East-West Shrine: This week's standouts
January, 17, 2014
By Steve Muench | ESPN.com
USA TODAY SportsCassius Marsh, Jimmy Garoppolo and Bernard Reedy have stood out during practices all week.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- It's been a fruitful week of practices at the 89th East-West Shrine Game and today offers an opportunity to review what I've seen the past four days.
Three quarterbacks stood out starting with Eastern Illinois' Jimmy Garoppolo. At 6-foot-2¼ and 225 pounds, Garoppolo has a good frame and he carries his weight well. The one negative when it comes to his measurements are his smaller hands. His quick release, eye discipline and accuracy were good throughout the week and on tape, which is why he projects as a Day 2 pick.
The other two quarterbacks worth mentioning are Ball State's Keith Wenning (6-2⅜, 219) and Cornell's Jeff Mathews (6-3⅜, 225). Both have the frame and arm strength to make an NFL roster. Wenning has the edge over Matthews because he has better pocket mobility and he was more accurate when forced to make plays on the move.
At receiver, Toldeo's Bernard Reedy showed good quickness before and after the catch, but it is important not to lose perspective here. He's 5-7⅝ and weighs 174 pounds. That's an inch shorter and 11 pounds lighter than Denver slot receiver Wes Welker.
Pitt State's John Brown is another receiver who stood out and he has adequate height at 5-10. The problem is Brown is light at 175 pounds and his hands measure just 8¼ inches, the smallest of all the receivers here.
Even though Valdosta State's Seantavious Jones (6-3⅛, 209) didn't have as strong a week on the field -- and body-caught too many passes for a player with his hand size -- his measurements will likely make him a more attractive option for NFL teams.
Out of all the non-FBS prospects here, Furman offensive guard Dakota Dozier surprised me the most -- starting with his measurements. Dozier is 6-3¾, weighs 312 pounds and has above-average length -- his arms measured 33¾ inches -- for the position. He showed good power as a run-blocker and balance during one-on-one pass protection drills.
On the defensive side of the ball, Purdue's Bruce Gaston (6-2⅛, 316-pound) and Louisiana Tech's Justin Ellis (6-1⅜, 351) are intriguing nose tackle prospects with above-average athletic ability for their size. There is also a lot to like about the way Gaston used his hands this week.
While Wisconsin's Beau Allen isn't as agile at 6-2½ and 333 pounds, he has the weight, low center of gravity and toughness to develop into an effective interior run stopper.
At 6-2⅞, inside linebacker Max Bullough weighed in at a heavy 265 pounds. Michigan State suspended Bullough for violating team rules and held him out of the Rose Bowl so Bullough's weight raised concerns about whether or not he had kept up with his conditioning.
He has always had limitations in space and he didn't run quite as well as expected based on his tape, but the weight didn't appear to affect him in terms of endurance. There's also a lot to like about the way he played the ball in coverage this week.
Finally, it's impossible for one evaluator to keep an eye on every position group but here are 15 prospects that stood out as I made my rounds this week.
1. Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Eastern Illinois
2. Cassius Marsh, DE, UCLA
3. Bernard Reedy, WR, Toledo
4. Bruce Gaston, DT, Purdue
5. Dakota Dozier, guard, Furman
6. Justin Ellis, NT, Louisiana Tech
7. Zach Bauman, RB, Northern Arizona
8. Keith Wenning, QB, Ball State
9. James Stone, center/guard, Tennessee
10. Rashaad Reynolds, CB, Oregon State
11. John Brown, WR, Pitt State
12. Jordan Najvar, TE, Baylor
13. Josh Mauro, DE, Stanford
14. Tyler Starr, OLB, South Dakota
15. Jemea Thomas, CB, Georgia Tech