This new section highlights which players have improved or worsened their 2012 NFL Draft stock as the draft approaches.
By Charlie Campbell.
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2012 NFL Draft Stock Up
Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse
At first glance, Jones' 2011 production is not very impressive. The redshirt junior totaled 38 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 7.5 tackles for a loss, two forced fumbles and one interception. However when you consider that Jones accumulated that in seven games, it looks much better. He missed five games with a leg injury in the first half of the season, but came back strong with four sacks in three games after returning to the lineup.
Jones (6-5, 265) has a nice combination of size and speed. He is physical with offensive linemen and understands leverage concepts. Jones does a good job of getting underneath the pads of linemen to get pressure on bull rushes. He also has good pursuit skills and a quality motor. Typically, Jones tries to beat tackles with either his speed around the corner, or his strength on a bull rush. In the NFL, he is going to need to add some rip, spin and other pass rushing moves.
Jones had four sacks as a sophomore, so he never had a season of big-time production at the college level. Some believe that Jones could get consideration as a late first-round pick, but right now, he looks more likely to be a second-day pick. Jones has starting potential in a 4-3 defense. Like many underclassmen, he is a raw athlete that needs to be developed. In college, Jones could live off his athletic ability, but in the NFL, he will need to expand his game.
Chris Givens, WR, Wake Forest
One of the receivers who is being aided by the trend of smaller speed receivers is Givens. While he has the speed to stretch the field, he isn't terribly undersized either at 6-foot, 195-pounds. In his final collegiate season, Givens caught 83 passes for 1,330 yards and nine touchdowns. That came after decent production in 2010 and 2009. For his career, he averaged 15 yards per catch.
Givens is a quick route-runner who gains separation from defensive backs as he runs downfield. In the NFL, Givens projects to being a slot or flanker receiver. Right now, he is aided by the demand for speed receivers after the success of players like Mike Wallace and Wes Welker. Givens looks like a third-round pick currently, but if he has a strong combine, it wouldn't be surprising to hear him given second-round consideration.
Vinny Curry, DE/OLB, Marshall
While other players like Quinton Coples, Melvin Ingram and Courtney Upshaw were the superstar defensive ends of the Senior Bowl, Curry put together an impressive week that really helped his draft stock. He had success going against highly-touted offensive tackles Zebrie Sanders and Mike Adams. The week started extremely well for Curry, as he checked in at 6-foot-3, 265-pounds. Everybody knew that Curry was a quality pass rusher, but he performed well against the run also. It was an impressive week that really should open some doors for Curry.
For the majority of the past couple of seasons, Curry was viewed as a 3-4 outside linebacker. He still could play that position because of his raw speed and athleticism, but Curry showed the strength and size to be a 4-3 defensive end in the NFL. Curry was a base end in a 4-3 defense in college, so he already has a lot of experience lining up with his hand in the ground. After recording 23 sacks the past two season with 40 tackles for a loss, Curry has some of the best production of any defensive line prospect in the 2012 draft class. Curry could challenge to go in the first round if he continues his momentum through the combine and pro day. Right now, Curry looks like at least a top-50 pick.
Dwight Bentley, CB, Louisiana-Lafayette
Like Coastal Carolina's Josh Norman, Bentley used an All-Star game invitation to help give his draft stock a shot in the arm. At the Senior Bowl, he stood out as being able to hold his own against the better competition. Bentley did a good job of not allowing separation and showed off the ball skills to prevent completions. As a senior, he totaled 71 tackles with three interceptions and six passes broken up as a senior. Bentley helped hold Flordia International speedster receiver T.Y. Hilton to only three catches for 32 yards in their Sep. 24 matchup. Bentley finished college with seven career interceptions.
The 5-foot-9, 176-pounder is scrappy player who plays bigger than his measurements. He may not have starting potential in the NFL, but he looks like a good nickelback prospect who could be effective at covering slot receivers. In the 2012 NFL Draft
Bentley looks like an early-round pick on the third day of the draft after entering the Senior Bowl as a late-round pick.
