Although the draft is still three months away, the draft season is kicking off this weekend with the 84th East-West Shrine Game. The Shrine Game pits players from colleges in the Eastern United States against players from colleges in the Western United States. Not exactly a shocker I suppose. Given the increased ability of scouts to watch every single college football game out there, the Shrine game has lacked some pop and big names. However, there is going to be some decent talent on display. I'm thinking I might even watch some of it this Saturday at 1pm pacific!
Although these All-Star games aren't exactly the best option for assessing talent, interesting things come out of them. At last year's Senior Bowl Colt Brennan struggled taking snaps directly under the senior and it definitely hurt his draft stock (although he had plenty going against him anyways). The Senior Bowl was what got my Jay Moore fix going. Maybe we'll get something out of this year's Shrine Game. Below are pdf files of the rosters for each squad.
For those not sure who to watch for on Saturday, the folks of Scout's Inc have thrown out some names to watch this weekend. The top 5 to watch are:
1. Ron Brace, Boston College DT (appears to be a possible nose tackle option)
2. Jamon Meredith, South Carolina OT/G (Appears to fit best as a potential guard in the NFL)
3. Kevin Ellison, USC S (Maybe gamble later on another SC safety with Mays out of the running?)
4. Fenuki Tupou, Oregon OT (They say he could fit in as a right tackle in the NFL)
5. Michael Bennett, Texas A&M DE (Might be molded into an outside linebacker due to his size)
The top 5 with something to prove are:
1. Ian Johnson, Boise St RB (Things certainly quieted down since the OU game)
2. Stephen McGee, Texas A&M QB (Injury issues led to a lackluster senior season)
3. Michael Reilly, Central Washington QB (Can he step up from Division II competition?)
4. Jahi Word-Daniels, Georgia Tech CB (Seems to be looking at a career as a cover-2 corner if healthy)
5. Sammie Lee Hill, Stillman DE/DT (Another D-2 fella who has to prove he can handle a higher level of competition).
And of course, the Scouts have some early buzz after a day of practice. A few other guys not mentioned, but worth checking out are Chase Daniels (Missouri QB), Jarrett Dillard (Rice WR) and Aaron Kelly (Clemson WR). The game will be on ESPN2 starting at 1pm pacific time.
Also, I updated the mock draft database last night. I'll update it again tomorrow since final declared and returning underclassmen will be known.