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Tag:East-West Shrine Game
Posted on: February 20, 2011 6:43 pm
 

Combine Countdown -- Hawaii RB Alex Green

Between today and the beginning of the NFL Combine Thursday, I'm going to list one player per position who I see as having the most riding on their performance. That means multiple updates each day, so keep tuning in.

You'll see a couple of overriding themes with the players I select. Many are underclassmen - as many of them have more to prove to scouts - and many are players with either off-field or medical concerns.

Unlike at quarterback, where Ryan Mallett fit all of these characteristics, I see a potential diamond in the rough at running back with the most to gain (or lose) at the Combine. Hawaii's Alex Green is a senior with no known off-field or medical issues and certainly lacks the name recognition of some of this year's top backs, but I like his combination of size (6-0, 220), burst and hands out of the backfield.

The 2011 class of running backs is a very solid group. There is only one surefire first round pick in my opinion -- Alabama's Mark Ingram -- and two others I see as possibly sneaking into the top 32 (Illinois' Mikel LeShoure and Virginia Tech's Ryan Williams). Because either LeShoure and Williams could leap into the first round conversation with a dynamic showing in Indianapolis, I strongly considered listing them here. I believe entirely too much draft analysis is spent on the top 40-50 players, however. Real scouting begins in the middle rounds and extends into free agency, which is one of the reasons why I'll be watching Green closely.

Consider these three facts.

1. There were 12 running backs selected in the 2010 draft.
2. NFLDraftScout.com currently rates 27 running backs as potential draft picks in 2011.
3. Green is rated 20th and a 6th-7th round pick.

As a junior college transfer playing for the most geographically remote team in the country, scouts haven't seen a lot of Green despite the fact that he led the country with a gaudy 8.2 yards per carry this season. Now, before you dismiss his numbers as a product of the Warriors' dynamic offense, recall that Hawaii's spread attack is pass-heavy, inflating the numbers of their quarterbacks and wideouts, but deflating the production of their running backs. In fact, since former head coach June Jones implemented Hawaii's spread offense in 1999, Green is the first back to ever surpass the 1,000 yard mark. Hawaii's historical struggles running the football go back even further. They haven't seen a 1,000 yard runner in nearly 20 years (1992). Green rushed for 1,199 yards this season.

Scouts were impressed with Green's build and burst at the East-West Shrine Game. Ultimately, however, to remain at running back and not be thrown upon that heap of "oversized running" fullbacks, Green will need to perform well this week in athletic drills. He's been estimated to run in the mid 4.6s. If he runs that slow in Indianapolis, he'd better get used to the idea of blocking -- and that is if a team gives him a shot as a utility fullback.

If, however, he can run in the low 4.5s and show some explosiveness in the jumps and shuttle drills, he'll reinforce the positive impressions he made in Orlando.

I argued that the Combine could prove very important for Ryan Mallett. How he performs in drills and interviews could dictate whether he's a first or third round pick.

The week could be even more important for Green. If he performs well, I could see him being drafted as high as the middle rounds. A poor performance, however, could see him slip right on out of the draft entirely. 





Posted on: January 22, 2011 1:51 pm
 

Scout "alongside me" at East-West Shrine Game

The action is going to happening too fast and furious during today's East-West Shrine Game for me to post updates regularly on the blog.

However, I will be scouting it closely and offer you the opportunity to scout "alongside" me by following me on Twitter.

I'll be focusing most of my attention early on the quarterback play, especially that of Pat Devlin, Nathan Enderle and Scott Tolzien. But, as I've mentioned previously there is some intriguing talent in this year's game (see entire Shrine game roster here ) and plenty of prospects who need to perform well in the game , itself, after a disappointing week of practice.

Following the game, I'll be writing a post-game review for NFLDraftScout.com.

If you want a preview of that article, come along. Let's scout some football together.


Posted on: January 22, 2011 1:21 pm
 

5 needing a strong finish in E-W Shrine Game

Every prospect signs up for an all-star game with the dream of stepping up their level of play in front of hundreds of scouts and being pegged by draft analysts as a "riser" or "winner."

The reality is, for every riser there is a faller. For every winner there is a loser.

No doubt you've read my fellow senior analyst Chad Reuter's  detailed practice reports for Monday , Tuesday and Wednesday's scrimmages. You have probably checked out the opinions of other media members in Orlando, as well.

