Shrine Game: Five prospects that impressed this week
Here's our report from 13-year-old Riley Auman, who loves the NFL Draft and has been busy taking in practices this week and Saturday's East-West Shrine Game. Follow him on Twitter at @junioraumanac.
This week I was able to watch the East-West Shrine Game practices and take in the game on Saturday. The Shrine Game always is a great opportunity for potential draft prospects in the upcoming class. Last year's game boasted some players now in major roles as rookies on winning NFL football teams -- Patriots guard Joe Thuney, Falcons nickel corner Brian Poole and Broncos safety Justin Simmons to name a few. I figured I would give my take on five guys who impressed me throughout the week and during the game.
-- Trey Hendrickson, DE, Florida Atlantic: Hendrickson ended up earning defensive MVP in the Shrine Game on Saturday with two tackles and a sack-fumble. He was a dominant force all week at practice, showing an array of pass-rush moves such as a bull rush and a rip move. During gauntlet drills against offensive linemen, Hendrickson consistently blew past blockers and showed off an unstoppable confidence as a player. He has some natural instincts off the edge and is a vastly underrated pro player coming out of Florida Atlantic. He was a defensive standout.
-- Deatrich Wise Jr., DE, Arkansas: Wise had a rough end to his senior year at Arkansas, getting benched for the last few games and struggling to find an exact position for himself between five and three-technique. At 6-6 and 270, Wise went through drills and played purely off the edge, solving the issues as to his NFL position, and showed off an ability to get off blocks and stop the run. I think he made a convincing case to teams that he can be a rotational pass rusher and run stopper at the next level. Wise also showed that he has some developable pass rush moves that a team is bound to take a chance on in the draft.
-- Jalen Robinette, WR, Air Force: Robinette flew under the radar at Air Force due to a run-heavy offense and a lack of targets. This week, however, he showed that he is useful on 50/50 balls with his 6-4 frame but can also have a diverse route tree and contribute in all areas of the field. He showed a knack for catching the ball away from his body and going up for the ball. He’s a pro-ready player who can play on the outside at the next level, and made the most of a rough quarterback situation on the West team.
-- Drew Morgan, WR, Arkansas: Morgan was a late invite to the Shrine Game, only getting his invite on Friday, three days before practice started, but he made the most of the opportunity. Considering he was fourth in the SEC in receptions, he was vastly overlooked by many before his invite, myself included. But I think he showed crisp route running and made some nice catches running out of the slot, where he’s likely to play most in the NFL. Morgan fits the Patriots narrative for a receiver in a productive college player who is an elite route runner and an overlooked pro.
-- Michael Roberts, TE, Toledo: Roberts came into the game with a ton of potential but a lot of questions surrounding his game. Reports said that he was running his 40-yard dash at around 4.94 and that scouts were knocking him for his lack of blocking. Roberts, at 6-5 and 270, has a monster frame and knows how to find the high point of the football and leap for it. I saw his play speed at much faster than something in the 4.9s and he isn’t the greatest blocker in the world, but I thought he was still adequate. Roberts will have another opportunity to show off what he has at the Senior Bowl next week.