Here is my final post about the East-West Shrine Game. These are the defensive players that I thought had up and down weeks and did not help or hurt their stock, rather it stayed more or less where it was before the start of practices. And at the bottom I have a few players who I thought just played bad all week and made it obvious that they are undraftable. Enjoy my final East-West Shrine Game post! Sorry it took me so long to get all of this up.
Cheta Ozougwu, DE/OLB, Rice: Cheta had a solid week and while he didn’t improve his stock that much I don’t think he hurt it by any means. He showed solid burst and edge speed, but I don’t think he has enough to be relied upon as a starting RE in a 4-3 defense. I definitely thought he was a 4-3 DE considering his build and what I saw in drills all week, but when I talked to him about what he thought his best scheme fit would be he told me he would love to play in a 3-4 defense at the OLB position. This surprised me, but apparently he spent much of his senior season dropping into coverage and told me he was comfortable doing so. That definitely helps his stock because if he really is comfortable dropping into coverage he could stick on a 3-4 team as a special teamer and potentially work his way into a back-up/starting role as a 3-4 OLB. I don’t think he will ever be a DeMarcus Ware type pass rusher in that scheme, but he could offer a solid pass rush from the opposite OLB spot.
Brian Rolle, OLB, Ohio State: Rolle’s toughest obstacle will be convincing people that he is a good enough player to warrant drafting despite his small stature. He moves fluidly in coverage, he is a good tackler, he is very instinctual, flows to the ball well and has pretty good sideline to sideline range. However, he is very undersized and as a result he has trouble against the run at times. I don’t think he is a very good fit in a typical 4-3 alignment at WLB because he would struggle a lot in the running game, but he could be a good fit on special teams and in nickel packages as a coverage linebacker in that scheme. That makes him a 6th round pick in those schemes. However, for Cover-2 defenses like the Colts, Vikings and Bears he warrants a 4th round pick in my opinion. A lot would be asked of him in coverage and that is his strong suit, and his size would be less of a hindrance than it would be in a typical 4-3 defense. It will be interesting to see if one of those teams snaps him up earlier than a lot of people expect him to get drafted. I could even see him getting picked in the late 3rd by the Bears.
Mario Butler, CB, Georgia Tech: Butler was a guy that I was not particularly impressed with during the week of practices but I heard from a couple players I talked to that he is a very intelligent player and he is smart about how he plays coverage. I know Perry Baker talked about how hard it was to eat up the cushion he was giving him and as soon as he would Butler would have closed and would be right in his hip pocket after his break. He had a pretty solid game also, so as a 4th or 5th round pick I think he warrants some consideration. I don’t know if his ceiling is any higher than a nickel corner, but I haven’t watched him a lot to see how well he turns and runs, how good his closing speed is, etc. But he definitely has some talent and warrants development in the mid-late round range.
Josh Thomas, CB, Buffalo: Thomas is a guy that I had not seen play before this week and while I was not super high on him after the week of practices I have a few things to say about him. One, he packs a punch as a hitter. I don’t know if he has the range or the coverage skill-set to play safety in the NFL, but if he could make the transition I am convinced that he could lay the wood from that position. He had a few nice pops all week in practice that jarred passes out of wide receiver’s hands. I don’t think he did a great job locating the ball in the air but he seems to have pretty solid closing speed. I don’t think he is going to be much of a man coverage corner in the NFL since he probably has 4.55 speed or so, but as a zone corner he offers good tackling versus the run. I think a move to safety could be intriguing though.
Korey Lindsey, CB, Southern Illinois: Lindsey was a guy that stuck out to be the last three days of practice. First, he got consistently good jams at the line of scrimmage. Second, he showed solid burst to close but I think he needs technique work on his footwork in coverage. 3rd he showed pretty good ball skills, and was not fooled by double moves. I think he has potential as a zone corner, but I don’t know how good he will be in a man scheme since I have a hard time seeing him run under a 4.5 and he doesn’t play much faster than that on the field. I like his game as a zone corner though, so he offers a potential steal in the 5th round range for those same zone teams that I mentioned as possible landing spots for Brian Rolle.
