Shrine Game: East Practice: Day Three
The East were back in pads for the third day of practice and the last one they will have in front of the majority of NFL scouts. Here are the players that stuck out to me today:
Jeff Mathews continues to perform well and certainly has to be reminding scouts of what they saw coming into the season. He has the strongest arm of any quarterback in St. Pete this week, and while his release isn’t as quick as Jimmy Garoppolo’s he has pushed the ball downfield very effectively.
Garoppolo had another strong day, and while not all of his throws are placed exactly where you want them he throws a very catchable ball and has a legitimate chance to go on Day Two of the NFL Draft. Jordan Lynch made a couple surprising throws today, but he also threw some ducks and his ball placement was all over the place during various drills.
He’s still a threat to run as he showed in college, but as I talked about with Emory Hunt (@FBallGameplan) his best fit is likely in the CFL. Emory believes he could be a great player there, and I agree with him.
I continue to be impressed with Zach Bauman, but all three of these backs are solid. They are unfortunately in a very deep running back class so while they all might carry day three grades it will be tough for all of them to get drafted. It will be important to see who differentiates themselves in the game, particularly in pass protection.
Matt Hazel had another strong day today, and he has ran much better routes than I came in expecting. He ran a GORGEOUS double move against Pierre Desir today and burned him badly before making a fantastic diving catch to complete the play. He is one of the top two receivers in St. Pete this week, and he showed it again today.
Erik Lora has settled in after having a tough first day, and he has reliable hands along with surprising physicality for a player lacking “wow” measurables. Ja’mes Logan and Allen Hurns both haven’t impressed me much this week and will likely struggle to get drafted, particularly since Logan has had issues with drops all week.
Jeremy Gallon is one of the better receivers here as well, and continues to show that despite his size he has the potential to be a quality slot receiver in the NFL. He is going to go Day Three if he gets drafted at all, but I think he can stick at the next level.
Not very many of these offensive linemen have draftable grades from me at this point, but James Stone has shown the ability to play at center and at guard, and while he hasn’t had a great week of practice he has been better than most every other player on the line. He won’t be a high draft pick, but he should go day three.
More than anyone I was impressed with Zachariah Kerr today. He’s a player I hadn’t seen before and he has shown an impressive burst off the line of scrimmage, and more power than I expected. He’s a guy I am very interested to see in the game on Saturday. Bruce Gaston had another strong day, showing powerful hands and proving tough to move around in the run game when I watched him. He’s not the prospect Kawann Short was, but he’s a Day Three caliber player in his own right.
Derrell Johnson impressed me again today, seamlessly moving from pass rush drills to drills as a linebacker. He grabbed a couple times in coverage when he was matched up with slot receivers, but he has shown me enough to make me want to go back and watch him more.
This is one of the strongest groups here, and today Nevin Lawson from Utah State really stuck out to me. He’s listed at just under 5’10″, 188 pounds but he looked fluid today in practice, closing quickly and impressing in 1 on 1 drills. I haven’t seen much of him coming into this week, but he definitely looked very draftable today. Unfortunately, Ross Cockrell has had a rough week and does not look draftable at this point.