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 Post subject: EAST-WEST SHRINE GAME NOTES
PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 2:31 pm 
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Monday, January 18, 2010
First practice sets storylines
By Todd McShay
Scouts Inc.

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The first practice as the teams prepared for Saturday's East-West Shrine Game (ESPN2, 3 p.m. ET) was held on Monday. The players were in shorts and helmets and while there was contact, the real hitting won't begin until Tuesday, when the players put the pads on. There were individual and 7-on-7 drills, as well as team sessions and special teams work.
Here are some of the highlights of Day 1:
East Team



As important as the East-West Shrine Game is, it's the preceding week of practices that can send an NFL prospect's stock soaring or plummeting. ESPN Scouts Inc.'s Todd McShay, Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl will be in Orlando, Fla., blogging live from the practices and offering daily reports on who is doing well and who still has some work to do.



• West Virginia QB Jarrett Brown will not be participating in the Shrine Game after receiving a last-minute invitation to next week's Senior Bowl. His absence opened the door for Penn State's Daryll Clark, who got off to a rocky start. He missed the strike zone on a few routine throws and we were also concerned with his drops and ability to reset his feet when forced to go through his progressions.
• Fordham QB John Skelton and Northwestern QB Mike Kafka both had up-and-down days. Skelton was impressive from a physical standpoint and appears to have the strongest arm of the QBs here this week. Like Clark, though, Skelton had a few issues with his accuracy as a few of his throws sailed on him. Kafka, on the other hand, was by far the most accurate East quarterback on Monday and he put great touch on his passes. The concern with him is his drops. Kafka is trying to transition from playing in a shotgun-heavy attack to a pro-style system and his footwork appeared awkward at times.
• Miami RB Javarris James made one of the better runs of the day. He started to the right and drew the linebackers up by pressing the line of scrimmage before cutting back to the left. He also did a nice job of releasing out of the backfield, squaring up to the quarterback over the middle and snatching the ball out of the air.

O'Brien Schofield is moving from DE to LB and while he showed some promise, he's still very raw.
• Wisconsin's O'Brien Schofield is expected to move from end to linebacker in the NFL and he started making the transition this week in practice. Quickness and straight-line speed do not appear to be an issue. He can close quickly in the short area and he ran with TE Andrew Quarless on one play.
On the other hand, Schofield stumbled once when asked to change directions during bag work and looked stiff in space during the team period. In fact, the East coaching staff lined him up on the inside at times. Additionally, he's clearly a raw linebacker. He is taking too shallow of an angle when asked to drop into the flat, he doesn't time his jumps well in coverage and is taking a split-second too long to locate the ball in run defense. It will be interesting to see how he progresses during the week.
• The 2010 draft class is loaded along the defensive front and the 85th annual East-West Shrine Game has benefited with an unusually strong group, especially at defensive end. The top three end prospects -- Greg Hardy (Ole Miss), Willie Young (NC State) and Lindsey Witten (Connecticut) all hail from the East roster.
Hardy is clearly the most naturally gifted of the bunch. He looks the part at 6-foot-5 and 270 pounds with very good athleticism and functional strength. Unfortunately, Hardy comes with so much baggage (injuries, attitude and work ethic) and has so much room for improvement from a technique standpoint that he might not be among the top five players drafted from this year's Shrine game.
Young flashed his athleticism during team drills, using solid double moves to keep offensive tackles guessing. He is smooth and has a long frame, but Young needs to show more explosiveness during practice this week. If he's going to be a legitimate contributor in the NFL, he should dominate this level of competition.
Witten is the most fluid and athletic of the East defensive linemen. He's also the leanest of the group, though. Witten, who ranked ninth nationally with 11.5 sacks this season, should have a strong showing during one-on-one pass-rushing drills but it will be interesting to see how he holds up physically at the point of attack versus the run. We also want to see how he does as a pass-rusher. Is he able to use his long arms and quick hands to disengage or will he get overpowered?
• There are a few intriguing midround defensive tackles worth watching this week. Granted, the players were practicing in shells, but Purdue DT Mike Neal stood out with one of the quickest first steps of the group. Neal is a bit undersized by most teams' standards, but he will fit well as a three-technique in a Tampa 2 type scheme (Colts, Bears, etc.).
• Virginia DT Nate Collins also showed a quick first step and the ability to disrupt plays in the backfield. He turned in a monster senior season in 2009, which included 10.5 tackles for loss and six sacks. However, he's even smaller than Neal and will struggle to be more than a sub-package player at the next level.
• West Virginia WR Alric Arnett turned in a solid day's work. We were impressed with his quick release and burst off the line of scrimmage. He also showed he can catch balls thrown outside of his frame, but he is a bit tight in the hips and isn't as fluid getting in and out of breaks as we'd like.
• One of the most underrated receivers in attendance is Michigan State WR Blair White. While he isn't the fastest receiver on the field, he makes up for it with sudden route running. White also did a nice job of working back to the quarterback and catching the ball away from his frame.
• Clemson CB Chris Chancellor opened a few eyes on Monday. He appeared smooth in his backpedal and flashed the ability to break on routes. In addition, he displayed adequate ball-skills throughout the afternoon. Chancellor did a good job of sticking with Buffalo WR Naaman Roosevelt on a go route before turning, locating, and high pointing an underthrown ball for an interception during the 7-on-7 portion of practice. He also appeared comfortable and smooth fielding punts during the special teams period.
• While one Chancellor appeared at home in the secondary, another one did not. S Kam Chancellor has a high-cut build and struggles to change directions quickly. He was late breaking on the ball on several occasions when lining up in a center fielder-type role during the 7-on-7s. Chancellor may be better suited to add a few pounds to his 6-4, 230-pound frame and make the transition to outside linebacker.
• Pittsburgh TE Nate Byham isn't exploding out of his breaks, but he's making crisp cuts and getting his head snapped around in time to locate the ball. He's also extending his arms and snatching the ball out of the air instead of allowing it to get to his frame. It comes as no surprise as he shows all the necessary skills to develop into a productive short-to-intermediate receiver when you watch him on film.
West Team

