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The Official 2016 East-West Shrine Game Thread

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  • The Official 2016 East-West Shrine Game Thread

    The East-West Shrine game is scheduled to take place on January 23rd after a week of practice that hardcore draftniks follow to get information on depth players in the 2016 NFL Draft class.

    Rosters for the EW Shrine Game cane be found here:

    Will do my best to post practice reports as they come in next week!

  • #2
    Re: The Official 2016 East-West Shrine Game Thread

    2016 Shrine Game: Mixed results from West team's quarterbacks
    By Dane Brugler | Senior Analyst
    January 19, 2016 5:28 pm ET

    SAINT PETERSBURG - Although this year's draft class doesn't have a Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota caliber of prospect, the 2016 quarterback class is night-and-day better overall than last year.

    And that's evidence by the quarterbacks on the West roster at the Shrine Game this year – none of which are locks to be drafted, but they offer intriguing traits that could be appealing on day three of the draft.

    Western Kentucky's Brandon Doughty is the most consistent of the passers in St. Petersburg with his compact release and accurate placement on various throws. When in rhythm, he is able to scan, read and deliver, which he showed during drills. However, when late making his first read, he can struggle to find his second and third option in time, holding the ball too long.

    While Indiana's Nate Sudfeld made a few of the best throws of the day, he also struggled with his consistency. He is a tall drink of water with a big arm, slinging the rock all over the field. However, his delivery is inconsistent due to his long arms, which leads to accuracy issues and sailing throws. Although his touch isn't on a NFL level right now, Sudfeld checks a lot of boxes, making him a possible development option.

    During passing drills, Oregon's Vernon Adams was terrific on short-to-intermediate throws, getting the ball out quick with added juice to fire strikes. However his deep ball was inconsistent and seeing him next to Sudfeld and Doughty really shows how small he is in the pocket. Adams' low launch point is a major issue and his frail frame will likely keep him from being drafted. He is a good passer in practice, but Adams just isn't built for NFL action.

    Other notes from West practice on Tuesday:

    What to do with Stephane Nembolt? The Colorado offensive tackle looks the part and has light feet, but his balance issues could keep him from sticking at the next level. He was called out by the coaches several times for playing too high and had struggle adjusting to multiple rushers.

    On the other side of the line, Nebraska left tackle Alex Lewis held his own, showing the flexibility and quickness to sink and engage. He moves well for a taller blocker and through two days, he has been one of the most consistent prospects on the West squad.

    Utah State wide receiver Hunter Sharp moves fast in everything he does. He's quick off the line, accelerates in his routes and shows burst at the top of routes. He needs to be more consistent catching the football, especially over the middle on slants and crossers, but his play speed stood out during drills.


    • #3
      Re: The Official 2016 East-West Shrine Game Thread

      East-West Shrine Game Day 2 observations
      By Mike Mayock
      NFL Media draft analyst
      Published: Jan. 19, 2016 at 06:56 p.m. Updated: Jan. 19, 2016 at 08:20 p.m. 74 Likes |

      TAMPA, Fla. -- I really enjoy coming here every year to watch the East-West Shrine Game practices. It allows me to see many prospects for the first time in person. It also forces me to go back on some players and do more work in the tape room.

      On Monday, I think I saw a potential NFL starter in Michigan center Graham Glasgow. I saw a few kids on Day 2 that showed me things I hadn't seen on tape, and will give me reason to pull more tape on them when I return home.

      Below are some notes on players that showed flashes on Tuesday; I concentrated on linemen the past two days, and tomorrow I'll focus on quarterbacks and receivers.

      East team practice
      » South Carolina State DT Javon Hargrave: He's undersized (6-foot-2, 295 pounds), but a quick and explosive player. He's flashed both days in the pass-rush drills and in the one-on-ones. And even in the team drills, you can see how quick his get-off is.

      » Florida Atlantic DT Trevon Coley: He's similar to Hargrave in that he's also undersized (6-2, 300) but explosive. I like both of those kids.

      » Boston College safety Justin Simmons: He's not necessarily a highly rated kid but he might be able to play both safety and corner. He's big and strong, and I loved his tape against Notre Dame.

      » North Carolina State OL Joe Thuney: He played tackle in college, but they're kicking him inside here and playing him at guard. He's had a pretty good week so far. I'll be interested to see how he finishes it out. I like his versatility; he could be a swing lineman.

      » South Carolina OT Brandon Shell: His play here has been better than his tape. It looks like he's lost some weight. He's looked good in the one-on-one drills. He's displayed good footwork and has been really aggressive. He's a kid I need to do some more work on because of that.

