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  1. #1
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    Risers and Fallers from East-West Shrine practices

    Risers and Fallers from East-West Shrine practices
    Jan. 20, 2010
    By Chad Reuter
    The Sports Xchange/CBSSports.com

    ORLANDO, Fla. -- Three days of intense practices at the East-West Shrine Game concluded Wednesday with prospects trying to make a lasting impression before many NFL scouts skipped town for a few days leading into next week's Senior Bowl.

    Washington defensive end Daniel Te'o Nesheim continued to impress with his motor, while Penn State tight end Andrew Quarless looked fluid as a receiver and blocked with aggression. South Florida linebacker Kion Wilson was strong as a run-stopper in the middle. But those three solidified reputations they built during their careers.

    The following players did the most to enhance -- or hurt -- their draft stocks during this week's practices. For those with disappointing showings, the film from Saturday's game has become all the more critical to be considered for late-round draft status.


    Risers

    OT Roger Saffold, Indiana
    It's hard to argue anyone but Saffold was the best player on the field this week. He was strong, moved his feet well in pass protection and when drive-blocking gave good effort through the end of plays, and was mobile enough to hit targets at the second level. Some scouts will project him inside, but it appears the 3-year starter at left tackle should at least get a chance to prove he can handle those responsibilities. A third-round selection seems likely for Saffold at this point in the process.

    DT Torrell Troup, Central Florida
    Playing near his home UCF campus, Troup had his way with Canadian guard Matt Morencie and West Liberty center Ben Staggs in one-on-one drills, using his strength and violent hands to knock them backward or to the side on his way to where the quarterback would be in the pocket. Morencie and Staggs are fair athletes but lack the strength to handle Troup -- they shouldn't worry too much, however, as the Golden Knights' foes found him a tough ask all season long.

    WR Freddie Barnes, Bowling Green
    With the East quarterbacks lacking great accuracy, Barnes received many chances to show off his ability to catch the ball outside his frame. He extended to snatch a fastball from Fordham's Josh Skelton over the middle, earning affirming nods from scouts watching the play. In contrast to some of the other receivers on the field for the East team, his strong hands and crisp routes were eye-opening to those not familiar with Barnes' game.

    WR Verran Tucker, Cal
    A hamstring injury ended a promising week for Tucker, who looked quick and sure-handed over the first two days of practice. The 6-1, 194-pounder ran better routes than expected, coming back to the ball and catching from his body. Fellow Pac-10 receiver Terrence Austin took Tucker's spot, and while not very quick off the line, displayed good hands by extending to snatch hot pass over the middle.

    C John Estes, Hawaii
    Scouts were not surprised when the 6-2, 295-pound Estes had the shortest arm length (30.25 inches) among the offensive linemen. Whether it was getting his hands inside the jersey of UNLV nose tackle Martin Tevaseu or blocking down for one of his guards, the Rainbow Warrior simply went out and did his job on every play. Small but strong and technically sound centers can find a home in the NFL, so expect a team to pick up Estes somewhere in the late rounds.

    RB Andre Dixon, Connecticut
    There was a bit of a buzz about Dixon this week among scouts, even though he didn't get a chance to really run through tackles here in practice. His strong running has been seen on film, but Dixon also showed quick feet to elude defenders in the hole and on the outside after the catch. Saturday's Shrine Game should be a good arena in which to display his skills.

    FS Kam Chancellor, Virginia Tech
    Physically imposing at 6-3, 232 pounds, Chancellor looks the part of a potential starting free safety. There will be inevitable comparisons to former Hokies safety Aaron Rouse, a third-round pick of the Green Bay Packers and current starter for the Giants. Chancellor was willing to be physical this week and showed the range to close on out routes.

    OG Brandon Carter, Texas Tech
    His 6-5, 326-pound frame is formidable, as are his all-over body tattoos, but Carter's strength and relatively quick feet (for his size) were as good live as they appeared on film. His strong punch off the snap will impress offensive line coaches, and he is able to get out to the second level. One point of emphasis those coaches will have, however, is for Carter to get his head up when on the move -- he will lose his balance by staying low coming out of his stance.

    OG Marshall Newhouse, TCU
    He lined up all along the offensive line this week, turning his man out of the hole, setting quickly in pass protection and generally out-working his man whether playing inside or outside. The 6-3, 326-pound former Horned Frog projects to guard at the next level, but scouts value his versatility to slide over to either tackle spot if needed.

    TE Riar Geer, Colorado
    His hands down the seam and blocking on the line displayed an all-around game teams like in a reserve tight end, making him a nice late-round pick. Although not perfect as a receiver this week, he displayed the ability to move the chains and get past safeties down the middle. Against Northern Iowa end James Ruffin, Geer was strong enough to hold up Ruffin and step inside him to get the correct angle for the between-the-tackle run to the other side of the formation.


    Fallers

    East Defensive Ends
    The group failed to stand out this week. Ole Miss' Greg Hardy occasionally flashed, showing quick hands or a strong bull rush. But for the most part, he found it difficult to beat Tennessee tackle Chris Scott or Saffold in team scrimmages and one-on-one drills. Hardy even lined up inside but A.J. Trump shut him down, anchoring and stopping a spin move cold. LSU's Rahim Alem, Connecticut's Lindsey Witten and N.C. State's Willie Young all had troubles bending off the edge because of their stiff hips. Witten was the best of the group, but tackles Mike Neal (Purdue) and Nate Collins (Virginia) looked just as fluid running between and punching football dummies in drills. All three also had issues getting off blocks or using the speed rush against Scott, Saffold and even Iowa's Kyle Calloway.

