Categorized | 2014 Draft, Article

East-West Shrine Game – Players To Watch


By Alex Kozora

The East/West Shrine Game kicks off today at 4PM EST on the NFL Network under the sunny St. Petersburg skies. The rosters don’t hold many first round picks but plenty of mid to late round selections to make the game worth watching. Some of the notables for Pittsburgh Steelers fans.

EAST

Matt Hall/OT Belhaven: 6’8/5 323 – Hall comes from a NAIA school, making finding tape on him difficult. A perfect example of how useful these All-Star games are, giving an ultra-small school kid the opportunity to play against tough competition and under the spotlight.

The element I’ll be watching most closely is his foundation in pass protection. At over 6’8, is he a heavy waist bender or can he get low and still move laterally? Does he show flatback on his first punch? Does he play to his size or is he more of a finesse big man similar to Marcus Gilbert? If he performs well today, you can bet scouts will be scrambling to find extra tape on Hall.

Pierre Desir/CB Lindenwood: 6’0/7 197 – Like Hall, Desir hails from a small school – D2 Lindenwood. But he’s always had the talent to play FBS football. Recruited by Missouri and Michigan St, his grades weren’t good enough and was forced to turn to Division 2. After originally attending Washburn University, where he became a 2nd Team All-American, he transferred to Lindenwood in order to be closer to his family while raising one himself (he has two daughters).

In his last two seasons, Desir has recorded 13 interceptions . He has the length at cornerback that is becoming a popular trend among teams like the Seattle Seahawks. If he shows he can stay low in his backpedal and flips his hips with ease, he may become a Day 2 selection.

Will Clarke/DE West Virginia: 6’6 277 – Clarke is a local product. Out of Pittsburgh, he played football at Taylor Allderdice High School before committing to WVU. I’ve only watched him once making this game a good platform to learn more. He possesses long arms and a surprising good get-off. But he must get stronger and be more physical against the run. If he can show that, he could find a home as a 3-4 defensive end.

Glenn Carson/ILB Penn St: 6’2/6 244 – Another throwback Nittany Lion linebacker, Carson is a hard hitter and sure tackler. But he has to show a lot more athleticism and he’s tight-hipped in coverage. Perhaps he carves out a niche on special teams. He’s shaping up to be a late day three selection.

WEST

Sentavius Jones/WR Valdosta St: 6’3/1 209 – Jones has drawn some Alshon Jeffrey comparisons. That’s probably being generous but Jones has the size Steelers’ fans have been banging on the table for.

Jones has continued to bulk up weighing in at 193 his junior season, 200 his senior season, and now at 209 for the Shrine Game. He’s got a knack for finding the end zone too, scoring on over 22% of his career catches (33 TDs on 149 receptions). That includes a six touchdown outing this season against Delta State.

Justin Ellis/NT Louisiana Tech: 6’1/5 351 – I haven’t watched this massive one tech yet but I’ve heard good things and am excited to get eyes on him. Ellis can be had on Day Three as a project at nose tackle. While we’ve discussed the misconception that the Steelers need a nose tackle, Steve McClendon had a fine year, it never hurts to add a guy of that size onto your roster.

He recorded 5.5 TFL and 1.5 sacks his senior season.

Larry Webster/OLB Bloomsburg: 6’5/6 249 – Like Clarke, I’ve only watched one game of this D2 prospect. A former basketball player, he made the switch to football two seasons ago amassing 26 sacks over that span. His dad, Larry Sr, played in the NFL for eleven seasons.

Webster has a good burst off the edge and dominated smaller D2 tackles but can get stiff in the hips. A concern for a prospect that is much better rushing with his hand up than down. He’ll have to prove to be fluid when dropping to keep building his stock.

Max Bullough/ILB Michigan St: 6’2/7 265 – It’s been a difficult past few weeks for the former Spartan. He was suspended for the Rose Bowl and his weight has seemed to balloon, coming into the Shrine game 20 pounds heavier than what he was listed. Still, he was the clear defensive leader of the Spartans. Look to see how he carries his weight and how athletic he is today.

