The NFL draft process kicks off this coming Saturday with the East-West Shrine Game. This game provides a chance for seniors to boost their draft stock. Naturally, all scouting eyes will be on the game itself, but there's also the week of practice to look forward to. These practice sessions are crucial, as prospects who never played together look to develop chemistry in time for Saturday's game.
The East side held its first practices Monday, so let's take a look at who impressed and who did not, courtesy of Eric Galko of Optimum Scouting.
Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State
The Heisman finalist is by far the biggest name in this game, but he ended Monday's first practice with major question marks. The hitch in his throwing motion was still there, and he continues to struggle with the traditional dropback. Optimum Scouting notes that "His footwork was too short, and he really needs to explode back, get his depth, and plant and drive. Also, he capped a lackluster and concerning day with two late reads across the field that ended up as interceptions." Not the best first impression for the post-draft process.
Nathan Stanley, QB, Southeastern Louisiana
Stanely was one of the more impressive QBs in Monday's practice, "His high velocity across the field certainly stood out among the passers, and he was able to launch the ball vertically as well."
Ray Graham, RB, Pittsburgh
The players didn't practice in pads Monday, so there's not much to evaluate until contact drills start. That said, Graham stood out from a crowded RB field, impressing with his speed and elusiveness. Montell Harris of Temple got a few looks at punt returning
Marcus Davis, WR, Virginia Tech
The 6'4 receiver has all the physical tools, but struggled with hands and has a lot to prove to NFL scouts. Monday's practice looked to be more of the same -- he flashed his athletic talent, but "struggled mightily to pick up where the deep ball was, had two drops, and looked slow and really unpolished in routes. It's just day one, but it wasn't a good start."
Rodney Smith, WR, Florida State
According to Optimum Scouting, Smith "seemed to be the best outside and potentially X receiver of the group." Smith ran the most crisp routes of the day, and could boost his stock with a big week.
Sio Moore, LB, Connecticut
It's far too early to be judging the defensive prospects until contact drills start, but Moore was one of the most physical players out there Monday, "using his hands to dislodge their route tree as best he could, and adjusting upfield to attack the ball in the running plays of 12 vs. 12." He's a name to watch in the days ahead.
Rashard Hall, S, Syracuse
The East team is stacked with talented defensive backs, and Hall was the standout of the group. showing "explosive hips and change of direction, and looked as though he could cover receivers (and likely will at times this week) in man coverage."
You can read Eric Galko's full breakdown here.