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Notes And Observations From East-West Shrine Game

Posted Jan 22, 2016

Check out what NFL Network's Mike Mayock and NFL.com's Chase Goodbread and Daniel Jeremiah had to say about the week of East-West Shrine Game practices.

Check out what NFL Network's Mike Mayock and NFL.com's Chase Goodbread and Daniel Jeremiah had to say about the week of East-West Shrine Game practices.

While the northeast region of the country will be blasted by a major snowstorm this weekend, the 91st East-West Shrine Game is taking place on Saturday at Tropicana Field in Tampa.

The East-West Shrine Game gives scouts their first opportunity to see NFL prospects in action after leaving college.

As they’ve prepared for Saturday’s game (which will take place at 4 p.m. and be televised on NFL Network), NFL Network’s Mike Mayock and NFL.com’s Chase Goodbread have provided some of their opinions of the week’s practices.

--While Keenan Reynolds broke several records as a quarterback for Navy, he’s participating as a running back. But Goodbread believes he could be a unique weapon.  

“Don't assume Navy QB Keenan Reynolds' only hope of making an NFL roster is at running back,” Goodbread writes. “He's also going to work on returning kicks before the draft to make himself more appealing to pro scouts, and in fact was pulled away by Shrine East team assistant coach Troy Brown on Monday to catch some punts after practice. Brown returned 252 punts and 87 kickoffs in his NFL career, so for Reynolds -- who never returned a kick at Navy -- Brown isn't a bad place to start for tutelage”

--Mayock believes Stanford wide receiver Devon Cajuste, like Reynolds, could be a versatile asset.

“He's kind of an intriguing guy because he catches the ball really well,” Mayock writes. “What I want to see is if he can be effective as an H-back, as opposed to just a wide receiver, which he played a Stanford. I'm eager to see him in the run game to see if he can block. He catches the ball very well and offers a distinctive skill set for the NFL.”

--Mayock focused in on North Carolina State offensive lineman Joe Thuney at one point, and believes he can play both tackle and guard.

“He played tackle in college, but they're kicking him inside here and playing him at guard,” Mayock writes. “He's had a pretty good week so far. I'll be interested to see how he finishes it out. I like his versatility; he could be a swing lineman.”

--Two defensive players from smaller schools – Stony Brook’s Victory Ochi and Manitoba’s Ebuka Onyemata – have caught Mayock’s attention.

“He's got a big-time body. He's listed 6-4, 300, he has no idea what he's doing yet, but he's got size and he's got movement skills,” Mayock said of Onyemata. “He's very raw, but he's got an ability to turn into something.

Ochi, meanwhile, has impressed throughout the week.

“He's 244 pounds. He has heavy hands, meaning he's able to control defenders. This is another guy I need to go back and do more work on,” Mayock writes


Here are NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah's five standouts from the week: 

--South Carolina State defensive tackle Javon Hargravehas been the best player here. He has an excellent combination of quickness and power. He dominated the one-on-one drills.

--UMass wide receiver Tajae Sharpe has been outstanding this week. He's big, smooth and athletic. He's a very precise route runner. He was the toughest matchup for opposing cornerbacks.

--Utah State wide receiver Hunter Sharp had an up-and-down week. He's sudden off the line of scrimmage and he can separate down the field. The issue has been his hands. He'll make an impressive, extended catch and then follow it up with an easy drop. I'm excited to study him more on tape. Unfortunately, Sharp missed Thursday's practice and won't play in Saturday's game due to injury.

--Manitoba defensive tackle Ebuka Onyemata garnered a lot of attention for his play this week. He has a big frame and he has some shock in his hands. We've seen Canadian players (Akiem Hicks) vault up draft boards because of their performance at this game. He could be the next one.

--Arkansas State tight end Darion Griswold had a solid week of practice. He has ideal size for the position and he's a smooth, easy mover in the passing game. He can extend and attack the ball, as well as track it naturally over his shoulder. This is a weak tight end draft class and he really helped himself this week.

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