• Keenan McCardell, a former WR who played in the NFL for 16 years, could be seen working with the West's receiving corps during the special teams period of Monday's practice. Washington drafted McCardell in the 12th round of the 1991 draft and he lasted that long because he didn't have elite size or speed. Still, he emerged as one of the best No. 2 receivers in the league thanks in large part to his route running. In other words, you would be hard pressed to find a better mentor/coach for West wide receiver prospects Seyi Ajirotutu (Fresno State), Verran Tucker (Cal), David Reed (Utah) and Emmanuel Sanders (SMU). They paid close attention as McCardell showed them how to get a clean release off the line of scrimmage and set up their breaks.
Of that group of receivers, Sanders created the biggest buzz. He is explosive off the line and tempos his routes well. He consistently separated from coverage during 7-on-7 and team periods. In addition, he displayed strong hands catching the ball away from his frame. Sanders is a bit undersized but he has the burst and ball skills to develop into an effective slot receiver.
• CBs Devin Ross (Arizona) and Brian Jackson (Oklahoma) both had good first days. Ross is well-built, smooth changing directions and closes quickly. His quickness showed up during 7-on-7 and team periods, where he did a nice job of anticipating routes and limiting separation. There is a lot to like about Jackson, too. He runs well for his size (6-2, 205 pounds) and does a nice job of playing the ball.
• BYU TE Dennis Pitta wasted little time in showing why he has the potential to quickly develop into a productive receiver at the NFL level. He used his hands to get a clean release off the line, showed above-average burst, caught the ball in stride and looked smooth turning upfield after the catch during the team period.
• Lonyae Miller's decision to attend the Senior Bowl next week created a roster spot for North Dakota State RB Pat Paschall. The FCS prospect didn't look like a small fish in a big pond. He ran downhill and showed great burst through the hole. Look for his draft stock to rise if he continues to run hard once the pads go on and shows teams he can contribute as a receiver.
• Kansas WR Kerry Meier looks every bit of his 220 pounds and is providing the West quarterbacks with a big strike zone. Meier's experience as a former quarterback was evident throughout the practice and he did a nice job of finding seams in zone looks in particular. He lacks elite speed and explosiveness, but he has the makings of an adequate possession receiver.
• BYU QB Max Hall headlines the crop of West quarterbacks and turned in a solid first day. He is accurate when he throws in rhythm and has an above-average sense of timing. It comes as no surprise that he hooked up with former teammate Pitta on a corner route during the team period. He did a nice job of anticipating Pitta's break and allowed him to catch the ball in stride. Hall appears to lack ideal overall arm strength, which brings up concerns about his ability to push the ball downfield.
• While Hall got off to a strong start, the same can't be said for Kansas QB Todd Reesing. There is a lot to like about Reesing's competitive attitude and ability to create outside of the pocket, but he did little to quiet concerns about his ability to be an effective pocket passer at the next level. First and foremost, Reesing isn't tall enough to scan the field from within the pocket and he struggled to see over the offensive line during the team period of practice. Similar to Hall, he lacks ideal arm strength and it too showed up during the team period.
• At 229 pounds, Oregon State's Keaton Kristick lacks prototypical size for an NFL outside linebacker. It will be interesting to see how well he holds his ground against the run when they put the pads on, but he did a nice job of setting the edge working against 260-pound TE Nathan Overbay during the team period on Monday. He delivered a strong punch and kept Overbay off his frame by extending his arms. Creating this separation also helped him locate the ball.
• Stanford OT Chris Marinelli is not a great athlete but he is technically sound and gets the most out of his physical tools. He takes very good angles as a run blocker and does a good job of setting his hands in pass protection. Marinelli could emerge as a pleasant surprise for a team that takes a chance on him in the later rounds.
Todd McShay is the director of college football scouting for Scouts Inc. He has been evaluating prospects for the NFL draft since 1998. Scouts Inc.'s Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl contributed to this report.

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 Post subject: Re: EAST-WEST SHRINE GAME NOTES
PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 3:54 pm 
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S Kam Chancellor has a high-cut build and struggles to change directions quickly. He was late breaking on the ball on several occasions when lining up in a center fielder-type role during the 7-on-7s. Chancellor may be better suited to add a few pounds to his 6-4, 230-pound frame and make the transition to outside linebacker.


He's gonna HAVE to switch to SS (or OLB), but OLB is probably too extreme. Put him in the box more so, with a little less centerfield responsibilities, and he'll be fine. VT should have left him at SS, but they liked his uniqueness in that, he was a FS that also had slot receiver responsibilities. Less subbing on 3rd downs.

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 Post subject: Re: EAST-WEST SHRINE GAME NOTES
PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 5:33 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: EAST-WEST SHRINE GAME NOTES
PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:33 pm 
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Updated: January 19, 2010, 4:14 PM ET
East-West Shrine Game running blog
Players make their mark in practices and Scouts Inc. is updating all the latest news

By Scouts Inc.
ESPN.com
Archive
ORLANDO, Fla. -- NFL scouts and coaches have come to watch prospects practice this week in preparation of the East-West Shrine Game. ESPN Scouts Inc.'s Todd McShay, Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl are on hand and will keep you up to date with all the latest big hits, big plays and track who is making the NFL scouts talk. Keep refreshing this page to get all the latest from Tuesday's practices.

West Team Practice
That's a wrap
They called it a little early today, so that's the end of the practices for today. We'll be back blogging from Wednesday's practice.
Only injury could slow down Tucker
Cal WR Verran Tucker is having an outstanding practice. He is showing great burst off the line and was probably in the lead to be the day's best receiver before pulling up while tracking a deep ball. They're working on him now and we'll see what happens from here.

Big time rush
Missouri DL Jaron Baston looked impressive rushing the passer. He's using his hands well and did a nice rip move to get inside of Texas A&M guard Michael Shumard.

Life on the edge
Rough 1-on-1 period for Cal OL Mike Tepper. He lacked lateral movement and hand placement while protecting on the edge.

Strong showing
Stanford OL Chris Marinelli is showing good technique in the drills. He's not the strongest guy, but he's showing good technique that's allowing him to succeed.

Coming up big
UNLV DT Martin Tevaseu had a good day in the drills. He is a squatty guy who has a really thick build. The 6-2, 340-pounder was tough to get movement on and anchors well. While he doesn't have elite foot quickness, he has enough quickness to make plays. He uses his hands well and right now he is really tough to block. He's a two-game guy worth keeping an eye on.

Question answered
We were wondering about UCLA DL Earl Mitchell before practice started about whether or not his build would correlate to being able to set a good anchor. We got our answer during drills and it's an emphatic yes. He plays with good leverage, a strong lower body and explodes off the ball. He is good using his hands and disruptive. He's not too big at 290 pounds, but he can hold his own in a one-gap scheme and that big lower body definitely correlates to a strong anchor and allows him to be disruptive.

Short-term memory
UCLA CB Alterraun Verner is battling today. After getting beat to the inside on a slant route that was completed, he came back on the next rep and jumped an out route and made an interception. That's the kind of confidence you want to see in a cornerback that he comes back that strong after making a bad play.

They've seen this before at Eastern Washington
Eastern Washington QB Matt Nichols showed off his big arm today. He's putting good zip on the ball and also shows a nice touch on the deep ball. He just hit former teammate TE Nathan Overbay on a seam route down the middle of the field for what would have been a TD in a game.

Tips during warmups
Kennan McCardell, a 16-year NFL vet, was talking to the receivers during warmups and telling them that they can't play in the league if they get jammed by outside linebackers. He also gave a tip that they should scratch shoulder pads on crossing routes.

My name is Earl
Watching the West team warm up, we're intrigued by the thick build on Arizona's Earl Mitchell. It will interesting to see if it correlates with the 6-2, 290-pound D-lineman's ability to anchor during practice.

Players to watch in the West
As the West team starts to take the field, we'll be keeping an eye on BYU QB Max Hall and North Dakota State RB Pat Paschall.

The big question is can Hall overcome his physical limitations. His accuracy, game management and leadership all stand out in this setting and the coaches will love it, but the questions about his questions about his size (6-feet) and arm strength will linger until he proves himself.

Paschall was a last-minute add and had a strong first day and didn't appear overwhelmed by the step up in competition. The big question now is how he fares with pads on and can he continue the momentum from a good first day.

East Team Practice
That's a wrap
The horn just sounded to end the East team's practice. The West team is scheduled to take the field at 2:30 p.m. ET so check back for updates on who's doing well and who's struggling that that practice.
Checking back with Arnett
Alric Arnett continues to impress today. He got behind South Carolina DB Darian Stewart, but QB John Skelton overthrew him. But the good thing about this is it showed Arnett has the ability to stretch the field.

Good news and bad news for Kafka
QB Mike Kafka is looking good in the pocket, which is a good thing considering he played in a shotgun-set at Northwestern. He's looking poised in the pocket and he's moving around well. One concern of ours that showed up again today is his arm strength. The ball does not explode off his hand and there's not enough velocity on his downfield passes.

Something's not quite right
Penn State's Andrew Quarless might be the most physically gifted tight end here -- and that's including BYU's Dennis Pitta -- but he looks annoyed that he's having to practice. He's not dogging it or anything, but there's no extra effort, the attention to detail kind of wanes and you see it in his play and technique. Something's missing with him. He's just too good physically. If he paid attention to detail and worked like Pitta, he could come off the board in the first two rounds.

