NFL assistants will coach East-West Shrine Game teams

Which NFL assistant coaches are on their way up in the profession?

The East-West Shrine Game will now be something of an indicator. The annual college all-star game featuring more than 100 NFL draft prospects will now be coached by NFL assistants, the NFL announced on Wednesday. NFL Network will provide exclusive coverage of the game for the seventh consecutive year. The 2017 Shrine Game, played at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., will kick off at 3 p.m. ET on Jan. 21.

"The East-West Shrine Game is not only a showcase for tremendous athletes who have a dream of playing at the next level, it is also a venue for upwardly mobile coaches in the NFL," said NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent. "This is an opportunity to further develop, evaluate and showcase our assistant coaches who may be our next generation of head coaches."

Under the league's new partnership with the Shrine Game, NFL clubs that do not qualify for the playoffs will nominate deserving assistants to coach in the game. A panel of NFL and Shrine Game officials will select two head coaches from that pool, who will then select their staffs for the game from the remaining nominees. In previous years, former NFL coaches have populated the Shrine Game coaching staffs. Head coaches for last year's game were former Atlanta Falcons head coach June Jones and former NFL assistant Charlie Weis; in 2015, Shrine Game head coaches were Mike Singletary and Jim Zorn.

The roster for this year's Shrine Game is filling up -- 115 players have accepted invitations.

Last year's Shrine Game produced 2016 NFL draft picks who have earned significant playing time as rookies, including Tajae Sharpe of the Tennessee Titans, Javon Hargrave of the Pittsburgh Steelers and De'Vondre Campbell of the Atlanta Falcons.

*Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter **@ChaseGoodbread*.

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