The third day of practices at the East-West Shrine Game provided scouts with plenty of opportunities to see top prospects at their best. The weather wasn't a factor for the first time this week, and the players are finally getting comfortable with the playbook. As a result, several players stood out to coaches and scouts in a crowd.
Here are some guys who caught my eye:
Arizona's Richardson earning second look
Arizona CB Shaquille Richardson has been one of the most impressive corners on the field this week. He has consistently made plays on the ball in 1-on-1 drills, displaying outstanding quickness, footwork and movement skills.
Additionally, Richardson has impressed evaluators with his size/speed combination (6-foot-1, 188 pounds) and his competitiveness in coverage. He has challenged receivers at every turn, earning positive reviews from coaches and scouts in attendance.
I've quizzed several scouts on the west coast about Richardson and received "ho-hum" replies on his regular-season performance. However, I believe those scouts will be forced to revisit his game tape when their bosses catch wind of his play this week.
USC's Kennard making an impression
USC OLB Devon Kennard has been one of the stars of the week. He has stood out as a physically imposing force against the run, and his movement skills in space have been better than expected.
Although he is not adept at playing slot receivers and tight ends down the field, Kennard moves well enough to possibly play as a 3-4 OLB in an aggressive scheme. Additionally, Kennard has flashed potential as a cover guy on kicking units, which could enhance his value on draft boards around the league.
Size still an issue for RB Perkins
Mississippi State RB Ladarius Perkins entered the season with a bit of fanfare after a productive junior season in the SEC. But his diminutive stature could keep him from being an every down runner at the next level. Measuring 5-10, 190 pounds, Perkins simply lacks the girth to effectively run the ball between the tackles as a pro. In addition, he didn't display the balance, body control and power to run through arm tackles in the hole.
Perkins has shown solid hands and receiving skills in passing drills, but he struggled a bit fielding punts at the end of practice.
Given his size and possible limitations as a three-down player, it is imperative for Perkins to flash some skills as a kick returner to raise his profile as a late-round possibility.
Sooners' Ikard solidifying draft stock
Oklahoma C Gabe Ikard might not earn a top draft grade on some boards, but he has a strong chance to earn a roster spot as an effective pivot. He has shown good instincts and awareness leading the group and is an effective blocker in close quarters.
Ikard does a good job of using body help from his teammates to limit pass rush opportunities from defensive tackles. More important, Ikard has shown the ability to climb to the second level in the run game.
Given the number of teams that employ zone-based schemes, Ikard's athleticism and quickness could make him a desirable commodity in the mid-to-late stages of the draft.