The first step of the NFL Draft process is the East-West Shrine Game. The West defeated the East by the score of 29-9. Most of the players in this collegiate all-star game are considered late round draft prospects, some of which having not even been invited to the NFL Scouting Combine. Players such as Tom Brady, Josh Norman, and Richard Sherman are a few examples of why this game is so important for talent evaluators. Lets take a look now at some players from the East that caught my eye for better or worse.
The group of quarterbacks was less than stellar (Jake Ruddock, Joel Stave, Blake Frohnapfel) . Jake Ruddock was the most notable player from Michigan but even he struggled. All three quarterbacks threw an interception. I would be surprised if any of the quarterbacks from the East were drafted.
- Skill Players:
This group was often times difficult to grade based on the inadequate quarterback play. The players that stood out during the game were Illinois tail back Josh Ferguson and Notre Dame receiver Chris Brown. Ferguson could eventually find himself a niche as a third down receiving scat back while Brown is a raw receiver who could find himself working in the slot at the next level.
A pair of Florida Gators came away with interceptions. Linebacker Anthony Harrell was a force to be reckoning with often times finding his way to the football. Brian Poole had the other interception that was run back for a 98-yard pick 6. Poole figures to be a nickel corner in the pros.
Players Who Improved Their Draft Stock:
- Victor Ochi (Stoney Brook) Pass Rusher
Ochi was my MVP of the East-West game in my opinion. His initial get off on the edge was eye catching. Ochi proved that the jump in competition did not have any affect on his play. For now Ochi looks like a situational pass rusher but he certainly is a guy I need to do more homework on.
- Javon Hargrave (South Carolina State) Defensive Tackle
Hargrave was arguable the best player during the week of practices and showed his potential during the game. In a game where blitzing is not allowed often times the West quaterbacks still had little time to throw based on the havoc Hargrave was causing. The positive with Hargrave is he is scheme versatile fitting as a 4-3 defensive tackle or a 3-4 defensive end.
- Brandon Shell (South Carolina) Tackle
Shell, relative of hall of fame tackle Art Shell, caught my eye along the offensive line. For starters he is enormous (6’6”,328). Second he stonewalled basically ever pass rusher in his path and did and excellent job in the run game. Shell is very raw but he has the potential to develop nicely. South Carolina has had a draftable lineman a year ago in A.J. Cann.
News and Notes:
Keenan Reynolds was unable to play due to a back injury. Reynolds is known for his incredible collegiate career at Navy. The former Navy quarterback is making the transition to a different position. We have seen this in the past with Julian Edelman (Kent State quarterback) and Denard Robinson (Michigan quarterback). Interestingly Navy’s long snapper from last years draft in currently the Patriots long snapper currently filling his navel duties on his days of so the Reynolds transition is very much possible.