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Takeaways From 91st East-West Shrine Game

Posted Jan 25, 2016

With the 91st East-West Shrine Game in the books, check out 10 observations from the game, including individual standouts, from NFL.com's Chase Goodbread.

With the 91st East-West Shrine Game in the books, check out 10 observations from the game, including individual standouts, from NFL.com's Chase Goodbread.

The 91st East-West Shrine Game took place on Saturday at Tropicana Field in Tampa, with the West Team taking home a 29-9 victory.

University of Oregon quarterback Vernon Adams had a strong showing for the West Team, connecting on six of nine pass attempts for 191 yards and three touchdowns along with 24 rushing yards.

Purdue University wide receiver Danny Anthrop set an East-West Shrine Game record with a 93-yard touchdown reception and University of Wisconsin safety Michael Caputo had two interceptions.   

University of Florida defensive back Brian Poole, meanwhile, had the standout play for the East Team on the day, recording a 98-yard interception return for touchdown.

Here are 10 observations from NFL.com’s Chase Goodbread on the game:

1. Former Oregon quarterback Vernon Adams struggled with accuracy at times during the East-West Shrine Game practice week, but when the lights came on Saturday at Tropicana Field, Adams couldn't have been much more on target. The diminutive transfer fired first-half touchdown passes to three different receivers -- to Colorado State's Kivon Cartwright, Purdue's Danny Anthrop, and Illinois' Geronimo Allison -- to lead the West to a 29-9 win over the East.

"He can play in the NFL. Somebody's going to give him an opportunity to do that. Now whether he makes it or not, it's up to him. He has all those things that the great ones have. He gets better as the game goes on," said Shrine West coach June Jones.

Adams (5-foot-11, 201 pounds) is very athletic but lacks the size NFL clubs look for at quarterback. He didn't need to scramble to make plays in the Shrine Game. NFL Media draft expert Mike Mayock noted Adams pump faked to an outside receiver for his touchdown throw to Cartwright to help free the tight end for the score.

Adams followed with a Shrine Game-record 93-yard touchdown pass to Anthrop. At 5-11, the decision on Adams' NFL future might have been made already for some NFL clubs, but for those that haven't, the Shrine Game performance will help him.

"If you're (new 49ers coach) Chip Kelly, you're taking a look at Vernon Adams and seeing what he can do," Mayock said on the NFL Network broadcast.

Said Adams: "I just showed (scouts) I can play this game. ... Hopefully i can get a chance with some team. I've overcome (size questions) my whole life. It's not new to me, and I know how to play the position."

2. Reynolds out. Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds missed the game with a back injury. He missed practice on Thursday and was a late scratch from the lineup. The NCAA's career record holder for touchdowns (88) is hoping to transition to the NFL as a running back. He also worked in practice some in a return role.

"I was pretty upset, but I try to think long-term, think big-picture," Reynolds said of his absence from the lineup.

Added NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah: "You want to know a guy's position when you bring him in, but with (Reynolds), it's more like, 'We'll find out when he gets here.' He's going to have an opportunity to play."

Mayock said Reynolds has some similarity with New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman. Asked if his transition to the NFL could require him to play slot receiver rather than running back, Reynolds said he is willing to make an NFL club by any means necessary.

3. Sleeper no more? Mayock and Jeremiah were both high on the performance on Stony Brook defensive end Victor Ochi, who had a sack of Indiana quarterback Nate Sudfeld and made a nice shoestring tackle on Adams to prevent a scramble from being a long gain.

"That play shows me more than any sack can show me," Mayock said of the second-effort tackle on Adams. "The guy has instincts, and hustles."

"He is the first (East) guy off the ball on every single snap," Jeremiah said.

4. Bad play for Burris. North Carolina State cornerback Juston Burris missed a tackle on a 41-yard catch by Cal's Daniel Lasco, drawing some criticism from Mayock for allowing Lasco to break outside.

5. Brown projection. Jeremiah said he expects Notre Dame wide receiver Chris Brown to be drafted in the fifth-to-sixth round range.

6. Gators gather picks. It was a big day for Florida Gators: defensive back Brian Poole and linebacker Anthony Harrell each recorded an interception of Western Kentucky QB Brandon Doughty in the first half. Poole took a pick back 98 yards for a TD. Mayock said Poole projects as a nickel back at the pro level.

7. Intangibles. Jeremiah on Michigan quarterback Jake Rudock: "He's smart, he's tough, and he's going to get you in the right checks."

8. All in for Allison. Mayock said Illinois wide receiver Geronimo Allison was singled out by scouts throughout the practice week. Allison was the recipient of one of Adams' first-half touchdown throws, and another in the second half.

9. Badgers safety makes splash. Wisconsin defensive back Mike Caputo made two interceptions, including one off of his former teammate, Badgers QB Joel Stave.

10. Making bank. Among the Shrine prospects that Mayock said "made money" with their performance through the week: Illinois wide receiver Geronimo Allison, Nebraska offensive lineman Alex Lewis, Kentucky defensive lineman Cory Johnson, Indiana quarterback Nate Sudfeld and Oregon quarterback Vernon Adams.

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