Five Shrine Game Players To Look Closely At

jm
Photo courtesy of James Madison

Here are some more players to look at the Shrine Game. So much hidden gems in this collegiate all-star came.

Armon Watts – DL – Arkansas (West Team)

2018 Stats: 49 total tackles, 3 forced fumbles, 7 sacks, 8.5 tackles for a loss

Armon Watts’ best football is ahead of him. He did not contribute heavily with the Razorbacks until his senior season, but NFL scouts and their respected teams already see an athletic lineman. Watts loves to wreak havoc anywhere between the tackles. Most teams will be intrigued by the bend and agility he has displayed during Shrine Game practices. NFL coaches will find a way to get him on the field in sub packages as a rookie.

I see Armon Watts best fitting with a 4-3 scheme in the NFL with teams looking to add young interior linemen like for example the Miami Dolphins or Cincinnati Bengals.

Best Fit – Bengals, Dolphins

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Photo credit: Caroll Gambrell / UGA

Lamont Gaillard – OC/OG – Georgia (East Team)

Gaillard has had a marvelous week at practice. He is clearly moving up the boards and will be considered in the upcoming draft as one of the top three centers in on the board.

The Georgia product uses his angles exceptionally well to leverage defenders and blocks well on the move. Adds immediately value to any zone-blocking scheme as an agile and versatile interior lineman.

He earned a starting role in 2016 (14 games), Kirby Smart’s first year with the program as a guard then shifted over to the center position and started 29 games anchoring the Bulldogs offensive line. Overall, he started 43-straight games.

Gaillard has helped anchor a Georgia offensive line that has paved the way for the SEC’s best rushing offense the past two seasons. The Bulldogs ranked No. 1 in the league in 2017 and 2018 in both yards per carry and yards per game.

I can see the Ravens, Bucs, and Texans taking Gaillard in the upcoming draft. The Ravens have an open competition at the center spot, the Bucs need interior offensive line depth, and the Texans as they use a heavy zone run scheme, plus they need interior line depth as well.

Best Fit – Ravens, Buccaneers, Texans

sokol
Photo credit:

Matt Sokol – TE – Michigan State (East Team)

2018 stats: 8 receptions, 100 receiving yards, 1 touchdown

Sokol has more receiving talent than his college production indicates like former Hawkeye George Kittle. Sokol also has experience as a blocker in a pro-style system, which will give him a boost on making an roster. He can be a reliable move-the-chains pass catcher as a rookie.

The Saints are that one team that comes to mind. Benjamin Watson is retiring when the season ends, which opens a spot in their tight end corps. Josh Hill is the main tight end but adding Sokol with his skill set matches the Saints offensive scheme. This will be a good value pick in the later rounds.

Best Fit – Saints

Jimmy Moreland – CB – James Madison (East Team)

2018 stats: 30 total tackles, 4 interceptions 

Moreland finished his career with 63 passes defended and 18 interceptions, which he returned for a total of 363 yards and six touchdowns. This kid has a thing for producing turnovers.

The James Madison product has been one of the brightest stars in Shrine Game practices. Moreland has impressed and is shedding that “small school” label as an FCS player.

Jimmy is a super competitive and always around the ball. This scrappy player displays quick feet and can close on receivers. He will be a solid slot corner in the NFL. My favorite thing about this kid is that he works hard and will never settle.

I see the teams listed below as his three best options to land a better chance on starting as soon as possible. Those three teams all need a nickel corner.

Best Fit – Lions, Bears, Falcons

blunt
Photo credit: Brady Renard/KPLC

B.J. Blunt – LB – McNeese State (West Team)

2018 Stats: 102 total tackles, 20 tackles for a loss, 11 sacks

Blunt is another kid having a fantastic week at practice. He is always around the ball as his stats show. He literally flies all over the field wreaking havoc against the opposition.

Furthermore, he has great speed and can close on you in a hurry. He has been the best linebacker in coverage in the one on one’s at practice. He displays great energy.

Blunt converted from defensive back to linebacker during his junior season, which is most likely why he has excelled in the coverage game at the linebacker position. In the NFL expect this kid to be in a 3-4 defense as a box safety like Deone Bucannon.

One man wrecking crew at McNeese State.

Steelers need to get faster at the linebacker position and younger. Especially at the inside linebacker spots. I would not be surprised if the Steelers move him around outside too.

Best Fit – Steelers

 

 

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