With hundreds of NFL coaches, scouts and executives in attendance, the East-West Shrine Game practices continued on Wednesday afternoon. Roaming the sidelines, I took in the practice under the lights of Tropicana Field. Let’s examine my top takeaways from the West Team’s Day Three practice.
Devine Ozigbo Shines
All-Star settings are not favorable scenarios for running backs to stand out because there is no tackling in practice which completely changes the dynamics of evaluating runners. A backs ability to break tackles, illustrate contact balance, make people miss and play strength aren't on display and pursuit angles by defenders are altered because they aren't looking to truly finish.
With that said, Nebraska RB Devine Ozigbo is impossible to not be impressed with. He features a muscular build with good thickness in his thighs and a bubble butt. Listed at 6-foot and 230 pounds, Ozigbo is an extremely smooth mover with good feet and body control as a runner. He catches the ball cleanly and even won on a wheel route down the field in team drills today. Everything he does is natural and he stole the show offensively for the West team today.
Mack and Wise Continue to Dominate
We keep writing and tweeting about how dominant Texas A&M DT Daylon Mack and Kansas DT Daniel Wise have been and it's for good reason - they have dominated every practice and it continued on Wednesday.
Both are high-motor guys that cannot be blocked. They illustrate impressive quickness and know how to use their hands to beat blocks. From observing three days of practice, it's clear that they are simply in another tier of player compared to their contemporaries.
While it's easy to see them continue to defeat blocks and make plays, I am equally as impressed by how well they have taken to coaching. We have the unique opportunity at practice to be on the sideline to observe drills and hear what the coaches are saying to the players. For Mack and Wise both, they are in-tune with the coaching points being delivered and those teachings are connected to how they are performing. They are winning the week.
Justin Hollins is Intriguing
Body composition really matters, especially at Shrine Week. The prospects participating are generally considered mid-to-late round prospects and "looking the part" is something that comes up in every conversation I have with scouts about prospects.
There's no question that Oregon EDGE Justin Hollins has an impressive frame. Listed at 6-foot-5 and 242 pounds, Hollins has long arms and is well-proportioned. His best moments at practice have come when he gets a chance to rush off the edge where his burst, bend and length truly stand out. He's been a problem for offensive tackles to block all week and that continued on Wednesday.
Stick's Struggles Continue
North Dakota State QB Easton Stick was one of the most publicized Shrine Prospects, with many eager to see how he would perform against better competition. I am neither a Stick truther or hater, but I am here to tell you he is struggling mightily at Shrine Practices.
Stick is having notable issues driving the football to his targets. His balls lack zip and the velocity needed to arrive on schedule and there are way too many instances where the ball hits the turf a few yards in front of his desired target. The trajectory of his throws and lack of juice on the football make it easy for defensive backs to get a jump on the football. The ball just isn't spinning off his hand cleanly with enough throwing power.
On top of that, Stick is clearly calculated with what he is doing. After throwing several erratic and errant throws earlier in the week, Stick is looking for the safest options to deliver the ball when it's his turn to run the offense. He is very "resolved" to hit check down targets.
He has another practice and the game to change minds on how he is performing but it's pretty obvious why he wasn't invited to the Senior Bowl.
Donnie Lewis Pops
Tulane CB Donnie Lewis had a terrific practice today. Breaking up at least two passes that I witnessed, his ball skills were fully on display. I loved his patience mirroring routes and how well he positioned himself to compete at the catch point. It's clear that he has natural ball skills.
With 37 career pass breakups and seven interceptions, Lewis had a ton of ball production in college and it's easy to understand why. I'm looking forward to studying his tape.
- Michigan OT Juwann Bushell-Beatty has struggled this week. He is a stiff mover and has sluggish feet. He looks good on the hoof but his mobility and practice habits have been disappointing.
- Michigan S Tyree Kinnel was another standout for the wrong reasons. He is tight in the hips and it affects how he transitions and he lacks any sort of recovery speed. His play speed and flexibility fail to meet the mark.
- I've not been very impressed with the offensive line group as a whole but the one who has been the best for the West Team is Louisiana Tech OL Oshea Dugas. He's had the most positive reps in 1v1s and features a sturdy frame.
- Utah State WR Ron'quavion Tarver caught my eye on a few occasions. He has a long and lean frame and he knows how to extend for the football. He had a nice red zone TD catch by elevating and high pointing the football while also faring well for himself on special teams reps.