Rock you like a Hurricane
It's only been less than two practices, but Miami RB Javarris James is standing out so far. He's showing good patience as a runner. They're using a zone-blocking scheme here and he's waiting for the hole to develop and when it does, he shows the ability to plant quickly drive up the field. That will allow him to be a contributor in a zone-blocking scheme like, say, the Texans, Eagles, Vikings, etc., run. He's also catching the ball well and seems like the crafty veteran of this group and doing the right things. It's not a deep running back class this year and while James was never an elite player -- he shared carried and had durability issues as well -- he'll wind up going in the fourth or fifth round and has a chance to stick.

Schofield's learning curve
It's been interesting watching Wisconsin's O'Brien Schofield. He's switching from DE to LB this week -- and it's a traditional LB, not just a pass rusher -- so we give him credit because he's flying around, mixing it up and showing he's very coachable. Players come here to showcase their skills, but he's learning on the job and it must be a very frustrating experience. He could have probably come here, played end, rushed the passer but we wouldn't have learned anything about him. One of this defensive coaches here, Richie Solomon, who coached in the NFL at Minnesota and Arizona, has been working with Schofield and it's been like watching a high school coaching clinic. One play, Solomon will talk to him about the depths of his drops, and you'll see Schofield really working on that, but while doing that he turns his head and loses the QB. So then Solomon tells him good depth, but you can't lose vision of the QB. So Schofield will do that, but then he loses leverage on the flat route and comes too far in the middle, allowing the QB to dump it off to a back who gains seven yards instead of two. So then Solomon will mention that and on and on it goes. Every play he's learning something new but the coaches and scouts get that and in the end, we think it will end up being a positive for him.

We'll take McLaughlin any time
Boston College LB Mike McLaughlin is a bad ass. He can play on our team any time, any day in whatever we're playing. It's been only a practice and a half, but he's clearly the emotional leader of the East defense. He's limited physically and may never be a starter in the league, but he's the type of guy who makes a team better. The more guys like him you have on the back end of your roster makes your team better.

Bad day for Buckeyes
In the same 1-on-1 drills where Rodger Saffold shined, two Ohio State players struggled. OL Jim Cordle was very slow off the ball, heavy footed and lacked the initial quickness off the ball needed to make the block. Against Virginia's Nate Collins, he didn't get out of his stance quick enough, had his head down and Collins exploded out, used his hands and beat Cordle to the side. After that, Cordle did suffer a lower leg injury, but it appeared to be minor.

DT Doug Worthington lacked explosion and pop off the ball. He's kind of a one-speed guy and not changing it up. He's high out of his stance as well. We'll look for more from him during the team period.

Saffold shines in 1-on-1s
Watching 1-on-1 pass rush drills and Indiana OL Rodger Saffold stole the show. He showed great feet and stoned LSU's Rahim Alem twice, the second time putting him on the ground. On Alem's first try, he tried a spin move on Saffold, but Saffold showed nimble feet and recovered to stay in front of Alem. On a later turn, Saffold kept in front of Ole Miss' Greg Hardy off the edge. Hardy showed good explosion and pop off the end, but Saffold did a good job of shuffling his feet, mirroring and staying in front of Hardy.

All Arnett
Practice is about half-way through and West Virginia WR Alric Arnett is looking like the best receiver on the East team. We love the way he's catching the football, both in terms of focus and hands. He's snatching the ball out of the air and doing a good job of looking it in before heading up the field. He's the most impressive receiver on this team so far.

Settle down
Fordam QB John Skelton clearly has the arm and size (6-5, 245 pounds) to play in the league, but he is pressing today. He's missing his marks way too often and part of the problem is at the top of his drop, he's not doing a good job of setting his back foot and exploding off of it. He's trying to guide the ball too much instead of just throwing it.

Dropping anchor
UCF's Torell Troup and Virginia's Nate Collins anchored well and were disruptive on the defensive line during the team run period. On the flip side, Tennessee offensive lineman Chris Scott appeared slow and stiff in space.

So far, so good
Daryll Clark appears to be much more comfortable in the early part of this practice. He is throwing with better confidence and accuracy. He did overthrew 6-10 Army TE Ali Villanueva once, but so far he has looked much more confident and comfortable today. Now he just needs to keep it going.

Players to watch
Two guys we're watching early today for the East: Wisconsin's O'Brien Schofield and Penn State's Daryll Clark.

Schofield is moving from end to linebacker and there were concerns about his coverage skills, his depth in the drops and the football. Be interesting to see if he makes progress today.

Clark was a late add to the roster and needs to bounce back from tough first day. He needs to settle in and overcome the nerves that seemingly got him yesterday. He's an emotional player. But he needs to play well this week and take advantage of the opportunity he has here.

Let's get it on
Yesterday was a nice little warmup with players in shorts and helmets, but today the pads come on and everything just amped up a little bit. In other words, this is the real deal.

The players got after it a little yesterday, but everything will be a little more physical. We're looking to watch the offensive line vs. the defensive line during team periods. It will be good to see the running backs against the linebackers in pass coverage. You don't see a lot of that from film, so it will be good to see how the backs react in live situations. Also, last year at the Senior Bowl, the USC linebackers stood out by really getting after it in those drills.

Bottom line is expect everyone to be a little more physical and a little more aggressive.

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 Post subject: Re: EAST-WEST SHRINE GAME NOTES
PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:35 pm 
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Originally Published: January 19, 2010
Good days, bad days
The second day of practice went well for some, but others really struggled

By Todd McShay
Scouts Inc.

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Tuesday's practice was the first in full pads as the teams prepare for Saturday's East-West Shrine Game (ESPN2, 3 p.m. ET). Here's a quick look at players who had good days, and players who had bad days. And remember, this is just one day out of the whole week, so one day does not make or break a prospect.

East Team: Good Days
EAST-WEST SHRINE GAME
As important as the East-West Shrine Game is, it's the preceding week of practices that can send an NFL prospect's stock soaring or plummeting. ESPN Scouts Inc.'s Todd McShay, Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl will be in Orlando, Fla., blogging live from the practices and offering daily reports on who is doing well and who still has some work to do.

Scouts Inc. also will blog live during Saturday's game, which will begin at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

RB Javarris James, Miami
James lacks elite physical tools. He's not going to be a home run threat in the NFL, nor is he going to be a team's bell-cow back. Despite all that, James is quickly proving to be the most versatile and instinctive back on the East roster -- and perhaps for both teams. He shows very good patience in allowing his blocks to develop during inside-run drills. He reads the zone-blocking scheme well and displays good burst when a crease opens, as he quickly plants and fires up the field. James has also impressed with his natural route running skills and soft hands as a receiver during passing drills. In a somewhat thin crop of running backs this year, James has a chance to come off the board as early as the fourth round, where he will get a legitimate chance to earn a roster spot as a versatile contributing reserve.
S/OLB Kam Chancellor, Virginia Tech Chancellor is a striker at the point of attack. Any doubts, just listen. When it was his turn during one-on-one tackling drills, you heard the difference. But he didn't just hit there. He later leveled 212-pound Tulane RB Andre Anderson down the right sideline during the team portion of practice. Concerns about Chancellor's ability to hold up in back-end coverage have some thinking the 230-pounder might be a better fit at outside linebacker than safety, so it's important that he continue to play physical and show teams he can hold his own in the box.

DT Mike Neal, Purdue
Neal is separating himself from the rest of the defensive tackles here. He continues to impress with his quickness and was constantly disrupting plays in the backfield today. Neal's ability to play with leverage and control blockers with his hands also jumps out. Neal isn't massive by any means (6-2, 298), but he can anchor enough to hold his own in a one-gap scheme.

