The league's 32 teams converged on St Petersburg, Fl. this week for the first of two big post-season All Star games. The Shrine Game offers a roster full of small school NFL talent as well as big school players who have been overlooked much of their career.
With the Eagles needing help at defensive tackle, inside linebacker as well as looking for a bigger receiver, it's a good idea to see how the players at those positions fared in Tuesday's practice.
There's a conundrum of sorts for any team looking to pluck a defensive tackle from the Shrine Game.
The top player of the day at the position was South Carolina senior Travian Robertson- a feisty, strong yet somewhat undersized (under 300-pound) run stuffer who can also rush the passer. Robertson has been overlooked much of his South Carolina career in large part due to the star talent that plays around him. Yet he's shown the ability to do the little things right; plug the correct gaps, occupy blockers so his teammates can get to the ball handler and chase down the action when the opportunity arises. The question that must be answered is how will Robertson, who projects to 3-4 end on a number of boards, hold up at the next level.
By far the most impressive looking defensive tackle in attendance is Dominique Hamilton of Missouri. Standing 6-5 and well over 300 pounds, Hamilton is an imposing looking figure in the middle of the line. The problem is that Hamilton has not proved he's anything other than a big body thus far in St Petersburg. He's been handled by marginal competition and struggles to get off blocks. That's unusual as Hamilton controlled the middle of the line at Missouri, constantly commanding double and triple teams.
The way it stands now, a team wanting to pick the top tackle from the Shrine Game would have to decide between production (Robertson) and potential (Hamilton).
There's a similar situation at inside/middle linebacker here at the Shrine Game. There are a few good football players, primarily a pair of linebackers from the Big East, who don't measure up when they step on the scale.
Najee Goode of West Virginia and Max Gruder from Pittsburgh are two terrific run stuffing linebackers. Each plays smart, tough football, correctly diagnosing the action then sticking their pads into the ball handler.
The issue for Goode and Gruder is that neither plays much over 240-pounds and both lack the great size a team that needs a big linebacker in the middle would desire.
Still, the play of both will merit consideration in the later rounds.
If it's a bigger receiver you're looking for, consider the story of Dale Moss.
Moss was formerly a guard on the South Dakota State basketball team and measures over 6-feet 3-inches. He never played college football until 2011 and, even then, barely saw the field during the first half of the season. Yet the athletic Moss displayed weekly improvement once he got on the field and looked like a player during Tuesday's practice. He has a world of upside as Moss is a smooth, fluid receiver with natural hands. Moss also needs a lot of work on his game but with teams eternally looking for big, athletic pass catching threats, he's the type of prospect someone's going to think long and hard about as the second day of the draft closes out.
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