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Prospects to watch in the 2019 Shrine Game

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We highlight and profile the 2019 NFL draft-eligible prospects from the East-West Shrine game on Saturday, January 19.

Missouri State v Oklahoma State Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images

Things are winding down as the NFL postseason is coming to its end. There are only three games left - the NFC and AFC Championship games this weekend and the Super Bowl two weekends from now - and, of the matchups we have, it’s safe to say that no matter who wins we will still have a quite the show in Atlanta. As the season comes to a close we will start seeing more and more news posted about the the upcoming draft and it seemingly all starts this weekend with the East/West Shrine game and the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.

Below you will find some prospects to watch for the Shrine Game. San Francisco will have a keen interest in this game as there are several names to keep an eye on as the morning progresses. Here are some highlights and things to look forward to while you try and fill your time as you await Sunday’s NFL games.

How to watch

Time: Noon (3 p.m. ET)
Location: Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida
Televised: NFL Network
Radio: SiriusXM NFL Channel 88 East-West Shrine Game Tampa Bay “Flagship Station” is “Sports Talk Florida” WHBO 1040 AM Internationally, the game will be found on a “Listen Live” link on this website, and on the Tunein and SiriusXM Apps.

Greg Valerio

KeeSean Johnson, WR, No. 2 (West) - Fresno State
Height: 6011 | Weight: 204 | 40 time: 4.57
2018 Stats: 95 receptions, 1340 yards, 14.1 average yards per catch, and 8 touchdowns

KeeSean Johnson is not a freakishly athletic wide receiver with explosive game breaking speed. He is, however, a good-sized dependable chain-moving receiver with consistent high production and a strong work ethic showcasing his capacity to improve each year. Johnson is a fluid route runner (runs crisp) with a smoothness and sound technique to his game. He showcases great explosion off the line and displays nice bend on breaks coming out quickly with great suddenness and decent burst. He flashes strong reliable hands and is a natural pass catcher with excellent ball skills. Johnson wins in intermediate routes and although he does not possess elite speed, he does win deep match-ups with technique, length, body control, superb ball skills, and high-pointing the catch with great athleticism. Johnson is the type of prospect one can find deep in the draft adding tremendous value at the next level.

Cody Thompson, WR, No. 25 (West) - Toledo
Height: 6014 | Weight: 200 | 40 time: 4.54
2018 Stats: 48 receptions, 647 yards, 13.5 average yards per catch, and 10 touchdowns

Cody Thompson is a fluid playmaker with good speed and quickness, strong reliable hands (natural pass catcher), solid ball skills, and is explosive after the catch running with toughness always spinning for the extra yards. A former high school basketball star athlete, Thompson displays impressive strength and toughness as a receiver (not afraid to take a hit or deliver one), is a fluid and crisp route runner with a smoothness (double moves are on point) to his game showcasing great bend on breaks popping out quickly with great athleticism, nice footwork, quickness, and decent burst. The former high school quarterback displays terrific vision and awareness taking advantage of his high football IQ and savviness utilizing subtle movements to create separation, locates holes on defenses, and works his way back to the quarterback. A willing blocker, Thompson also displays great effort in blocking with solid technique. Next level athleticism and lack of elite speed will limit his opportunities at the next level; however, top notch route running, premier hands, and a solid work ethic will find him a home in the NFL.

Alex Eisen

Jordan Brailford, DE, No. 94 (East) - Oklahoma State
Height: 6’3” | Weight: 250 | 40 Time: 4.95
2018 Stats: 54 Tackles, 16 Tackles for a loss, 9 Sacks, 1 Forced Fumble, 1 Batted Pass

The versatile athlete out of Oklahoma State was a big factor in the Cowboy’s defense this season. Brailford played at both defensive end spots and at three linebacker spots while he was at Oklahoma State in his collegiate career.. Has good size and measurables for the next level. He has the ability to reach on the pass rush, and can line up in a 3-point stance or as a stand-up outside linebacker. Demonstrates good burst and a quick first step off the snap. At times Brailford can be off balance, and can be one dimensional on rushes against the pass. While I do like his straight-line speed in pass rushing situations, his lateral quickness leaves a little be desired. On tape, Brailford demonstrates his ability to utilize active swipes against blockers. Overall, there is a lot to like about Brailford. I like his ability to play multiple positions on the field. An ability I believe most teams are looking for at the pro level. At the moment I see Brailford as an early day three pick who could potentially sneak into the backend of the second day of the 2019 NFL Draft.

Markus Jones, DE, No. 43 (West) - Angelo State
Height: 6’3” | Weight: 255 | 40 Time: 4.89
2018 Stats: 84 tackles, 36.5 tackles for a loss, 17.5 sacks, 17 quarterback hurries, 4 forced fumbles

Coming from a small school environment, there isn’t too much buzz or national media attention surrounding Markus Jones. However, he has made quite the name for himself and has put himself in prime position to be drafted in April. Jones comes off strong along the edge, and attacking on point, against blockers. Jones caused a massive amount of disruption this season in the opponent’s backfield. Jones was often required double-team coverage which allowed his teammates to make positive contributions along the defensive line. Jones demonstrates good bend and the ability to use multiple moves against blockers along the line of scrimmage. His ability to bull rush is consistent. Jones demonstrates good lateral speed and defends the edge well against ball carriers. Jones’ stats are off the charts, even playing in the second division in football. His invitation to the shrine game wasn’t by accident. Jones is one of those small school prospects to keep a close eye on throughout the draft process. His draft projection is difficult to project at this point, however, his arrow is pointing up.

Josh Eccles

Derick Roberson, DE, No. 49 (West) - Sam Houston St
Height: 6040 | 250 lbs | 40 time: 4.76
2018 stats: 68 tackles, 15 sacks, 2 PD, 5 FF

As a pass rusher, Derick Roberson has a few different moves and can get off the ball so quickly that opposing offensive linemen can sometimes struggle just to get a hand on him, at other times using a little hesitation move or shoulder dip to turn the corner and get to the quarterback. There’s also evidence of a spin move and a club move that can keep offensive linemen from getting their hands into his body, as well as an outside-inside move that would make Von Miller proud.

Overall, Roberson has all of the athletic ability necessary to be a good weakside defensive end in high school if he can hone his jump off the ball and continue to refine the variety of pass-rushing moves that his film proves he does have in his arsenal. If Roberson can maximize his significant potential, he could be an all-conference type of player. Roberson had 123 tackles, 23 sacks, seven forced fumbles and eight passes defensed in three seasons at Sam Houston State, with 68 tackles, 15 sacks and five forced fumbles as a senior. The 49ers are one of four teams reported to have met with Roberson, among with the Bills, Browns, and Colts.