East-West Shrine Game: Day 3

A big safety from Virginia Tech catches the eyes of one Packers scout, the quarterbacks continue to battle and the West's corners earn rave reviews. We have the rundown as practices continue in Orlando, Fla., leading up to Saturday's game.

Charlies Bernstein, who covers the Jacksonville Jaguars, is covering the East-West Shrine Game for Scout.com.

East practice

The Green Bay Packers swung and missed on Aaron Rouse, a big safety from Virginia Tech taken in the third round in 2007. Another big safety from the Hokies caught the Packers' attention during East-West Shrine Game practices on Wednesday in Orlando, Fla.

Virginia Tech's Kameron Chancellor was one of the dominant forces at practice. Chancellor intercepted errant throws and laid big hits on everyone that was in his area. His 6-foot-4, 230-pound frame and physical style of play made an impact on several scouts. As one Packers scout wondered aloud with the more prestigious Shrine Bowl taking place next week, "What is that guy doing playing in this game?"

— At quarterback, Fordham's strong-armed John Skelton continues to impress, as did Northwestern's accurate Mike Kafka. They're head and shoulders above Penn State's Darryl Clark.

Kafka had perhaps the throw of the day as he hit Michigan State receiver Blair White in the seam as he gunned the ball in over linebackers.

In the full 11-on-11 drills, Skelton really stepped his game up and delivered strong passes to the sideline and down the seam. Kafka was accurate and showed off his athleticism on a scramble in which he ran away from several defenders. Despite the positive play, Kafka's inability to make a quick decision concerned scouts.

"I think I bring a lot of poise, a lot of good mechanics, and a lot of smarts about the game," Kafka said. "I pride myself on studying the game and knowing what my assignment is and what my job is."

It appears Saturday's game will be nearly as important as the practices, as the receivers haven't given the quarterbacks much separation and they were seemingly slipping on what appeared to be moist grass.

"We'll see how they play in the game," an unnamed New Orleans scout said. "These receivers aren't giving the quarterbacks much to work with."

— Running backs Javarris James and Andre Anderson showed good hands and an ability to turn upfield after catching short passes. LSU fullback Richard Dickson continued to catch the football flawlessly and is seemingly impressing all onlookers in attendance.

— The wide receiver corps didn't stand out much in the seven-on-seven or 11-on-11 drills, but Freddie Barnes and White appear to be forming a bond with the quarterbacks.

— The tight ends were solid for the third straight practice, as Penn State's Andrew Quarless and Army's Ali Villanueva are impressing scouts.

"For me it's been great. It's an opportunity for me to strap the pads on one more time although I'm probably not going to the NFL," Villanueva said as he referenced his military commitment.

— While the skill position players were running seven-on-sevens, the offensive and defensive line took part in one-on-one drills. Stars from those drills on the offensive side of the ball were tackles Kyle Calloway (Iowa), Kevin Haslam (Rutgers) and Rodger Saffold III (Indiana). Those three routinely dominated their opponents.

"Calloway and the guy from Rutgers are pretty good," N.C. State defensive end Willie Young said when asked about who were the best players he's gone up against since he's been in Orlando.

— Defensive ends Young (N.C. State), Doug Worthington (Ohio State), Rahim Alem (LSU) and Lindsey Witten (Connecticut) impressed as they beat up on Thomas Austin (Clemson) and Chris Scott (Tennessee). UCF's Torrell Troup dominated in all one-on-one situations, but disappeared a bit when facing the double-teams in 11-on-11 drills.

— On the second level, it has the been the usual suspects stepping up as Wisconsin's O'Brien Schofield rotated between defensive end and outside linebacker, making plays at both positions. South Florida's Kion Lewis continued to be very quick to the football, and Boston College's Mike McLaughlin had his best day of practice.

— Kicker Joshua Shene of Mississippi got some action has he connected on two of four kicks from 44 yards with a rush, then blasted both of his field goal attempts through the uprights from 49 yards away.

