I said I would post this awhile ago but need to wait for reasons that shall be unnamed but here it is:
I watched the 89th annual East-West Shrine game on NFL network. The East-West Shrine game is an all-star game for Senior and graduated NFL draft prospects who have received little to no national recognition to help build their draft stock. Many players have taken advantage of this game to boost themselves into scouts’ eyes and the most recent person who used it to vault himself into the draft from likely undrafted free agent to a 5th round pick was Carolina Panthers’ starting cornerback Josh Norman who is now in his 2nd year. If not for this game, he likely would have been passed over. Besides Norman there is also a Super-Bowl-winning QB who competed at the East-West Shrine game back in 2008 and that is the Ravens’ Joe Flacco. While there are over a hundred players competing at the game, I will focus on 3 of the 6 quarterbacks. I will analyze how they did in certain situation and whether or not they were able to perform consistently.
I’ll start about one of the West teams QBs Tommy Reese from Norte Dame. On his very first play the he is in he looks off the safety and hits his now wide open TE Jordan Niver. Reese showed nice touch an amazing accuracy on a deep pass but was let down by his WR who failed to get both of his feet down inbounds. He showed his lack of mobility when DE Will Clark blasted through the RT and sacked him for a nice lose, which is later followed by him not feeling backside pressure and gets strip sacked fortunately for him he fell onto the ball. While such a dismal display like that would usually send a young QB into hiding he showed how resilient he is by hitting his WR on a comeback resulting in a first down. Tommy ended up underthrowing two potentially costly passes one on what would have been a touchdown and the other nearly lead to a pick by corner back Desir. Unfortunately this rebound was short lived as he tossed the ball to CB Cockrell. Reese showed nice touch on most passes but ultimately failed to spark his team, his ceiling is probably as a backup in the NFL.
With that lack luster candidate out of the way let’s talk about the West QB out of Ball State Keith Wenning. On his second play of the game he fumbled the snap and allowed LB Johnny Millard to recover it. He did not let that get him down though as on 4th and 5 he hit his WR for a gain of 10 as well as on 3rd and 8 on both plays he placed the ball well allowing his wide receivers to turn up field to get first downs. Keith had a beautiful deep pass of his fail because of his WR just plainly dropped it. He showed good mobility when he avoided the blitz on multiple plays but during one such instants it resulted in him throwing the ball before his feet were set leading to an under thrown ball that would have been picked by CB Hal if not for a bogus pass interference call, the lack of setting his feet also lead to a few other wild throws. Wenning also suffered from having his WRs drop pass during inopportune times. Keith was able to overcome his shaky start and looks as if he could potentially be a starting QB if developed correctly.
Now it is time for the last of the QBs I am going to talk about and he is, East QB Jimmy Garoppolo from Eastern Illinois University. It was almost unfair for the CBs going against him seeing as the East-West game states you cannot play press man, the reason for that being is his delivery is almost otherworldly fast. While he was basically able to dissect the defense because of this not everything was rose colored as when he was forced from the pocket he couldn’t hit his WR or another instance of this was when he had to slide up in the pocket resulting in an overthrow. A very smart play of his was when he did a hard count drawing a defender off sides and hit his WR and former college teammate Lora for a large gain, the reason behind it being smart was even if he failed to have it turn out good he still got them five yards. What truly showed how smart he was, was after he failed to get a back shoulder pass to his WR, because of interference, his pre-snap read showed him the defender who spoiled the last play was in similar position so instead of another fade he went with a slant route going across the guys face it resulted in his WR Matt Hazel getting a TD. Overall he showed he is very accurate and a quick decision maker but he still needs to work on resetting his feet when he is forced to move.
These three NFL prospects did well but they still have a lot of work left to do if they want to be drafted early on but they do all likely have NFL futures. Reese does indeed look like a backup in the NFL but it is clearly better than a starter in the CFL. Wenning showed with some work he can possibly be a good starter and definitely a solid backup. Garoppolo showed he clearly was the best QB at the game likely improving his draft stock to possibly the mid-2nd round showing the potential of being a better than average starter. Hope you found this commentary on these young QBs informative.