The East-West Shrine Game was played this past weekend. Normally, this is a good game that has plenty of guys who will be taken in the fourth through seventh rounds. A handful of players will emerge as even better prospects. Chris Gocong starred in the game in 2006 and became a third-round pick. Sebastian Vollmer starred in the game last year and went in the second round to New England. This year's game was disappointing. No player really jumped out.
The Eagles had scouts at the game all week watching practice. They'll watch the game tape, as will the coaches. I'm sure some players will stand out, but no one stole the show, so to speak. I thought Bowling Green wide receiver Freddie Barnes really helped himself. He put up gaudy numbers this year playing in the spread offense. The Shrine Game showed that Barnes has the skills to get open in a conventional offense. He also has terrific hands. He could be of interest for the Eagles late in the draft. Barnes lacks ideal speed. So did Brandon Gibson.
- This week the draft world turns its attention to the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. Eagles scouts and coaches will be down there looking for our stars of the future. Guys like Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook, Trent Cole, Sheldon Brown and Jason Avant all helped themselves at the Senior Bowl.
The main focus of NFL attention this week will be on Tim Tebow. I doubt the Eagles will show a lot of interest in him, but did you think they would acquire Michael Vick? One guy the team should watch closely is Jarrett Brown of West Virginia. If we want a young passer to develop for the future, Brown could be a player of interest. At times, Brown reminds me of McNabb with his size and skill set. There is one huge difference. McNabb was a four-year starter when he went to the Senior Bowl and looked polished. Brown sat behind Pat White for four years. He only started in 2009. He's prone to making questionable decisions when under pressure. That would be fine if he was young, but as a senior player he's held to a different standard. Brown needs work, but has a lot of ability.
- I was hoping to get a close look at defensive end Jerry Hughes of TCU, but he's pulled out of the game. That's disappointing. I'm not sure he was going to last until the 24th pick, but he was a guy that I had a lot of interest in. There are two other players the Eagles might like at left end. Brandon Graham played at Michigan. He is short at just 6-1, but has a thick build at 263 pounds. Austen Lane of Murray State is tall at 6-6, but weighs just south of 270 pounds. He's got more of a lean build. Both players have great motors and were very productive in college. Graham might remind you of former Michigan star LaMarr Woodley. Lane reminds me of Jason Taylor when he was coming out of Akron.
- I don't know what to tell you about SAM linebacker. Chris Gocong might be back. He's a restricted free agent, as of now. Moise Fokou is a young guy the team likes. They could also turn to the draft. Cameron Sheffield played end at Troy, but he's a better fit at linebacker. He's 6-3 and over 250 pounds. That's the kind of size you would like in a SAM prospect. I've seen him play out in space on zone blitzes and that type of thing and Sheffield looks pretty natural. A.J. Edds of Iowa is probably the top pure SAM prospect. He has good hands and cover skills. He can hit, tackle and play the run. I'm excited to see how well he does in the practices this week.
- The big name at safety down in Mobile is Taylor Mays, the huge and speedy star from USC. He has the speed to play centerfield and still track down the ball all over the place. He's 231 pounds, but runs like guys much smaller than him. I just don't like his instincts (or lack thereof). He needs a strong week to keep from falling out of the first round. Nate Allen of South Florida is a talented safety that was more of a playmaker. He's got some size and athletic ability, but isn't nearly as physically gifted as Mays.
Check out my weekly Fan-Demonium column to get my fresh perspective on the defensive tackle situation ...
-- Posted by Tommy Lawlor, 6:07 p.m., January 26