While the Senior Bowl gets most of the attention from scouts looking for players in the draft, the East-West Shrine Bowl has had their share of big names as well. Pro Bowlers such as Marques Colston, Greg Jennings, Jay Ratliff, Wes Welker and Jared Allen have all played in the game. This is also a time where some players from smaller schools get their chance to shine and attract attention. Some examples include Tarvaris Jackson, Jacoby Jones and most recently the Buccaneers 5th round draft pick quarterback Josh Johnson. Here are some players to watch in the game today.
Chase Daniel QB Missouri: Daniel was one of the most productive quarterbacks in all of college football for the last two years. Scouts didn’t think he had much pro potential though as they thought he was undersized. Daniel then measured in at 6 feet and with a good showing in the game and at the combine; he could possibly get picked in the 4th or 5th round in an overall weak class of quarterbacks.
Hunter Cantwell QB Louisville: Coming into the year, scouts were in love with Cantwell’s prototypical size and arm and was once considered a top 10 pick. After an average senior season, Cantwell’s stock declined but could get back in the good graces of scout’s with a good showing in the game and the combine. Considering the weak quarterback class, Cantwell could move up into the 3rd or 4th round with a few impressive showings.
Gartrell Johnson RB Colorado State: Johnson had a very productive senior year and started to get some attention after a huge bowl game against Fresno State where he ran for 285 yards with 2 touchdowns. Unlike many backs at 6’0 225 pounds Johnson can handle 20 carries a game at the next level. Johnson isn’t very explosive and probably won’t blow anyone away with his speed but he’s a very productive back who could be a steal for somebody on day 2.
Javarris Williams RB Tennessee State: Like Johnson, Williams has put up solid numbers in his 4 year career and coming from a small school he hasn’t gotten the attention he deserves. He is also a bruising back who has prototypical NFL size at 5’11 215 pounds. Williams doesn’t have great timed speed either but with his frame can take the pounding at the next level. Tennessee State hasn’t produced many NFL players but if Williams plays as well as Cardinals 1st round pick cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, he certainly won’t be the last player drafted from the school.
Jarett Dillard WR Rice: Over the last three years Dillard has been the most productive receiver in all of college football. Over that time he has accumulated 55 touchdowns and over 255 catches. So why isn’t Dillard being considered one of the top receiver prospects in this year’s draft? That’s because while Michael Crabtree and Jeremy Maclin play against teams like Oklahoma and Texas in the Big 12, Dillard is going against the likes of UAB and Tulane in Conference USA. As guys like Roddy White, Chris Johnson, Matt Forte and Brandon Marshall have proved the last few years though that Conference USA players can adjust to the NFL. He is an excellent route runner with great hands and is built very similar to another East-West Shrine alum Greg Jennings. Dillard could be a huge steal for someone on the second day of the draft.
Mike Thomas WR Arizona: Not many people have noticed but Thomas was one of the most productive receivers in Pac 10 history. He doesn’t have the size teams look for at 5’8 195 pounds but at a time in the league where the passing game is so important, Thomas could develop into a great slot receiver. At his size he doesn’t have the timed speed somebody would expect but he is a very good route runner who is quick in the open field. Thomas could be a very solid player for a team who is willing to take a chance on him in the later part of day 2.