      » Illinois safety Clayton Fejedelem: The kid's been all around the ball for two days now. He had 140 tackles this past season so you knew coming in that he was a tough guy. And he is. But it has been nice to see him around the ball, making plays in the passing game.

      » Stanford WR Devon Cajuste:: He's kind of an intriguing guy because he catches the ball really well. What I want to see is if he can be effective as an H-back, as opposed to just a wide receiver, which he played a Stanford. I'm eager to see him in the run game to see if he can block. He catches the ball very well and offers a distinctive skill set for the NFL.

      » Nebraska OT Alex Lewis: He's had two solid days with his pass sets in the one-on-one drills. I'm eager to watch him take over in the team drills in these practices, but I really like him in the one-on-one pass sets.


      • #4
        Re: The Official 2016 East-West Shrine Game Thread

        2016 Shrine Game: Navy's Keenan Reynolds looks natural at RB
        By Dane Brugler | Senior Analyst
        January 18, 2016 7:16 pm ET

        SAINT PETERSBURG – No quarterback in FBS history has more career rushing yards than Navy's Keenan Reynolds, who tallied 4,559 rushing yards over the last four seasons. He also set the Division-I record for total touchdowns (88) and finished fifth in the 2015 Heisman Trophy voting.

        But with his size (5-10, 200) and skill-set, Reynold's best fit in the NFL is at running back, a position he has never played. However, with his experience as a ballcarrier in Navy's option offense, the transition should go smoothly. And if Monday's Shrine Game practice is any indication, Reynolds looks like a natural at the new position.

        Reynolds showed the lower body athleticism to make quick cuts and fluidly redirect his momentum, stringing together his moves to pick through the defense. He reads the field well and has the speed to beat the linebacker to the edge. With only one career catch in college, Reynolds is unproven as a pass-catcher out of the backfield, but he didn't drop a ball during the first practice and appeared natural looking the ball into his hands before bursting downfield.

        With his limited build, Reynolds doesn't have the body power to run through contact, which showed as an inside runner. And with 32 career fumbles at Navy, he also needs to improve his ball security, putting the ball on the ground once during practice on Monday.

        Normally in these all-star settings, the offensive and defensive formations are basic and vanilla to keep the focus on the evaluations. But Charlie Weis, who is head coach of the East squad, revealed a few special packages during practice with Reynolds in the shotgun taking direct snaps. On the four snaps he took on Monday, Reynolds completed one pass, ran the ball twice and handed it off to the running back once.

        Other notes from Monday's practice:

        At 6-0 and 245 pounds, Stony Brook pass rusher Victor Ochi lacks ideal size and length, which showed during practice when he lined up with his hand in the ground as a defensive end. But his burst off the ball, aggressive hands and quickness to close also was on display, turning a few heads with his movement skills. Ochi needs space to be effective, making him a possible fit in a 3-4 scheme on his feet. It will be interesting to see if the coaches give him any reps standing up at linebacker.

        It was an up-and-down practice for Boston College safety Justin Simmons (6-2, 201). He struggled in one-on-one drills, getting his feet tied up and failing to cover receivers in reverse. But during seven-on-seven drills at safety, Simmons was able to read the quarterback and jump routes, knocking down several passes and intercepting one of them.

        It was a shaky first practice for the quarterbacks, which isn't uncommon as they acclimate themselves to new teammates, new coaches and a new playbook. Western Kentucky's Brandon Doughty (6-2, 216) was the most consistent of the passers with his smooth release and accuracy when in rhythm. Over the next few days at practice, scouts will be watching to see which quarterbacks show improvement and adapt the coaching they receive.

        Arkansas State Darion Griswold (6-5, 265) certainly passes the eye test with his large, athletic frame, but the former high school quarterback is still learning how to best use his size to his advantage. While he has ballskills and clear upside for the NFL, the one area Griswold needs to improve for the next level is his balance, both in his routes and at the catch point.


        • #5
          Re: The Official 2016 East-West Shrine Game Thread


          With the East-West Shrine Game scheduled to play on Friday, I’m sharing which potential future NFL players I’m keeping an eye on. Today we take on the West (check here for five players to watch from the East):

          David Morgan II, TE, Texas San-Antonio: +36.2
          Perhaps unfortunate not to receive a senior bowl invite, David Morgan has a real chance to impress at the Shrine Game. His grade in 2015 was almost double the second placed TE. As a run blocker, his +32.5 grade was easily the best we’ve seen in two years in the FBS. While Morgan might not test very well and isn’t the most athletic TE in this class, his +6.9 receiving grade is solid enough. It places him seventh at the position and, with numbers of 45 catches for 566 yards and five TDs, his receiving ability shouldn’t be understated. Morgan will likely go lower than a number of other prospects whose production pales in comparison but he may well curve out a niche for himself as a pro.