2012 NFL Draft Stock Down
Levy Adcock, OT, Oklahoma State
Adcock had an inconsistent senior season, so playing in Mobile at the Senior Bowl could have helped his draft stock. In the early through middle portion of the 2011 season, Adcock had some struggles with speed rushers, but he finished the season strong against Oklahoma and Stanford. Adcock decided not to attend the Senior Bowl because of a knee injury. Every year there are draft prospects who play through minor injuries at Mobile to help themselves, but, at the same time, the extent of Adcock's knee injury is unknown. In speaking to some scouts, the consensus is that the 6-foot-5, 318-pound Adcock will have to play right tackle or guard in the NFL. With the Cowboys, he played both left and right tackle.
If Adcock's knee injury prevents him from working out at the combine, it will could scare off a lot of teams. That was the case last year with Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers ,and he was a much higher-ranked prospect than Adcock. If he checks in healthy in Indianapolis that will be a good start. If Adcock performs well at the combine, while also having a strong showing at his pro day, it could ensure that in the 2012 NFL Draft
he is a selection on Friday night. Right now, there are a lot of unknowns with Adcock that are clouding his draft status.
DeVier Posey, WR, Ohio State
Coming off a massive suspension for part of the 2011 season, Posey's draft stock is in dire straights after sleepwalking through the Senior Bowl. In the practices and game in Mobile, the 6-foot-1, 209-pounder had numerous drops and did not show the speed or athleticism that many thought he had. In just three games this year, the senior totaled 12 receptions for 162 yards and two touchdowns.
Posey had quality production in the previous two seasons. As a junior, he caught 53 passes for 848 yards and seven touchdowns. In 2009, Posey hauled in 60 catches for 828 yards and eight touchdowns. After all that has gone on in the past year, Posey looks like he is a sixth or seventh-round pick. If he interviews poorly at the combine and does not excel on the field, he could fall into the undrafted ranks due to his character concerns.
Travis Lewis, OLB, Oklahoma
Lewis was another player who should have played in either the East-West Shrine or Senior Bowl. The senior played injured throughout 2011, but insisted that he was 100 percent entering his collegiate finale, the bowl game against Iowa. Lewis totaled 84 tackles with four tackles for a loss, one sack and one interceptions this year. In 2010 and 2009, he had quality seasons with 109 tackles each year, but Lewis never came close to having the impact he did with his freshman total of 144 tackles, 12 tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks and four interceptions.
There are concerns about Lewis' off-the-field attitude, and he didn't help that by conducting a media boycott for most of the season. When Lewis broke his media boycott briefly in the middle of the season, it was to criticize some teammates for not playing injured. If Lewis had a strong week at either college All-Star game, he could have helped push his draft stock into second-round consideration. Right now, Lewis looks like a third or fourth-round pick.
Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina
The rumors that Jeffery is overweight have persisted into the offseason even as the early entry prepares for the NFL Scouting Combine. Joe Everett of RookieDraft.com reported that Jeffery was pushing 250 pounds and 40-yard dash time of 4.88 seconds. The Sporting News, meanwhile, reported recently that most teams rate the South Carolina wideout as a late first- or second-round pick.
Jeffery is coming off a junior season when he caught 49 receptions for 762 yards for eight touchdowns. The 6-foot-4, 230-pounder looked like he had some extra and unnecessary weight this season. Being overweight will immediately raise concerns surrounding his work ethic.
In speaking with one league source, the fact that Jeffery had only one 100-yard receiving game in 2011 is enough of a legitimate red flag, even with terrible quarterback play and double teams. He had a bad quarterback in 2010, but still totaled 88 receptions for 1,517 yards and nine touchdowns. It is going to be critical for his draft stock to show up in shape and have a quality 40 time at the combine. If Jeffery is indeed extremely overweight and runs slow, that could send his stock plummeting out of the first day of the 2012 NFL Draft.
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