Senior Bowl: South Stand-Outs

By Lance Zierlein
January 25, 2012

Lance Zierlein gives you the best of the best from the Senior Bowl's South squad.

Chris Rainey, WR/RB, Florida
Rainey is working with the wide receivers which is a good idea since that is the position he'll have to play on the next level.  Rainey blew by everyone in one on one drills and was able to get separation at will.  He also played RB during the scrimmage phase and showed great cut-back ability.  There is no doubt that Rainey's ability in special teams and as an explosive player will catch the attention of NFL teams this week.

Joe Adams, WR, Arkansas
Adams was catching everything and showed great body control throughout the day.  Adams is a dynamic punt returner who can come in as an NFL-ready slot wide receiver despite his slight build at 174 pounds.  Adams has great tape at Arkansas and was one of the more talked about performers from today's practice by scouts up in the stands.

Dwight "Bill" Bentley, CB, Lousiana-Lafayette
Dwight is nicknamed "Bill" after the cartoon Lil' Bill (no joke), but he didn't play little this afternoon.  Bentley showed great instincts and tremendous closing burst on passes and he terrific at making plays on the ball.  Scouts believe he stopped tackling over the second half of the season for fear of getting hurt and ruining his draft stock, so he needs to keep playing well to rebuild their confidence in his competitiveness.

Brandon Taylor, S, LSU
Taylor was involved in a couple of big hits today which is unusual at this stage of Senior Bowl practices.  When asked about his hits, Taylor said that the coaches were complaining about the defensive backs dragging around without energy so he wanted to energize the defense.

Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama
Pretty standard stuff from Upshaw as he used his power in pass rush drills and more than stood his ground in the scrimmage phase.  Upshaw is extremely competitive and aggressive out on the field and has been called a "Lamarr Woodley clone" by no less than four people I've spoken with here at the Senior Bowl.

Keenan Robinson, LB, Texas
Robinson showed great hands during LB drills and was very good in coverage during 7 on 7.  Robinson's closing speed was evident as was his agility and competitiveness.  Robinson spoke with the 49'ers about his background playing in both the 3-4 and 4-3 and there is no reason to believe that he can't play all three linebacker positions in a 4-3.

Phillip Blake, OG, Baylor
Blake showed tremendous anchor and hand placement in pass rush drills as he stoned everyone who went up against him.  Blake's strength is a big plus and he has plenty of experience in pass protection thanks to playing in Baylor's pass happy scheme.  What was even more pleasing was his solid technique.

Juron Criner, WR, Arizona
Criner had a memorable practice making two terrific catches including a one-hander that was behind him and a diving catch on the sideline from a Brandon Weeden pass.

Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
With the North Carolina helmet and the #90 on his back, it is hard not to think of Julius Peppers when you watch Coples.  Coples used his superior athleticism to consistently beat the competition throughout the one on one drills.  Coples may not have had as big a year as some expected, but his tools are going to wow teams for the rest of the week.