The Shrine game pales in comparison to the Senior Bowl as far as the level of talent on the roster and the number of NFL decision makers attending practices but don’t be fooled. Past rosters have featured several players that have impacted at the next level including Josh Norman, Terron Armstead and Darius Kilgo from recent years. So who could shine at the Shrine this year? Here are five players to keep an eye on.
Nate Sudfeld/QB/Indiana: There’s a feeling among some scouts that Sudfeld is significantly underrated and was worthy of a Senior Bowl invitation. He offers next level size, arm strength and intelligence, so why is he universally ranked as a last day pick? Prior injuries are a concern but so is the inconsistent accuracy of Sudfeld’s throws. While the big passer shows the ability to be on the mark he often sprays throws and even delivers bounce passes on occasion. Is it mechanical? Is it a timing issue? Whatever the case throwing to receivers that are foreign to him as well as playing from underneath center during Shrine week will be critical factors in Sudfeld’s final draft grade.
Robby Anderson/WR/Temple: I was a big fan of Anderson off the 2013 film but the sure handed receiver failed to make grades in the classroom and was forced to sit on the sidelines in 2014. Though sheer determination Anderson, who was not even graded by scouts entering the season, returned to Temple and improved upon his junior campaign, leading the upstart Owls in receiving. He’s a reliable receiver but is Anderson a next level athlete with Sunday speed? The ability to separate down the field during one-on-one drills and effortlessly catch the deep ball could help Anderson move into the middle of the draft’s final day.
James Cowser/DE-OLB/Southern Utah: I first pointed out Cowser back in the middle of November, mentioning he was drawing comparisons to another NFL star who came from the Big Sky conference, All Pro Jared Allen. The Shrine Game offers Cowser a major opportunity as he’ll be seen by a collection of scouts (rather than just the area scouts) and prove he’s the real deal. His speed, quickness and ability to penetrate off the edge against IA offensive tackles (Alex Lewis/Nebraska, Tyler Marz/Wisconsin, Stephane Nembot/Colorado) is something that will be monitored. I’m also hoping Cowser is also asked to drop in space and play linebacker on occasion.
Michael Jordan/CB/Missouri Western: Getting past the name, Jordan is a player scouts have been talking about since October. He offers good size (6-feet/200lbs) and solid ball skills but speed is a question mark. The West receivers, who’ll Jordan will be practicing against, offer bigger, stronger possession pass catchers (Keyarris Garrett/Tulsa, Devon Cajuste/Stanford) sprinkled in with vertical speed (Hunter Sharp/Utah State). The variety of receivers Jordan must cover during the week offers him the opportunity to showcase his skills and secure a spot in the late rounds.
Deon Bush/S/Miami-Fl: After watching Bush the past two seasons I often wonder why he doesn’t get more mention. He’s an explosive run defender who does a terrific job covering receivers over the middle of the field and his size/speed numbers are similar to former Hurricane star Ed Reed. But questions linger; can Bush play over the slot receiver or is he a liability in man coverage? The latter suppresses his draft stock but the former will result in a move up boards. The one-on-one drills, where Bush lines up more like a cornerback rather than a safety, will help answer the question and the East receivers, who Bush will be practicing against all week, include significant next level talent, albeit late round picks.
Note: Beginning tomorrow I will be reporting live from the Shrine Game and working with PhiladelphiaEagles.com, as I have the past four years. Real time reports from practice will be posted on Twitter followed by articles and videos at PhiladelphiaEagles.com all three days of Shrine practice. We’ll also try and have some notes up here as well.