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Full Day 1 Practice Report From East-West Shrine (1 Viewer)


East-West Shrine Game Report: Day 1 PracticeBy Marc Faletti(Gridiron Giant) and Sigmund BloomThe first day of practice at the East-West Shrine Game fills players with anxiety and anticipation. Dozens of NFL scouts crowd around the field studying every cut, every block, every drop, and big bucks can be made or lost on a single play. Few of the new arrivals have ever been on the field with one another, and no one can rely on team chemistry or coaching tricks to mask his shortcomings. Seeing so many NFL eyes on them for the first time and working with a brand new roster of teammates can be a shock to the players. As such, it provides the rawest exposure to their abilities. This is also the first chance for scouts to get up close and personal, and eyeing which teams talk to which players first might reveal a bit about their draft priorities. All in all, the experience is a draftnik’s dream come true.Stars of the DayJonathan Orr, WR, Wisconsin, 6’3”, 190lbs.The stud of practice. Orr caught every ball in every drill, including contact drills in which coaches grabbed, hugged, slapped, and pulled on him and/or the ball. At one point, a coach who couldn’t strip him clapped his hands and shouted, “Ooooh! Strong hands on this one, boy!” He faked out the best CB in the Shine Game, Maryland’s Gerrick McPherson, with a sick hip swivel, and caught a ball he could’ve taken to the house. With his size and skills, it’s no stretch to consider him a raw version of Chad Johnson. He may wind up in or near the first round now. If you don’t believe us, ask the line of scouts waiting to talk to him after the practice.De’Arrius Howard, RB, Arkansas, 6’0”, 236lbs.Howard couldn’t hold onto the starting gig at Arkansas, but we have no idea why. A bull in a china shop with a powerful burst through the hole, Howard broke almost every run into the 2nd and 3rd level of the defense. No other RB performed remotely as well between the tackles. He would’ve had at least 3 breakaway TDs if they didn’t whistle plays dead to save time. A 5th rounder on Howard would be money well spent by an NFL team, and if he’s on the board later in your rookie draft, he might pay Dom Davis-like dividends for your fantasy squad. Brandon Williams, WR, Wisconsin, 5’11”, 175lbs.Who knew Wisconsin was such a WR factory? Maybe they should’ve opened up the offense some, huh? Of course, if Williams is 5’11”, Michael Jackson is all natural. He’s closer to Steve Smith size, but that’s not the only thing they share. Williams made a number of tough catches, including one on which he got blown up over the middle by Army’s Dhyan Tarver. He was by far the most explosive WR during cutting drills, too. He’s shifty, quick, and strong for a small guy. We didn’t see any reason he can’t make a major impact soon in the NFL. Other StandoutsBruce Gradkowski, QB, Toledo, 6’2”, 222lbs.He came out firing up his teammates right away, showed nice touch on intermediate routes to TEs, and threw 2 great deep balls maximizing the WR “catching cylinder.” Scouts were surprised by his arm strength, which was solid enough to play in the league. The Charlie Frye comparisons aren’t unjustified.Tim Day, TE, Oregon, 6’4”, 265lbs.Looking for a TE sleeper? Look no further. Possibly an early second day pick because of some blocking issues, Day showed soft hands and fluid moves, particularly upfield after the catch. Dontrell Moore, RB, New Mexico, 5’10”, 211lbs.Moore got back on the field this season less than a year after tearing his ACL, and we saw no signs of injury. In fact, he was running almost every play out to the endzone, as if to show the scouts his endurance isn’t an issue. He was slippery and found a few holes on instinct alone. Leon Washington, RB, Florida State, 5’9”, 202lbs.Washington reported to FSU out of shape this season and didn’t make the impact many expected, but he was in perfect NFL shape at the practice. He’s a tad small to be an every-down back but has a compact build and super-soft hands. He made a number great catch-and-cuts during 11-on11s. He also made great friends with the other skill players and seems like a great teammate. Figure him to make an impact like Chris Perry for a team lucky enough to steal him in the 2nd or 3rd round. Mixed Results (Or Worse)Drew Olsen, QB, UCLA, 6’3”, 225lbs.Apparently some reports showed scouts being pleased with Olsen, but unless he had Manute Bol running routes for him, we were unimpressed. Almost every throw sailed on him, he panicked in the pocket more than once, and he couldn’t wait to check down for a 2-yard gain. Maybe we were looking elsewhere on every single one of his decent plays, but we would avoid Olsen like the plague until we see more from him this week.Tavaris Jackson, QB, Alabama State, 6’3”, 221lbs.We’re greatly amused by the idea of Drew Olsen being listed as bigger than Jackson, who was clearly the most imposing QB on the field from a physical standpoint. He was thick with a big arm and a deep cadence – he could play a great QB in a movie. And Jackson made quality throws with a lot of zip to the outside in drills (some almost hit us in the face, so we know). During the game situations, however, he had real accuracy issues and seldom connected with anyone across the line of scrimmage. He also seemed to be taking some basic direction on how to take a snap from center, which might prevent him from seeing an NFL field anytime soon. He has the measurables, though, that’s for sure.Wali Lundy, RB, Virginia, 5’10”, 214lbs.His disappointed at VA and here at the Shrine Game practice, too. Had a good lower body but lacked suddenness of any kind. A lot of people will look for him to be a RB sleeper, but after this practice we’d be looking elsewhere. Taurean Henderson, RB, Texas Tech, 5’10”, 205lbs.We were both excited to see Henderson against top notch talent, and he showed a lot of shimmy and shake in open space, but he wasn’t so hot between the tackles. We see him as a brilliant change of pace back who could see every third down from the moment he’s in the league, but we don’t see feature potential yet.NFL Interests – East TeamThe Browns might have had the most telling conversation: they spent the entire post-practice time with massive South Carolina OT Jabari Levey, and we think it might have been GM Phil Savage, though we can’t confirm that. Another scout spent some time with Tavaris Jackson. The Chiefs talked to Northwestern QB Brett Basanez even before practice started. They went to short, speedy Western Mich. WR Greg Jennings right after practice.The Cowboys sprinted right for big, slightly slow WR Marques Colston (more on him from Wednesday’s practice).The Eagles has a scout with Orr and Williams highlighted on his sheet. He spent a lot of time with Brandon Williams after practice. Another scout talked to massive, butt-kicking, trash-talking Auburn NT Tommy Jackson. We think the world of that guy (more Wednesday).The Ravens spent a lot of time studying the WRs in practice. They talked to Orr for a very long time afterwards. We’re guessing they hope he lasts to their 2nd round pick.The Panthers talked to Basanez and Brandon Williams.NFL Interests – West TeamThe Bears went right for Trent Bray, a solid LB prospect from Oregon State who was overshadowed by Justin London from UCLA.The Browns also went for another lineman, Texas Tech’s EJ Whitley. The Browns ran down a standard checklist of items they were asking him.The Chargers talked to 6’1” Oregon WR Mike Hass, who displayed a very solid, fundamental game but didn’t break out like the Wisconsin guys. They also spent time with Dontrell Moore, who would fit in nicely behind LT.The Chiefs talked to big ol’ Cal OT Aaron Merz right away, though he didn’t distinguish himself much in practice.The Eagles kept their focus on the WRs by talking to Colorado State’ David Anderson, who got a little testy with coaches after he dropped a ball “trying it their way” but was pretty productive despite bad QB play from the West squad.The Jaguars were spotted with tiny-yet-active DE Chris Gocong from Cal Poly. He’s barely over 250lbs, but some scouts think he has the moves to rush on 3rd downs.The Jets were the only team we saw talking to one of the big secrets at the game, DB Danieal Manning from Abilene Christian. Originally a Nebraska guy, we’ll talk more about this rising star soon.The Panthers went right for Joe Toledo, the Washington OT whose injury issues have been a concern but otherwise shows the potential to dominate at the next level. For a team with a thin line, he could be the answer in the 3rd or if he slips to the 4th, which we doubt. They also talked guite a bit to short, stocky Nebraske RB Cory Ross. Ross might be as short as 5’6”, but he was low and powerful, kept his legs moving, and caught a few nice passes. The Patriots made a quick move to talk to the other LB prospect from Oregon State, Keith Ellison. They scurried away quickly, too, maybe hoping no one saw them talking?The Ravens talked to USC’s FB David Kirtman, a great pass-catcher who could have a long NFL career. After that, they moved onto Kirtman’s college teammate, DB Justin Wyatt.

