Shrine Game Weekend

by Tommy Lawlor  –

The Shrine Game is on Saturday. The game isn’t exactly loaded, but there are some interesting players to watch. The Shrine Game isn’t the place to look for 1st and 2nd rounders. The game is really more for players in rounds 4-7. There are some Top 100 players from the Shrine Game each year, but not many.

Here are some of the guys that I’ll be watching closely:

* DT Marvin Austin — He was forced to sit out the season after starting the whole UNC-agent scandal back in the summer. Twitter proved to be his undoing. Now we get to see him play for the first time in 13 months. He reportedly had a good week of practice. I’m really curious to see how he play. Austin doesn’t lack talent. That said, during the summer I kept hearing about him as a 1st round talent. I never saw that level of play from him. He came to UNC with a ton of hype and never lived up to it. Trying to figure out his draft value is going to be really tough.

* QB Pat Devlin — He left Miami and Penn State in the background and made his mark at Delaware. Devlin led the Blue Hens to the I-AA title game this year. He played very well the last couple of years. I liked what I saw of him this year. Solid QB. I wasn’t blown away. Should be a mid-round pick. A good showing in the Shrine Game can only help.

* S Jermale Hines — Big athletic Safety prospect. Some team looking for a tough, physical SS will be interested. I’m curious to see how Hines looks in a basic defense. Does he stand out? Or is he exposed as a weak cover guy? The Ohio State pass rush can make guys in the back seven look better than they are at times.

* DE Bruce Miller — Bruce is only 6’1 1/2, 258. That will turn off some teams. He is a motor guy. Relentless pass rusher. Even moved inside on passing downs as a pass rushing DT. And he had some success in there. Finished his career with 35.5 sacks and 6 FFs so he knows how to seal the deal. Projects to being a rotational player, but the NFL is looking for those guys.

* OT Jah Reid — My favorite RT in college football. There was nothing more fun than to watch UCF run the ball in the 4th Qtr this year when they had a lead. Reid would mash on defenders all game long and that paid off late in games. Reid has legit size at about 6’7, 320. He’s what teams are looking for in a RTl…big, nasty, and a run blocker. I can see the Falcons loving this kid. The question is whether he can be a functional pass blocker.     * LB Brian Rolle — Mystery man. Brian had a terrific final 2 years at Ohio State. He made plays in the backfield. He made tackles from sideline to sideline. He even picked off 3 passes. But…he’s a tad under 5’10 and 230. Is he able to be a starting LB in the NFL with that size? I think he can absolutely play in the right system. Brian lacks ideal size, but he is tough and has excellent instincts. At the least, he could be a very good role player and STer.

* DT Ollie Ogbu — Penn State has had a slew of good D-linemen in recent years. Ogbu is under the radar compared to the others, but I think he has a good chance to succeed in the NFL. He reminds me a bit of Tony Brown of the Titans. Both guys have similar builds (6’1, 300) and don’t mind doing the dirty work. Both are quick enough to be disruptive at times.

* OT Joseph Barksdale — Played LT for LSU and did a solid job. Has legit size at 6’5, 330. Actually moves okay for a guy that big. The problem I had with him in college was that he didn’t play up to his size. He didn’t look dominant in the run game, the way that I thought Reid did at times. Barksdale isn’t such a gifted player that he can be a finesse LT in the NFL. He’s got to develop more of a mean streak.

* TE Virgil Green — The Shrine Game has been good to TEs over the years. Clay Harbor had a good showing last season and pushed himself into the 4th round. Green is athletic and talented. He played in a creative offense at Nevada so Saturday is his chance to show what he can do in a conventional attack. He’s not the biggest guy, but is still a solid blocker.

* SS Shiloh Keo — Big SS at 5’10, 220. Great college player. Returned a punt for a TD. Picked off 11 passes. Had 20 TFLs. Made plays all over the field. How will he handle playing against better competition? Is he athletic enough to handle the passing game of the NFL? Saturday won’t give us definitive answers, but it might help us to figure out how much of a pro prospect Keo is.

* WR Jeff Maehl — Odd guy. I watched him last season and wasn’t impressed. He wasn’t all that fast and was way skinny. Over the summer he bulked up and worked hard. That effort got him to 6’0, 181. Wow, I guess you could say he didn’t win the genetic lottery, huh? Maehl doesn’t look the part at all, but he can play. I doubted him early this year, but after a while realized that he is one of those guys that just knows how to get open. Clutch player. Projects strictly as a #3 or #4 type WR in the NFL. I am interested to see what he does outside the explosive Oregon offense.

* LB Dontay Moch — Pass rushing force at Nevada, but will play a lot of LB in the Shrine Game. At only 6’1, 230 he doesn’t have the build to be a pass rusher in the NFL. Moch won’t look anything like a finished product in the game. I’ll be looking to see if he shows the potential to be a traditional LB. Can he cover? Can he play in space?

* WR Aldrick Robinson — Gifted WR. Averaged 20 yards per catch as a Senior. Most Run ‘n Shoot guys have a lot of catches, but the numbers are low. Robinson was a playmaker. He can be a help to an NFL passing attack. The Shrine Game gives him a chance to show what he can do in a standard offense. Robinson is talented enough to play in any system.

* RB Da’Rel Scott — At times in his career Scott looked like a star RB. Other times he wasn’t as impressive or disappeared. I’m curious to see which guy shows up for the Shrine Game. Scott has the talent to be an NFL RB. He’s got to be more consistent, though.

During the game I will be posting comments on Twitter.  You can follow me @lawlornfl

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