Following a week of practices, the East-West Shrine Game takes place today at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla.
The most important part of the week was a series of practices attended by numerous NFL personnel and media. By game day, most scouts and general managers are gone, off to prepare for the Senior Bowl. But the game is still taking place, so here's what you need to know:
TV: NFL Network
Date: Saturday, January 18
Time: 4 p.m. ET
Location: St. Petersburg, Florida
Online radio: East-West Shrine Game official site / NFL.com/live
Roster: East | West
Coaches: Jerry Glanville (East) and Romeo Crennel (West)
Top players to follow
Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Eastern Illinois
Enough players dropped out and Garoppolo did enough during practices this week to earn an invitation to the Senior Bowl. He did so by showing off a quick release, smooth mechanics and the ability to go through multiple reads. Josh Norris of Rotoworld notes that after the top four quarterbacks in the draft, Garoppolo may be at the top of the next group.
Pierre Desir, CB, Lindenwood
With his combination of size and athleticism, Desir could wind up being the highest drafted player who attended the Shrine Game. If teams want to have a cornerback play similar to how the Seattle Seahawks do, Desir is desirable (get the joke there?).
Justin Ellis, DT, Louisiana Tech
For teams looking for a big-body nose tackle in the draft this year, Ellis will be coveted. At 351 pounds, he was the Shrine Game's largest player. He can obviously plug up the middle but nice counter moves to utilize when his initial power move doesn't work.
E.J. Gaines, CB, Missouri
As the 2013 college football season progressed, Gaines got better. Gaines shows he knows when to attack the ball at the catch point. He had five interceptions as a senior and matches up well with receivers of all types. He can get physical enough against big receivers and has the quickness to flip his hips and run with speed receivers.
Jeremy Gallon, WR, Michigan
Likely a slot receiver in the NFL, practice reports this week indicated Gallon helped his draft status this week. You may recall that Gallon had arguably the best single game for a college receiver in 2013 when he caught 14 passes for 369 yards and two touchdowns against Indiana. Gallon's hands are just good enough and he's just quick enough to stick on an NFL roster as long as he's used correctly.
Cassius Marsh, DE, UCLA
Marsh is another player who also earned a spot on this year's Senior Bowl. Reports are that he was solid during practices, but didn't blow anyone completely away. That's pretty much the book on Marsh. He's a solid player who doesn't make a lot of highlight reel plays. There's something to say about that type of player. He doesn't get out of position and get beaten and he'll never be a detriment to what a team wants to do on defense.
Jay Bromley, DT, Syracuse
Bromley's game is based on his first step and the ability to split gaps. When he's not doing that, he doesn't always have the power to push the pocket. But when he's on, he has a role in the NFL as a three-technique. Teams that run a 3-4 may look at him as an end.
Max Bullough, MLB, Michigan State
This week Bullough came in weighing more than 260 pounds, didn't speak to the media and really didn't do much to stand out during practices. That's a bad combination. But maybe Bullough is the type of player who comes alive on game days. After being suspended for Michigan State's bowl game, Bullough had a lot to gain this week. It doesn't seem like he did.
More to read
- Josh Norris, Rotoworld: E-W Shrine review - Norris breaks down the 15 best players in the Shrine Game.
- Blogging the Boys: Shrine Game Q&A with Eric Galko - The Optimum Scouting chief was at every practice this week. KD Drummond from SB Nation's Cowboys site has a lengthy interview with him.
Don't forget the NFLPA Game
Acme Packing Company's Jason Hirschhorn and Cincy Jungle's Whodeyfans will be tweeting from the game. According to reports, not many NFL scouts showed up for NFLPA practices this week. One of the more intriguing players there is South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw. Rob Rang of CBS Sports has a quick video preview of the game here.