Fantastic read, guys. One correction: Mike Hass (WR) is an Oregon State guy, not an U of Oregon guy.Thanks for the hard work!

Thanks for the bumps, fellas. We focused on the offensive skill players for fantasy purposes, but we are happy to answer more questions for folks on any D guys we saw, as well.Kinda scary that all the FBGs know my real name. Guess I better not peeve anyone off... :boxing:

Thanks for the bumps, fellas. We focused on the offensive skill players for fantasy purposes, but we are happy to answer more questions for folks on any D guys we saw, as well.

Kinda scary that all the FBGs know my real name. Guess I better not peeve anyone off... :boxing:
Just don't overturn any obvious interceptions and your windows are safe. :football: :P
No further questions from me. I am waiting for the next report though. Could you hurry it up already!? Great work. :thumbup: Wait. I read in another report that Todd Watkins, WR, BYU was looking very good. "Impossible to cover," was the quote at Scout.com or NFLDraftScout. Thoughts?

No further questions from me. I am waiting for the next report though. Could you hurry it up already!?

Great work. :thumbup:

Wait. I read in another report that Todd Watkins, WR, BYU was looking very good. "Impossible to cover," was the quote at Scout.com or NFLDraftScout. Thoughts?
Watkins showed me great adjustments to jumpballs, and his hands improved from monday to wednesday - not letting the ball get to his body. He and Orr look like very similar prospects. I have drank the Orr kool aid, but i understand if people got on watkins bandwagon on wednesday. Orr was showing his sick skills to get in position to get near impossible catches, but not bringing them down. Watkins for the most part, was, but i thought his athleticism was a little less impressive.one less set of eyes on wednesday (gig couldnt get off work), so less insight and coverage, but i hope to get my notes written up tonite.

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Thoughts on Charlie Peprah? He's suppose to be very underrated.
Honestly he just looked small to me, especially for a safety. I dont remember seeing him make any standout plays of either the :eek: that was great or :X that was terrible variety, but i was watching the WRs more than the Dbs on those drills.
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