East Team: Bad Days
QB John Skelton, Fordham
You can't coach Skelton's size and strong arm. Those two physical features are the reasons why the Fordham quarterback was invited to Orlando and they're the reasons why he will likely hear his name called during the upcoming NFL draft. However, to say Skelton is a developmental project is a sizable understatement. Skelton's footwork is a mess. Instead of setting his back foot, standing tall in the pocket, driving off the back leg and striding toward the intended target, Skelton rushes at the top of his set and winds up throwing off-balance far too often. The result is an erratic passer who simply cannot contribute in the NFL without improvement in this department. If Skelton is to overcome the odds as a late-round pick, he must be paired with a good quarterbacks coach and be willing to put in the time necessary to retool his mechanics.

WR Naaman Roosevelt, Buffalo
Roosevelt admittedly showed that he can extend his arms and catch the ball away from his frame, but he also had a pass bounce right off his hands. More importantly, he looked like a one-speed receiver who lacks the burst to consistently separate from coverage at the NFL level.

OL Jim Cordle Ohio State
Cordle had a practice to forget this afternoon and the concerns we had after breaking down his film are resurfacing. For starters, he is too slow getting out of his stance and is heavy footed. Virginia DT Nate Collins used his superior initial quickness to beat him to the point of attack and quickly slip by him during one-on-ones. There are also questions concerning Cordle's ability to anchor. Central Florida DT Torell Troup drove him back later in the same period and Cordle's legs buckled underneath him. Cordle injured his leg in the process and we will update you on his status as we learn more information.

West Practice: Good Days

WR David Reed, Utah
No other receiver has helped his stock as much as Reed so far. He made a big impression early when he caught a pass over the middle, was leveled by Oregon State OLB Keaton Kristick, held on to the ball and popped up off the ground. He continued to play well, showing great suddenness in his routes and attacking the ball with his hands instead of letting it to get to his frame.
TE Dennis Pitta, BYU
Pitta could emerge as the top player drafted from this year's East-West Shrine Game. He is a bit lean, has room to improve as a blocker and lacks elite top-end speed. Still, his separation skills as a route runner are uncanny and he is a vacuum when the ball is in the air. There will be a handful of tight ends at the combine who look better than Pitta at the weigh-in, run faster than Pitta in the 40-yard dash and jump higher than Pitta in the vertical. But the team willing to ignore the measurables and take a chance on the Pitta in the late-second to early-third round range will eventually be rewarded.

DT Earl Mitchell, Arizona
Mitchell impressed us even before practice began, as we couldn't help but notice his thick lower body. That lower-body strength, coupled with his low pad level, made it difficult to move him off the ball. He also displayed a strong punch and used his hands to wade through trash while working down the line of scrimmage. Mitchell is still developing as a pass-rusher and it showed during one-on-ones. He made a quick initial club move on Texas Tech OG Brandon Carter, but failed to drive through, allowing Carter to recover.

West Team: Bad Days
RB Pat Paschall, North Dakota State
Paschall is an intriguing small-school prospect with good quickness and overall athleticism. Unfortunately, his weaknesses overshadowed his strengths during practice on Tuesday. First off, he dances behind the line of scrimmage too much and even though he got away with it a couple of times, Paschall needs to be a more decisive runner in order to contribute in the NFL. Secondly, head coach Marty Schottenheimer scolded Paschall for carrying the ball in the wrong arm (left) when he bounced a run to the right sideline. He must learn the importance of ball security in order to survive at the next level. Finally, Paschall got into a bit of a verbal disagreement with one of the West's assistant coaches during the team session. Someone needs to remind Paschall that he's auditioning for the scouts, coaches and front-office members who are lining the boundary of the field each day at practice.

QB Matt Nichols, Eastern Washington
We blogged about Nichols' above-average arm strength and the touch he put on his deeper passes during one-on-one drills for the receivers and tight ends earlier in the practice. Unfortunately for Nichols, he didn't fare as well during the team period. He threw consecutive interceptions and didn't make sound decisions or reads under pressure.

OT Chris Marinelli, Stanford
While there is a lot to like about his long arms, active hands and overall technique, it's his lack of athleticism that jumped out at us today. Marinelli isn't moving well laterally in pass protection and Kansas State DE Jeff Fitzgerald beat him around the corner on consecutive attempts during one-on-ones. He also had a difficult time staying low and getting under defenders during inside run and team periods. On a more positive note, he is listening to offensive line coach Ray Brown and learning from his mistakes.

Todd McShay is the director of college football scouting for Scouts Inc. He has been evaluating prospects for the NFL draft since 1998. Scouts Inc.'s Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl contributed to this report.

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 Post subject: Re: EAST-WEST SHRINE GAME NOTES
PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:36 pm 
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Originally Published: January 20, 2010
East-West Shrine Game running blog
Players make their mark in practices and Scouts Inc. is updating all the latest news

By Scouts Inc.
ESPN.com

ORLANDO, Fla. -- NFL scouts and coaches have come to watch prospects practice this week in preparation of the East-West Shrine Game. ESPN Scouts Inc.'s Todd McShay, Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl are on hand and will keep you up to date with all the latest big hits, big plays and track who is making the NFL scouts talk. Keep refreshing this page to get all the latest from Wednesday's practices.

West Team
Calling it a day The West team just blew the horn to wrap up Day 3 of practice. We'll be back here for Thursday's practice, which starts at 10:30 a.m. ET.
Comeback kid
For a guy who didn't look very good in the first two days of practice, Cal OL Mike Tepper has bounced back nicely and is having a good practice today. He was a little sluggish getting in and out of bag work, but he was far better coming off the ball in 1-on-1 run drill and team duties. He also did a nice job of kicking out and setting the edge in 1-on-1 pass protection.

Coach's pets
Kennan McCardell, a 16-year NFL veteran whose coaching the WRs this week, apparently has taken a liking to Utah's David Reed and SMU's Emmanuel Sanders. Both Reed (6-feet, 190 pounds) and Samuel (6-feet, 183 pounds) are smaller receivers, like McCardell was when he played. He's been giving them little tips like using their elbows to push off a bit instead of sticking their arms out where the ref could see it. He's showing them how to get off the ball, and off coverage, little things that smaller receivers can do to be successful.

And one other note, as good as Reed was yesterday is how good Samuel is playing today. They are stealing the show here. Both guys are quick and both have good hands, but Samuel is the quicker of the two, while Reed has the better, stronger hands.

Wall puts coaching tips to use
Texas Tech DB Jamar Wall has been working with defensive backs coach Marlon McCree and it's paying off. McCree is working with him on his feet and when to open up out of his backpedal. One play showed the work is paying off. Wall did a good job on on a receiver who tried to run a hitch-and-go route. Wall stayed with the receiver, read the QB's eye and felt the WR gearing down, before he took back off upfield and Wall was able to open up, stay with him every step and batted the ball down. He has good instincts.

High praise
Hawaii C John Estes did an excellent job of resetting his hands and his feet during 1-on-1s. How good was it? So good that offensive line coach Ray Brown stopped and told the group that he loved Estes' hands.

Added value
OL Marshall Newhouse lined up at tackle at TCU, but they had him pulling some today. He was a little out of control but he showed enough range to get outside of the line and he sealed the end. The positive is he showed it's something he can do. He needs a little more experience but in a situation like this, it's good to show versatility.

Running game
Arizona State RB Dimitri Nance looks very sluggish is bag drills. His feet look slow, he's taking choppy steps and it looks like he's pulling a wagon on his runs. There's no burst and he looks like a one-speed back. He's not having a good practice.

But speaking of running plays (yes, it's a reach, but work with us), Colorado TE Riar Geer is showing good technique blocking. He's staying engaged in his run blocking and doing a good job.

Looking at the linebackers
Oregon State LB Keaton Kristick has a big motor and is looking to hit anyone, anytime. He's limited in space, but he shows great ability to close and always plays with great effort.

UNLV LB Jason Beauchamp lacks a little on the instinct front. He is a bit late filling downhill. By not filling in time, he's making the tackle 4- or 5-yards downfield.

