East-West Shrine Week: Day Two Stars
Early morning rains kept the East team indoors this morning, resorting to a shorts and t-shirts type walkthrough practice today. (Although they still likely had a more intense practice than the West did yesterday.) So the extent of today's scouting was cut in half, but the West still delivered some sorely needed action as they broke out the shoulder pads for their 2:40 PM EST start time. Practice began yet again with a 30 minute walk through followed by a stretch period with little to notice. After that there was lots and lots of special teams and individual grouping walkthroughs. However, the final 30 minutes or so of practice yielded some great moments as the teams went into 7 on 7, 1 on 1 pass blocking and team offense vs. team defense. And there were a number of standouts in Day 2, some being repeat offenders.
1. DE Cassius Marsh, UCLA: Marsh looks quicker than I ever recall seeing him on film. He's a high effort player who made several plays in team today, widening out to a 9 tech to crash off the back side and tackle RB Ben Malena for a loss and immediately afterwards showing good recognition, change of direction and aggressiveness blowing through a back's block for what would have been a sack on a rolling Keith Price. Marsh made nice adjustments in the pass rushing 1 on 1s as well, showing an inside fake and a lift to win off the edge.
2. QB Keith Wenning, Ball State: Wenning was then only Quarterback today not to struggle with his accuracy throwing into what at times were noticeable gusts of wind. I don't see the issues with his intermediate zip that have been mentioned by some, he's got great trajectory on his throws and they arrive at a good pace. Wenning stood out to me as well yesterday.
3. S Alden Darby, Arizona State: Darby gained my attention by his command of the calls in the secondary. He was very vocal and made correct adjustments throughout the day, where you could see some of his teammates were relying on him to tell him if they had help or not. Darby isn't especially big but he's got good quickness and he's clearly got a hold on the mental aspect of the game.
4. WR John Brown, Pittsburgh State: He had the best day of any Wide Receiver here today and it wasn't really all that close. He was consistently creating large separation and caught the football well with his hands. DBs were showing him respect in their cushion and he was abusing it all day during 1 on 1s, 7 on 7s and in team as well. Smaller bodied player but he really flashed well today.
5. CB Shaq Richardson, Arizona State: It was a good day for PAC 12 defenders. Richardson is super long and he's a little slow with his back pedal, but he was apt covering a lot of different routes today. He used his length to wall off a receiver on a go route but he also had the change of direction and technique to correctly break on his inside breaking receiver in 1 on 1s and score an interception. Richardson kept popping up on incomplete passes while I was paying attention.
Tomorrow is Day 3 and the weather forecast is clear, so we'll have plenty to discuss again as both the East and West teams take the field yet again! Any specific questions can be answered by e-mail at email@example.com and on Twitter @NFLDraftTracker