East-West Shrine Game: Day 2 Practice Notes

by Eric Galko

Optimum Scouting is here at the East-West Shrine Game practices, with our scouting staff evaluating players at every position every day.

Our winners from Day 2 are Fresno State QB Marcus McMaryion and WR KeeSean Johnson, LSU RB Nick Brosette, Syracuse WR Jamal Custis, Kentucky OG Bunchy Satllings, Kansas DT Daniel Wise, and Troy CB Blace Brown.

-Marcus McMaryion took most of the first team reps with the West team offering more playbook creativity with his mobility. The prolific Mountain West quarterback continues to show high levels of accuracy when throwing on the run and found his favorite target, teammate KeeSean Johnson, plenty during team periods. 

-While not quick as nimble as McMaryion, the East team has a mobile passer themselves with David Blough. The Purdue showed great field awareness along with the sound footwork to find passing lanes through pressure. Blough has also thrown some perfect balls with tremendous touch and shows a tendency to build on good plays one at a time.

-Also for the East team, Taylor Cornelius showed off his big arm on a few occasions finding Jamal Custis in the endzone on long arcing passes. The tall Oklahoma State product stands at 6’6” and moves quite well but to improve his draft stock he’ll need to reel in a bit of his arm talent and make quicker decisions in the middle of the field without relying entirely on the jaw-dropping deep ball.  

Running Backs
-LSU running back Nick Brosette proved again on day 2 that he is the best power running back here. Not only did he power through tacklers and fight for extra yards each play, Brosette was also a willing and effective blocker. The former Tiger was also busy out of the backfield showing smoother hands than shown on film and will continue to round out his game if his receiving ability continues to improve 

Wide Receivers
-Syracuse’s recent breakout star Jamal Custis, who exploded onto the scene in 2018 with 900 yards and 6 TDs, used his frame to make some impressive circus catches. At 6’5”, Custis was working his outside release early and often for deep gains showing strong hands and great concentration. 

-Terry Godwin put on an absolute clinic in route running throughout the entire second day of practice. His quick footwork and timing created separation wherever he lined up on the field. Along with Custis and our Day 1 Winner DeMarkus Lodge, the East team is loaded at the receiver position that seem to get better each day with more familiarity with their new quarterbacks

-KeeSean Johnson was the busiest West team receiver catching over 10 passes throughout 2 team periods. Working on the perimeter, Johnson broke off hitch after hitch leaving corners 3 yards behind with crisp footwork and excellent timing. Without the ideal strength or frame to exclusively play on the outside, I’d like to see him work more from the slot 

-An intriguing target who improved greatly on day 2 was Ron’Quavion Tarver who looked more comfortable in and out of routes today. The long Utah State receiver was firstly impressive as a blocker during inside run but also has some wiggle to his game at 6’3 215 pounds. 

Offensive Linemen
-Kentucky's Bunchy Stallings has been asked to play nearly every offensive line position over the first two days here at the Shrine Game, and has continued to be confident, tenacious and a finishing blocker. Entering as one of the best offensive linemen here, he's shown he can adapt quickly to multiple positions and finish with the strength and effectiveness shown in the SEC.

-Elon's Oli Udoh had very inconsistent film and his promise as a blocker was far more projection-based rather than reliable early in the NFL. But he's been one of the more surprisingly consistent and dominating run blockers at the Shrine Game, showing outstanding bend and mobility despite being one of the biggest linemen here. He's en route to securing a firm draftable grade across the board here in St. Pete.

-Michigan's Juwann Bushell-Beatty isn't always a crisp, sexy blocker but he's been one of the more consistent and complete offensive tackles here at the Shrine Game. He's long, uses quick and efficient hands, and can finish when he positions himself well in pass protection. A little more refinement and tenacity downfield, and he could be a swing tackle with starter upside.

-John Keenoy of Western Michigan is one of the more refined and composed blockers here, especially in pass blocking one-on-one drills. He's limited a bit in his length and lateral quickness, but he meets with great initial position and readjusts well unless his opposing rusher has elite quickness in isolation. Keenoy, as expected, looks like a reliable NFL interior rotational lineman.

-Georgia's Lamont Gaillard continues to be the best center at the Shrine Game, and his ability to move upfield and remain in control, winning with hands and finishing downfield is highly impressive. His lack of elite measurables, but he's looked the part of a quality NFL zone blocking lineman.

Defensive Linemen

-Rutgers Kevin Wilkins continued with a strong Day 2, and has flashed as one of the better athletes here at the position. Defensive tackle, especially on the East squad, has been a fantastic unit, but Wilkins has been a surprisingly consistent member of the best of the position in both days.

-Virginia Tech's Ricky Walker continues to be consistently penetrating and always leaning and moving forward, showing great energy and burst upfield as a pass rusher. He's smaller and a bit limited, but has the quickness and finishing ability upfield to be one of the few yearly undersized three-techniques to stick in the NFL.

-Sam Houston State's Derick Roberson is shorter and bit undersized, but he continues to be the best speed rusher at the Shrine Game, and it's clear how he was able to be so productive. He frustrated most of the bigger, longer offensive tackles in isolation drills, but even flashed during team run and team pass drills. He's not for every scheme, but has the motor and quick twitch to be a rotational rusher.

-Kansas's Daniel Wise dominated once again during practice and has emerged as the clear best defensive tackle at the event, and likely the favorite to be the first defensive lineman brought up to the Senior Bowl next week. Long, dominant first contact, and stays balanced through his penetration. 

Defensive Backs

-Our day 2 Winner for defensive backs was Blace Brown of Troy who was highly productive in the afternoon practice breaking up passes and getting his hands on the football. Brown is a springy athlete with tons of twitch and speed to his game. He also stood out during individual periods high pointing passes well and showing overall great ball skills.

-Adarius Pickett of UCLA showcased some immense playmaking upside on the first day of padded practice. The well-built safety has the speed and competitiveness to cover tight ends and bigger receivers but also the tackling power and finishing ability to make plays in the backfield. Pickett had a handful of big hit moments and will definitely cause some fumbles in his NFL future as a run support safety. 

-To end practice, Northwestern’s cornerback Montre Hartage was called out for 1 on 1’s and made a highly athletic interception, fully extending in front of the receiver and securing possession. Hartage was impressive all day showing exceptional change of direction ability, breaking on balls and routes with ease. 

-Our top rated corner at the Shrine Game, Michael Jackson of Miami had a strong second day, playing with plenty of physicality in full pads and stifling receivers at the line. Jackson has prototypical size and frame at 6’2” and 205 pounds and demonstrates elite instincts and tackling ability. The former Hurricane also showed tons of range and certainly is athletic enough to offer versatility as a run support safety as well as traditional corner

-Kentucky’s Derrick Baity was tasked with guarding Custis all day and held his own in a battle of length. Baity plays well off the line of scrimmage using his long arms and precise hand technique to square receivers and limit their work upfield and also uses extremely long strides to cover tons of ground

Wyoming safety Andrew Wingard had 1 of 3 interceptions on the day for the West squad and continues to be around the ball consistently. Although undersized to play a true run support safety position, Wingard plays with an extremely high motor to perform beyond his measurables.