Getting defensive
Arizona DL Earl Mitchell was one of the top D-linemen in yesterday's practice and he continues to impress today. While most of the D-linemen did well in 1-on-1s, what set Mitchell apart was he doesn't just anchor, he drives through the offensive lineman. He's not looking for a stalemate. No, he keeps pumping his thick legs and just goes through people.

Another DL -- BYU's Jan Jorgensen -- showed good, violent hands and a nice inside lean during bag work.

Quick hitters
Cal WR Verran Tucker, who suffered an injury yesterday, is not practicing today. ... Arizona State LB Dexter Davis looks stiff in space.

Good and bad
Cal OT Mike Tepper looked sluggish during position drills as he struggled with the lateral movements. He did show nice range getting outside on a screen pass in team drills, though.

Close, but no flag
Colorado State OT Cole Pemberton did a nice job of locking out Kansas State DT Jeff Fitzgerald. Pemberton better be careful with his hands though and keep them inside the DE because he could have been flagged for holding there. We like his upper body strength and ability to lock on the defender, but he has to watch his hands.

Warming up
The West team is on the field and getting ready to start practice. Here are a few guys we're watching today:

• BYU QB Max Hall: He needs to show something. The third practice is usually when the most team drills are done and this is where he needs to excel.

• Kansas DB Darrell Stuckey: He got exposed some in individual drills, which we expected. But he's another one who can make up some ground during the team drills.

• Cal WR Verran Tucker: He pulled up with what looked like a hamstring injury, so we'll see if he's back on the field today.

• Utah WR David Reed: Just can't get enough of him and want to see if he keeps up his great play

East Team
Calling it a day
The East team is calling it a day a little early today. They're huddled around the coaches and getting some final words.
He's a gamer
We've talked all week about how slow, or how exposed in 1-on-1s Bowling Green WR Freddie Barnes has been, but in game settings or the two-minute drills he's been finding ways to get open. He's showing good instincts and catching the ball in traffic. Not sure if it's enough to overcome his physical weaknesses, but take him out of individual drills and look at him in game settings, you see how he was able to be as productive as he was in college.

Mixed reviews
West Virginia WR Alric Arnett is the only receiver on this whole roster who can drive a DB off the ball. He's good at running guys off, or the quick slants and quick and angled routes, but he takes forever to gear down on a comeback route, out route, and those types of routes. He also loses his footing sometimes on those kind of routes.

Chuch makes some noise
Toledo DB Barry Church closes pretty well for his size. He's a little limited in terms of deep coverage but he closes and closes under control. He takes good angles and of all the DBs, he seemed to rethink the quickest and get to the ball consistently faster than any other of the corners.

One trick Tiger
LSU DL Rahim Alem is playing with a really good motor and he just beat Indiana OL Rodger Saffold with a power-to-speed move, which is when he uses a punch to knock the lineman off balance, then shoots past him. The problem with Alem is that he doesn't have great size (6-3, 260) and doesn't have the athletic ability to move to OLB. We've seen him in space already and get got caught flat-footed. Plus, he's a very one dimensional pass rusher. It's that power-to-speed move. If he doesn't not the guy off with that initial punch, he's not getting past him.

On a side note, while Saffold might have lost that one play to Alem, he's having another great practice and is one of the top linemen here.

Hi, my name is ...
There's a new defensive back on the field today. Pittsburgh's Aaron Berry is out here today and it's never easy to join in the middle of the week. Early look at Berry is that he is a quick athlete, but his instincts are questionable right now.

Nice play
South Florida DB Kion Wilson displayed good instincts and recognition skills and made a nice pass breakup during the 7-on-7s.

Good battle
A quick hitter from 1-on-1s, Clemson OL Thomas Austin was working against Ohio State's Doug Worthington in what was a nice battle. Worthington got the initial surge as he was quicker off the ball and got under Austin, but Austin reset his feet, anchored and didn't allow Worthington to get past him. It was an impressive recovery.

Collision course
Boston College LB Mike McLaughlin continues to play with high energy. He just goes all out every play. He is fearless in taking on blocks. For example, the offense ran a counter and just busted into Georgia Tech OL Cord Howard in a collision that could be heard throughout the field. He took space in the hole and helped keep the run to a minimum gain. He didn't win the battle, but he sealed the hole to keep it to a small gain, which is good enough.

Getting better all the time
Wisconsin's O'Brien Schofield is looking more and more comfortable as he transitions to linebacker. He's still developing, obviously, but during inside run periods he was the SAM linebacker and lined up over the tight end and his natural feel for the edge showed. He used his hands well and it's obvious he's still more comfortable on the line than off it, but he's getting better. He's playing with more confidence now. He's still a bit hesitant but things are becoming more and more natural for him. It will be interesting to watch him during the 7-on-7s to watch his angles, his drops, the depth he gets and his leverage.

James' stock keeps rising
Miami RB Javarris James continues to impress. During inside run drill, he is doing a good job of reading blocks. He finds a hole, makes a quick burst and gets upfield. He has a natural feel for cutbacks, it was evident in one run where he cut back to the outside for what would have been a nice game. He has been very impressive in terms of vision and quickness.

No drive
Virginia Tech OL Sergio Render is a tough player and more of a mauler than a pass blocker, so he really needs to excel as a run blocker to make up for that deficiency. But he had a tough inside run period. He didn't drive his legs though the blocks and as a result he spent a lot of time on the ground. He had a tough time moving Ohio State DL Doug Worthington off the ball.

Use your hands
Our pre-practice concerns are showing up early in practice as Michigan State WR Blair White's hands are already an issue. During position drills, he ran a post route, stumbled, fell, got up and while he still had time to make the catch, but he let the ball get to his chest, tried to trap it and couldn't secure it and it fell to the ground. A couple of reps later, he had a ball go right off his hands.

Smooth operators
Clemson LB Kavell Conner and Middle Tennessee State's Chris McCoy look smooth during bag work today.

Injury update
Ohio State OL Jim Cordle, who hurt his leg during 1-on-1s yesterday, is back on the field today and going through drills.

Warming up
Today is another day of hitting and the players will try to separate themselves from the pack a little today. While we wait for the East team to finish stretching and break into drills, here are a few guys we're watching as we wait for the East team to finish stretching.

• West Virginia WR Alric Arnett took a big step forward yesterday and has a chance to really improve his stock if he continues to play well.

• Michigan State WR Blair White is having a strong week, but one big concern with him is body catching. He doesn't drop balls, but he's trapping a lot of them against his body. We'd like to see him snatch the ball away from his frame today.

• Toledo DB Barry Church is have an average week. He hasn't done anything bad, but he hasn't done anything great either. We'd like to see him make some plays on the ball today.

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 Post subject: Re: EAST-WEST SHRINE GAME NOTES
PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:37 pm 
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Originally Published: January 20, 2010
Sanders steals the show in Day 3
SMU wideout shines and sends stock soaring, while others struggle in Day 3 practice

By Todd McShay
Scouts Inc.

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Wednesday's practice was again in full pads as the teams prepare for Saturday's East-West Shrine Game (ESPN2, 3 p.m. ET). Here's a quick look at players who had good days, and players who had bad days. And remember, this is just one day out of the whole week, so one day does not make or break a prospect.

East Team: Good Days
EAST-WEST SHRINE GAME
As important as the East-West Shrine Game is, it's the preceding week of practices that can send an NFL prospect's stock soaring or plummeting. ESPN Scouts Inc.'s Todd McShay, Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl will be in Orlando, Fla., blogging live from the practices and offering daily reports on who is doing well and who still has some work to do.

