5 Offensive Players who Helped Themselves the Most During Shrine Week
January 17, 2014 in 2014 East-West Shrine Game
-Hazel had the best practice week of any prospect down at the Shrine Game on either side of the ball. He was a small school guy with some buzz going in, but questions arose when he measured in 3 inches shorter than his listed height. Hazel quickly answered those questions by showing that he can win 1-on-1 match-ups regardless of his size. Hazel caught just about everything he got his hands on this week, including a couple of highlight reel catches that no one would have faulted him with for not bringing in. In addition to the catches and the plus hands that he showed, Hazel showed really nice speed and quickness. He could get up the field quickly and turn short passes into big gains. Hazel also showed really nice route-running abilities that allowed him to create a fair amount of separation throughout the week.
2. OG Dakota Dozier, Furman:
-With small school guys you always wonder how they will hold up when faced against more highly touted prospects. Dozier more than held his own facing off against defensive linemen from FBS programs. He was quick off the snap and showed really nice power and a strong anchor in pass protection. He's still a little raw and at times had trouble with holding, but overall he had a nice impression on scouts down here. He's probably going to need a year to refine his technique and bulk up a little bit, but he's definitely looking like a nice late round pick (5th-6th) with starting upside.
3. G/T Austin Wentworth, Fresno State:
-Playing in a smaller conference and out west Wentworth doesn't get the exposure that many other FBS linemen receive. While he was considered to be a draftable guy, opinions seemed to range from the 4th-7th round on him heading into the week. After a really good week of practice and one in which he showed some versatility to play inside, he should have cemented himself within the top 5 rounds and probably has a real shot at being a 4th rounder. He showed a really nice anchor and good strong hands throughout the week of practice, and the ability to hold up to power rushers. He's not really a guy who will play at left tackle, but he should get consideration as a guard or right tackle.
4. QB Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illiniois:
-Garoppolo came into the week as a potential 4th-5th round quarterback and the best signal caller on either squad. He proved both of those labels right with a very strong week overall. He showed good decision making, a strong arm, and nice accuracy. I liked what I saw of his footwork and I believe he can quickly be at least an NFL back-up caliber quarterback with the potential to be a starter. Garoppolo is firmly in consideration after the top say 5 quarterbacks and could now look to push for a spot in the third round.
5. QB Keith Wenning, Ball State:
-Wenning was a guy who I thought had a real nice shot of being signed as an undrafted free agent going in to the Shrine Week, but probably wasn't going to be considered a top 15 quarterback. If you aren't a top 15 quarterback you probably aren't getting drafted, but after this week I think Wenning is in the discussion in that 12-15 QB range and he may have earned himself a 6th or 7th round draft selection given his play here this week. If not for Garoppolo he would have been the best player down here this week. Wenning showed a nice live arm and good decision making. His biggest thing is consistency with his accuracy which usually seemed to stem from his footwork or opening up his shoulder too much. Stuff like that can be fixed with good coaching and Wenning could be seen as a late round developmental signal caller with a little potential.