East-West Shrine Game players don't frequently hear their names called in the first round of the NFL draft, but the annual all-star game featuring some of the top seniors in college football just might plant a first-round flag in 2017.
"I'm not going to be shocked if (Fabian) Moreau goes in the first round," NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah said during the NFLN broadcast of the game Saturday.
Moreau, a cornerback from UCLA, was among the standouts at Shrine Game practices in St. Petersburg this week. His competition to be a first-round selection is going to be stiff at his position; one NFC personnel executive believes as many as 15 cornerbacks could be worthy of being selected among the top 40 choices.
NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock was impressed with Moreau, as well.
"(Daniel Jeremiah and I) both have at least a second-round grade on him, if not better," Mayock said. "... Worst case, at 6-foot, 205 pounds, and a verified 4.39 (40-yard dash), worst case he's a second-round pick."
According to Jeremiah, Moreau was invited to next week's Reese's Senior Bowl, but passed on the opportunity because he was "nicked up."
Moreau made 31 tackles as a senior for the Bruins with two interceptions and a team-high nine pass breakups. If he repeats the 4.39 40-yard dash Mayock mentioned at the NFL Scouting Combine in March, you can bet the scouting buzz on him will only get louder.
Here are eight other things we learned from the 2017 East-West Shrine Game:
2. Making money. Mayock identified nine Shrine Game players who improved their draft stock and thus made some money by impressing scouts during the practice week. Naturally, Moreau was among them. The others: Arkansas DE Deatrich Wise, Jr., Washington State WR Gabe Marks, Shepherd WR Billy Brown, Florida Atlantic DE Trey Hendrickson, Drake TE Eric Saubert, Michigan RB De'Veon Smith, Temple CB Nate Hairston and Vanderbilt OT William Holden. Marks dropped two passes and mishandled a punt in the game Saturday, however.
"Gabe Marks had a solid week of practice, and not a real good game," Mayock said.
"I thought (vs. Tennessee) was his best game. He had nine or 10 tackles, flashed in pass rush, tough against the run, that's who he is," Mayock said.
5. Quotable. "When you dig into his background, he was a three-year captain in college, also a three-year captain in high school. When I watched him, I saw a little bit of Colt McCoy in his play. I think he could end up sticking as a backup quarterback in the NFL." - Jeremiah on Western Michigan QB Zach Terrell.
6. Hendrickson makes presence felt. Florida Atlantic DE Trey Hendrickson impressed scouts throughout the practice week, and showed up again in the game. After a quiet start, he delivered a sack and strip of West QB Zach Terrell and ultimately won the game's defensive MVP award.
"I put on the FAU tape, and what you see is a relentless edge rusher. He's a little twitchier and more athletic than people gave him credit for," Mayock said. "He had a tremendous week, and I think he got himself into the conversation as a potential top-100 pick."
7. Auclair high on CFL boards. Laval TE Antony Auclair is regarded as the second-best prospect for this year's Canadian Football League draft, according to Mayock. Auclair is one of several tight ends at the Shrine Game who impressed scouts this week.
8. Punters are athletes, too. Punters are judged on legs, not hands, but North Texas punter Eric Keena showed why the latter shouldn't be dismissed.
9. Big opener. OK, so the West's 10-3 win didn't allow for much in the way of offensive excitement. But at least things opened with a bang. Illinois QB West Lunt found Samford WR Karel Hamilton on the game's opening play for a 37-yard pass. It was a high-difficulty reception for Hamilton, who was well-covered by Temple's Nate Hairston. Hamilton led all receivers with 61 yards on just two catches.