Scouts Inc. also will blog live during Saturday's game, which will begin at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

FB Richard Dickson, LSU
At 6-foot-3, 244 pounds, Dickson doesn't have the prototypical size to move to tight end, but he could do a lot in an H-back/FB role. He has good, not great, point of attack skills so while he doesn't explode through a hole, he shows good technique, keeps his legs under him and keeps them moving and shows good balance. He would be a solid blocker but where he'd help a team is in the passing game. He has soft, natural hands and caught the ball away from his frame during warm-ups, drills and team spots. For example, he caught a screen and showed some elusiveness by making a guy miss for a 15-yard gain. While Dickson doesn't excel in any one area, but he has enough versatility to contribute in a number of ways. He is worthy of late-round consideration.
DB Barry Church, Toledo
Church spent a lot of time today in deep middle zone coverage and that centerfielder role played to his strengths. We know his weaknesses, that he has stiffness in his hips which creates problems any time he has to change directions or track the ball or receiver, but today showed the things he does really well like reading the QB's eyes, reading his keys and protecting himself. He was reacting quicker than most of the other players in coverage on the East defense. He might not run a great 40 time, but for a 215-pound safety, he closes pretty well. It's not great closing speed, but he's quick enough to make up some ground when the ball is in the air. Another thing he does well is he fills hard in run support, but he's under control when he does it. He takes good angles and is breaking down as he approaches the running back rather than just flying in there, throwing a shoulder and lunging, which a lot of college safeties tend to do. He's among the top three DBs in this game.


DT Nate Collins, Virginia
Although undersized (6-2, 285), Collins continues to impress with his explosiveness. For example, on back-to-back plays against Rutgers OT Kevin Haslam and Iowa OT Kyle Calloway, he was so quick they couldn't block him. In the drill, they were supposed to block down on Collins and push in inside, but he was so explosive off the ball and got upfield so quickly, neither guy could stop him. We did see him get knocked down to the ground once during team period, but he was consistently disrupting plays in the backfield otherwise. He's making it very difficult for the bigger tackles to get into his frame. From a technique standpoint, one way he masks his lack of anchor is by really sinking his hips and exploding out of his stance. Picture someone getting ready to do a standing broad jump, how they get in that crouch and that's kind of what Collins is doing and it's paying off.
East Team: Bad Days
RB Andre Anderson, Tulane
Anderson was kind of underwhelming today. He never had a burst through the hole and seemed like a one-speed guy. He had problems during inside run periods really seeing the hole and was late hitting it at times. He needs to show more patience. He also struggled catching the ball in drills with a few drops. One was on a throw behind him, but he needs to make plays like that to show he can contribute in the passing game.

OL Sergio Render, Virginia Tech
We blogged about it earlier, but Render is way too much of a leaner. He does not do a good enough job of rolling his hips at the point of attack and driving his legs. He could be seen on the ground several times during the run period because he doesn't seem to have a true center of gravity and loses his balance. During team drills, he continued to lunge and ducked his head, which made him extremely vulnerable to push-pull moves from a defender (just like it sounds, the D-lineman will push the lineman, then pull him and throw him to the ground). The other big concern we have about Render is that he has yet to show he's very athletic. We didn't see it on film and haven't seen it here yet and he'll have a tough time adjusting to blocking moving targets downfield as well as redirecting in pass protection.

WR Blair White, Michigan State
He's a classic overachiever who started out as a walk-on, worked his way up to starter and was one of most productive receivers in the Big Ten this year. We love toughness, he's real instinctive and he finds a way to catch the ball in traffic almost every time. But I think his habit of catching the ball with his body will catch up to him in the NFL. He shows the ability to pluck the ball away from his frame, but he just doesn't do it very often. On shorter routes especially he is always trying to catch the ball off his pads or his body. For guy who has to do everything the right way in order to have a chance to make it in the NFL, that's a habit he's going to have to break in a hurry.

West Team: Good Days

WR Emmanuel Sanders, SMU
As good as Utah's David Reed was yesterday was how good Sanders was today. The West team really focused on one-on-ones today and he was great in his routes. He's a little undersized (6-foot, 183 pounds), but he worked with receivers coach Keenan McCardell -- who was in the NFL for 16 years despite being just 6-1, 191 pounds -- and it paid off. McCardell taught him little things about how to get off press coverage using his elbows and not extending the arms, which a referee would see. He worked with him on double moves off the line, or dipping the shoulder coming through. Sanders has the right set of tools -- quick feet, good change of direction skills -- to apply the coaching right to his game. It wouldn't surprise us in the least if Sanders and Reed both turn into pretty good No. 3 WRs in the NFL working in the slot.
DL Martin Tevaseu, UNLV
Hard to believe the 6-2, 340-pound Tevaseu could go unnoticed, but he was being overshadowed by some other players until today. He's stout against the run and does a good job of extending his arms and getting a good push. On inside run period, he got underneath Washington State OL Kenny Alfred and walked him 3 yards backward. He is raw as a pass-rusher, but he can collapse the pocket. He's a little too big right now and he'll need to lose a few pounds or conditioning will be an issue, but he has the tools to be an excellent 2-gap defender.

TE Riar Geer, Colorado
Geer has flown a little under the radar, but he had a good practice on Wednesday. He isn't the most gifted athlete and lacks an extra gear to create separation, but he runs good routes, manages to create some separation and catches the ball naturally and easily away from his frame. While he isn't a road grader as a run blocker, he does display a quick first step, gets in good initial position and does a good job staying engaged and keeping his hands inside. He showed the ability to hook the edge on outside runs and transition to block defenders on the second level.

West Team: Bad Days
DB Darrell Stuckey, Kansas
Stuckey took a lot of false steps in coverage and against play-action today. He's always peeking, always biting -- he's like a gullible little brother who you can always trick and get out of position. Yes, he's big, ripped, tough against the run and can come up and make a big hit, but all that gets erased by all the negative plays he gives up. He really struggled in the one-on-ones and while defensive backs coach Marlon McCree was trying and trying to work with him, it just didn't seem like it was getting through.
OL Chris Marinelli, Stanford
We talked about Marinelli having a down practice on Tuesday, and he did not redeem himself on Wednesday. He works hard from snap to whistle, but he didn't get any kind of movement as a run-blocker during one-on-ones or team period. Even worse, he couldn't get the job done in the pass-blocking one-on-ones. The big issue is that he gives up far too much ground, to the point where the coaches told him he has to take surrender out of his game. It was a bad day where Marinelli had trouble with both speed and power rushers.

LB Dexter Davis, Arizona State
At 6-2, 245 pounds, Davis is undersized for an end so he'd have to prove he could play in space as a linebacker and that didn't work out very well for him on Wednesday. He just didn't look natural. He was very stiff in space and he struggled with any sudden change of direction. For example, in the first team period, he went to corral North Dakota State RB Patrick Paschall on the outside, but Paschall cut back inside and Davis was unable to recover, lost his balance and nearly fell to the ground. He also struggled in man coverage. His lack of size and his struggles to play in space could send him falling into the later rounds of the draft.

Todd McShay is the director of college football scouting for Scouts Inc. He has been evaluating prospects for the NFL draft since 1998. Scouts Inc.'s Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl contributed to this report.

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 Post subject: Re: EAST-WEST SHRINE GAME NOTES
PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:39 pm 
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Originally Published: January 21, 2010
East-West Shrine Game running blog
Players make their mark in practices and Scouts Inc. is updating all the latest news

By Scouts Inc.
ESPN.com

ORLANDO, Fla. -- NFL scouts and coaches have come to watch prospects practice this week in preparation of the East-West Shrine Game. ESPN Scouts Inc.'s Todd McShay, Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl are on hand and will keep you up to date with all the latest big hits, big plays and track who is making the NFL scouts talk. Keep refreshing this page to get all the latest from Thursday's practices.

