|Mark Zerof / US Presswire|
|Georgia's Akeem Dent has been the top linebacker at practice, ahead of Saturday's East-West Shrine Game.|
ORLANDO, Fla. -- The East-West Shrine Game practices have just about come to a close for the week, but several prospects continue to make favorable impressions on the scouts and coaches in attendance.
Although evaluators will eventually conduct a thorough film review to see if a prospect's production matches his practice performance, the lasting image from a highlight play at an all-star practice or game can carry significant weight in pre-draft meetings.
With that premise in mind, let's take a look at some of the players that have created a buzz in scouting circles this week:
» South Florida's Terrell McClain has been outstanding in individual and team drills. The mammoth defensive tackle has shown excellent strength and power while holding the point against the run. He has repeatedly anchored well against double teams, and flashed exceptional power while defeating blockers inside. Given his size, strength and run-stopping prowess, McClain is going to be a highly coveted prospect as the draft draws closer.
» Lester Jean of Florida Atlantic has been one of the more impressive pass-catchers throughout the week. He has outstanding size for the position and has a good understanding of how to use his body to create separation. He is a natural pass-catcher with good hands, and his willingness to fully extend for incoming passes makes it difficult for defenders to make plays on the ball. Throw in his good combination of speed, quickness and running skills, and Jean has the look of a solid developmental prospect.
» Florida DE Justin Trattou has been a pleasant surprise as an edge rusher this week. He has shown a wide array of rush moves, and his sneaky athleticism has surprised blockers anticipating his power. He is very instinctive with his movements, and frequently used his spin move to counter tackles setting too hard to his outside to record sacks in team drills. With pass rushers coveted, Trattou should see his value rise on draft boards after his solid play throughout the week.
» Georgia's Akeem Dent has stood out as the top linebacker on the field this week. As a downhill player, he shows exceptional power and pop on contact. He repeatedly stoned runners in the hole during inside run drills. Although he needs some work in pass coverage, he has the potential to be an effective plugger in a 4-3 scheme.
» Lehigh OT William Rackley is a sleeper to watch in the coming months. He has been solid throughout the week in drills and doesn't look out of place while competing against players from big schools. Although he is better suited to move inside (guard or center) at the next level, his ability to effectively play right tackle this week will certainly push him up draft boards around the league.
» Central Florida's Jah Reid is another offensive tackle creating a buzz with his play this week. He is a nimble athlete with good feet and movement skills. Although he is still raw in several aspects of his game, his promise and potential have stood out in individual and team drills.
» Cincinnati WR Armon Binns has been impressive to watch this week. He has the look of a pro receiver, and his game matches his impressive build. At 6-foot-3, 204 pounds, he is a big receiver capable of overpowering smaller defenders in space. He frequently snatched the ball away from defenders in traffic and looked comfortable working over the middle on inside routes. While he still needs some refinement as a route-runner, Binns looks like a solid mid-round pick at this point.
» Cheta Ozougwu of Rice could be an intriguing pass rusher on the next level. Although he is a little undersized at 6-foot-2, 255 pounds, he has a quick first step and an explosive closing burst. He repeatedly defeated blockers off the edge in one-on-one and team drills. Teams looking for outside rushers in a 3-4 will prize his skills in the mid-to-late round range regardless of his size limitations.
» Penn State RB Evan Royster could be an intriguing third-down back on the next level. He runs well between the tackles and has just enough speed to get to the corner. He has shown a knack for finding creases in team drills, and his crafty running style translates well to the pro game. Throw in his good hands and solid route-running skills, and Royster looks like an ideal situational back in any system.
Follow Bucky Brooks on Twitter @BuckyBrooks