The Shrine Game Week is over, and boy was it a long one for myself. Despite some up and down practices, some rain and sunburn, and some differing opinions, I really think I came away with some unique, draft-board altering evaluations and insight this week.
So, let’s see who, in my opinion, were the biggest movers on my board (and likely on NFL team’s draft boards), some guys I’d like to see more of up close, and a few other notes from the week that was the Shrine Game.
Biggest Movers On the Draft Board
Devon Wylie, WR, Frenso State
He showed me far more polish as a receiver, more decisiveness as a runner after the catch, explosion through the catch, better ball skills and adjustment, and an overall better NFL body than I had expected. It was the little things that he was able to do that impressed. I don’t know if he’ll be a 3rd round pick as a slot receiver, but as an explosive kick return/big play receiver, he has value in the 3rd-4th round range.
Tim Benford, WR, Tennessee Tech
A suprising invite in my eyes before the even, Benford was consistently able to get separation, driving down the field and eating cushion as well as any receiver at the entire event. Plus, his length as a receiver for his size was unexpected. As an undersized outside receiver, I wonder what his value will be the NFL, but a strong-armed quarterback will really like to utilize Benford.
Dale Moss, WR, South Dakota State
Moss was far more polished and comfortable than I had expected from a one year college football player. He still needs more decisive routes and being able to get vertical smoother, but his got speed, size, length, basketball background, and seems awfully coachable/moldable. Don’t know how high he’ll end up going, but teams could fall in love with his potential.
Jeremiah Warren, OG, South Florida
Really came out of nowhere to me, but with his length (83 1/4 wingspan) started off the week intriguing and he seemed to use it fairly well, keeping rushers away from him initially. In a power run scheme, he could be a worthwhile later round guy, but he’s shown a lot more against some more powerful rushers in the East roster than I expected.
Brandon Brooks, OG, Miami (OH)
I had liked and been very intrigued with Brandon Brooks before the event for his size and power. But it was his length and flexibility for his size that really intrigued. He lacks great hand placement and is still very raw in that aspect, but he was able to drive linemen all week long in practice despite poor technique, and he looks lik ehe can bend and slide a little in pass protection. One of the drafts best guard prospects.
Justin Francis, DE, Rutgers
I actually expected a fairly impressive week for Francis, and the best part was that he didn’t even really get a chance to show any 5-technique skills, something I think he can really intrigue NFL teams with. He was one of the few rushers that had the length-build-balance combination, and showed bull and speed rushes this week. He’s still a later round guy, but could be fairly high on 4-3 and 3-4 teams.
DaJohn Harris, DT, USC
Really showed some great quickness off the snap and some depth in his speed rush moves. It’ll be interesting to see if he can hold up consistenty in run support in the game, as he only flashed that skill in team practice and drills. If he can be a complete 3-technique, he could really shoot up boards, but if not, he’s still a later round rotational speed rusher.
Akiem Hicks, DT, Regina (Canada)
I hadn’t (and haven’t since) seen any of his college game film, but based on this game and the fact that he stood up at times in Canadian college (that tidbit from Chad Reuter of NFL Network), he is a legitimate draft pick and could really intrigue in the mid to late rounds if his college game film holds up. He sure does have the measureables at 6’4, 320, and 84 inch wingspan.
Micah Pellerin, CB, Hampton
In my opinion, Pellerin was the most impressive cornerback at the event, closing outstandingly well and not being explosed on any play that I saw. He seems like a man or zone fit, tackles well, has fluid hips, and can turn and run well. He’s not an outstanding and doesn’t have the length that another small school cornerback has, but he really excites me, maybe even to a fringe Top 100 grade.
Josh Norman, CB, Coastal Carolina
Possessing great length and some outstanding ball skills, Norman really impressed all week long and showed why he deserved this Shrine Game invite. I think he doesn’t have outstanding transition from his back pedal and seems to guess a little, but this week, he was consistently in the right place at the right time. He improved himself, absolutely, and now is a solid 4th-5th round pick and an awfully intriguing long, athletic cornerback.
Guys I’d Like to See More Up Close
-Bobby Rainey, RB, Western Kentucky – Didn’t show a lot due to pad-less/lackluster practices this week. Think he could have really impressed.
-Brandon Lindsey, DE/OLB, Pittsburgh – As a 4-3 outside linebacker, he wasn’t going to impress, though he was decent in short-area coverage.
-Desmond Wynn, OG/OT, Rutgers – At 6’6 and 82 inch arms, he has the length to play tackle. Frustrating he didn’t get that opportunity.
-Akiem Hicks, DT and Arnaud Nadon, DE from Canada – Hicks especially intrigued, but both teased some skill, I’m hoping to see a lot more.
-Micah Pellerin, CB, Hampton – Think he matched up against the top receivers here well, but I’d like to see him against more athletic/quick WRs.
-Josh Norman, CB, Coastal Carolina – Showed outstanding length and ball skills, and he had a big week. Curious to see if he can do it again.
-Kentrell Lockett, DE/OLB, Ole Miss - 84 inch arms and some explosive power in upper half, but didn’t show great balance/polish in speed rush.
Overall Notes from Tampa/St. Petersburg For Shrine Game
-While I wasn’t thrilled with how the West practice was handled to it’s entirety, I did really enjoy how some of the coaches handled their individual positions. In particular, I though the defensive linemen on the East roster (coached by former Jaguars DE Paul Spicer), offensive linemen on the West Roster (coached by former Kansas head coach Mark Mangino), and tight ends on the West roster (don’t know who the coach is), really did a great job in developing the talent they had.