The 2011 East-West Shrine Game takes place this Sunday on NFL Network, but in the meantime the East and West squads have finally had a chance to practice after Monday's practice was rained out. The practices for these all star games are generally more important for draft evaluation purposes than the game itself. After all, these are players who have never (or rarely) played together so the chemistry required of a solid team effort is often missing. However, the week-long workouts afford scouts a chance to really break down some of the strengths and weaknesses of the participants.
If you've got some time during the day, ESPN has three of their draft experts on-hand for the Shrine practices this week. They've sent out Todd McShay, Kevin Weidl and Steve Muench They're tweeting information all day and then compiling some of the details in end-of-day reports. I'll try and summarize some of the highlights, but during the day I recommend checking out their twitter feeds. ESPN has compiled an NFL Draft list page that includes the tweets of all three individuals, although you can follow them separately as well (McShay | Weidl | Muench).
If you're looking for the daily report regarding yesterday's Shrine practice, ESPN has two Insider-protected posts. The first is a basic day 1 practice blog. The second is a look at some of the buzz in Orlando over the course of the week. Rather than post each and everything (which I really can't because of intellectual property issues) I'll post a couple of possibly pertinent reports, and then sort of open it up for questions on specific players. I'm happy to go through what they have to say and let folks know about specific players, but I feel a little more comfortable doing that in the comments. If you haven't seen the rosters, we've got them posted HERE.
On a related note, our Jaguars site (Big Cat Country) has a member at the practices and will be attempting to do some tweeting during the day. He indicated Delaware QB Pat Devlin is the best QB there, but I'm wondering if that's based on reputation of the various QBs. I mention this because ESPN's folks had this to say about Devlin's first day of practice:
Never want to read too much into QB play on Day 1, but Delaware's Pat Devlin struggled some. He was late on a lot of his reads and the ball took a nose dive anytime he was throwing into the wind. Again, it's just the first day and all QBs tend to struggle at the beginning, but there is a lot of room for improvement here.
Since the 49ers are in the market for a young QB or two, ESPN's guys also had some comments on another QB:
Wisconsin QB Scott Tolzien is the leader of the West team so far. He has a limited arm, but he's in charge, is making good decisions and is the most comfortable quarterback on the team.
Todd McShay had some additional comments about Tolzien in the buzz piece linked above:
We know his limitations. He's 6-1½, at best, and there are some throws he can't make ... Despite those limitations, he exceeded expectations. It seemed as though he had been running this offense for years. He had good command, got to the line, knew what he was doing and handled the offense with authority. He threw with good timing and anticipated wide receivers coming out of their break, which is not easy to do on Day 1, and threw accurately.
My thought is that since the 49ers have a need for a QB I'll definitely pass along QB-related information as I see it. However, beyond that I'd say just ask about specific players or positions. For now, what are the thoughts on Tolzien? Will the height be an issue that dooms him or can he overcome it and become a decent NFL quarterback option? I ask in part because I think I saw Wisconsin play once this year and I know many of you watch a ton more college football than me.