Senior Bowl week is officially upon us, which means it's time to judge college prospects on strange measurables such as hand size and whether they're 6'3" or just 6'2 7/8". Think of this week as the main precursor to the madness that is the NFL Combine.
The 2012 Senior Bowl might actually lack a little bit of luster, since the draft class is so underclassmen heavy. However, this week could do absolutely wonders for on-the-fringe quarterback prospects such as Nick Foles, Brandon Weeden, Kirk Cousins and Ryan Lindley. Monday of Senior Bowl week is about player weigh-ins and an initial practice, but there are already some players making noise in Mobile, Ala.Stock rising ...
1) Brandon Weeden, QB Oklahoma State
Weeden wasted little time Monday showing off his immense arm strength and accuracy, and it's likely that he'll have scouts eating out of the palm of his hand by the end of Senior Bowl week. Weeden's age (he'll be 29 years old in October) will turn some people off, but he has minimal wear on his tires and comes across as an intelligent, motivated signal caller. It'll be shocking if Weeden isn't the fourth or fifth quarterback selected this April.
2) Mike Adams, OT Ohio State
Adams had a less-than-stellar 2011 season in Columbus, but he's an absolute threat to be the fourth offensive tackle off the board this spring. Adams looked quick and stout on Monday, and he'll be a near-first-round lock if he continues to practice at this level for the rest of the week. With Adams, the size, technique and potential are all there.
3) Vinny Curry, DE/OLB Marshall
Curry is a lanky powerhouse pass-rusher in the mold of Jason Pierre-Paul and Aldon Smith. Like Mike Adams, Curry could be viewed as the fourth-best prospect at his position if he continues to practice well this week. An absolute freak athlete who should create plenty of problems as an edge rusher.
Stock falling ...
1) Alfonzo Dennard, CB Nebraska
Dennard has an opportunity to be the third cornerback selected in April, but he struggled to flip his hips in coverage on Monday and didn't look comfortable whenever his back was to the ball. Dennard's a fantastic athlete, but he just doesn't look like a sure cover corner right now. If a phenomenal technician like Prince Amukamara can fall to No. 20 in the draft just because of his performance in one game while at Nebraska, Dennard can certainly fall out of the first round.
2) Kellen Moore, QB Boise State
Moore really needed to measure in at 6'0", but he's a legitimate 5'11", which could be the draft kiss of death for a guy who is already getting flak over lack of arm strength and pocket presence. Too bad, because Moore can look like a genius on the field. If you planted Moore's brain in Chad Henne's body (let's just pretend we're on the island of Dr. Moreau and we can do this kind of thing), you'd have the perfect quarterback.
Sure, Drew Brees was short and had a perceived lack of arm strength when he came out of Purdue, but Moore's arm is jaw-droppingly weak.
3) Kalechi Osemele, G Iowa State
Osemele looked like a fire hydrant while working in drills as a tackle, and he displayed some of the poorest footwork I've seen in a long time. Yikes. Osemele's much better suited on the interior anyway, but he needs to bounce back and get some strong practices under his belt if he wants to stay in the round two discussion.
Senior Bowl Monday is really more of a formality than anything else, so try not to place too much stock in the performances yesterday. And keep an eye out for the Senior Bowl quarterbacks--they're all a couple of great practices away from being considered a potential signal caller for the Miami Dolphins.