          Brandon Doughty, QB, Western Kentucky: +42.4
          The West’s crop of QBs are all intriguing prospects in their own right but Brandon Doughty’s production in 2015 sets him apart. He’s not a college QB who depends on his legs either, recording the fourth highest pure passing grade at the position this year. Doughty actually led all QBs in completion percentage (71.1) tossing 392 completions from 551 attempts for 5,000 yards, 48 TDs and just nine picks. He was the only QB with an accuracy percentage of higher than 80 in 2015 (81.4) and was second in QB rating (121.4) behind only fellow West roster QB Vernon Adams Jr. Doughty can make every throw, passing for 15 scores and just two picks on deep targets, as well as posting some impressive numbers under pressure. In this QB crop with few clear standouts, Doughty might be worth taking a punt on.

          Daniel Lasco, HB, California: +3.7
          Lasco struggled through an injury-plagued senior season, including missing the last three games, putting added pressure on his Shrine Game performance. He might feel he should have declared a year ago after a season in which he rushed 212 times for 1121 yards (5.3 yards per carry) and scored 12 touchdowns. Lasco also averaged 2.8 yards after contact per attempt and broke 37 tackles, finishing the year with a rushing grade in the top 20 (13.3). He still recorded a decent stat line of 65 carries for 327 yards (5.0 average), 3 TDs and 10 broken tackles despite being hampered by the injury. The Cal running back does need refining in the passing game, where he’s dropped six passes from just 41 catchable targets, but he’s proven he can hold his own in pass protection, allowing just one hit and a pair of hurries in 154 snaps.

          Cory Johnson, DT, Kentucky: +27.8
          Johnson’s production on a per-snap basis the past two years has been phenomenal. As a junior, he recorded a +13.8 grade despite taking the field for just 171 snaps in a specialised pass rushing role. Amongst 3-4 DEs with at least 100 pass rush snaps, he was number one in pass rush productivity with 24 combined pressures (three sacks, seven hits and 14 hurries from 114 snaps). Johnson’s role changed as a senior requiring him to defend the run as well as get upfield. He displayed his versatility, recording the 12th overall grade amongst 3-4 DEs. While still generating pressure (+9.2 pass rush grade), Johnson was able to adapt his game to defend the run as well, ending the year with a +17.1 grade in that facet of play.

          Michael Caputo, SS, Wisconsin: +13.8
          After ending his junior season as our sixth overall safety (+19.1), Caputo suffered a slight drop off as a senior. He excels at aggressively attacking the line of scrimmage to make plays in the run game, finishing with 62 stops over the past two years. Caputo is at his best close to the line of scrimmage but can make plays in coverage. He allowed just 28 receptions on 53 targets for 325 yards, two scores, two picks and six pass deflections (68.5 QB rating) as a senior. Few college safeties have bettered Caputo’s +32.9 combined grade over the past two years. His range of skills should set him up well for converting to the pro game.


          With the East-West Shrine Game scheduled to play on Friday, I’ll be sharing which potential future NFL players I’m keeping an eye on. Today, we’re starting with the East (we’ll get to the West tomorrow, so stay tuned):

          Joe Thuney, OT/OG, North Carolina State: +37.6 grade
          Thuney appears to have made an impression already, with a number of reports already singling him out for praise. Just two days into a week-long process it’s no surprise Thuney is already standing out considering the senior season he put on tape. Playing at left tackle, he recorded the fourth-highest pass protection grade (+12.9) and the fourth-highest run blocking grade (25.1). Thuney ended the year fourth overall amongst OTs behind only Cody Whitehair, Jack Conklin and Spencer Drango all of whom are in contention to go in the first round. He ended the year with just six combined pressures allowed (two sacks, one hit and three hurries) culminating in a pass blocking efficiency of 98.9 which led the FBS. Thuney will probably be the best OL on show at the Shrine Game so expect his stock to rise by the end of the week.

