Here for the Optimum Scouting Shrine Game coverage, I'll be providing some of the most timely, accurate, up to day, and unique practice reports and notes. But a big part of this event that isn't as often covered is what happens OFF the practice/game field.
Players are constantly moving, doing interviews, talking to teams, and more, and here is where you'll find all the little details of the event that can make or break a Shrine Game invites stock.
Being An All-Star Game Invite May Be the Toughest Interview Process in America
Most of us have applied for a job, likely had an interview process. For many, it's nerve-racking. What's the interviewer going to ask? Do I look okay? What is he looking for in my answers/abilities? And with your future on the line, you have reason to be nervous.
Now imagine it's a week long, from 8:00am to 8:00pm straight through, with constant surveillance, periodic interviews, and testing your skills in an environment that will make fairly clear if you can perform your job at the level you can. That, combined with all the work put in before this, and it's not an easy task being an NFL Draft prospect at these events. While I'll be critical of some players, and praise others, that's my job here as a scout/writer covering the event. But make no mistake, I have seen what these players are going through, trying to combine a game they love and a tryout they need to continue to play that game.
So just remember as I and many others analyze this event, that struggles, concerns, and weaknesses may be an issue, and I'll certainly delve into the character aspects of as many players as I can, but this is not just a "play football and we'll see how you do thing". It's a "can I do this as a job for someone" and a "am I good enough compared to my peers and current professionals" thing. It's not easy, and for all that make it through the event, I commend them.
Everyone Else Besides Me at the Event
Thanks to a combination of being at the Senior Bowl a year ago and meeting some people, along with just how generally friendly (to put it cheesily) people that cover the NFL Draft are, it's truly a pleasure (and sometimes a scouting hinderence) to be shoulder to shoulder with fellow internet and non-NFL team scouts, as well as the NFL scouts and GMs.
As far as the others there that I'm friendly with, got a chance to really talk to Josh Norris, who's covering the event for Rotoworld, who was as knowledgeable and genuine as I expected over the phone. Didn't see him much at the West practice, but we kind of found our bearings together in both of our first Shrine Game practices. He's a very smart scouting guy, recommend you follow his work (after ours of course). Wes Bunting of National Football Post and Joe Everett of Rookie Draft are two I met last year, and it's great working along side those guys again. Wes is talking more with NFL scouts than I am, but he was happy to talk about Devon Wylie, who he liked alot before this, and he looks right.
Also, it was a pleasure meeting Chris Kouffman of Universal Draft and a variety of other scouts/agents/general NFL personnel this week. Didn't get to meet Thomas Melton of TMeltonScouting yet (hopefully tomorrow), but a combination of these great non-NFL teams scouts, probably 60-70 NFL team personnel, CFL scouts, and the Mike Mayock's of the world, it's a busy yet wide open practice field, ideal for scouting and bumping ideas off each other.
Teams Interest Notes
These are my notes after practice and which team's "pounced" on which prospects. Keep in mind some of the time it's just teams doing their homework, but it also shows that the player is on their draft-board, sometimes highly rated.
Cleveland Browns - Jerry Franklin (Arkansas ILB), RJ Blanton (Notre Dame CB), Julian Miller (West Virginia DE), Charles Brown (North Carolina CB
Baltimore Ravens - Devon Wylie (Fresno State WR), Vaughn Meatoga (Hawaii DT), Tyler Shoemaker (Boise State WR), David Paulson (Oregon TE), BJ Coleman (Chattanooga QB), RJ Blanton (Notre Dame CB)
Washington Redskins - Jarius Wright (Arkansas WR), Vaugh Meatoga (Hawaii DT) and Justin Francis (Rutgers DE), Akiem Hicks (Canadian DT)
Indianapolis Colts - Desmond Wynn (Rutgers OT), Kyle Wilber (Wake Forest DE)
Jacksonville Jaguars - Devon Wylie (Fresno State WR)
San Diego Chargers - Jarius Wright (Arkansas WR , for a while), Brandon Marshall (Nevada OLB), Justin Bethel (Presbyterian CB), Tysyn Hartman (Kansas State S), Thomas Mayo (California PA WR)
Philadelphia Eagles - Bryan Anger (California Punter), Chris Greenwood (Albion CB), Austin Davis (Southern Miss QB)
Houston Texans - Billy Winn (Boise State DT), Micah Pellerin (Hampton CB), BJ Coleman (Chattanooga QB)
Kansas City Chiefs - Rodney McLeod (Virginia CB), LaRon Byrd (Miami WR), AJ Jenkins (Illinois WR)
Oakland Raiders - Austin Cassidy (Nebraska S)
New Orleans Saints - Thomas Mayo (California PA WR, for a while)
New York Jets - Akiem Hicks (Canada DT)
San Francisco 49ers - Rishaw Johnson (California PA OG), Tim Benford (Tennessee Tech WR)
Arizona Cardinals - Jeff Adams (Columbia OT), Josh Norman (Coastal Carolina CB)
Detroit Lions - Alfred Morris (Florida Atlantic RB)