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Ten Prospects To Watch At the Senior Bowl

Posted Jan 23, 2012

Quarterback is sure to be a Redskins focus at the Senior Bowl and Arizona's Nick Foles is among the top prospects. Foles and Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden are on the Redskins-coached South squad.

The Redskins coaches and college scouts have assembled in Mobile, Ala., for the Senior Bowl, gauging prospects with an eye toward the NFL Draft.

Since the Redskins are coaching the South squad this year, they should be able to get up close and personal with many of the top prospects.

Team officials will spend the day evaluating players on the practice field – from both North and South squad – and spend the evening meeting with them at team hotels.

Last year, the Redskins drafted six players who participated in the Senior Bowl: linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, defensive end Jarvis Jenkins, wide receiver Leonard Hankerson, running back Roy Helu, wide receiver Niles Paul and nose tackle Chris Neild.

Who are some of this year’s Senior Bowl prospects to keep an eye on as Senior Bowl week unfolds?


The Redskins could have a need at inside linebacker this offseason, even if it’s as a developmental prospect. Acho, 6-2 and 245 pounds, progressed every year at Texas and last season posted 131 tackles (including 19 tackles for a loss), three sacks and six pass break-ups. Scouts like the way he reads and reacts at the line of scrimmage and he is regarded as a sound tackler in run defense, essential traits for a 3-4 inside backer. His brother Sam, a defensive end, was a fourth-round draft pick by the Arizona Cardinals in 2011.


The Redskins are committed to Trent Williams at left tackle but right tackle is an open question. Jammal Brown’s status may depend on his worth ethic this offseason as he rehabs hip and groin injuries. The team may want to find a long-term bookend to Williams in the draft. Adams, 6-8 and 320 pounds, is regarded as the top left tackle at the Senior Bowl. Scouts say he needs to refine his technique, but he should develop into a quality starter. Given his size, is he a better fit at right tackle? That’s something Redskins coaches will evaluate this week.


Will Montgomery heads into the offseason as a free agent and the Redskins may look to fill the position in the draft. The team has had an affinity for drafting leaders in recent seasons and Brewster, a Buckeyes team captain, fits the bill. The 6-5, 305-pounder finished his college career with 49 consecutive starts. He impressed scouts with his flexibility and mobility, perhaps making him an ideal fit for the Redskins’ zone blocking scheme.


Coples stands at 6-6, 285 pounds and may be a better fit for a 4-3 than a 3-4, but he could very well be the best overall prospect at this year’s Senior Bowl. He was a two-year starter for the Tar Heels and he posted 30.5 sacks in that span, including 15 last season. He has long arms, making him effective in the run game, and he works to get in position for devastating hits. He drew criticism for playing not to get hurt in his senior season and his motor is something that coaches will need to keep an eye on during Senior Bowl week.


Playing in a division with elite wide receivers Hakeem Nicks, Jeremy Maclin and Dez Bryant, the Redskins could look to upgrade the cornerback position this offseason. Why not look to Nebraska, where the Redskins plucked three players in last year’s draft? Dennard, 5-10 and 205 pounds, was a three-year starter for the Huskers and played alongside Redskins safety DeJon Gomes. He posted four interceptions as a junior but offenses shied away from him last year. Scouts say he should be solid in press coverage, given his frame.


Since the Redskins appear to have a need for a young quarterback, all eyes will be on the QB prospects at the Senior Bowl. Arizona’s Foles has been listed as the fourth-best prospect behind Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Ryan Tannehill. At 6-5 and 240 pounds, Foles made strides each year at Arizona. Last season was his best: he completed 69.1 percent of his passes for 4,334 yards, 28 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Scouts like Foles’ strong arm but say he needs work reading defenses and seeing the field.


Jenkins has character issues – he was kicked off the University of Florida team last year following an arrest – but there’s no denying his talent and playmaking ability. He transferred to North Alabama, a Division II school, last season and posted two interceptions and four pass break-ups. At 5-10 and 183 pounds, Jenkins has great speed and even fleet-footed receivers like Victor Cruz and DeSean Jackson could have trouble separating from him. At Florida, he posted eight interceptions from 2008-10. He could make an impact as a return specialist as well --- he returned three punts for touchdowns last season.


The Redskins relied on veteran wide receivers last season, from Santana Moss to Jabar Gaffney to Donte Stallworth. Team officials could look to infuse the position with more youth (alongside 2011 third-round pick and 2011 Senior Bowl standout Leonard Hankerson) at the position. At 6-4 and 225 pounds, Jones would add size to the Redskins’ receiver corps. He was a two-year starter for the Tar Heels and really emerged as a senior, catching 85 passes for 1,196 yards and 12 touchdowns. Scouts say he still needs work as a route-runner, but he should develop into a solid playmaker in the NFL.


There’s a lot of buzz about Moore, the 6-0, 191-pound quarterback who is undersized but is clearly a winner. He has guided the Broncos to a 50-3 record since 2008. He already has a victory at FedExField, leading Boise State to a 33-30 win with a last-minute 13-yard touchdown pass on Sept. 6, 2010. He falls into the super smart category with his pre-snap reads and he has good accuracy. Moore completed 74.3 percent of his passes last season for 3,800 yards, 43 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Scouts have questioned his arm strength as well as his size, but his intangibles could make him enticing to teams.


Another quarterback to watch? Yep. The position is clearly one that will be a Redskins focus – at least among fans – this offseason. Weeden was a 2002 draft pick by the New York Yankees but his baseball career ended due to injury. He enrolled at Oklahoma State and emerged as a starter in 2010 throwing to the likes of Justin Blackmon, an elite wide receiver in this year’s draft. Last year, Weeden completed 72.3 percent of his passes for 4,727 yards, 37 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He turns 28 next October and his age could work against him in the early rounds of the draft. At 6-4 and 218 pounds, he has decent mobility in the pocket as well.



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