          Tajae Sharpe, WR, Massachusetts Amherst: +22.2
          The East is also blessed with the top wideout amongst this year’s Shrine game crop. Sharp’s +24.8 receiving grade is sixth at the position, coming on the back of 111 receptions for 1306 yards and five scores. One of Sharp’s greatest assets are his soft hands, which helped him drop only three passes this year. He finished with a drop rate of just 2.63, good for sixth in the nation. To go with those impressive numbers, Sharp only dropped four passes from 89 catchable targets in 2014 suggesting dependable hands are an established trait he’s developed. He has a combined +40.4 overall grade from those two years, including a perfect season of positively graded games in 2015, indicating Sharp has a chance to go high come May.

          Dean Lowry, DE, Northwestern: +35.5
          Lowry might be pushed down draft boards a little because of the depth at the defensive end position this year but some team is likely to get a steal in the later rounds. He ended 2015 as our 11th overall defensive end, proving capable of handling an every-down role. Lowry is the kind of player who gets overlooked because he doesn’t make a huge number of splash plays. Although he only generated seven QB knockdowns this season he added a further 37 pressures finishing with a +17.6 pass rush grade. Lowry’s best performance came against fellow Shrine Game participant Tyler Marz (of Wisconsin) who he dominated for five combined pressures. Considering he also holds the fourth-highest run defense grade at the position (+18.7), Lowry capable of making it at the NFL level.

          Justin Simmons, FS, Boston College: +17.6
          Boston College’s defense had an outstanding year in 2015 and Simmons was a major part of that. He finished as our ninth overall safety with positive grades as a pass rusher, in run defense and in coverage. Simmons’ coverage numbers are simply phenomenal, as he allowed just 19 catches on 36 targets for 245 yards, zero TDs & five INTs. QBs had a rating of just 34.8 when targeting him. Safeties with coverage ability are a premium in today’s NFL, making Simmons all the more appealing as a prospect. He can hold his own against the run too, as a +9.6 grade and 24 stops illustrates. Preventing big gains from turning into touchdowns is obviously an important aspect of a safeties’ role as well. With just five missed tackles from 54 attempts, Simmons is capable in that regard, suggesting he has all the tools to make it at the next level.

          Cre’von LeBlanc, CB, Florida Atlantic: +13.7
          Although his overall grade isn’t outstanding, LeBlanc has the coverage skills to succeed in the NFL. Depending on stylistic preference, LeBlanc might be anywhere on a team’s draftboard to off it entirely. Certainly not averse to a risk, he finished the year with 22 receptions allowed from 56 targets for 397 yards, four TDs, four INTs and five pass deflections. Allowing a 51.7 QB rating is not bad at all for the small-school product. LeBlanc has also shown improvement from his junior year, where he recorded a +7.0 grade in coverage. However, he’ll need to prove it against top level competition, making this week huge for his draft stock.


          • #6
            Re: The Official 2016 East-West Shrine Game Thread

            hm...tajae sharpe seems interesting


            • #7
              Re: The Official 2016 East-West Shrine Game Thread

              Debate: Who's been most impressive player at Shrine Game?
              Published: Jan. 21, 2016 at 11:57 a.m. Updated: Jan. 23, 2016 at 02:25 p.m. 881 Likes

              Who was the most impressive player at this week's practices for Saturday's East-West Shrine Game (airing exclusively on NFL Network at 4 p.m. ET)?

              We asked CFB 24/7 experts that attended practices for their picks.

              Daniel Jeremiah (
              South Carolina State defensive lineman Javon Hargrave is the best player I've seen all week. He's a powerful, quick, short-area player. He's been the most dominant player here.

              Bucky Brooks (
              Illinois WR Geronimo Allison has been the most impressive player at East-West Shrine Game practices. He is a fluid athlete with a nice combination of balance, body control and agility. As a precise route runner, Allison has consistently gotten open and displayed strong hands when snatching the ball out of the air. If he performs to the level that he has shown throughout the week, he could walk away with some hardware at the end of the game.

              Lance Zierlein (
              While it is impossible to watch all of the players out on the field in any given practice, the guy who has been most impressive to me has been Stanford wide receiver Devon Cajuste. Cajuste has been able to get open in one-on-one drills, and when it comes time to make the catch, he's been a finisher.

              I was probably a little low on him based on my perception of him as a "tweener" but the NFL scouting community has stood firm in their idea that Cajuste is a good football player and will find a place in the league. Based on this week's practices, I would agree with them.

              Chase Goodbread (College Football 24/7)
              South Carolina State defensive lineman Javon Hargrave was drawing positive attention from the East coaching staff early in the week, most often thanks to his sudden first step. It's led to plenty of penetration at Shrine Game practices this week. It looks like he'll fit best playing inside in a 4-3 defense in the NFL.