West Team
All-Thursday team
This is the list of players who are playing hard when no one else is around. The number of scouts are down, it's Day 4, the fatigue is setting in, but these guys are still going hard. Oregon DB T.J. Ward
Oregon State LB Keaton Kristick
Arizona DB Devin Ross
Colorado State OL Shelley Smith
SMU WR Emmanuel Sanders
Purdue OL Mike Neal
Boston College LB Mike McLaughlin
LSU DL Rahim Alem
Virginia Tech DB Kam Chancellor
Coaches: Keenan McCardell and Marlon McCree
That's a wrap
The practice is over and we'll be back to blog from Saturday's game (ESPN2, 3 p.m. ET)

Hands team
BYU DL Jan Jorgensen did an excellent job of slapping down Cal OL Mike Tepper's hand and ripping up through Tepper's left arm on his way to the QB. On the other side, Colorado State OL Shelley Smith is having a good practice, but he has to watch his hand placement. He went a little too far outside on a play and that's the kind of thing that can get called for holding.

D-linemen shine
Missouri DT Jaron Baston is showing good quickness off the ball and showing really active hands. He's getting into the offensive linemen. Another D-lineman making some noise is K-State Jeff Fitzgerald, who is making plays on the edge and getting his hands up and blocking passes.

Something's Bruin
UCLA CB Alterraun Verner just made a great instinctive play when he jumped a slant route for an interception. He's had some trouble with double moves and his recovery skills, but this is exactly the type of play that we love to see from him. He showed his positive traits on that play.

Read and react
Baylor LB Joe Pawelek is showing good effort, but we question his recognition skills. Sometimes, he's a little late picking things up or shoots to the wrong gap. When you have limitations athletically, you have to be great in every other area. He's good, but not sure he's instinctive enough to overcome what he lacks athletically.

Head's up
A little side note -- earlier Texas K Hunter Lawrence was kicking and he nailed the camera man, who's on top of a riser, right in the lip. It drew laughs from many on the field. Don't think the camera man laughed.

Rain man
The rain is really coming down now and BYU Max Hall's struggles are continuing. He is having some troubles gripping the ball and he's really missing on some throws.

Battle royale
A great head-to-head matchup was Colorado State OG Shelley Smith going against UNLV DL Martin Tevaseu. They played like they were still in full pads and were really getting after it. Every time, they fired off at each other, got good fits and just battled to a stalemate. It was fun to see the fire there.

Blown away
The wind is really picking up here as storm clouds are rolling in and it's beginning to have an effect on some players. BYU QB Max Hall is struggling with his accuracy now. He never had the strongest arm so it's making him work a little harder to get the ball where he wants it to go.

Nothing gets by him BYU TE Dennis Pitta continues to impress and he is just a vacuum in the red zone, bringing in everything thrown his way. He's dominating the red zone drill and will be an excellent red zone target at the next level.

Playmakers
Fresno State WR Seyi Ajirotutu is making plays in the red zone drill with two TD catches, including one time going over UCLA DB Verran Tucker in the back of the end zone and getting his feet down for the TD.

Route running 101
Colorado TE Riar Greer is doing well on his route running and showing good burst but what he needs to work on is working in underneath zone coverage. He ran a sit down route and didn't give his QB a good lane to throw. He went outside when he needed to be inside. Just needs to be better at giving throwing lanes and finding open windows.

Injury note
The trainers are working on Texas A&M OL Michael Shumard. We don't know what is wrong but if we find out, we'll pass it along.

Rip it good
They are practice rip moves on the defensive line with the bags where the goal is for the defender to slap the bag, rip though and then bend around the end on the next bag. Arizona DL Earl Mitchell is doing a good job of getting a hard slap and ripping through, but he's not doing as good bending around the corner. Missouri DT Jaron Baston, on the other hand, is doing good at bending the corner, and is getting a decent slap, but he's not bringing his arm through on the rip move.

Ram tough
Colorado State OL Cole Pemberton does a good job of using his long arms and locking defenders out during pass protection. He also moved well laterally on a zone running play. play. The concern about him is at 6-7, he has a hard time staying low. That's important because it creates leverage on run blocking and helps balance when pass blocking.

One more thought
Bottom line is we want to see guys who want to be here right now. That's what separates half the players in the NFL -- the ones who want to be there and are willing to do whatever it takes to succeed. It's Day 4 here and some fatigue might be setting in, but you'll be able to tell the players who want to be here.

Warming up
The West team is on the field stretching, but here a few guys we'll be watching:

North Dakota State RB Pat Paschall. He's had an up-and-down week and just want to see a little more from him. He's showed good quickness, but want to see him make some plays.

Stanford OL Chris Marinelli. He had a tough day yesterday and there will be plenty of drills where he can show that was a fluke.

Oregon State LB Keaton Kristick. He's had a solid week, but today's drills will really give him a chance to prove himself.

East Team
Calling it a day
The horn sounded and the East team is done for the day.
Another good play from Hardy
Ole Miss DE Greg Hardy just ran over Rodger Saffold in 1-on-1 pass rushing drills and just put him on his back on the way to the QB. In fairness, Saffold bounced back on the next play and had another good practice, but it's just another indication of just how good Hardy is and can be.

Skelton drills
Fordham QB John Skelton is still a little inaccurate, still a little lazy at times with his feet, but there is no question about his arm. It's just unreal. His arm is intriguing, his size (6-5, 245 pounds) is intriguing and the size of his hands and the way the ball comes out is intriguing, but his footwork is very lazy. It's going to take a lot of hands-on coaching to fix some of the mechanical problems. But then he does something like he just did in a passing drill where he zips the ball in a very tight window and it makes you look at him again. He just has a rifle for an arm and can get it in tight windows that not every QB can hit.

Not to pick on him ...
... and we're not trying to be mean here, but Virginia Tech CB Steve Virgil just got beat on a double move for a TD again. That's four times. Amazing.

Safety dance
Like we were hoping he would before practice started, Clemson S Kam Chancellor continues to show up on the back end of coverage. He did a good job of anticipating and broke up a slant route against Colgate WR Patrick Simonds. He also had an interception in the red zone 7-on-7s.

Don't bite on the fake
Virginia Tech CB Steve Virgil is a little overaggressive here at times and is getting beat on double moves. Seen it time and time again. First time, he was beaten by West Virginia WR Alric Arnett on a post-corner, where Virgil bit on the post route and got tuned inside out when Arnett went to the corner and caught an easy TD. Then Buffalo's Naaman Roosevelt burned him on a Sluggo route (a slant-and-up route). Virgil bit on the slant and Roosevelt went behind him for another TD.

In fact, he just got beat on another double move that went for a TD as we're entering this.

Something special
The East team did a little special teams work with Penn State P Jeremy Boone getting a few nice kicks off. It's a little windy today, but he was still able to get some nice punts off with decent hang time.

No rhythm
Penn State QB Daryll Clark has struggled with his accuracy during drills. He's not doing a good job of throwing with rhythm when hitting his back foot.

The fire inside
It hasn't been the best week for Ole Miss DL Greg Hardy, but we saw something positive right now. The D-linemen were doing a drill where they would line up against blockers who would do various blocking schemes (blocking down, double team, etc.) to see how the D-linemen would react and Hardy struggled to recognize the different schemes. Six different times he took false steps, or didn't use his hands, or didn't redirect once he got in the backfield.

But here's the thing, while he struggled, the good thing was he was listening to the coaching and taking the instruction and applying it. He showed a little fire in his belly, which is something we haven't seen. He should be dominating the competition, but at least we finally saw a little fire come out and it was good to see the passion.

Nice catch
Michigan State WR Blair White made a nice catch snagging the ball at the highest point on a fade route. It was just in a drill with no DBs, but for a guy who has been trapping the ball way too much here, it was worth noting how he used his hands here.

Quick off the blocks
Purdue DT Mike Neal is showing very good first step quickness during bag drills. He's been lining up next to LSU DE Rahim Alem and beat Alem off the line three straight times. That's saying a little something since Alem is a DE while Neal is a DT. Neal is having a very strong week.

