|Hunter Martin/Penn Athletics|
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- There are plenty of NFL scouts on hand this week for the East-West Shrine Game, and those looking for a quarterback might leave feeling disappointed. What is expected to be a weak talent pool at quarterback in the 2017 NFL Draft has deposited six passers onto Shrine rosters, only one of whom -- a relative unknown in Penn QB Alek Torgersen -- has done much to impress NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein, who was on hand for the second day of Shrine Game practices on Tuesday.
Date: Saturday, Jan. 21
Time: 3 p.m. ET
TV: NFL Network
"Torgersen looked the part and threw the ball with some zip. He's clearly the most talented of the quarterbacks out here to me. Torgersen played a lower level of competition, but he has some size, some arm strength, some mobility. You can see he has some projectable talent," Zierlein said. "Out of these guys, Torgersen has the best shot to (increase his draft stock) here. The rest of these guys, I see too many physical deficiencies. Torgersen has a chance to go in the first five or six rounds."
Torgersen (6-foot-2, 220 pounds) completed 198 of 296 passes (67 percent) for 2,231 yards for the Quakers this season, with 17 TDs and four interceptions. He'll play for the East squad in Saturday's Shrine Game, which will be broadcast exclusively on NFL Network (3 p.m. ET).
Some thoughts from Zierlein on the other quarterbacks in attendance:
Illinois' Wes Lunt: "He's is going to look the part in a uniform, and he'll make some beautiful throws in drills, and he can throw the deep ball with some touch, but when you speed things up, he's inconsistent."
Western Michigan's Zach Terrell: "He struggled, and he's even smaller than I thought he was. His arm isn't the best, and he got picked a couple times."
Cincinnati's Gunner Kiel: "If you ask him to dink and dunk and do some quick, snap-and-throw stuff, he can do that. But when he's throwing past the first level, into more challenging windows downfield, that's where he struggles on tape and that's where he struggled (Tuesday)."
Central Michigan's Cooper Rush: "This setting isn't going to be very good for Cooper Rush, because he's a timing-based quarterback who reads defenses and is highly intelligent. He can manipulate the field. But an all-star week isn't the kind of environment for that because he doesn't know the receivers and he doesn't have a big arm. He'll struggle out here, but I think he has some really good intangibles."
Here are six other things we learned Tuesday at East-West Shrine Game practices:
2. Garrett the Great. The freakish athleticism of Texas A&M DE Myles Garrett is readily apparent in the weight room or on the football field. But according to Shrine Game East OT Avery Gennesy, who blocked Garrett plenty in practice at Texas A&M, his prowess on the basketball court is something to behold as well. Garrett has announced he intends to enter the 2017 NFL Draft as a junior, and NFL.com analyst Daniel Jeremiah ranks him the No. 1 prospect in the draft.
"When he goes to the (NFL Scouting Combine in February), you'll see. He can run in the 4.4s," Gennesy said of Garrett (6-5, 262). "Maybe 4.5. And he's so twitchy, I've seen him dunk a basketball putting the ball between his legs on a standing jump before. With no running or anything, just stand there, jump, switch hands between his legs and jam it. It's unreal."
3. No more neck roll. When Atlanta Falcons defensive line coach Bryan Cox played for the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets, the neck roll pad protruding from the top of his shoulder pads was signature equipment for the former Pro Bowler. His son of the same name wore one in tribute when he was a Gators freshman, but don't look for him to bring it back again when he enters the NFL.
"I tried to bring it back in style for a period of time, but that didn't work out," Cox said with a laugh. "I didn't like it too much. It was very restrictive."
4. Owls sleeper. Florida Atlantic DE Trey Hendrickson (6-4, 265) has wreaked havoc on Shrine East offensive linemen for two days, showing a combination of quickness and power that has impressed East coach Brentson Buckner, a defensive line coach for the Arizona Cardinals.
"He has a motor. I don't like to name guys, but he has a motor and you can tell the game is not too big for him," Buckner said. "He has some power. Speed equals power if you learn how to use it, and you don't want to be a one-trick pony. He's had great coaching, and he has a belief in himself. Some guys from smaller schools think 'Uh oh, I'm out here with Alabama and Auburn guys,' but he stepped out and said 'Hey, these pads are an equalizer. They have the same pads I have,' and he's gone to work. He's making a name for himself."
5. Myrick flashing. An NFC scout told CFB 24/7 that Minnesota CB Jalen Myrick shows NFL potential playing "off" coverage, noting his speed is pro-caliber, but questioned if he'll be big enough to consistently jam NFL receivers in a press coverage role. "He's 195 (pounds) and that can be enough, but he doesn't always play big," the scout said.
6. Notable: FSU WR Kermit Whitfield and Auburn WR Tony Stevens took turns fielding punts Tuesday, but look for Whitfield to handle the role on Saturday. He looked the more comfortable of the two and has the kind of explosive speed scouts would like to see in an all-star setting. ... Arkansas DL Deatrich Wise showed a lot of hustle Tuesday in pursuing ball carriers downfield and to the opposite side, even chasing a receiver until the whistle blew on one particular play. ... Air Force WR Jalen Robinette's size (6-4, 220) has been a big problem for West cornerbacks the last two days. He knows how to shield defenders from the ball to make catches in traffic, and has surprising quickness to gain some separation out of his breaks.
7. Who's talking to who? NFL clubs don't wait around to interview potential draft choices at the NFL Scouting Combine when they can begin that process at the East-West Shrine Game and, next week, at the Reese's Senior Bowl. Here are just of few of the conversations between clubs and players that College Football 24/7 took note of following Tuesday's practices:
Kansas City Chiefs: Air Force WR Jalen Robinette
Los Angeles Chargers: USC TE Taylor McNamara
Carolina Panthers: Utah OT Sam Tevi
Atlanta Falcons: Baylor DB Orion Stewart
Washington Redskins: Michigan CB Channing Stribling
Green Bay Packers: Virginia Tech OT Jonathan McLaughlin
Los Angeles Chargers: Laval TE Antony Auclair
Atlanta Falcons: Purdue WR Deangelo Yancey
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jackson State LB Javancy Jones
Philadelphia Eagles: Villanova LB Austin Calitro
Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.