Almost a dozen NFL decision makers and head coaches gathered outside the Citrus Bowl today to watch practice as the first of two important post season All Star games kicked off. The Shrine game has moved around recently, from San Francisco to San Antonio through Houston and now settling in Orlando. The talent this time around was better than most years. Here’s a breakdown of what took place.
Max Hall/QB/BYU: Hall did a terrific job commanding and controlling the offense all day. He’s very accurate and very much a leader on the field. Questions lingered about his arm strength and Hall has yet to answer them.
Matt Nichols/QB/Eastern Washington: Nichols also displayed terrific poise and accuracy. A strong arm he does not possess.
Pat Paschall/RB/North Dakota State: Paschall was the best ball carrier of the day. He’s a smooth back with a gliding style that was able to pick and choose his way on the inside. More often than not Paschall was able to create yardage and popped out of nowhere when it seemed he was dead in his tracks.
Dimitri Nance/RB/Arizona State: Nance is a bit underrated in our eyes and showed why this afternoon. He ran hard and really got as much as possible out of each carry.
Keith Toston/RB/Oklahoma State: Toston had several very nice runs today. He’s very explosive and showed the ability to pop one off every once and a while.
Nathan Overbay/TE/Eastern Washington: Overbay must be broken down into two players. Overbay the blocker struggled all day. At times he was overwhelmed at the point of attack and he must improve his strength. Overbay the pass catcher was stellar- he caught everything thrown his way and consistently beat linebackers down the field during drills.
Dennis Pitta/TE/BYU: Pitta caught the ball well, which was expected. He also did an better than expected job blocking.
John Estes/C/Hawaii: Estes had a very god day. He’s technically sound and works his blocks hard. He’s not the biggest of lineman but the ability to get leverage on defenders and work his hands gave Estes a decided advantage.
Brandon Carter/G/Texas Tech: Carter is a monster and easily controls opponents once engaged in a block. He had a strong practice.
Cole Pemberton/T/Colorado State: Pemberton has an impressive build and is one of the bigger linemen in attendance. That said he looked stiff, cannot slide laterally and was often beaten by nimble opponents.
Mike Tepper/T/California: Like Pemberton, Tepper had a difficult time handling speed. He was beaten badly on successive plays by Jeffrey Fitzgerald of Kansas State.
Shelley Smith/G/Colorado State: Smith looked very athletic on the field and moves well. He must get stronger as he was often rag-dolled in the middle of the line.
Marshall Newhouse/OL/TCU: Newhouse played tackle all day, which is surprising as most project him to guard. He did a solid job when he blocked with good fundamentals and got his hands into defenders.
Martin Tevaseu/DT/UNLV: Aaitui looked big, powerful and tough to stop all day. He clogged the middle and pushed linemen off the ball. He’s also built low to the ground, which helps his cause.
Jeffrey Fitzgerald/DE/Kansas State: Fitzgerald was terrific and was applauded by scouts throughout most of the day. He makes a lot of athletic plays on the field. He told us afterwards he spoke at length with Scott Pioli of Kansas City and spent time with the Baltimore Ravens. The latter is interesting as we feel Fitzgerald has long term potential as a two gap end.
Jan Jorgensen/DE/BYU: Jorgenson struggled, could not get off blocks and was beaten most of the day.
Dexter Davis/LB/Arizona State: Davis played linebacker almost exclusively all day and showed a lot of skills defending the run. He’s able to slide down the line, makes plays laterally and does a nice job staying with tight ends in coverage. It’s obvious he does not yet have a feel for coverage and was beaten deep on a number of occasions, yet it was a solid outing.
Jason Beauchamp/OLB/UNLV: Beauchamp looked strong and athletic all day. He was a forceful run defender who surprised us by making some plays in coverage. His ability to go sideline-to-sideline was also impressive.
Kristik Keaton/OLB/Oregon State: Keaton was the opposite of Davis; he was terrific n pass coverage yet could not hold his own against the run.
Darrell Stuckey/S/Kansas: Made a lot of nice plays against the run and was applauded by coaches. Usually lined up in the box at strong safety.
Alterraun Verner/CB/UCLA: Looked smooth and fluid in coverage all day. Terrific footwork and looked very natural. Scouts on hand have given Verner a second round grace.
Some of the team officials on hand today included Marty Hurney, Mark Dominik, Ted Thompson, Bill Parcells, Bruce Allen and Scott Pioli. Todd Halley and Jim Schwartz were the head coaches in attendance.
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