The 2014 East-West Shrine Game will be held in St. Petersburg, Florida tomorrow. Here are three players from each side to keep an eye on in tomorrow's game.
Matt Hazel, WR, Coastal Carolina
Matt Hazel is a local prospect with a chance to shine on the national stage. Although Hazel has relatively average size for a wide receiver at 6-foot-1 inches, his physical style of play and aggressiveness makes him look a lot bigger on film. Hazel stuck out to me because of his ability to make contested catches in traffic, especially over the middle of the field. Although he may not have great speed, I think Hazel can make an impact in today’s NFL because of his strong hands and sharp route running ability off the snap.
Hazel has top 100 talent, but because this year’s Draft is extremely crowded at wide receiver, I would not be surprised if he is still on the board in the fourth or fifth round.
Jay Bromley, DT, Syracuse
In his press conference, Dave Gettleman talked about the need for more “Hog Mollies” up front. I certainly agree with him – the Panthers still need help on their offensive and defensive lines. Specifically, the Panthers could use some depth at defensive tackle – Dwan Edwards is entering the final year of his contract and Colin Cole is a free agent. Enter Jay Bromley, who has quietly been one of the best defensive tackles in the country, as he led the FBS with 10 sacks this season.
Bromley’s film helps back up his impressive stats -- he has an excellent first step and does a good job of quickly engaging his opponent with impressive hand punches. He is also versatile, as he showed the ability to make an impact from both the nose tackle and under tackle positions.
Although he is an impressive pass rushing defensive tackle, he is extremely weak against the run and gets bullied by bigger, stronger guards. He is a classic third down pass rusher, and because of this, I’m guessing Bromley will get drafted in the mid rounds of the Draft. Bromley could be an excellent value pick if he is available in the fourth or fifth round, as I think he’d fit perfectly on the Panthers defensive line as a rotational interior pass rusher.
Pierre Desir, CB, Lindenwood
I’ll be honest – I have not watched a single minute of Desir’s film, simply because there isn’t any available yet. The only reason why I’m placing him here is because there has been a lot of buzz on Twitter from both professional Draft analysts and amateur scouts, who have been able to watch him live in practice this week.
Desir has the coveted measurables for an NFL cornerback – he is big at 6-foot-2 inches, and 206 pounds. Dave Gettleman covets size from his skill positions, and Desir definitely has it.
Here’s what CBS Analyst Dane Brugler had to say about Desir:
Lindenwood CB Pierre Desir entered the week as one of my top defensive prospects in St. Petersburg and he did little to persuade me from that thought during Monday's practice. He looks the part with a tall, long frame and he does a nice job staying low and fluid in his stance, backpedal and overall transition. Desir is going up against FBS-level wide receivers this week like Miami's Allen Hurns and Michigan's Jeremy Gallon, but he hasn't looked out of place through one day of practice. He also received praise from the coaching staff for his ball awareness to get his head turned, find the ball and come off his man to pursue the ballcarrier.
Charles Leno, OT, Boise State
Although Charles Leno played left tackle at Boise State, I think his best position in the NFL would be at right tackle. Leno is not very athletic, but he is able to win matchups against defensive ends because of his excellent technique. He has excellent lower and upper body symmetry as a run blocker – he keeps his feet moving and his hands active. However, his lateral stiffness results in overextension in pass protection, which makes him vulnerable to speed rushers.
The Panthers need an upgrade at right tackle, and Leno could be a sleeper mid round tackle who could start on the right side from day one.
Shaquil Barrett, OLB, Colorado State
You can never have too many pass rushers on defense, and I think if Shaquil Barrett is still on the board in the fourth or fifth round, Dave Gettleman will have a hard time passing him up. Barrett is a versatile player who mostly played as a 3-4 standup pass rusher in Colorado State’s defense, although he also has experience playing with his hands in the dirt. Barrett has a good first step and uses his hands very well to engage offensive linemen, and has good open field speed when in pursuit of the quarterback. Also, despite weighing 260 pounds, Barrett is able to shed blocks with ease and is a tough run defender who is more than capable of sealing the edge.
In the Panthers defense, Barrett could excel as a situational standup pass rusher, but I also think he has enough athleticism for the Panthers to play him as a blitzing weakside linebacker.
Sean Parker, S, Washington
I don’t think there is a specific position in the NFL for Sean Parker. This is because he played multiple positions at Washington – as a deep safety, in the box as a strong safety, and as a slot cornerback guarding slot receivers and tight ends in man coverage. Parker’s versatility is why I think he could be an excellent “Joker” secondary player in the NFL. Despite his smaller size, Parker is a very tough and physical player who consistently made plays all over the field for the Huskies defense.
The Panthers need help in their secondary, and I think Parker’s versatility will be very appealing to NFL GM’s in the later rounds of the Draft.
If you want to discuss any other Shrine Game prospects, feel free to do so by commenting below.