Mailbag time! This week we'll tackle all of your questions on the 2019 East-West Shrine Game practices taking place in St. Petersburg, Florida. With the game looming on Saturday, several prospects have helped their stock considerably, while many others saw themselves fall out of contention for a spot in the 2019 NFL Draft.
I’ve heard a lot of good things about Oli Udoh. Will he be a potential Day 2/3 guy?
— Jared Feinberg (@JrodDraftScout) January 18, 2019
Udoh is probably the offensive lineman in St. Pete with the most potential, rightfully getting the Senior Bowl call up when Yodny Cajuste dropped out of the event. He has the size and frame to play tackle in the NFL, but his best work this week has come at guard. Pad level and technique will need work, but Udoh is big and powerful enough to move defenders in the trenches, all while showing the athleticism to work into space as well. Intriguing prospect likely headed for day three of the draft.
Does Landis Durham's weigh-in concern you, and do you believe he has a shot at getting drafted after a quiet week?
— Mark Jarvis (@WhatsOnDraftNFL) January 18, 2019
Landis Durham had solid college production at a Power 5 school, but his tape is uninspiring and his traits don't appear to be able to make the transition. He's been a non-factor in St. Pete, and he was already graded as a late day three prospect for me. I think I'll be surprised if he makes a final 53.
Give me your honest thought on Betts and his NFL potential.
— Phil MacLean (@PVJMii) January 18, 2019
Mathieu Betts has been fun to scout on tape and clearly has stood out at Shrine practices, showing a bevy of rush moves and an eye-popping spin counter. Everything is going to come down to testing for Betts, who weighed in heavier than I expected him to at Shrine, and does not appear to have desirable physical or athletic traits.
I've never seen a player in the NFL that looks like him, and if doesn't impress at the Combine, he's probably destined to go undrafted. I'll be watching closely to see what he does in camp, however.
Can Ta'amu become an above average starter in the NFL?
— waldo roren (@Waldo_Roren) January 18, 2019
That will all depend on how quickly Jordan Ta'amu develops mentally as a quarterback. Physically, the tools are clearly there, and his accuracy is incredibly underrated. However, Ta'amu has to get better from the neck up, where Ole Miss' offense asked very little of him. If he does that, we could be talking about at least a spot starter in the NFL, maybe something more.
Jon any player I should look at as potential Steelers picks
— Eugene Mannarino (@steelmann58) January 18, 2019
At the rate they're going, the Steelers ain't even gonna be a team in 2019. But if you're undeterred by that, Virginia cornerback Tim Harris and Nebraska running back Devine Ozigbo are two names you need to know. Don't sleep on Fresno State wide receiver Keesean Johnson either.
Chirp team aside can BJ Blunt become more than just a special teams player?
— Davis Smith (@Steelers_Gold) January 18, 2019
Yes! I believe Blunt has not currently been invited to the Combine, but hopefully that changes in the coming weeks. As for now, he's proven a couple things at Shrine week: he's athletic, explosive and cares not for his own body. Great special teamers need to have a little bit of crazy, and Blunt certainly has that.
He's not a linebacker, but profiles perfectly as a dime defender with coverage skills and terrific ability as a blitzer. Blunt is a long shot to get drafted, but I'm betting right now he makes a final 53 roster somewhere. He'll star on special teams, be great for the locker room, consistently communicate on the field and eventually find his way onto the field defensively in sub-packages.
How were the linebackers and how did Devine Ozigbo look overall?
— Dito (@Ditto_10) January 18, 2019
Honestly, I've really enjoyed the linebackers in St. Pete. Aside from Blunt, Maryland's Tre Watson, Akron's Ulysees Gilbert and BYU's Sione Takitaki were all flying around making big time plays this week. I haven't seen much tape on any of them, but they made an impression during Shrine week.
Ozigbo is pretty clearly one of the best players here in my opinion. He's big, explosive and showed soft hands as a receiver all week too. I have to believe he is on the top of the call up list for the Senior Bowl if someone drops out.
What is KeeSean Johnson's biggest weakness?
— BurghBoy412 (@BurghBoy412) January 18, 2019
I don't know if he's an elite athlete. He's solid, but his traits may end up being fairly average by NFL standards. Still, his technique, versatility and soft hands should help him earn a roster spot and potentially a top 100 selection.
What are your thoughts on Tulane DB Donnie Lewis Jr.?
— JoshuaRyan Morgan (@FatCat_PartyHat) January 18, 2019
Lewis was a vocal leader out on the practice field, instructing his teammates to listen to coaches' instructions early in the week. He's slight of frame, but topped 6-foot in the weigh-ins and can probably get to 190. I saw outside/inside versatility and impressive fluidity. Might be a slot corner in the NFL, but he can play. Excited to get to his tape.
Where do you see WR Jamal Custis being taken in the draft from what you have evaluated??
— Black and Gold Nation (@B_GNation1) January 18, 2019
My only exposure to Jamal Custis so far has been this week in Mobile, but I would expect him to be drafted on day three based on what I've seen. He doesn't look like an overly explosive athlete or versatile route runner, but length and vertical ability usually get you drafted. Custis has played well in St. Pete, but top 100 is a little rich for me. Let's see how he runs first.
How high do the Broncos have to draft Daylon Mack?
— Joe Randol (@JoeRandol11) January 18, 2019
I bet Daylon Mack is available on day 3, but not for long. He's had a great week in St. Pete, earning the Senior Bowl call up. He's a more versatile player than given credit for. I currently grade him late round 3.
Cornelious - QB - Ok State. Struggling with footwork and under center, but how does his arm look live?
— David Syvertsen (@Ourlads_Sy) January 18, 2019
He hasn't been very good in any facet, but the weirdest thing may be his arm. Coaches literally told him to add more zip on the ball in one drill. He's flashed the ability to throw with adequate pace, but sometimes the ball just comes out with nothing on it. Odd.
From what you observed in practices has Brett Rypien risen his stock or not?
— skins (@skinsuniverse8) January 18, 2019
Brett Rypien has been exactly what I thought he was, solid but unspectacular. He should definitely make it in the NFL as a backup quarterback, but I don't know that he'll ever be a preferable starter at the position. He's easily the best quarterback on the West team.
Who are some O-Lineman that have played really well?
— Wazzup! (@_Wazzzupp_) January 18, 2019
Imagine good offensive linemen at the Shrine Game.
I'm kind of kidding, but there really isn't anyone here that I've thought looked like a top 100 player. Sioux Falls' Trey Pipkins, Morgan State's Joshua Miles, Texas A&M Keaton Sutherland, Elon's Oli Udoh and Kentucky's Bunchy Stallings all look draftable on day three from what I've seen here.
Easton Sticks command of the huddle & leadership
— Fire denny (@FireDennyGuy) January 18, 2019
As a passer, Easton Stick has had an absolutely brutal week, especially considering the fanfare he entered with. I had no opinion of him entering Shrine week, but in four practices I saw nothing to believe he was draftable at all. He or Cornelius were the worst quarterbacks here.
On the other hand, he seemed to have a relaxed disposition and was consistently encouraging receivers and communicating with his teammates. I think teams will be impressed by his personality, but I don't believe the NFL values him as a draftable prospect right now.