22 January 2012

2012 East West Shrine Game

Draft season is officially underway, the 87th annual East-West Shrine was played on Saturday (21 January 2012), and even though its not as popular as next weeks Senior Bowl, the Shrine game did have 43 players drafted in the NFL Draft from last years roster. It really doesn't matter who wins and loses, we just want to scout the prospects for the 2012 NFL Draft, so I'll get right to it.

Pictured above, DT Akiem Hicks is an interesting prospect. He was originally a JC transfer to LSU, but had some eligibilty issues so he ended up playing in Canada (Regina Rams). Hicks is massive at 6' 4" 324 pounds, but carries his weight extremely well. He looked very explosive, if he can get in better shape he has a shot to make an NFL roster.

East QB B. J. Coleman (Chattanooga) looked spectacular in the game. Even though the West beat the east 24-17, Coleman led a 4th quarter drive that was going well until he ran out of time. Coleman has a quick release, very strong arm and was extremely accurate in the game. He (Coleman) began his career in 2007 with the Tennessee Volunteers. He couldn't crack the starting lineup at Tennessee right away so he transferred to Chattanooga. The only concern is that he's been a little inconsistent this past season where he only completed 58% of his passes.

Probably the best player in the game was Michigan State WR B. J. Cunningham. He (Cunningham) scored a first quarter TD where he caught the ball on a nice come back route and then spun around and broke a tackle. Cunningham isn't a speed burner, but he has nice size (6' 2" 220 lbs). He is also the leading receiver in Michigan State history where he recorded 1,306 receiving yards and 12 TDs.

The other QB that looked good was Colorado QB Tyler Hansen. Hanson has a decent arm, nice vision and can run the ball very effectively. He helped the West win the game with a rushing TD and he also went 12 for 17 and 144 yards. He looked comfortable behind center and he has a quick drop back and release. Probably an undrafted free agent, but he has potential.

Miami (Fl) TE Chase Ford (6' 5" 245 lbs), isn't real fast, but he can catch anything thrown his way. He caught a very nice pass over the middle between two defenders. If he can block and play special teams, he has a chance at the next level.

RB Alfred Morris, Florida Atlantic (5' 11" 222 lbs) ran the ball well and helped the West run the ball effectively. Morris has very thick legs, he reminds me of the 1970s Dallas Cowboys Running Back Robert Newhouse. He broke a lot of tackles during the game and last season he recorded 1,186 yards and 9 TDs.

Probably the top offensive lineman in this game was Colorado OG Ryan Miller. He (Miller) has excellent size (6' 7" 306 lbs) and mobility. He looked really good pulling and blocking downfield on a sweep. He could be a late round steal in the 2012 NFL Draft.

An offensive lineman that looked good all week and during the game was Miami (Oh) OG Brandon Brooks. He is a road grader type with excellent size (6' 4" 325 lbs). He opened up some nice holes for the West running backs. Probably an undrafted  free agent type, but he has the size to play in the NFL.

A pair of Inside Linebackers (ILBlooked very good. Jerry Franklin from Arkansas looked very solid fighting off blockers and getting to the ball carrier. He has decent size (6' 1" 244 lbs) and could be a late round steal. ILB Tank Carder from TCU also displayed nice range and has NFL speed. Carder is more of a finesse player and not real big (6' 2" 236 lbs), but again, he's fast and is a good tackler.

There were a couple cornerbacks that stood out during the game: Iowa CB Shaun Prater and North Carolina CB Charles Brown. Prater (5' 11" 182 lbs) might be a late round steal. He was around the ball all afternoon and broke up a couple passes. Brown (5' 9" 196 lbs) also broke up a few passes, not real tall, but he (Brown) has thick legs and quick feet.

OLB Kyle Wilber from Wake Forest looked excellent during the East-West Shrine game. He rushes the passer very well and has the size (6' 4" 240 lbs) to play outside linebacker (OLB) in a 3-4 defense at the next level. Wilber recorded 70 tackles and 3.5 sacks last season.

OLB/DE Juilan Miller from West Virginia is another impressive player that is suited to play OLB in a 3-4 defense. He is relentless rushing the passer and is fast and tall (6" 3" 259 lbs).

ILB Najee Goode from West Virginia is a little small (6' 1" 239 lbs) but he made an excellent play reading and stuffing a screen.

A couple receivers that really stood out in the game was Miami (Fl) WR LaRon Byrd and Illinois WR A. J. Jenkins. Byrd has really nice size at 6' 4" 220 pounds and caught a nice slant for a TD right before halftime. Jenkins isn't near as big (6' 0" 190 lbs), but he runs excellent routes and is quick in and out of his breaks. He was extremely productive last year for Illinois where he caught 90 pass for 1,276 yards and 8 TDs.

Last but not least is another Miami (Fl) product. Defensive Tackle DT Micanor Regis is quite a specimen at 6' 2" 305. Regis is very athletic and has the athletic ability to move out and play end in a 3-4 defense.