              • #8
                Re: The Official 2016 East-West Shrine Game Thread

                2016 NFL Draft: Vernon Adams among Shrine Game prospects boosting stock
                By Rob Rang | The Sports Xchange/
                January 23, 2016 7:12 pm ET

                College all-star games are like professional all-star games -- they're designed with fans, not scouts, in mind. Players are rotated liberally and there is little regard for the final score, making the week of practice even more important to many scouts than the game, itself.

      's Dane Brugler was there, highlighting prospects from the week's practices.

                As Allen Iverson once famously said, we're talking about practice, though. Scouts want players who perform their best under in games. That's exactly what Oregon quarterback Vernon Adams and several other intriguing NFL prospects did Saturday.

                Here's who helped their NFL stock the most:

                QB Vernon Adams, Oregon (5-11, 195): Frankly, Adams did everything short of growing 6 inches to boost his NFL stock, tossing three touchdowns in the first half to pace the West's 29-9 win. The Eastern Washington transfer showed the dual-threat capabilities that have earned him frequent Russell Wilson comparisons, eluding defenders with balance and agility and quieting critics with polished throws from the pocket.

                His splashiest play was a 93-yard touchdown toss to Purdue wideout Danny Anthrop, who worked himself free and showed surprising speed to score after Adams extended the play in Wilsonlike fashion. Frankly, his "other" touchdowns were more impressive plays, as Adams baited defenders with his eyes and a pump-fake to create throwing lanes, before delivering perfect strikes for scores. It was the kind of performance which could turn some doubters into believers. Count former Atlanta Falcons coach June Jones -- who tutored Adams this past week -- as one convert. "Vernon, I think, has impressed me more than anyone in the game that we've had," Jones said at halftime. "I was thinking he wasn't good enough as a passer to play in the NFL but there is no question he has it."

                WR Geronimo Allison, Illinois (6-3, 197): While Adams was the easy MVP, Allison also made some money, hauling in two touchdowns among his four receptions. After leading the Illini in receptions (65) and receiving yards (882) to earn Honorable Mention All-Big Ten honors in 2015, scouts knew he could catch. But Allison's all-around game during the week earned him high marks from scouts.

                For a tall receiver, Allison shows impressive initial burst to get cornerbacks turning, enough agility to make defenders miss on an end-around and strength and competitiveness as a downfield blocker. When an early pass from Western Kentucky's Brandon Doughty was intercepted by Florida linebacker Anthony Harrell, Allison delivered the hit to stop the defender, nearly forcing a fumble on the tackle.

                DE Victor Ochi, Stony Brook (6-1, 244): Ochi was highlighted throughout the week, and the burst and motor which caught Brugler's eye was obvious Saturday, too. As noted by NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah during the telecast, Ochi was consistently the first lineman off the ball, showing the explosiveness to wreak havoc off the edge. His disproportionately long arms (33 1/2") and compact frame make Ochi surprisingly stout at the point of attack and he showed terrific effort in pursuit, as well. Ochi's overaggression got the better of him on a 4th and short when he was drawn off-sides. But even on this mistake, he showed intriguing traits -- generating the same burst as a stand-up rusher as he'd shown previously with his hand in the dirt.

                RB Daniel Lasco, California (6-0, 205): Lasco was often overshadowed at Cal by star quarterback Jared Goff but the zero-to-60 burst he showed will have scouts scouring his tape. Lasco generates instant speed with light feet and strong, decisive steps, helping him record a couple of explosive runs in the first half against the East defense and ultimately leading all participants with an unofficial 52 rushing yards (on just three carries). Lasco has struggled with durability throughout his career and saw his numbers tumble from 1,115 and 12 touchdowns on the ground as a junior to 331 and three in 2015 but he clearly possesses NFL talent. The club that rolls the dice on him in the late rounds could get a steal.

                DL David Onyemata, Manitoba (6-4, 300): The East-West Shrine Game has frequently featured top-rated Canadian prospects in the past but few in prior years offer Onyemata's NFL-caliber blend of size and strength. Despite a build much better suited to playing inside than out, Onyemata did most of his damage at right defensive end Saturday, generating a sack and at least one other pressure with surprising initial quickness and flexibility. He recorded a monster hit on Michigan quarterback Jake Rudock after swimming through Memphis left tackle Fallin Taylor in the fourth quarter, flashing an exciting combination of agility, technique and explosiveness. As noted by Mike Mayock during the telecast, Onyemata hasn't yet been invited to the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine. Don't be surprised if the league finds room for him after Saturday's impressive showing.