Starting early
Players are out early today and it's a but of a different look today with the players not in full pads, instead they're in shorts, shoulder pads and helmets. That means the contact level will decrease some in an effort to keep the players healthy. They're backing off a little to make sure the players stay healthy. The last thing anyone wants to see is an injury that could hurt a prospect's chances at the NFL. But make no mistake about it, these workouts are still important and coaches and scouts are still watching.

A couple players to watch in today's practice:

Rutgers OL Kevin Haslam: We want to see his hands and his feet, where he puts hands and how strong his punch is. It's been an average week so far and a good day here today would leave a good impression.

Virginia Tech S Kam Chancellor: He's had a good week and is really helping his stock here. We'll be looking to see how he is on the back end in coverage.

Fordham QB John Skelton: You want to like him because of his size and arm strength, but he has questionable mechanics that always makes you pause. We want to see him put together one good practice and take some momentum into the game on Saturday.

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 Post subject: Re: EAST-WEST SHRINE GAME NOTES
PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:40 pm 
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Originally Published: January 21, 2010
Schofield on the move
The switch from DE to LB hasn't been easy, but the Wisconsin star is making it work

By Todd McShay
Scouts Inc.

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Thursday's practice was a little less contact and players were in just shorts, shoulder pads and helmets as the teams prepare for Saturday's East-West Shrine Game (ESPN2, 3 p.m. ET). Here's a quick look at players who had good days, and players who had bad days. And remember, this is just one day out of the whole week, so one day does not make or break a prospect.

East Team: Good Days

LB O'Brien Schofield, Wisconsin
We've talked all week about Schofield's transition from end to linebacker here and it looks like he's getting more and more comfortable in the new position. He's reacting and just playing now instead of needing that split second to think about what he's supposed to be doing. He has good, quick feet. Maybe the quickest feet on anyone here and that will help him. Give him lots of credit for hanging in there in what had to be a frustrating week at times and for getting better and better as the week went on. Coaches have to be looking at this and thinking they saw the worst part of his game but he continued to work and get better and better and ultimately he has a chance to be the best linebacker from this group.
DE Lindsey Witten, Connecticut
Witten had a solid week of practice, but today's good showing leaves a favorable impression in scouts' minds. He showed active hands and good upper-body strength during team run period. He also showed a little bit of a mean streak when he got double-teamed and fought through it nicely. He used his quickness around the edge and his active hands to victimize Rutgers OL Kevin Haslam during one-on-one pass rush drills. There are concerns about his ability to anchor in the run game, but he showed quickness and is tougher than his size (6-foot-4, 251 pounds) might suggest.

WR Naaman Roosevelt, Buffalo
Roosevelt has struggled this week, but he caught our attention today with his performance. He showed good double moves and decent straight-line speed and burst. He struggles when asked to drop his weight and cut, but he did a nice job on things like slants, slant-and-gos and skinny post routes. He tracked the ball well today and did a nice job of setting up defenders. He let the ball come to his chest a few times too many and still needs to work on his transition in his breaks, but he had a much better day today.

East Team: Bad Days
OL Kevin Haslam, Rutgers
Haslam had an average week of practice and did not have a great day today. During inside run periods, we saw him catching defensive ends instead of exploding into them. He also has a bad habit of turning his hip and hip tossing defenders. The rest of practice did not go well, either. He really had a hard time during one-on-one pass rush drills. Would have liked to see him end on a strong note here, but he struggled today.

DB Stephan Virgil, Virginia Tech
There's a lot to like about Virgil's game -- his toughness, his intensity, and despite the fact he's not the biggest guy (5-10, 190 pounds), he will come up and make a big hit -- but today exposed his man-to-man coverage skills. Specifically, he was very vulnerable to double moves and he struggled to open up his hips and recover. His recovery speed is also a little bit of a question and he had problems turning and finding the football. There was a lot of red zone work and several times today he surrendered touchdowns on double moves. His lack of coverage skills makes him a better fit in a Cover 2 scheme.

LB Chris McCoy, Middle Tennessee State
McCoy was a late addition to the roster and he's taken advantage of the opportunity with a good week of practice. He's shown good balance, done a nice job with his hands and arms and is strong at the point of attack, but when you watch and compare him with some of the other linebackers, he shows a little more stiffness and not as much lateral quickness as you'd like to see. He also had trouble adjusting to coaching. Three different times a position coach worked with him on something, but then he wouldn't apply it in the next drill. Be it bags, or coverage, or working on angles, a coach would tell him something but he wouldn't put it in play the next time. He's an off-the-radar player to watch with potential, but there are concerns about him that came out today.

West Team: Good Days

QB Matt Nichols, Eastern Washington
Despite the wind and rain, Nichols had a good day. He's a big player (6-3, 220 pounds) and he was throwing the ball well in the rain and wind and keeping the nose of the ball down. But the thing that really stuck out was how he looked in the two-minute drill at the end of practice. We liked his composure, decision making and how he took what the defense gave him. He had a good internal clock in the pocket as well. He would go through his progressions, but didn't bail off them too soon. He would feel the rush and know when to step up or slide and when to deliver the ball. He was quiet most of the week, but he caught our eye today and it will be interesting to see if he can carry this over to Saturday's game.
C John Estes, Hawaii
Estes used his quick feet to get into position, delivered a strong punch and locked on so he could sustain his blocks during team period. We were also impressed with the range he showed, getting downfield to throw blocks on screens or runs.

TE Nathan Overbay, Eastern Washington
Despite being 6-5, 260, he could get a little bigger and stronger, and he's never going to be more than a short- to intermediate-receiver, but he grows on you. He gives good effort as a run blocker, has great concentration as a pass catcher and caught a post corner over shoulder, which isn't easy to do. So every time you look at him he's doing something you like. In sloppy conditions today, he went down, secured a catch and popped back up and started running which a lot of college guys don't instinctively do.

West Team: Bad Days
OL Marshall Newhouse, TCU
While we like his versatility, he's too slow off the ball and catches defenders instead of exploding into them. He's a leaner, more than he's a driver and if they were in full pads today you would have seen him on the ground more. He appears to be caring too much weight (320 pounds) in this point and needs to get in to better shape.
QB Max Hall, BYU
He had a tough practice dealing with the weather. It was windy first, then the rain fell and you could tell it played a factor with his accuracy. Also, the concerns about his arm strength really showed in the bad weather. He really struggled to grip the football in the rain. He had to keep two hands on it and was almost pushing the ball instead of throwing it. Another problem was he was a bit antsy in his drops, especially at the top of his drops and didn't always have great balance.

RB Keith Toston, Oklahoma State
Early in the week, he was shooting out of his stance, had great initial burst and it just looked like he's worn down in the course of four days. The one thing he does well is get up the field and if there's a crease, hit it. But today it looked like he lost his burst through the hole. He's also not a natural pass catcher. He flashes, but the longer you study him, the more question you have about him.

Todd McShay is the director of college football scouting for Scouts Inc. He has been evaluating prospects for the NFL draft since 1998. Scouts Inc.'s Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl contributed to this report.

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 Post subject: Re: EAST-WEST SHRINE GAME NOTES
PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 6:14 pm 
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Quote:
Miami RB Javarris James


I met his dad this past fall at the VT v Miami game in Blacksburg. All the VT fans were giving him hell at halftime for the thrashing, but I could just tell he was "someones" dad. Plus Miami fans and Blacksburg weather don't mix, so they kinda stick out. I introduced myself since he was getting so much s***, and he tells me Mr. James (aka, Javarris' dad, Edgerrin's uncle). I prob spoke to him for 10 mins, and he spoke of how JJ was going to lean on Edgerrin for help in transitioning to the league. JJames is prob comparable to Glen Coffee from last year, dependable, just not that explosive. I'll root for him either way just cause of his dad though.

Quote:
Virginia Tech S Kam Chancellor: He's had a good week and is really helping his stock here. We'll be looking to see how he is on the back end in coverage.


:D

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