East/West Practice Report

A warm-up to Senior Bowl week, the East-West Shrine practices were attended by more scouts than usual this year. The new format which includes NFL coaches made the week a little more attractive. Here's a wrap on what took place.


The best looking passer of the week was Drew Tate of Iowa, which spoke volumes of how bad the quarterback play was.  

Idaho State's Matt Gutierrez flashed some skill but for the most part was inconsistent.  

Nevada's Jeff Rowe was very erratic, throwing with bad mechanics all week.

Running Back/Tight Ends/Wide Receivers

Hands down sources have told us the best player all week was Michigan receiver Steve Breaston.  Running sharp routes, Breaston caught everything thrown in his direction and beat down defenders all week. The knock on Breatson is a lack of foot-speed yet those familiar with his training say he will run 4.4-seconds in the forty at the combine.  That time, coupled with his play this week, could push him into the draft's first day.  

Another receiver who impressed is Lane's Jacoby Jones.  Displaying good speed, he's had a fine week catching the ball and has solidified himself as a middle round pick.

Fresno State wide out Paul Williams was unimpressive all week.  Dropping a lot of catchable throws, he did not look like the number one receiver some have projected him to be.

Matt Herian, who started off the season strong, looked slow and sluggish all week.  It is unlikely Herian will be drafted at this point.

Running back Jon Cornish of Kansas, a bit of a surprise selection for the combine, did not stand out at all during the week.  

Offensive Linemen

Oregon center Enoka Lucas turned in an impressive week of practice and looked strong every day.  

Reviews were mixed for Kyle Young of Fresno State.  While he showed flashes of dominance Young, who was dismissed from the team after missing classes, looked sluggish and heavy legged for the most part.

While he suffered from a stress fracture during the season time may be running out for Doug Free.  The Northern Illinois tackle looked uncomfortable all week and was beaten by speedy edge rushers.

Robert Kraay of Air Force was another who struggled and looked lost for most of the week.

The top offensive lineman of the week? 

Sources told us it was Mario Henderson of Florida State.  The athletic big man showed good feet and movement skills all week.

Defensive Linemen

Several defenders had solid outings all week.  

Nebraska's Ola Dagunduro looked outstanding, dominating opponents all week.  Displaying great quickness and explosion, he's been tough to stop.

Paul Soliai of Utah also looked outstanding on the field, mauling opponents and showing great power and push up the middle.  And while Soliai has made a big move up draft boards not all are convinced about him.  

Soliai showed little moves or hand technique during practice, preferring to put his head down and bullrush opponents off the ball.  His character has also come into question.  Soliai, who scored an 8 on the pre-season Wondelic test, was described by one source as being "goofy" and not staying focused.

A pair of defensive ends looked good.  

Washington State's Mkristo Bruce displayed better then expected quickness after weighing in at a surprising 262-pounds, more than his playing weight in college.

Brian Robison of Texas had a very active week, impressing scouts with his vocal leadership and play.

One defensive end from the Big 12 who did not fare well was Larry Birdine.  On separate plays Birdine was pancaked to the turf, flat on his back.  One source told us it was the most embarrassing thing he's seen in almost a dozen years of these All Star games.

Justin Hickman of UCLA looked out of place at defensive end and was never used at outside linebacker.

Linebackers/Defensive Backs

Kansas State linebacker Brandon Archer has been all over the field making plays all week.  He has shown better speed than most expected.

One of the bigger surprises this week has been Alabama State cornerback Michael Coe.  The former Arkansas transfer has shut down opponents and made a lot of money for himself.

Texas A&M safety Melvin Bullitt looked solid all week as did John Wendling of Wyoming.  Improving all week, Wendling was impressive after shaking off the rust of not playing for two months since he college season ended.

Dashon Goldson of Washington was up and down all week.

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