As expected, North Carolina defensive tackle Marvin Austin has proven himself to be the best player in Orlando. Strong performances by USC TE Jordan Cameron, UCLA DT David Carter, Hawaii RB Alex Green and Georgia ILB Akeem Dent have boosted their stock, as well.

Some highly touted prospects have struggled throughout the week of practice. Though the vast majority of scouts have already left Orlando in preparation for the upcoming Senior Bowl, don't be fooled. A strong game can always help a prospect who struggled throughout the week of practice.

Here are the five legitimately draftable prospects most in need of a strong finish at the East-West Shrine Game:

Delaware QB Pat Devlin:
Devlin entered the week of practice as NFLDraftScout.com's No. 3 rated quarterback, but could slip below TCU's Andy Dalton, Iowa's Ricky Stanzi and others if his play doesn't improve. Scouts tell me Devlin has been tentative and hasn't shown the arm-strength they'd hoped.

Boise State S Jeron Johnson: Last year former Boise State Bronco Kyle Wilson proved one of the stars during the Senior Bowl week of practices. The sledding hasn't been quite as smooth this week for his former teammate, Johnson, who has struggled in coverage this week.

Idaho QB Nathan Enderle:
In the 6-5, 233 pound Enderle's case, his problems are exactly the opposite of Devlin's. Enderle has the strongest arm of any quarterback in Orlando this week, but his accuracy and footwork have been off, according to scouts. A couple of "wow" throws by Enderle today and he could greatly help himself.

Fresno State OLB Chris Carter: I've highlighted Carter on numerous occasions this year as one of the better rush linebacker prospects, but scouts getting a look at him this week operating in space (he played defensive end for the Bulldogs) tell me he's struggled with the transition. A sack or two today could help remind scouts of what Carter does well. Strong coverage wouldn't get the attention of the announcers as much, but would help his stock with scouts even more.

Mount Union WR Cecil Shorts III: All-star games are typically an environment in which "small school" wide receivers can really boost their stock. Few can boast Shorts' accomplishments. He's a three-time All-American with 62 receiving touchdowns over his career. Unfortunately, after being listed at 6-2, 210 pounds by Mount Union, Shorts proved just that (5-11, 197 pounds) and has struggled with footwork and drops this week.

This game begins at 4:00 pm today and will be televised on The NFL Network.

For the best in NFL draft coverage, be sure to check out NFLDraftScout.com
Posted on: January 17, 2011 7:18 pm
 

All-stars with everything on the line- CB Allen

Continuing my theme of the week on players I believe could significantly alter their stock with a strong performance in the upcoming all-star games , I present to you cornerback Cortez Allen of The Citadel who practiced today with the West Team at the East-West Shrine Game in Orlando, Florida.

At 6'2, 195 pounds, Allen has rare size for the cornerback position. He's been a standout at The Citadel throughout his career and with so many of the top small school prospects in recent years having played cornerback, scouts from every team in the league have come to see him.

Quite honestly, I wasn't terribly impressed with Allen's play when I had the opportunity to watch him on tape this year. Like many corners his size, he struggled flipping his hips and didn't appear to possess the burst out of his breaks that I feel is necessary to be effective in coverage against NFL-caliber receivers. I didn't see a cornerback particularly interested in supporting the run, either.

However, this wasn't against lesser competition. Sometimes players at the lower levels trick you, as they've rarely been forced to push themselves against subpar competition. Allen has earned all-conference (SoCon) after each of his two seasons as a full-time starter.

Clearly, Allen has the size and athleticism that coaches can't give players. A strong performance this week at the East-West Shrine game could answer questions that I -- and more importantly, NFL scouts -- have about his game.

The East-West Shrine Game is scheduled for Saturday at 4:00 pm EST. The game will be televised by The NFL Network.

For the best in NFL Draft coverage, including daily practice reports from the Shrine Game, check out NFLDraftScout.com .
Posted on: January 17, 2011 2:43 pm
 

East-West Measuring Day provides some highlights

As you'd expect, with the East-West Shrine Game kicking off this weekend, NFLDraftScout.com is in Orlando to catch all of the action.

Senior Analyst Chad Reuter will be checking in with daily practice reports.

First, however, was this morning's weigh-in. A few notable results.

