ST. PETERSBURG, Fl. –** The weather was perfect as the second day of Shrine practices took place under sunny skies. Taking their cue from the weather, a number of prospects shone brightly in front of a growing number of NFL scouts and decision makers who continue to descend upon St. Petersburg as both teams practiced in full pads. Here are the Risers and Sliders from Tuesday's practice.
Darrian Miller/OL/Kentucky – Miller has stood out the past two days, proving he can handle the duties at left tackle. Today he shut out his bigger teammate from Kentucky, Za'Darius Smith, during full scrimmage, looking stellar in pass protection. The 6-foot-5, 290-pound Miller is athletic, nimble and explosive at the point. He's built more like a guard, which may be his ultimate position in the NFL, but he continues to display next-level qualities at the all-important left tackle spot.
Kenny Hilliard/RB/LSU – It's often tough to grade running backs at All-Star games but Hilliard stood out and made his mark on Tuesday. The big ball-carrier ran with great patience, vision and power during live sessions. Hilliard, 5-11, 230, waited for his blocks to develop and for holes to open up before quickly passing through the running lanes. He also was seamless running pass routes and catching the ball out of the backfield. It was definitely a plus day for the late-round prospect.
Xavier Williams/DT/Northern Iowa – If there was one small-school player who stood out on Tuesday, it was Williams. He was dominant all afternoon, running over opponents and constantly smashing through blocks. At 6-2, 308, Williams possesses an NFL build and the power to back it up. The small-school prospect looked big time today.
Da'Ron Brown/WR/Northern Illinois – Brown was a late addition to the Shrine Game roster and he's a player who went unnoticed by scouts before the season started. But rest assured that Brown established himself as a legitimate NFL prospect over the past two days. He ran crisp, precise routes Tuesday, separating from defenders then catching everything thrown in his direction. On a number of plays, he was forced to lay out and make acrobatic catches due to the poor quarterback play here. Forty times prior to the draft are critical, but Brown left no doubt that he has the skills necessary to play on Sunday.
Amarlo Herrara/LB/Georgia – Herrara has quietly had two solid practices in which he's been applauded by coaches. He's quick moving up the field or laterally and has displayed toughness defending the run as well as skill in coverage. Herrara, 6-2, 233, has not been flashy but rather very steady while not experiencing breakdowns in assignments.
Dominique Brown/RB/Louisville – Brown put together an all-around day, effectively carrying the ball as well as displaying skills as a pass catcher. He ran with patience, instincts and quickness. The 6-foot-2, 240-pound Brown easily caught everything thrown to him and he quickly transitioned up the field after the catch. He runs with a bit of an upright style, much to the displeasure of teams, but has established himself as a solid late-round selection.
Ryan Russell/DE/Purdue – Russell had a somewhat disappointing senior season but really turned up the volume today and looked like a draftable prospect. At 6-5, 265, Russell is a speed rusher who exploited tackles in one-on-one drills and showed a good deal of athleticism in full scrimmage.
Kyle Emanuel/DE/North Dakota State – On paper, Emanuel, who is listed as just 6-3, 250, looks overmatched when compared to many of the big-school blockers against whom he lines up this week. But the story changes once the ball is snapped as the Buck Buchanan Award winner defeated many of his challengers today. Emanuel combines quickness and intensity to get the job done. His first step off the ball is a tough one to stop and Emanuel plays through the whistle, even when it seems opponents have beat him.
Jamon Brown/OL/Louisville – Brown, 6-6, 328, lined up at both tackle and guard, getting beat equally at both spots. Defenders ran around Brown as well as through him. The big lineman pounded his hands together in frustration throughout the day as he knew his draft stock was taking a hit.
Dean Marlowe/S/James Madison – At 6-2, 205, Marlowe is an impressive looking specimen but unfortunately that's where it has ended thus far at Shrine practices. He's struggled in one-on-one drills and shows little in the way of ball skills and coverage ability.