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Pauline: Six Winners From The East-West Shrine Game Practices

Three days of hard-hitting practices are in the books and all that’s left is to kick off the 2019 version of the East-West Shrine Game. Most of the scouts and team personnel in attendance have returned home for a brief respite yet will return for next week’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. Like any postseason all-star game attended by NFL decision-makers, several players leave the week of Shrine practices with an improved draft stock. Here are six players who enhanced their grades the most.

WR KeeSean Johnson, Fresno State: Johnson performed above expectations for scouts and displayed why he’s a legitimate receiver for the next level. He ran quick, crisp routes which opponents struggled to defend. He regularly pulled in the routine pass while also making some spectacular one-handed grabs in both scrimmage and one-on-one drills. Concerns remain about Johnson’s real speed, but his route-running skills and dependable hands assured him a spot in the middle rounds of April’s draft.

RB Ty Johnson, Maryland: Johnson made amends for his disappointing senior season and looked every bit the next-level running back prospect scouts believe he can be. He displayed great quickness, vision, and speed carrying the ball. Johnson routinely beat defenders into the open field with a tremendous burst through the running lanes. He also displayed exceptional route-running ability and pass-catching hands throughout the three days of practice -- a skill he was rarely asked to use in college. It’s safe to say Johnson moved from the late rounds of the draft into the early part of Day 3.

OL Joshua Miles, Morgan State: Miles is a college tackle who projects to guard in the NFL. He was not graded by scouts entering the season but he has since cemented himself as a late-round prospect. He displayed great fundamentals, strength, and a nice degree of athleticism through all three practices. Miles was in many instances the only blocker able to shut down some of the high-powered defenders other linemen struggled to contain.

DL Chris Slayton, Syracuse: Slayton was a force from the first day of practice and never let up. He comes with a next-level build, played with great quickness, and was always beating up on opponents. He set up camp behind the line of scrimmage on a daily basis and continuously penetrated up the field. Initially graded as a late-round prospect, Slayton was labeled by some scouts as the best player in attendance at the Shrine Game.

DT Daniel Wise, Kansas: Wise was a prospect who many felt was deserving of a Senior Bowl invite and he played with a chip on his shoulder to prove as much all week. He beat opponents off the snap with a great first step, showed a variety of moves to defeat blocks, and even bull-rushed blockers off the line with power. Wise secured himself as a middle-round choice for a team needing a tough, explosive 3-technique tackle.

Edge Mathieu Betts, Laval: Canada’s finest was on display at the Shrine practices as Betts, who played college ball for Laval University in Quebec City, turned heads every day. He displayed unbelievable quickness with an incredible first step off the snap. Offensive tackles who had a significant size advantage over the Canadian found him difficult to block. Though he needs to round out his game, Betts went from a curious invitation to late-round draft pick after three days of practice.

Tony Pauline has covered the NFL Draft for over 20 years and is one of the preeminent draft insiders. His work can be found on DraftAnalyst.com and @TonyPauline on Twitter.

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