January 19, 2013 in 2013 East-West Shrine Game
Here are 5 players to watch from each squad from an NFL Draft stand point:
1. RB Ray Graham, Pitt:
-Graham has had a great week of practice showing speed and explosiveness. He is working his way up draft boards and could be looking at a third round pick come April. He's a bit undersized for a feature back role, but could still work in a more wide open offense, particularly one that runs zone or outside a lot. He can also be an effective weapon out of the backfield, and has been working on his return game as well down here. Expect him to continue his big week with a strong performance today.
2. OT Terron Armstead, Arkansas-Pine Bluff:
-Armstead was probably the most impressive offensive lineman on either squad this week. He showed good footwork with the quickness to get to the edge. He's got a good anchor and won a number of one-on-one battles in practice. He also looks to be very strong at the point of attack, and could develop at either tackle position. This was a big week for him, and this game will help out as well. He doesn't have much experience versus higher level talent, so this really raised his draft profile. He's still a bit raw, but he could work his way into the 4th or 5th round.
3. WR Emory Blake, Auburn:
-Blake had a really good week of practice and graded out well in every area. He showed good hands and body position making a number of tough catches. He ran crisp, fluid routes and was quick in his actions. He used his body well to shield defenders and showed more speed than people gave him credit for. It's a deep receiver crop this year, but Blake rose to the top this week and looks to be well worth a late round pick come April. Expect him to continue to have a strong week in today's game.
4. S Cooper Taylor, Richmond:
-Taylor lacks the big school pedigree of many of the safeties here and he didn't have near the draft hype, but he really flashed this week. He's a big physical safety, yet has good speed and quickness. He showed good instincts and read the quarterback well in practice. There wasn't full hitting in practice so expect him to really shine in the game where he can show what his size/speed combo brings to the table. He's in the late round mix, but is definitely trending upward.
5. WR Trent Steelman, Army:
-Steelman in many ways stole the show this week. He was Army's option quarterback these last four years, but transitioned to WR this week. He still got some looks in the backfield as an option quarterback and was also utilized on a number of trick plays. He even worked as a long snapper when others struggled to get the ball to the punter/holder (and he did a good job). While typically you'd expect him to struggle as a receiver he actually had a nice week and is very much in that Wes Welker mold (albeit very raw).
1. DL William Campbell, Michigan:
-Campbell had one of the strongest weeks of any player down here, causing constant headaches for opposing offensive linemen. He shows great burst off the line and is very good about winning the leverage battle. At times he plays out of control, but the potential is definitely there for him to be a very good player at the next level. He's looking to go off the board in the mid-round range.
2. DL Wes Horton, USC:
-It was a bit of a disappointing season for Wes Horton, but he had a really strong week and was the best pass rusher here. He fits best in a 4-3 defense, but should be able to generate quite a bit of pressure at the next level. He gets low and is quick off the snap, making it tough for offensive linemen to get their hands on him. He should be in the 5th-6th round range and can continue to trend upwards.
3. LB Keith Pough, Howard:
Pough had a really strong week, showing really nice athleticism as well as good leadership. He also took to coaching well, which is another thing that matters to scouts. He showed sideline-to-sideline speed and was pretty instinctual in both coverage and against the run. He's still a bit raw, but he's got some really nice future potential.
4. WR Jasper Collins, Mount Union:
Collins had a strong week, he really ran nice routes and showed really good hands. The only knock on him is he struggled to get off press coverage and will need to work on that for the next level. Other than that he's got a great skill set for a slot receiver and should contribute on special teams as well.
5. QB Matt Scott, Arizona:
It was a disappointing week for the signal callers, but Scott did give some hope for the West team. He's a little undersized, but he showcased a nice deep ball with good velocity. He needs to work on his touch, but the potential is there. They didn't run much of it in practice, but Scott has some read option potential, as he's got really nice speed. He's probably no more than a 6th or 7th rounder, but there is some upside.