East-West Shrine Game: Opportunity knocks
Posted on: January 18, 2010 10:38 pm
Edited on: January 20, 2010 6:06 pm
By Chad Reuter , NFLDraftScout.com
If Arizona State's Dexter Davis and Wisconsin's O'Brien Schofield want to hear their names called in the middle rounds of the NFL Draft in April, they face a critical week at the East-West Shrine Game. As the undersized collegiate defensive ends, they'll be attempting to prove that they can transition to outside linebacker in the NFL.
They'll see plenty of BYU tight end Dennis Pitta, who caught 62 passes for BYU last season. Pitta must prove to scouts representing all 32 NFL teams in Orlando that he has enough speed to stretch the field and can hold his own as an in-line blocker.
The Shrine Game (Saturday 3 p.m. EST) has emerged as an important kickoff week to the postseason all-star circuit. With the demise of the Hula Bowl and Blue-Gray All-Star Classic in recent years, the Shrine Game is the place for mid-round prospects to cement their status and for lower-tier players to catch the eyes of scouts.
Successful teams typically have hit the nail on the head in the first round with many of their marquee players, but sustained success and overcoming injuries comes from deep rosters bolstered by solid selections in the third, fourth and fifth rounds.
Recent Shrine Game participants include Giants defensive tackle Barry Cofield (fourth round, 2006), Dolphins defensive end Kendall Langford (third, 2008), Cowboys All-Pro nose tackle Jay Ratliff (seventh, 2005) and Falcons running back Jason Snelling (seventh, 2007).