Over the next few weeks there will be announcements from dozens of players accepting invitations to the Senior Bowl, East-West Shrine Game and the mutlitude of other all-star games this winter.
Few players, however, will have more on the line than Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill and Utah State linebacker Bobby Wagner, each of whom NFLDraftScout.com has learned will be playing in the January 28 contest.
A year ago it seemed unlikely that Florida State's Chrstian Ponder (or Washington's Jake Locker, for that matter) had a chance at the first round. Tannehill, blessed with even better physical skills that Ponder could also enjoy a signficant rise up draft boards with a strong showing in Mobile. As I pointed out in our current cover article, the 6-4, 225 pound Tannehill has the arm strength, mobility and upside to entice teams despite the fact that Tannehill and Texas A&M, as a whole, struggled mightily late in games this season.
Wagner, on the other hand, stood out throughout the season but scouts will want to see how he performs against the elite competition 2012 has to offer. Though he was a three-year all-conference pick at Utah State, the WAC is far from the SEC in terms of week-in and week-out competition. Also, at 6-0, 235 pounds Wagner lacks the bulk scouts prefer at inside linebacker, where he played the majority of his snaps for the Aggies. Any thoughts on moving Wagner outside full-time will be tested against the speed he's likely to face in Mobile. As such, an impressive performance there could vault the linebacker NFLDraftScout.com currently grades as a solid second round prospect, even higher.
Wagner has been creating a great deal of buzz in recent weeks in the scouting community. Though no television feed can accurately portray a linebacker's full range of responsibilities, the following YouTube video capturing Wagner against Auburn in the season-opener does give you an idea as to why. The video comes courtesy of BrownsOrBust.