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Shrine Game Notes: Day One


Over the next three days, is on the scene in St. Petersburg, Florida for the practices ahead of the 92nd East-West Shrine Game. Each day, we'll keep a running log of what we're seeing on the field, with help from NFL Draft Insider Tony Pauline of

Here are our notes from Day One, which included a busy day of travel and a first look at the field of players in this year's game ...

8:30 A.M.: We are on the ground in Raleigh, North Carolina, a quick pit stop before our flight to Tampa, Florida. Our connecting flight leaves in 28 minutes. This is a great early test of our speed and lateral agility to make it to the next gate. We'll see how it goes. - Alex Smith

8:42 A.M.: We made it to the gate for our connecting flight. I have to admit, it was an amazing display of athleticism to start Shrine Week. ESPN's Adam Caplan made the sprint to the gate look easy, by the way. That's why he's the pro. - AS

1:40 P.M.: After settling in and grabbing a bite to eat, we arrive at Day One of East Practice. Before I can even walk in the front gate, Tony is ready to get to work. He's a machine at these events. - AS

East Practice

2:14 P.M.: I've been excited to see Drake tight end Eric Saubert (6-5, 250 pounds) in person. He looks great so far. - Tony Pauline

2:28 P.M.: During a walkthrough and special teams period of practice, I asked Tony which guys look the part to him. He immediately named DeAngelo Yancey, a 6-2 wide receiver from Purdue. Tony also points out Michigan tackle Erik Magnuson (6-5, 310 pounds). Magnuson has the physical traits, but Tony thinks he's a guard at the next level. Meanwhile, fellow Wolverine and running back De'Veon Smith has been running some very nice passing routes to get things started. - AS

2:45 P.M.: OL/DL drills. Defensive end Bryan Cox, Jr. from Florida was graded very well by scouts in past years, but those grades didn't carry through his senior year. The 6-3 lineman was handled during one-on-one drills by Magnusson. Tackle William Holden (6-7, 312 pounds) from Vanderbilt continues to look strong. Meanwhile, West Virginia guard Adam Pankey looks the part and is playing too it. He just annihilated defensive tackle Joey Ivie IV from Florida.

Sticking along the defensive line, West Georgia's Jason Carr has NFL-type size (6-6, 300 pounds) but has a tendency to turn his game on and off. Needs to be more consistent from that standpoint. From Florida Atlantic, defensive end Trey Hendrickson is an overachiever and gets the most from his ability. - TP

2:56 P.M.: I've seen Duce Staley having a number of one-on-one conversations with running back De'Veon Smith from Michigan. Looks like Duce is talking route running, which isn't surprising given that he's the team's offensive coordinator. Staley looks very comfortable talking with all the prospects and teaching technique. - AS

3:00 P.M.: Excellent observation from Tony. You can tell which scouts/media in attendance are from Florida. They're the ones wearing long sleeves in this "chilly" 70-degree weather. - AS

3:10 P.M.: From field level, two players who look the part during team drills: West Georgia defensive tackle Jason Carr and Miami safety Jamal Carter. - AS

3:20 P.M.: That's all from East practice. - AS

West Practice

4:00 P.M.: West practice is underway from St. Petersburg High School. Something I've learned about being around scouts. They get the good parking spots fast. It will be a little bit of a walk to our car. Early scout gets the worm. - AS

4:24 P.M.: West practice is off to a bit of a slower start, but Tony Pauline is a celebrity here walking on the sidelines. As we walk to the stands to get a better view, he points to the sand pit and tells me how great he is at the long jump. He tells me he's a decathlon runner, and I know he's telling the truth. - AS

4:30 P.M.: Wide receiver Billy Brown out of Shepherd is an interesting case. He's a small-school player, and I've always rated him as a tight end. At 6-4, 245 pounds, Brown doesn't have a lot of burst off the line but he works his hands well. - TP

4:34 P.M.: Tony notes that Washington State wide receiver Gabe Marks has the best helmet on the field (It's a neon red, or is it fluorescent, Tony wonders). Meanwhile, astute videographer Tom Meenan tells me he's actually wearing an Arizona helmet. Not sure why, I'll have to investigate.

It doesn't matter what helmet Marks is wearing because he's having a terrific practice. He's shown speed down the middle of the field, and at just 6-0, 187 pounds, he could be a potential slot receiver at the next level. He consistently made plays today. - AS

4:44 P.M.: I kind of feel for punter/kicker Austin Rehkow out of Idaho. Since he's kicking and punting, he's alone on the sideline except during special teams drills. - AS

4:48 P.M.: Linebacker Calvin Munson (6-1, 240 pounds) from San Diego State looks the part of an NFL linebacker. Seeing him makes me think about watching De'Vondre Campbell from Minnesota on this field last year. Campbell is now a starter for the Falcons as they battle for an NFC title. - AS

5:10 P.M.: It's 7-on-7 drills now, and USC tight end Taylor McNamara has stood out to me. Couple of nice plays in the passing game. Lining up as a fullback at times. I thought he fared well during his first Shrine Game practice. - AS

5:16 P.M.: Marks continues to look good. He consistently runs crisp routes and gets extended. He catches the ball away from his frame and doesn't rely on using his body to make plays. - TP

That's all from Day One. We'll have our notes from Day Two posted tomorrow night.

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