Like Benson, Polk isn’t fast, quick, or multidimensional. With Polk, what you see is what you get. He looks to be nothing more than a grinder. After a very poor week of practices, it would be hard to see Polk getting grades higher than the third round.
Other fallers: Ohio State running back Daniel “Boom” Herron, Houston wide receiver Patrick Edwards