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2020 East-West Shrine Bowl: Strong rosters shine

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - The 2020 East-West Shrine Bowl practices have concluded and now it's time for the players to put it all together in a real game. I'll be part of the NFL Network broadcast on Saturday.

While the game is important for players to showcase their skills, it's the practices that are more important for NFL scouts, who get to see the prospects up close -- on the hoof, in scouting parlance -- and talk with them throughout the week.

With that in mind, here is a wrap-up of what I saw during the week, as well as things I'll be interested in seeing from the game on Saturday.

Overview


The strength of the rosters, after watching both teams work out in Tropicana Field, is probably the defensive line group, which from top to bottom put on a solid showing. Not far behind were the running backs, who were mostly small in stature but performed big. There are also some intriguing prospects at quarterback, led by Florida International's James Morgan, who I believe has a chance at the next level. Quarterback is not a position of strength in this draft after the first three or four, but there is a large group that can contribute as backups. This game will showcase several of them.

Offensive MVP


James Morgan, QB, Florida International: Morgan was a player that was starting to gain some buzz in the scouting community before this week, and he was someone I was really looking forward to seeing in person. When stacked against all the other quarterbacks here this week, the ball just looked so much better coming out of his hand. At 6-foot-4 and 223 pounds, he's also got some really good size to him. When I asked scouts which player gave the best interview all week, his name came up consistently. In fact, one scout started rattling off a couple of names, then thought about it more and said, "Never mind, it's the FIU quarterback, by far." So not only did he impress people on the field, but he also made a great impression with teams once they met with him. My colleague Andy Fenelon wrote a nice feature on Morgan and his association with Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers while growing up in Green Bay. I think you'll enjoy it. You can hit it here


Defensive MVP


Kendall Coleman, DE, Syracuse: There were some guys who were more dominant over the course of a couple of days, but the guy who I thought was most consistent over the entire week was Coleman. He's got an outstanding dip move that nobody in the one-on-one's had an answer for the entire week. He dips and bends around the edge to get to the top of his rush and flatten to the quarterback. I can't wait to see it in the game.


Money-makers


Players who improved their draft stock with a good week of practice: Mctelvin Agim, DT, Arkansas: I thought he really helped himself especially with a dominant practice on Tuesday. That was the most dominant practice any one player had all week. He's got outstanding quickness and strength. The team that drafts him will have a lot to work with.

Michael Danna, DE, Michigan: There's a lot of guys you have to look at when you're scouting the Michigan defense, and honestly, when I was watching their tape, he got lost in the shuffle. But he showed me a lot with his play here, especially his hands. His push-pull move is outstanding."

James Robinson, RB, Illinois State: He did a really nice job running routes and catching the ball. He's got some power to his game; it's not all finesse. I'm really interested in seeing how that plays out against bigger-school defenders in Saturday's game.

Jon Runyan, OL, Michigan: Another Michigan guy making this list. Runyan held up well throughout the entire week. You can tell that the son of the former NFL Pro Bowl tackle by the same name has been well-coached. He's smart, strong and tough, and rarely out of position. A steady, steady week for him at guard, a position he hadn't played since 2017.

Any remaining questions?


Players who had good weeks but still have one lingering question that can get answered in Saturday's game: Shaquille Quarterman, LB, Miami:
He's really instinctive and was around the ball all week long, but in the one-on-one drills he looked a little slow; it was the knock on him coming into the week. If he can answer the speed question and check that box, you really have something with him because he was really good in every other area.

Jack Driscoll, OL, Auburn: I though he had the best feet of all the offensive linemen here. He's quick, has good bend and can really move well. But there are lingering questions about his strength, specifically his core strength.

Kevin Dotson, OL, Louisiana: I had a fourth-round grade on Dotson heading into the week and thought he had a chance to be the best player by the end of it. But he was a little bit up and down in the practices. The game will be big for him to show he can be more consistent because his upside is bigger than any player here this week.

Play of the week


One of my favorite things to watch at these all-star practices is the one-on-ones in the red zone. When the space is reduces, you can find who can really make those contested catches. Clemson WR Diondre Overton made one of those grabs on Wednesday, going over the top of FIU CB Stantley Thomas-Oliver III in the left corner of the end zone. It prompted me to text Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, who responded by saying, among other things, that Overton was one of his favorite players. I'll save the rest of what Swinney shared with me for the broadcast. Enjoy the game.
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