    FBS quarterbacks
    It's not likely any quarterback in Orlando improved his stock. Fordham's John Skelton, though struggling with accuracy, was the most physically impressive and threw with velocity the others couldn't; Matt Nichols (Eastern Washington) looked a bit overwhelmed against the competition but has good enough size, arm strength and footwork to get calls from teams on Draft Saturday either as a late-round pick or to convince him to attend their training camp. Major-conference signal callers Mike Kafka (Northwestern) and Max Hall (BYU), however, maintained their status as solid college quarterbacks with moxie but lacking the arm strength to stretch the field. Todd Reesing (Kansas) measured 5-10 for scouts on Monday and did not display the arm or accuracy to make up for it. Daryll Clark (Penn State) looked like a thrower instead of a quarterback, appearing stiff and constantly shorting throws longer than a few yards.

    WR Pat Simonds, Colgate
    The 6-6, 229-pound receiver had a tough week, dropping passes and failing to prove himself quick enough to separate from NFL defensive backs. His feet can be quicker than you would think for his size, as he ran a nice intermediate comeback route -- but he wound up dropping the low throw because he has a tough time getting down due to his height.

    CB Sherrick McManis, Northwestern
    McManis left Shrine Game practices after Tuesday with a hamstring injury. It was clear he wasn't 100 percent this week, and he struggled throughout practices to keep his feet and close. Pittsburgh's Aaron Berry took his place, but didn't look a lot better. He knocked away a pass on the first play he entered, but when off the line he lacked the closing speed to be effective.

    WR Naaman Roosevelt, Buffalo
    Though a productive receiver for the Bulls, there's no one part of his game he could hang on hat on this week. Roosevelt did not show explosiveness, crisp routes or solid hands, catching too many passes against his body. He has yet to get an invitation to the Scouting Combine, and his performance this week didn't help his cause.

    OLB O'Brien Schofield, Wisconsin
    The first-team All-Big Ten pick popped off film this season but couldn't make much headway as a linebacker or defensive end in practices this week. He was trying to learn the linebacker position on the fly, but looked stiff and slow in his drops and in coverage. In one-on-one pass rush drills, he couldn't stay off the ground when trying to beat Saffold or Scott with his speed. Arizona State's Dexter Davis also struggled with the move from end to linebacker, especially in coverage.

    DE James Ruffin, Northern Iowa
    It's not that Ruffin looked terrible this week, but his inability to stand out in any way is telling. FCS players need to make names for themselves in all-star games, and Ruffin couldn't get off the ball fast enough or display the strength and hands to get off blocks. Though still a draftable prospect, his upside appears limited.

    G Cord Howard, Georgia Tech
    A powerful player, Howard had a tough time with speed in one-on-one drills all week and also failed to get off the snap in a timely fashion. Even East coach Romeo Crennel told the second-team all-ACC pick he was too slow off the ball during a drill Wednesday. He'll need to work on his footwork before his pro day, or if he gets a late Combine invite.

    CB Jamar Wall, Texas Tech
    Early on, it looked as though Wall could be among the better players in Orlando. But he has not been able to stick with receivers on out routes or deep balls down the sideline. In red-zone drills, he also gave up position to receivers and did not display great recovery speed -- and when he did manage to reach in front of the receiver without interfering, he couldn't knock the ball away.


  2. #2
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    Re: Risers and Fallers from East-West Shrine practices

    A bit surprised/disappointed to read about the trouble Schofield is having in pass rush drills.

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    Re: Risers and Fallers from East-West Shrine practices

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    A bit surprised/disappointed to read about the trouble Schofield is having in pass rush drills.
    It sounds like he's hit a couple bumps in the road trying to transition to linebacker, but for what it's worth, Todd McShay included him on his Good Day list for Day Four of the practice week...

    LB O'Brien Schofield, Wisconsin
    We've talked all week about Schofield's transition from end to linebacker here and it looks like he's getting more and more comfortable in the new position. He's reacting and just playing now instead of needing that split second to think about what he's supposed to be doing. He has good, quick feet. Maybe the quickest feet on anyone here and that will help him. Give him lots of credit for hanging in there in what had to be a frustrating week at times and for getting better and better as the week went on. Coaches have to be looking at this and thinking they saw the worst part of his game but he continued to work and get better and better and ultimately he has a chance to be the best linebacker from this group.

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    Re: Risers and Fallers from East-West Shrine practices

    I'm a big fan of Freddie Barnes. If you catch 155 balls and 19 tds you obviously have the skill set to play at the next level. Between him and Danario Alexander I'd like to see one of them go to the Rams in the middle rounds.

    I'm upset to hear about Ruffin and Wall, too but there is still plenty of time to prove themselves before the draft.

  5. #5
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    Re: Risers and Fallers from East-West Shrine practices

    Chris Scott is playing pretty well. Could make a solid mid/late round RT selection.

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    Re: Risers and Fallers from East-West Shrine practices

    Hmm, Andrew Quarless and Brandon Carter are two players I've been keeping an eye on in the mid to late rounds. By the sound of the article, it sounds like they're handling things pretty well so far.

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    Re: Risers and Fallers from East-West Shrine practices

    I'd say Jason Beauchamp is a riser. I've only heard great things about him so far through the practices.

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