At DLF, our slogan is: “There is no off-season.” The reason for that, other than the fact we are all degenerates who can’t get enough, is because the NFL really is a year-round endeavor.
This past week saw the beginning of draft season. College players begin their transition to paid athletes as the NFL begins to sort through who is worthy enough to land a life-changing payday. The first step in that process is the East-West Shrine game.
Now, let’s be clear. While the Shrine Game does contain potential draft picks, many of the game’s participants will be selected outside the top 100, if they even get picked at all. For the players, the most important parts of this week are two-fold: meetings with team representatives, and the practices. For the draftnik, unless you have media credentials, these are the parts that you’ll never see. Luckily, there are plenty of media outlets out there reporting on the practice sessions during the week.
This all culminates in a game on Saturday, Today, we’ll take a look at the offensive skill position players who either helped- or in some cases, hurt – their draft stock.
Terry Godwin, WR Georgia
He came into the week as one the most intriguing names on the roster. Throughout the week, he proved himself to be a deft route-runner. The game proved no different as Godwin named offensive MVP reeling in two touchdowns. Overall he had four catches for 80 yards.
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Ron’Quavion Tarver, WR Utah State
All-star games give small school players the chance to prove they can hang with the big boys. Tarver did all that and more. Once practice began, it became clear that Tarver was someone to keep an eye on. During the game, Tarver became the West’s number one option; catching five balls for 66 yards. His big week might have been enough to move him from undrafted to a fifth- or sixth-round selection.
Brett Rypien, QB Boise State
Admittedly, the quarterbacks in the Shrine Game didn’t light the world on fire this week. Of the group, Rypien proved the most NFL-ready. He won’t wow you with arm strength, but he projects to be a cerebral backup. He finished 10-of-14 for 134 yards and a touchdown.
KeeSean Johnson, WR Fresno State
By all accounts, Johnson tore up the practices all week. Because of his strong showing, he chose to sit out the game. A 6-foot-2, 202-pound wideout, what he runs at the Combine will go a long way to determine what round he’s selected in, but he will be drafted?
David Blough, QB Purdue
Like Rypien above, Blough didn’t light it up. He was solid, not great, but was reported to show the best leadership traits of the quarterback group. He finished 10-of-15 for 149 yards and two touchdowns to Godwin.
Darrin Hall, RB Pittsburgh
Finally, a running back. The thing with all-star games is that it is tough sledding for runners. They need chemistry with the offensive line and the line just met each other five minutes ago. Hall showed power and a nice burst as the closer for the West team. He had a game-high 12 carries for 77 yards.
Nick Brosette, RB LSU
His highlight actually came in the passing game, when he hauled in a nice over-the-shoulder pass that Rypien dropped right in the bucket for the game’s opening score. On the ground, he was mostly pedestrian, carrying five times for 19 yards.
Jama Custis, WR Syracuse
A big body, he showed nice athleticism and a good catch radius, pulling in four catches for 55 yards. Like Tarver, he might have done enough to move into the later rounds.
Easton Stick, QB North Dakota State
Stick was the big name coming into the week. He has a list of wins and national championships that stretch from coast to coast. Unfortunately, he struggled with accuracy all week. In the game, he went 5-of-8 for 51 yards and a touchdown on what media members were calling his best throw of the whole week.
Marcus McMaryion, QB Fresno State
This poor dude just looked lost out there. He consistently stared down the rush, had a hard time finding the open man and couldn’t find any open turf when he tried to pull it down to run.
Andrew Beck, TE Texas
He only managed two catches and was asked to block much more than he was used to for the Longhorns. Naturally, he struggled in that aspect which led to a not very fun day for him.