MOBILE, Ala. — Senior Bowl preparations get under way Monday in Mobile, Ala., and players from schools across the country will work out in front of hundreds of scouts from the NFL trying to improve their standing in April’s NFL draft.
Here's a look at five players who could benefit the most from good performances this week.
QB Kellen Moore – Boise State
Moore had a prolific career with the Broncos passing for nearly 15,000 yards and 150 touchdowns, but at six feet tall and 190 pounds, he is hardly the prototypical NFL dropback passer. The New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees has made it impossible to overlook productive six footers at quarterback, but Brees is the exception, not the rule. Moore has to show that he’s more than just a great college quarterback who flourished in Boise State’s wide open attack against inferior competition week in and week out. He has to prove that he has the arm strength and ability to stand tall in the pocket to deliver throws to all parts of the field.
WR Patrick Edwards - Houston
Edwards finds himself in a similar position as Moore. He put up numbers that would make a Tecmo Bowl aficionado blush with 1,800 yards receiving, 20 touchdowns, and a whopping 20 yards per reception. He’s also undersized at 5-foot-9 and 175 pounds, and he didn’t face the type of competition at Houston that he’ll see this week in Mobile. Edwards could be the next Steve Smith of the Panthers or another Edwards -- Troy from Louisiana Tech who also had massive college numbers but fizzled after being a first round pick of the Steelers.
WR DeVier Posey – Ohio State
Posey is the antithesis of Edwards and Moore. He’s a physically imposing 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, and he played at one of the top programs in the nation at Ohio State. Posey’s ability to showcase his talent has been limited in part by his quarterbacks at Ohio State and in part by being caught up in the tattoo allegations that robbed him of half his senior season. Posey will have a chance to run NFL routes and see throws from quarterbacks more NFL ready than Terrelle Pryor and freshman Braxton Miller. He’ll also have the chance to clear up any character questions that might be lingering, though the nature of his suspension for free tattoos won’t register on the morality meter of men willing to pay him a portion of the millions of dollars that he helps generate.
TE Brad Smelley – Alabama
Last year may have been the year of the quarterback in the NFL, but it was also the year that teams realized what valuable weapons tight ends are. The 49ers and Cowboys dominated the '80s and '90s in part because of tight ends Brent Jones and Jay Novacek, but the oughts ('00s) top tight end, Tony Gonzalez, was known more for not winning a playoff game. Never the first, or even fourth, option with the Crimson Tide, Smelley developed into a dependable receiver as a senior with 34 catches. The home-state product may have gotten a nudge in the selection process because of proximity, but Smelley has played a key role in two of Alabama’s BCS Championships, and he’ll have a chance to showcase his ability against defenders that might not be as good as the ones he played every day in practice in Tuscaloosa.
RB Chris Polk – Washington
Welcome to the Senior Bowl Mr. Polk! We weren’t expecting you. Polk was never granted a medical redshirt his freshman season at Washington so it turned out he was a senior this season. Alabama’s Trent Richardson is universally considered the top running back in the 2012 NFL draft class, but who gets picked after Richardson is up for grabs. Polk is a versatile back who can catch the ball out of the backfield. He has good size at 5-foot-11 and 222 pounds and can make a man miss, break a tackle, or run by most defenders. While he likely won’t challenge Richardson for the first back drafted in 2012, he has the ability to make general managers think twice before sending the card to the podium.