Greetings NFL Draft junkies. Draft season is upon us all and as many of you know, the first major event took place for NFL Draft prospects over the weekend. Talented players from many different conferences came together for a week of practice with the hopes of playing well and impressing scouts at the annual East-West Shrine Game. Every year, players make noise in the Shrine game and move their names up boards. In last year’s Shrine game, standouts included Marvin Austin, Delone Carter, and Tyrod Taylor. All of them were drafted in the 2011 NFL Draft. This year, there were quite a few notable performances and many of the player will find themselves on NFL rosters come April. Let’s take a look at 10 players who made the most noise.
1. B.J. Coleman, QB, Tennessee-Chattanooga
Coleman was not only the most impressive quarterback at the Shrine game, he was my MVP of the game. Desperately needing a good showing following an injury plagued season, Coleman stepped up and performed in a big way. Displaying a nice arm and good decision making, Coleman completed 10 of 15 passes for 170 yards and 1 touchdown. Coleman, a former Tennessee Volunteer, looks to be a very nice developmental prospect. The knock on him is his mechanics and footwork, but if he can master those two things, he has a lot of upside. Thanks to his performance, he probably went from an undrafted grade to a mid-late round grade.
2. Lennon Creer, RB, Louisiana Tech
Creer, another former Tennessee Volunteer, faces an up-hill battle to get drafted thanks to an abnormally strong RB class, but he certainly got the attention of scouts on Saturday. Creer was named the offensive MVP as he ran the ball 15 times for 80 yards and 1 touchdown. Due to a lack of speed, Creer will have to make his living being a short yardage back who helps on special teams, but there is no question that Creer helped himself with his performance at the Shrine game.
3. Austin Davis, QB, Southern Miss
The 2nd of 3 QB’s on this list, Davis played very well with his opportunities in the Shrine game. He completed 7/10 passes for 68 yards and 1 touchdown. He showed good pocket awareness, good accuracy and looked good rolling out of the pocket. There is a question to his arm strength, but overall, he had a nice outing and looks to get drafted somewhere on day 3.
4. Josh Norman, CB, Coastal Carolina
Norman didn’t make much of an impact on the game, but he was reportedly the star of the practices throughout the week. Boasting an NFL frame (6 ft 2, 190 pounds), Norman displayed quickness, good ball skills and was so impressive throughout the week that NFL Network draft analyst declared Josh Norman a top 100 player. Now, Norman didn’t look all that great in the game, but a lot of that can be contributed to the Cover 1/2 defenses they were forced to play all game long.
5. Chase Ford, TE, Miami
Being an athletic TE from the U, Chase Ford has had to deal with Jimmy Graham comparisons throughout the draft process. Ford is not as athletic as Graham but he is certainly catching the eye of scouts just like Graham did. Ford was tough to guard all week and he flashed his potential when he made a big 64 yard grab and run despite taking a big shot on the play. Like many other athletic tight ends, Ford needs major work on his blocking, but he certainly has upside and is worth a look at.
6. Tank Carder, LB, TCU
Carder is a guy that needed a good week after having a disappointing season with the Horned Frogs. He had as good of a week of practice and had a very nice showing in the game. He was all over the field constantly around the ball, made plays on special teams, and was surprisingly effective in pass coverage. Carder is a mid to late round prospect who solidified his draft stock do to his showing at the Shrine game.
7. Kyle Wilber, DE, Wake Forrest
Wilber is undersized to play the 4-3 DE position that he was forced to play at the Shrine game. Coming in at 6 ft 5, 240 pounds, Wilber will probably get his shot as an outside linebacker, a position he played at Wake Forrest. During the game, he flashed pass rush ability and, similar to Tank Carder, was consistently around the football. Wilber made a number of good plays and will definitely be in an NFL training camp come this June.
8. DaJohn Harris, DT, USC
Harris has an NFL frame (6 ft 4, 310 pounds) and comes from a top college program (USC). The problem with Harris is that his play has been inconsistent throughout his career. He has flashed his ability at times and he did it again at the Shrine game. He was solid during the game, got good push and even made an explosive TFL. Harris will have to show teams he can be more then a “once in a while” player if he wants to get drafted in the first 3 rounds. The Shrine game was a good first step.
9. Tyler Hansen, QB, Colorado
Hansen had a very nice showing in the game. The case can be made that Hansen had the 2nd best quarterback performance on the day. He ended the game throwing 12/17 for 144 yards and he also ran 3 times for 18 yards and 2 touchdowns. Hansen made good reads and made some nice throws. If he continue to has a good draft process, he has a chance to be drafted late.
10. Brandon Brooks, G, Miami (OH)
Brooks was one of the players who most helped himself during the week. Displaying a huge 6 ft 5, 343 pounds, Brooks absolutely dominated all week long and finished strongly in the game. He displayed power in his run blocking, good technique in his pass blocking and has a chance to be a day 2 pick thanks to his strong Shrine Game showing.
Lance Lewis, WR, East Carolina
Didn’t help himself a lot during practices, but showed up during the game catching 4 passes for 41 yards. He’s got an NFL body for the WR position (6 ft 3, 209 pounds). If he performs well at his pro day, he has a good chance of being drafetd.
Tauren Poole, RB, Tennessee
Poole had a less then stellar game (5 carries for 17 yards), but he was by far the best running back during the practices. He needs to perform well in his 40, but he definitely will be drafted.
George Bryan, TE, North Carolina State
Bryan is arguably the top blocking TE in the entire draft. He boasts a big frame (6 ft 5, 265 pounds) and shows good strength in his blocking, but at the Shrine game, Bryan also showed some pass catching ability as well. He led the West with 3 catches for 55 yards. He is far from athletic, but if Bryan can show he can consistently help in the pass game, he has a good shot to be drafted.
Jarius Wright, WR, Arkansas
Wright didn’t get a lot of opportunities during the game, only catching 2 passes for 50 yards, but he had nice week of practices. He is an undersized prospect (5 ft 10, 180 pounds) who has potential as a deep threat. He flashed some of that ability during the game and will need to run well at his pro day to improve his draft stock.
Overall, the Shrine game was a success for many players looking to improve their draft stock. Expect many of these names to be on NFL teams this summer. Check back in this week as we bring you all the news and analysis from the Senior Bowl where all the top seniors are getting together to try and improve their draft stocks.
Topics: Austin Davis, B.J. Coleman, Brandon Brooks, Chase Ford, DaJohn Harris, East- West Shrine Game, George Bryan, Jarius Wright, Josh Norman, Kyle Wilber, Lance Lewis, Lennon Creer, NFL Draft, NFL Draft 2012, Tank Carder, Taruen Poole, Tyler Hansen