Let’s talk about the E-W Shrine Game.
Vernon Adams is clearly the headliner. He was 6-9-191 with 3 TDs. Suddenly there is a lot of buzz about Adams.
Anyone who watched Oregon this year saw Adams make a ton of plays. The Ducks were 5th in yards and points scored. That didn’t happen by accident. Adams was great for them. The Shrine Game was huge for him because there was no spread offense or up-tempo attack. Adams had to execute well from a base offense.
And that’s exactly what he did.
Adams showed the ability to sit in the pocket, read the defense and make a good throw. He also made plays with his legs, which led to a long TD pass. He threw the ball well, in terms of accuracy and velocity. Great showing by Adams.
The problem is that Adams is a flawed prospect. He only played one year at the FBS level. He was terrific at Eastern Washington, but judging FCS players is harder because of the competition drop-off. Adams is small at 5-11, 195. His hands are only 8 3/4 inches. For the sake of comparison, Russell Wilson was 5-11, 204 coming out of college and had huge hands. Wilson also had a stronger, thicker build. One concern with Adams, because of his size, is durability. He missed time this year with a broken finger and then had to leave the bowl game after a hit to the head. Can he take an NFL beating?
There is no question that Adams has some NFL ability. He is an instinctive player and has a live arm. He can make plays with his feet. He has good field vision and is an accurate downfield passer. He does remind you of Wilson in a lot of ways.
Right now Adams feels like a late round pick. I would loosely project him somewhere around the 5th round. He could develop into a starting NFL QB. There are some who want him to move to RB or WR. I think that’s crazy. Adams is a legit QB prospect. He’s nowhere close to being a sure thing, but there is enough potential there that I would tell him to stick with QB. Assuming he fits your system, Adams is the kind of player I would absolutely roll the dice on him late in the draft.
DE Victor Ochi from Stonybrook had a great game as well. He played RDE and was disruptive all game long. He showed the burst to beat blockers off the ball. He mixed in inside moves, which is important. You don’t want OTs being able to cheat and over-set to the outside every time. Ochi really impressed me with how he used his hands and arms. He got into the blocker so he controlled the battle. That allowed him to go in or out. Ochi showed a great motor as well. That’s crucial for a pass rusher that is only 6-2, 244. He must get bigger and stronger to make it in the NFL, but he’s got serious talent.
QB Nate Sudfeld was erratic, which is how he normally plays. There were some terrific throws he made. You see those, combined with his size and other physical traits, and you think he can be an NFL starter. Then you see him bouncing the ball to WRs to his right side multiple times and you think…what the hell was that? I’m not a big fan of his. Mike Mayock finds him intriguing, but the inconsistency bugs me.
Illinois RB Josh Ferguson had a nice showing. He’s got really good burst.
One CB who impressed was Cre’von LeBlanc from FAU. He did an excellent job of breaking on the ball. That showed good timing, burst and body control. He had 4 INTs and 11 PBUs as a Senior.
Brandon Ross, the RB from Maryland, was a late add to the game. He caught my eye. I didn’t watch much of the Terps this year so I need to go study him. He showed vision and good movement skills.
Wisconsin Safety Mike Caputo picked off 2 passes. On the first, he jumped a route and made a nice pick. He took off for the end zone, but wasn’t fast enough to get in for the score. The second pick came in the end zone and was a tough catch. He showed good awareness and very good hands on those plays. As important as turnovers are in the NFL. finding DBs who can catch the ball is valuable.
Without studying the tape, it did look like Nebraska’s Alex Lewis was the best LT in the game. He has played LG and LT in his career.
The best Canadian player in the game was DL David Onyemata. He is 6-3, 302. Showed some pass rush ability. Might best fit as DE in the 3-4. Needs work, but definitely has some potential.
The biggest negative of the game is that Keenan Reynolds wasn’t able to play. I really wanted to see him at RB and/or WR. Mayock compared him to Julian Edelman, who also was a running QB in college. Interesting thought.