Karl Klug, DE, Iowa: Klug was a guy who was disruptive early in the week but his momentum slowed as the week progressed. His relatively short arms hurt him in this regard and it was pretty obvious that he does not have the edge speed to play 4-3 DE and does not have the bulk to hold up as a 4-3 DT. I think the answer for him is to gain some weight and play 3-4 DE, but his game is predicated on penetration and disruption in the backfield, not necessarily on occupying blockers and holding up at the point of attack (at least it wasn’t this week). He might just be a 4-3 DE on run downs and a 4-3 DT on pass downs in the NFL if he doesn’t fit the 3-4 scheme though. I think adding some more weight to his frame is probably his best bet regardless of which scheme he plays in though, because he will need it to hold up at 3-4 DE or at 4-3 DT, and he just doesn’t have the athletic ability or arm length to beat NFL OT’s off the edge. He is all hustle though and has good, violent hand usage so he could surprise some people if he can find a position to lock into and develop in once he gets to the NFL.
Evan Royster, RB, Penn State: Royster just looked painfully slow when alternating reps with the likes of Delone Carter (a likely 4.4x runner at the combine) and Graig Cooper (a definite 4.4x runner at the combine prior to injury) all week and while he had some solid runs in the game they were largely due to gaping holes from the offensive line. He still has very little burst to hit a running lane, he doesn’t have very good footwork as a runner and while he runs with good power he does not have any better than 4.55 speed (if that) to break off long runs. I just don’t see him sticking in the NFL when there are so many more athletically talented players who are as well-rounded as he is, even though I think Royster’s hands were a bit inconsistent this week. I thought he had a slim chance of sticking on a NFL roster before this week but I can’t say I think that anymore.
Matthew O’Donnell, OT, Queens (Ontario): O’Donnell stuck out immediately because of his mammoth size at 6’10” but that was about the only impressive thing about him. He consistently struggled with leverage all week, he has heavy feet and can’t handle any type of speed off of the edge. This was painfully obvious in the game when Kenny Rowe, a late addition to the East team despite being from Oregon, beat him badly off the edge when O’Donnell was at RT two plays in a row with a simple edge rush. O’Donnell has no future in the NFL for this reason unless a team wants to use a roster spot on a 6’10” guy to stand in the middle of their field goal formations to try to block kicks.
Jerrod Johnson, QB, Texas A&M: I wrote a scouting report on Jerrod Johnson before the season started and talked about how I thought he was a 4th rounder before the season started, and that he could move up if he had a good season where he demonstrated improved mechanics and decision making. Well, he got benched this year in favor of Ryan Tannehill, who compared to Johnson looks like the next Dan Marino thanks to a clean release, solid footwork and relatively consistent accuracy and ball placement. Johnson looked god awful all week to me and while he would make the occasional solid throw his throwing motion is still too long despite some noticeable tweaking, he still has little to no pocket poise, his decision making is still bad and he still floats his passes too much despite obvious arm strength. His footwork is still bad and he made some absolutely god awful throws in Saturday’s game. He is not a draftable QB at this point and if someone picks him up as a UDFA he is going to need considerable work before he ever sticks on a team. I think Johnson’s future is either in the CFL or the UFL because he just doesn’t have NFL ability despite his size and arm strength.
Wes Byrum, K, Auburn: Byrum made a few big kicks this year for Auburn, including a chip shot to win the National Championship less than two weeks before all the players reported for practices, but he was pretty bad in this game. He missed a couple of short field goals and did not look like he had a very strong leg despite solid kick-offs. It’s tough for kickers to get drafted at all, much less drafted early, but Byrum did not help his chances with his performance in the game. I would be surprised if he got drafted.
Hopefully you enjoyed my final post on the Shrine Game. I have a number of interviews to transcribe and I am getting back into the swing of things at school so hopefully there will be some free time to continue scouting so I can churn out some more scouting reports. Let me know if you have any requests and I will do my best to accommodate them! Thanks for reading!