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  • Matt Manzo

    What was Bullough suspended for? Damn! He is on my list!
    Really excited about Desir!

  • Alex Kozora

    Unspecified team rule.

  • Lucus Rodriguez

    Max Bullough would be a good late rd pick

  • Lucus Rodriguez

    rumors are some sort of substance abuse (alcohol or marijuana I hear)

  • David Edward

    I’ll add a few guys to your list…

    RB Ladarius Perkins – Miss. St. – tiny speed back, but if he can catch and be a KR, he has a chance to be more than a Chris Rainey.
    CB EJ Gaines – Mizzou – a tad short at 5’9 1/2, but has the speed, want to see if he can leap with the tall WRs and tackle the catch.
    ILB DeDe Lattimore – South Fla. – smaller, but can hit, can he cover too? If so, could be what they intended Spence to be
    ILB Andrew Jackson – W. Kentucky – bigger at 255-260, can he cover? He also could project as a 34OLB which is where we know they will need depth. If he’s capable at both inside and outside, could be worth a late pick.
    OLB Prince Shembo – Notre Dame similar size to Jackson but and OLB former DE type. Could be an upgrade over Chris Carter
    OLB – Denton Kennard – USC – son of former pro Derrick, like Shembo could be replacement for Carter.

    I do like Desir as a potential small school sleeper. Although, if he impresses, he will be a day two guy and might not be around for a late 3rd comp. pick.

  • SFIC

    Matt Hall actually measured in at 6′-10″.
    Short QBs will probably fire the odd throw off the back of his helmet.

  • Kevin Gobleck

    I will also be watching Tre Boston on North

  • Alex Kozora

    Comment was in moderation so I’ll reply without a link. Hall weighed in at 6’8 and 5/8. He was listed at 6’10 on Belhaven’s roster. Optimal Scouting has the weigh ins.

  • cp72

    Think Boston has looked good. I am in Big Ten country and have always liked Gallon. Kid is just a football player.

  • mem359

    I’m wondering if the Steelers should be watching basketball games with dual-sport football players.

    Instead of looking for tall receiver, I’d look for a WR who can rebound (or at the least, box out).

  • Matt Manzo

    Damn. He looked big and slow today, but I’m not a pro scout.

  • Alex Kozora

    Not surprising. Plus, he has 30 inch arms. So overweight with short arms that’ll make it touch to shed coming off suspension. I think I’ll pass.

  • cp72

    Yeah think he and Borland both are classic Big Ten linebackers that will be exposed as sub par athletes that may have to make a career out of special teams.

  • gene mann

    I was impressed by the Purdue and Duke CB

  • Steeler Goetz

    Someone is going to steal a QB in Rd 2 or 3 with Jimmy Garoppolo. I just hope it’s not Cleveland. The kid can play.

  • Matt Manzo

    Every mock I’ve seen has then taking Manziel. I’d rather they get him than Garappolo!

  • Josh Knepshield

    Why is no one talking about Sean Parker? He is a very hard hitter and better in coverage than he gets credit for. I hope he continues to fly under the radar so we can snatch him up in the 5th.

  • Steeler Goetz

    Woodley, Jones and Timmons would make Johnny Football their bitch in about three plays.

  • Conservative Voice

    I think Steelers need to get a replacement for Troy Polumalu, and I think Ha Ha Dix is the guy… after that:

    2 – Daquan Jones (DT) Pen State… or whatever DT is highest on their list… Jones brings a nice combination of size and athleticism though.

    3 – Best OLB on their board…. maybe Trevor Reilly from Utah…

    3(C) – Best WR on their board… maybe Martaneous Bryant from Clemson…

    4 – Best LB on their board…

    4(C) – Best OT on their board…

    5 thru 7 – just the best available athlete.

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