Here are my observations from Day 1 at the East West Shrine Game:
-Running backs is typically one of the toughest positions to judge in practice, particularly when they are just wearing helmets and shells, but Michael the Texas A&M product looked solid. He ran tough and showed good change of direction ability and long speed. His work ethic throughout practice will surely catch the eye of NFL scouts as, will his continuously wanting to get better with each opportunity.
-Line is generally seen as a fullback at the next level, but he’s making a strong case to get some carries in the NFL. He has 3,996 rushing yards and 40 touchdowns over his last three seasons. He’s also shown solid production catching the ball out of the backfield in his career. At practice, Line ran hard and caught the ball well in individual drills. At times he ran too high, but for the most part kept his pads low running with good vision. He may still work as a fullback in the NFL, but he should have his fair share of offensive touches.
-The Arizona product was the top quarterback on the West roster today. He showed nice touch on some throws outside the numbers, or deeper down the field. Scott also was pretty accurate underneath as well. He missed on some timing routes, but that is completely forgivable given that it is the first day of practice and Scott was working with new receivers.
-Carder displayed perhaps the strongest arm at practice, throwing a couple really nice deep balls. He did have some accuracy issues, but did show some late-round/UDFA potential overall.
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-Buckner at 6’4″ 211 lbs has the best size of any receiver on the West. He showed a good short area game and an ability to out muscle defenders for the ball. He lacks great speed, but has good hands and ran most of his routes very cleanly today.
-Collins may be a Division III receiver but he didn’t act like it during practice. He made a number of nice catches in traffic showcasing very nice route running and hands. His speed and quickness also stood out and he profiles very well as a slot receiver at the next level.
-Anthony had perhaps the best practice of any offensive player. He really showed great hands and route running ability. He did a good job getting by one-on-one coverage, and used his body well to shield defenders from making an attempt on it. Add in impressive speed and he really looks like a receiver who could get some interesting mid-round attention.
-Fauria looked good in one-on-one drills and seven-on-seven, making a couple really nice catches. One he dove out for showing nice hands and good concentration. Unfortunately he suffered an injury that forced him from practice early.
-Campbell had a good all-around practice, but really distinguished himself during the scrimmage at the end. He got off the ball really quickly, causing him to get deep penetration on a number of plays that would have surely resulted in sacks or tackles for a loss. Campbell has a good frame and displays some really nice power.
Pough was a vocal leader on the sideline and showed a strong work ethic. When given opportunities he showed good awareness, and decent speed. Coming from a smaller school he still has questions to answer, but it was a good first day for him.
It was an up-and-down practice for Hawthorne as in seven-on-sevens he had a couple really nice plays, including breaking for the ball on one and using his good length to break-up the pass. During the scrimmage though he struggled when asked to turn and run versus some of the quicker receivers. Though he was far from fluid on those plays the biggest issue appeared to be a delayed reaction time to seeing that the receiver was going deep.
-Motta had a really solid all-around practice, showing up well both in seven-on-sevens and full team scrimmage. He was his best when he could play up on the line and reroute tightends or get off blocks to go after the ball carrier.