East West Shrine Bowl – West Practice: Day 1

The East West Shrine Bowl has assembled a very talented group and the east roster has a fine collection, particularly at the skills positions. The East team ran a shortened session for day one but there were a number of standouts to go along with some excellent coaching to kick the week off. LIKED WHAT I SAW

The East West Shrine Bowl has assembled a very talented group and the west roster has a fine collection, especially on defense. The West team started early and ran long on day one and this writer couldn’t have been happier! The lights went off in Tropicana Field for ten minutes but that didn’t dim the spirits on this squad.

LIKED WHAT I SAW

LB Mychal Walker, Fresno State – Mychal didn’t have the best practice by any means but he really stays at home on defense. He maintains flat responsibility, he plays edge and keeps contain, out in coverage leaving the receiver between him and the ball. The guy is disciplined but he did also get taken out of a run play in the scrimmage portion and unfortunately, he did get beat in the final one on ones of practice to decide who runs a lap. Walker feels like a player that will stick in the league because he does so many things well.

TE Parker Houston, San Diego State – The last time I remember hearing somebody block before actually seeing it, it was Nick Boyle at the Senior Bowl back in 2015 but on Monday Parker Houston made himself known with his physical play. Much like fitting against a run game, blocking is a lost art for many tight ends but you simply can’t play for Rocky Long at San Diego State without being able to block. Houston is not an accomplished receiver but the impact he can make in the running game will have value with a lot of teams that run in multiple tight end formations.

GO BE YOU

WR Victor Binjimen, Ohio State – Matt Nagy called and he said; “Go be You, Victor”. The guy has all the skills, he’s got the speed and the hands. He just has to put all the pieces together. There’s some clear concentration issues with the ball skills but after a drop, he will follow it up with a highlight reel catch. The young man put some good reps out there today, getting open on an up and curl with Luq Barcoo, he looked a slant in and made a hands catch on another rep and also beat Keith Washington underneath but then struggled to get open on a nine route up the sidelines and had a concentration drop on the day. The guy has the talent but it is now or never.

ROUGH DAY

QUARTERBACKS – The whole crew was bad today. Mason Fine looks like he should be selling beer in the stands, Kurt Rawlings seems to have overthrown every receiver he’s targeted and Huntley has thrown a number of incomplete passes behind his man and in the ground. Kelly Bryant fared the best of all four passers but this group needs to pick it up or there’s going to be a lopsided game on the way Saturday.

OT Darrin Paulo, Utah – Paulo has so many false starts that I lost count. He not only jumped early but got beat early in one on ones by North Dakota State’s Derrek Tuszka and appears to have difficulty placing his hands, making contact with the defender. There’s a lot of size and strength on his side but he has to refine his technique, which is surprising to say about a Utah player.

OT Branden Bowen, Ohio State – Bowen had three false starts, that appeared to be all in a ten minute interval at practice. To his credit, he is only three weeks removed from a college football playoff game but there’s a little more required here than just showing up. Bowen has ideal tackle length and size but he doesn’t cover enough ground and lacks the suddenness needed to survive on the outside.