East-West Shrine Game 2013 practice report: Branden Smith, Brandon McGree among those impressing this week

Alfie Crow (SB Nation)

Could a small corner make a big impact in this post-season showcase? That and other notes from Wednesday's practice.

Just three days away from the 2013 East-West Shrine Game, Wednesday practices concluded with more names making headlines with their improved or impressive play. SBNaton's Alfie Crow is among those on the scene and here are a few notes from his Wednesday practice report:

- On South Carolina DE Devin Taylor:

The first thing you notice with Taylor is he's enormous at 6'8" and almost 270 pounds. He was once "the guy" at end for South Carolina, but kind of fell through the wayside.

- Alfie was also impressed by the switch to WR by Army quarterback Trent Steelman:

He was quick in and out of his cuts and showed no fear catching the ball over the middle. Steelman did a surprisingly good job catching the football with his hands as well.

- There is also this bit on Ray Graham of Pitt, the back that Alfie is most impressed with this week:

Graham's career at Pitt was up and down but he looks like he can contribute to an NFL team right away as at least a third-down or change of pace back. He routinely pulls away from defenders and gets down the football field.

Be sure to read the full article for more names and information on Wednesday's practice and to follow Alfie on Twitter for East-West updates.

The National Football Post had their own observations on Wednesday's practice as well. Among the players there were impressed with was Brandon McGee, the 5'10, 195-pound corner from the University of Miami:

McGee impressed us again today with his fluidity and acceleration in and out of his breaks, as he was able to close on balls in front of him effectively. He demonstrated loose hips in transition which allowed him to stay on hips man’s hip off the flip.

The Post was also impressed with Devin Taylor, but they did not have as nice of things to say about Florida State wide receiver Rodney Smith:

Smith struggled getting in and out of his breaks today due in large part to his long stride. He showed only average initial quickness whether releasing versus air or the jam, and was not able to gain consistent separation on downfield routes.

Finally, CBS Sports was very impressed with Branden Smith of Georgia. He is only 5'10 and 168 pound, but CBS says he might be "the best athlete on the defensive squad for the East."

CBS also points out perhaps the best "small school" prospect on the East, safety Cooper Taylor of Richmond:

At 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds, he has the size and range to be an enforcer against both the run and the pass, but Taylor has also impressed with his instincts and football awareness. He has been great all week digesting the coaches' instructions and applying them immediately, always appearing focused and zoned in on what is going on around him.

We are sure to be seeing much more this week in anticipation of the East-West Shrine Game, which takes place Saturday, January 19th at 4 p.m. EST in St. Petersburg, FL. Stay tuned!

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