  • Idaho quarterback Nathan Enderle measured in at 6-4 (6042) and 242 pounds. Opinions are mixed with Enderle, but scouts certainly like his frame.
  • Scouts knew that Fresno defensive end Chris Carter would have to make the transition to outside linebacker to be successful in the NFL, but it was reinforced Monday with Carter just barely breaking the 6-1 (6011) mark. Carter weighed in at 245.5 pounds. While the height may be a concern for some, Carter has much longer arms than most his height. His arm length (32 3/4") and wingspan (79 1/8") are comparable to prospects standing up to 6-5.
  • Two of my favorite Diamond in the Rough prospects measured in as scouts had hoped. Former highly touted prep prospect OJ Murdock, who left South Carolina and winded up at Fort Hays State measured in a shade under 5-11 5105) and 194.5 pounds. Murdock pops of tape and could prove one to watch this week as a receiver on the West team. On the East squad is Mount Union's Cecil Shorts, who measured in just under 6-0 at 5117 and a rock-solid 200 pounds. Shorts has often been compared to another former Mount Union standout -- Indianapolis Colts' starting wideout Pierre Garcon.
  • Former North Carolina Tar Heel defensive tackle Marvin Austin - who I highlighted yesterday as an All-star with everything on the line - measured in at 6-2 (6021), 312 pounds.
Chad will be covering much more in his Monday wrap-up article, including more observations from the weigh-in and the teams unique Monday practices.
As always, for the best in NFL draft coverage, check out NFLDraftScout.com .
Posted on: January 16, 2011 1:51 pm
 

All-Stars with everything on the line - DT Austin

While much of the football-loving world is focusing on the NFL playoffs, scouts are preparing today for the first of a three week grind of all-star games that will have a huge impact on where (or if) dozens of players are ultimately drafted.

Over the next five days I'm going to highlight a player I believe could stand out and therefore significantly boost their stock. These players could come from the East-West Shrine Game (whose practices begin Monday), the Senior Bowl (whose practices begin Monday, January 24) and the NFLPA Game (whose practices begin Monday, January 31). The games themselves will be on succeeding Saturdays over the next three weeks. The NFLPA Game had previously been known as the Texas vs. Nation game.

One player who obviously has a great deal riding on his all-star performance is former North Carolina defensive tackle Marvin Austin , invited to play in the Shrine Game.

Austin was, of course, suspended for the entire 2010 season after the NCAA discovered that he'd accepted inappropriate benefits from an agent.

Prior to the controversy, however, Austin rated among the elite senior prospects in the country. He was, according to published reports, given a high first round grade entering the year by National Scouting.

Austin, 6-3, 310 pounds has the quick first step, agility and strength teams operating out of the 4-3 alignment are looking for. One of the knocks on him has been an inconsistent motor. Having not played all season long, scouts will expect Austin to be fresh and firing on all cylinders all week long. Any sign of taking snaps off from Austin this week will only reinforce previous concerns - which could have disastrous results on his draft grade.

I've pointed out previously that this is a good looking Shrine roster , but one area that it may prove lacking is with the interior offensive linemen. NFLDraftScout.com currently ranks only one of the six interior offensive linemen Austin is expected to face in practice (East Team) higher than a 7th round pick.

Currently, the East team features Syracuse's Ryan Bartholomew and Texas A&M's JC Brignone at center and Missouri State's David Arkin, Ohio State's Bryant Browning, Illinois' Randall Hunt and Connecticut's Zachary Hurd at guard. Hurd is our highest rated of the bunch. NFLDraftScout.com currently has Hurd as a 5th-6th round value.

If Austin wants to re-emerge as the 50 prospect he'd previously been universally ranked as, he'll need to enjoy a dominant week.

For the entire Shrine Game roster, click here.

Or, for the best in NFL draft coverage, click here for NFLDraftScout.com.
Posted on: January 13, 2011 12:37 pm
 

South Carolina DE turns down E-W Shrine Game

South Carolina defensive end Cliff Matthews is turning down an opportunity to play in the East-West Shrine, contrary to the fact that the game and its organizers' official website have indicated that he had accepted their invitation and will play.

According to the website GamecocksOnline.com, Matthews was flattered to be invited to the all-star game but felt that focusing on his academics and preparing for workouts at the Combine and his Pro Day were more important. 

