The week before the Super Bowl we have two college football All-Star games. The East/West Shrine Game will be played on Thursday Night at 8 and the Senior Bowl will be held on Saturday at 12:30. Both games will be broadcast on the NFL network.
The East/West Shrine game practices will start on Saturday, January 29th. Senior Bowl practices start on Tuesday, February 1st. The Senior Bowl practices will be shown on the NFL network and are a great source of finding out who can play and who can’t.
Here are 10 players to watch in the East/West Shrine game:
- Brad Hawkins SS Michigan – Hawkins projects more as a linebacker than safety, He makes thunderous hits but is not very good in coverage. At 6’ 1”, 221 lbs he is about the same size as Cameron McGrone. His estimated 40 time is 4.56. Hawkins had Pro Football Focus’ highest grade for run-stopping Safeties at 89.4.
- Pierre Strong RB South Dakota St. – Strong is a 4-year starter that accumulated 4,527 yards in his career. The 5’ 11”, 205 lbs, has an estimated 40 time of 4.5. He is favorably compared to Austin Ekeler. He doesn’t have the reps Ekeler did at catching out of the backfield and needs work on his blocking.
- Javon Heiligh WR Coastal Carolina – He had 66 catches for 1128 yards and 7 TDs. At 6’2”, 200 lbs he is a big target that has the route running and YAC the NFL is looking for.
- Matthew Butler DT Tennessee – He has the size at 6’3” 295 to play inside. He is more quick than fast. His estimated 40 time is 5.03.
- Jeffrey Gunter EDGE Coastal Carolina – Gunter is 6’4” 260 lbs and runs an estimated 4.78 40. Can he set the edge and be more than a situational pass rusher.
- Alec Lindstrom C Boston College – Little brother of ATL Guard Chris Lindstrom. Not quite as big as his brother, but technically sound. Solid run blocker but has some difficulties pass blocking. Three-year starter and one of only 5 players at BC to be selected 1st Team All ACC twice.
- Chase Lucas CB Arizona St – Lucas was a 5-year starter with 47 career starts. At 6’1”, 185 lbs, he has length and runs an estimated 4.41 40. Natural ball skills, he had 38 career pass breakups.
- Diego Fagot LB Navy – Fargot was the hero of the ARMY/NAVY game with his reception on a faked punt. He was the personal protector who made a great catch on a poorly thrown ball for the key 1st down that secured the NAVY victory. Fargot stands 6’2”, 240 lbs, and runs an estimated 4.67. For an ILB that’s not a bad time. Most other teams are not looking at him, but you know Bill Belichick will.
- Nolan Turner SS Clemson – Turner is 6’1”, 205 lbs and runs an estimated 4.62. Turner has the reputation as the best special teams player in the country. Can he play safety?
- Reed Blankenship FS Middle Tennessee St – Blankenship led the team in tackles with 105 in 2020. He is a 2 time 1st team All CUSA 1st team selection and was 2nd team in 2019. He is the all-time tackle leader in Program history. At 6’1” 204 lbs, he runs an estimated 4.54 40. He is a glue guy on all 4 special team units because of his good tackling ability. He favorably compared to KC safety Daniel Sorenson or even the Patriots Cody Davis.
Next Tuesday I will highlight some of the Senior Bowl players and bring you any news from the Shrine game practices.
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