West practice


Devin Ross (6)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
— The West team is rich in defensive back talent, which no doubt caught the attention of the Packers' scouts. Arizona's Devin Ross is a big play waiting to happen and Texas Tech's Jamar Wall is quick breaking on patterns. Kansas safety Darrell Stuckey was quick to make plays on the football, although he took some bad angles. UCLA corner Alterraun Verner may be slight of build, but he plays much bigger than his 5-foot-11, 182-pound frame would suggest.

"Devin Ross, Alterraun Verner, and Jamar Wall are three of the best corners I've seen," West coach and nine-year NFL veteran Marlon McCree said. "T.J. Ward is going to play in the NFL. The other guys still have to work on their game a little bit but I think they all have a chance."

— Although BYU quarterback Max Hall doesn't have the prototypical size of an NFL quarterback, he has more than enough arm strength. Hall zipped out patterns and was able to put great touch on his passes downfield. He was clearly the most polished of the three West quarterbacks.

"I think I'm throwing pretty well," Hall said. "I did pretty well in the one-on-one drills and I can make every throw that they ask of me. I think I did a pretty good job of demonstrating that."

Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing, also rather diminutive in stature, didn't fare as well as Hall as he struggled with timing throws and doesn't seem to possess an NFL arm. Eastern Washington signal-caller Matt Nichols is an intriguing prospect as he stands 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds and appears to have an NFL-caliber arm. But he was slow in his decision making and seemed to be frozen at the speed of practice, which will be two or three steps slower than an actual NFL practice.

— Pat Paschall, who rushed for 1,397 yards and 16 touchdowns as a senior for North Dakota State, impressed many in attendance. Paschall showed great quickness through the hole and finished his runs with power and authority.

"I think I'm a tough, hard-nosed guy that's going to give it my all," Paschall said. "Coming from a running back, that's what you need. Pass protection, running, blocking, anything you need I'm going to do it."

Oklahoma State running back Keith Toston ran with purpose and power. Toston did a nice job of displaying his hands as he was targeted on swing passes often during the session. Arizona State's Dimitri Nance showed great hands for a big man but seemed to lack burst.

UCLA fullback Ryan Moya impressed everyone in attendance as he showed fantastic hands and ran great routes from the H-back position. Although Moya stuck his head in the pile to lead block, he really made his mark catching the football, as one scout compared him to "a poor man's Chris Cooley."

— A true tight end that took advantage of his previous relationship with Hall BYU's Dennis Pitta. The 6-foot-5, 250-pounder ran good routes and showed fantastic hands as Hall and him hooked up on a pair of touchdown tosses. Colorado's Riar Geer had a tough day as he let a few passes bounce off his hands.

— The West's wide receivers appeared to be head and shoulders about their competition from the East, as SMU's Emmanuel Sanders looked like the most natural route runner and pass catcher, and he seems destined to play on Sundays. But Sanders showed a bit of a diva type of attitude, which seemed to turn off some scouts.

Fresno State wideout Seyi Ajirotutu is as tough to cover as his name is difficult to say, as the 6-foot-3, 210-pounder used his large frame to block out smaller defensive backs, similar to that of Broncos star Brandon Marshall. Kansas receiver Kerry Meier seems to be a bit of a ‘tweener, as he is too small to play tight end and too slow to get open against better competition.

— The man that dominated in the trenches was Hawaii's Josh Estes (6-2, 305). The mauler punished the very good West defensive line on running plays, and acted like a wall in pass protection. Texas A&M guard Michael Shumard played well alongside Estes, and 344-pound Texas Tech tackle Brandon Carter showed much better athleticism than many expected.

— On the defensive line, Northern Iowa's James Ruffin and Kansas State's Jeffery Fitzgerald were able to get consistent pressure and dominated the tackles they faced.

— At linebacker, UCLA's Reggie Carter showed great leadership qualities, and he was much more than just a loud voice. Carter moved well laterally and had good ball instincts. None of the other West team linebackers really stood out.


Charlie Bernstein is the host of CB Sports on ESPN Radio 1420 in St. Augustine, Fla., and Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering multiple teams in the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association.   Charlie is a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports and Sirius NFL Radio, and has been featured on the NFL Network. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America.


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