While some might question the competitive fire of any player giving up an opportunity to play in front of scouts in a venue such as the East-West Shrine game, Matthews is known as a hard-working, blue collar player. His 47 career starts, in fact, broke the South Carolina record.

Mathews earned Second Team All-SEC honors as a senior with 44 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, and 5.5 sacks in 2010. His four forced fumbles led South Carolina and ranked second in the SEC. He was at his best in South Carolina's final game, a 26-17 loss to Florida State in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on December 31. Matthews posted six tackles, two tackles for loss, a sack and a forced fumble in the contest.

NFLDraftScout.com rates the 6-4, 268 pound Matthews as a 4th-5th round pick and the No. 16 DE in a talented senior class.

Posted on: January 8, 2011 4:49 pm
 

East-West Shrine Game posts roster

The East-West Shrine Game, the longest running senior all-star game in the country, has released their 2011 roster.

I've copied their roster below, but encourage you to check out their website and support the Shriners' cause, as well.

Dan Reeves will coach one team. Wade Phillips was slated to coach the other team, though it remains to be seen if he'll keep this position now that he's been hired as Houston's defensive coordinator.

It is an interesting roster, filled with NFL talent. I'm especially excited to see quarterbacks Pat Devlin (Delaware) and Nathan Enderle (Idaho) - two of the more underrated QBs in the 2011 draft -- get their opportunity with better talent surrounding them.

There is other exciting skill position talent in the game, as well, including Syracuse RB Delone Carter, Penn State RB Evan Royster and LSU WR Terrance Toliver.

North Carolina suspended defensive tackle Marvin Austin is another intriguing prospect to watch. In terms of pure talent, he is the elite prospect in this draft.

The 2011 roster features another rarity. Fresno State DE/OLB Chris Carter and UCLA DT David Carter are brothers.

The rosters are listed with the East Team first, West Team following.

Name Pos. College
Kyle Adams TE Purdue
Pierre Allen DE Nebraska
Marvin Austin DT North Carolina
JC Brignone C Mississippi State
Bryant Browning OG Ohio State
Delone Carter RB Syracuse
Akem Dent ILB Georgia
Patrick Devlin QB Delaware
Ricky Dobbs QB Navy
Ryan Donahue P Iowa
Charles Gantt TE Michigan State
Eric Gordon SS Michigan State
Christian Hairston OT Clemson
Jermale Hines SS Ohio State
Douglas Hogue OLB Syracuse
Randall Hunt OG Illinois
Zachary Hurd OG Connecticut
Brian Lainhart FS Kent State
Gregory Lyoyd II ILB Connecticut
Cliff Matthews DE South Carolina
Terrell McClain DT USF
Josh McNary OLB Army
Bruce Miller DE UCF
Jonas Mouton OLB Michigan
Martin Parker DT Richmond
Jah Reid OT UCF
Evan Royster RB Penn State
David Sims SS Iowa State
Greg Smith TE Texas
Tyrod Taylor QB Virginia Tech
Terrence Toliver WR LSU
Terrence Turner WR Indiana
Demarcus Van Dyke CB Miami
Lawrence Wilson ILB Connecticut

Name

Pos.

College
David Arkin OG Missouri State
Brandon Bair DT Oregon
Jordan Cameron TE USC
David Carter DT UCLA
Chris Carter OLB Fresno State
Chris Conte FS California
Ricky Elmore DE Arizona
Nathan Enderle QB Idaho
Adam Grant OT Arizona
Alex Green RB Hawaii
Virgil Green II TE Nevada
Trevor Hankins P Arizona State
Andrew Jackson OG Fresno State
Ben Jacobs ILB Fresno State
Jeron Johnson SS Boise State
Jerrod Johnson QB Texas A&M
Shiloh Keo SS Idaho
Karl Klug DE Iowa
Orie Lemon ILB Oklahoma State
Alex Linnenkohl C Oregon State
Dontay Moch OLB Nevada
Michael Mohamed ILB California
Jonathan Nelson SS Oklahoma
Caleb Schlauderaff OG Utah
Justin Taplin-Ross SS Utah
Vai Taua RB Nevada
Julius Thomas TE Portland State
Brandyn Thompson CB Boise State
Scott Tolzien QB Wisconsin
Winston Venable OLB Boise State
Ryan Whalen WR Stanford
Nate Williams SS Washington
Zachary Williams OG Washington State
Ryan Winterswke DE Boise State


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com