After four days of practice, three which were heavily attended by the scouting community, the Shrine Game finally kicked off. Who were the stars of the game? And were the practice standouts able to keep the momentum going? Jon Dove gives us his breakdown.
The big story from the East-West Shrine game was the play of Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. He capped off a buzz-worthy week of practice by going 9-for-14 for 100 yards and a touchdown. His lightening quick release and solid decision making are what stood out the most. Garoppolo is now on his way to the Senior Bowl where he’ll have another chance to improve his climbing draft stock. He has a legitimate chance of working his way into the third round discussion.
I loved what I saw from Ball State’s Keith Wenning. His numbers would’ve looked more impressive if his receivers were able to haul in some very catchable passes. Wenning’s ability to throw an accurate and well-placed deep ball is something NFL evaluators will notice. However, he also showed good zip and an ability to locate open targets.
West Virginia’s Will Clarke is another guy who turned some heads and helped himself this past week. He has excellent length and a quick burst off the line of scrimmage. The one issue is that he’s not a finished product and will need time to develop. However, he’s someone a team could draft earlier than most would expect.
Syracuse’s Jay Bromley showed his natural talent by making several nice plays against the run. He also flashed surprising quickness off the ball which allowed him to generate a bit of a pass rush. The key for Bromley is keeping his pads down and maintaining leverage.
Ethan Westbrooks from West Texas A&M has a chance to develop into a productive pass rusher at the next level. Throughout the game, Westbrooks showed good overall athleticism and the closing burst needed to finish his rush with a sack.
Overall, the East-West Shrine game provided us with a look of some intriguing later-round prospects. The players in this game may never develop into elite NFL players, but many will find a way to stick on a roster. It’s important to remember that depth is an underrated part of an NFL roster.