MORSE: East West Shrine Game Practice Reports
Today I am going to give a wrap-up of the East-West Shrine game practices. The Patriots coaching staff has been very hands-on. Steve Belichick arrived on Monday and got right into it. Joe Judge was also in attendance in more of a supervisory role. Cam Achord was working one-on-one with punter Michael Turk.
Last year 4 players that played in the East-West Shrine game were drafted by the Patriots. This year with 11 draft picks, they could take as many as 6 and sign a few more as UDFA.
I have used multiple sources for this report. Often the same names will appear in different reports. They are all seeing the same thing.
Day 1 Practice
The big news was that Zay Flowers WR Boston College was not practicing. No reason was given and there was no injury reported. He was on the field, involved in all aspects except practicing. Also, Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson CB TCU was not practicing. They are two of the better-known names at the East–West Shrine game. Alex Barth of 98.5 Sports Hub reported that Flowers said in an interview with him that he is running in the low 4.3s for the 40 in his combine prep. Flowers is generating a lot of buzz, so much so that he is now considered a back-end 1st round pick.
Myles Brooks CB Louisiana Tech (6’1”, 201 lbs) is a name that all the reports mention. He has been very physical and used his size to dominate the WRs. He is very confident and is constantly chirping at the WRs. He played for Louisiana Tech this year after transferring from Stephen F. Austin. The concern might be that he runs just a 4.55 e 40.
Jorden Howard FS from Minnesota (6’, 206 lbs) Howard is more of a SS and his 4.56 40 reflects that. Yet the Patriots coaching staff played him at FS and he didn’t look out of place.
Mohamoud Diabate LB Utah (6’ 3” 229) runs an estimated 4.56 40. He transferred from Florida. He was described as a Patriots-type player. More of that quick and smaller LB able to cover TEs. In an interview, it was obvious that he is a football historian. He mentioned Ted Bruschi and Willie McGinest as two of his favorite all-time LBs. If he gets into an interview with Belichick I would like to be a fly on the wall for that one.
Jaxson Kirkland OL Washington (6’7”, 322 lbs) He looks bigger than his numbers. Washington played him at OG to help out an inexperienced OC. Unfortunately, they are playing him at OG here too. He is violent and has been throwing people around. Best OL on the field.
Tyrus Wheat LB Mississippi St (6’2” 269 lbs) 4.73 40 e. He can hold the edge as well as move in coverage. He worked as a Punt Coverage gunner with extra coaching from Bill Belichick who went on for about 4 minutes on punt coverage techniques. Many of these players will make NFL teams on their ability to play special teams.
Michael Turk P Oklahoma (6’ 234lbs) Remember this name. He will likely be drafted by the Patriots as early as the 5th round. They need a punter and this kid is legit. Alex Barth timed his hang time. He had one that was 5.3 seconds. The thud is the sound that comes off his foot. He also has a very short punt stride and great rotation on his ball.
AT Perry WR Wake Forest (6’3” 195 lbs) runs a 4.56 40. Long strider that didn’t have trouble getting off press coverage. Reminds people of Jakobi Meyers.
Blake Whiteheart TE Wake Forest (6’4”, 249) Runs 4.76 40 More of an inline blocker but caught the ball well enough to get noticed by a few reporters.
Dante Stills DL West Virginia ( 6’4’, 289 lbs) runs 4.88 He is a beast and no O-lineman could contain him. He was a 5-year starter for the Mountaineers.
Day 2 Practice
The Zay show was on display and he didn’t disappoint. He was obviously the quickest and the fastest player out there. He even did PR drills even though he only returned 7 punts at BC. That was because he was on the field for 75% of the offensive plays. I think he is done for the week here in Las Vegas. Don’t expect to see him in the game. It is very rare that a potential 1st round pick plays in the East-West Shrine game.
AJ Finley FS Mississippi (6’2” 202 lbs) He is estimated to run a 4.53 40. He is another player to watch for the Patriots. They have a need for an FS with the potential of Devin McCourty retiring. The Patriots staff got a good look at him in practice.
Kei’Trel Clark CB Louisville (5’10”, 179) runs a 4.46 e 40. He has the ability to mirror the WR which is a strong trait of a slot corner.
Dorian Thompson-Robinson QB UCLA (6’1” 199 lbs) He was the most consistent QB of all.
Xazavian Valladay RB Arizona St (5’11”, 199) runs an estimated 4.56 40. Most polished route runner of RBs. His downfield routes were impressive. Plays bigger than his size. Excellent at blitz pickup as he was able to step up and butt-up blitzing defenders.
Dallas Daniels WR Jackson St (5’10” 176) runs an estimated 4.52. He appears faster than his estimated time. He has a natural ability in catching the ball.
Trey Dean FS Florida (6’3”, 211 Lbs) runs a 4.5 e 40. Dean put together two good days of practice and played all over the secondary. Impressed at FS with 2 INTs
AJ Finley 3 INTs on Monday
Justin Shorter WR Florida had a spectacular catch at the end of practice as he went to the ground to make the catch and had the smarts to get up and continue into the end zone. In college, when you hit the ground you are down, but in the NFL, if you are not touched, you can get up and run and that’s what he did.
Patriots search for O-line coach continues in ls Vegas
Former Patriot O-lineman Ryan Wendell was set to interview in Las Vegas. In fact, Bill O’Brien was not at practice yesterday and Bill Belichick was late. Others rumored to be interviewed are Tony Sparano Jr. and Mike Develin. Develin was Bill O’Brien’s O-line coach at Houston when O’Brien was head coach. Sparano is the son of Tony Sparano, the former Head Coach of the Dolphins and Raiders. He was the only coach to take a team that had 1 win the previous season and make the playoffs the next year. Tony passed away in July 2018. Tony Jr is the New York Giants’ assistant O-line coach.
Comings and Goings
The Patriots re-signed Lynn Bowden (QB/RB/WR) to a futures contract. The former Kentucky Wildcat is a do it all player. After posting a great sophomore season as a WR, he played the 1st 4 games at WR then switched to QB after injuries to the QBs. He racked up over 1250 yards rushing his Junior season and 11 TDs leading Kentucky to a bowl game. He entered the draft foregoing his Senior season. Good signing by the Pats and Id like to see Bowden as the 3rd QB/WR.
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