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Shrine Bowl Offensive/Special Teams Preview

Shrine Bowl

It is a new era for the East-West Shrine Bowl moving to Las Vegas and trying to attract the best future NFL talent to play in their game. Still playing second fiddle to the Senior Bowl, the Shrine Bowl can be hit or miss depending on the depth of positions. Ultimately, there is some good talent on this offensive roster including a few players who could sneak into Day 2 of the NFL Draft. It will be a chance for these players to shine and prove they belong. Let’s dive in and break down each position and predictions on who will stand out in the practices and game.

 

Quarterback

East

Dustin Crum, Kent State

D’Eriq King, Miami (FL)

EJ Perry, Brown

 

West

Jack Coan, Notre Dame

Brock Purdy, Iowa State

Skylar Thompson, Kansas State

There aren’t enough QBs in the draft class to really fill out the Shrine roster. The three older established players in Coan, King, and Purdy have a shot to get drafted late based on their experience. Coan is likely the best of the bunch due to his accuracy and leadership ability. 

Perry and Crum might be the most intriguing as undrafted types who could make an NFL roster. Both have mobility (especially Crum) and carried their team’s offenses at times this season. Perry never had much around him at Brown and should have an opportunity to shine this week. 

 

Running Back

East 

Leddie Brown, West Virginia

Zander Horvath, Purdue

Isaih Pacheco, Rutgers

Pierre Strong Jr., South Dakota State

Calvin Turner, Hawaii

Zaquandre White, South Carolina

 

West

Ty Chandler, North Carolina

Jashaun Corbin, Florida State

Trestan Ebner, Baylor

Keaontay Ingram, Southern Cal

Clint Ratkovich, Northern Illinois

 

There is a wide range range of runners in this group.

White showed out for South Carolina this year and has flashed NFL ability. He should able to showcase his versatility and pass catching ability. Brown was super productive at West Virginia with great vision and good tackle breaking ability. Both he and White could put themselves in draftable range with a good week at the Shrine Game.

There are also a few upside runners. Keaontay Ingram has had a long career at Texas and Southern Cal and flashes back-up NFL ability due to his blocking and playing low to the ground. Corbin and Pacheco declared earlier and need a big week to improve their stock into the draft after disappointing seasons.

Turner is a hybrid WR/RB who may get some WR reps in the game and be a true offensive weapon. That versatility could make him a flyer 7th round pick. 

Of the Fullbacks, Clint Ratkovich is the best as an H-back type who created some tough yards and even took some runs to the house. Don’t overlook his potential.

Finally, a top 10 RB in this class for me, Strong Jr. should show out in this game. Strong excelled at the FCS level and has smooth movement with no wasted steps along with solid hands. This could be a coming out party for him to prove he belongs!

 

Wide Receiver

East

Tanner Conner, Idaho State

Jaivon Heiligh, Coastal Carolina

Josh Johnson, Tulsa

Kyle Phillips, UCLA

Charleston Rambo, Miami (FL)

Jaquarii Roberson, Wake Forest

Samori Toure, Nebraska

 

West

Stanley Berryhill III, Arizona

Emeka Emezie, NC State

Ty Fryfogle, Indiana

Davontavean Martin, Oklahoma State

Jerreth Sterns, Western Kentucky

Tyquan Thornton, Baylor

Dareke Young, Lenoir-Rhyne

There are some intriguing small school receivers with athletic abilities on the roster. Young and Conner have athletic movement skills and deep speed to make it in the NFL. The Shrine Bowl practice should showcase them and are likely two names that will be emerging as potential draft picks.

A productive small receiver like Sterns deserves a look for his special teams ability and footwork in routes. Though small and slower isn’t usually draftable, Sterns could make a camp and turn some heads.

Of course, there some NFL ready players on this roster. Fryfogle, Emezie, Thornton, Rambo, Roberson and Toure all have a shot to be drafted already and may be able to separate themselves this week. Roberson is my favorite as a productive, smart receiver with great hands and range. He’d be my pick for highest drafted of the bunch.

 

Tight End

East

Derrick Deese Jr., San Jose State

Lucas Krull, Pittsburgh

Nick Muse, South Carolina

Armani Rogers, Ohio

 

West

Gerrit Prince, UAB

Chigoziem Okonkwo, Maryland

Quitoriano Teagan, Oregon State

Jelani Woods, Virginia

 

With good depth in this TE class, there are some intriguing TEs who could make an NFL impact.

Woods is a Brian Bosarge favorite with his massive size and box out ability. A potential NFL red zone threat with good blocking ability, he should shine as the best TE on the West team.

Krull and Deese both had great years catching the football and should be late round selections. Krull was a first look for Kenny Pickett in the end zone while Deese racked up catches underneath and was talented after the catch. 

Finally, never forget that Nick Muse is somehow elite.

 

Offensive Tackle

East

Myron Cunningham, Arkansas

Brock Hoffman, Virginia Tech

Alec Lindstrom, Boston College

Vederian Lowe, Illinois

George Moore, Oregon

Bamidele Olaseni, Utah

Jack Snyder, San Jose State

Luke Tenuda, Virginia Tech

Tyrese Robinson, Oklahoma

Zach Tom, Wake Forest

Zachary Thomas, San Diego State

Ryan Van Denmark, UConn

 

West

Blaise Andries, Minnesota

Devin Cochran, Georgia Tech

Dawson Deaton, Texas Tech

Austin Deculus, LSU

Jean Delance, Florida

Kellen Diesch, Arizona State

Obinna Eze, TCU

Hayden Howerton, SMU

Jaxson Kirkland, Washington

Xavier Newman-Johnson, Baylor

Cordell Volson, North Dakota State

Luke Wattenberg, Washington

 

With a huge need at the pro level for Offensive Linemen, there are plenty in this group who should hear their name called on draft weekend.

Eze has been a Draft Countdown favorite with his great length and success against Big 12 pass rushers. He should be able to flash his potential this week and gain some buzz for Day 2. There are a few others who could fall into this category like Cunningham, Kirkland, and even Lindstrom, my #2 Center in the class. Look for each to remind NFL teams of the success they have had in their careers.

Volson is an intriguing player to watch for throughout the week. He had a solid season for NDSU, specifically in his pass blocking, and will get a chance to showcase against FBS players. If he holds his own, it could be a massive improvement to his stock.

A big storyline is how wide open the Center position is in this draft. Not only Lindstrom, but Wattenberg, Deaton, and Hoffman have a big opportunity to flash NFL potential as the pivot point of the offensive line. Could any of them lock in the #2 Center spot behind Tyler Linderbaum? The Shrine Bowl is an opportunity to ascend to that spot.

Finally, there are plenty of mid round lunchpail types. Andries, Diesch, Deculus, Tom, and Van Denmark top my list of solid but unspectacular back-up NFL types. Rounds 4 and 5 should be littered with these players and maybe one can stand up and move into Day 2.     

 

Special Teams

Tommy Heatherly, P, FIU

Caleb Shudak, K, Iowa

Billy Taylor, LS, Rutgers

Parker White, K, South Carolina

 

Parker White is the standout of this group as he is likely to be signed into a camp and compete for a starting kicking job. With a big leg, he should have a shot at a job for a dome team. 

Taylor is an interesting long snapper as well with a solid track record of consistency. He should do well for the Shrine.

 

The Shrine Bowl should be a great event and worth tuning in to practice reports and seeing who excels!

 

Follow Shane on Twitter: @ShanePHallam and see his other work here.

 

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