2014 Shrine Game: 5 Players Who Improved Draft Stock
5 Players Who Improved Draft Stock In 2014 Shrine Game
The Shrine Game is an opportunity for many of the lesser-known seniors to play one last game before the NFL Draft. The combine is the prime place to test players’ physical abilities, and for many of these Shrine Bowl participants a good showing was needed to simply garner an invitation to the April 12 workout.
While many of the quarterbacks under-performed in the Saturday all-star game, one of them shone so bright as to possibly thrust himself into the second-round according to some draft experts. Jordan Lynch was the most disappointing of the quarterbacks as he threw just as many interceptions as completions (2) and ran for 14 yards on three carries.
Because neither team ran the ball all that often, none of the running backs on either squad were able to really standout. Zach Bauman and LaDarius Perkins however looked like the games best running backs, but neither did enough to truly improve their draft stock.
With five total interceptions being thrown there were obviously a few defensive players to standout, and among them were two defensive backs that had huge games and did so in style. There is still plenty of time between now and the draft, but the following five seniors are on the right track to moving up draft boards and hearing their names called early once the draft is underway.
No. 5 Chandler Jones, WR San Jose State
Chandler Jones is a very accomplished receiver from San Jose State as he’s totaled over 3,000 receiving yards and 29 touchdowns in his career. Standing at 5-feet-9-inches there are concerns about his size, but a seven-catch, 73-yard Shrine Bowl performance was what he needed to gain some momentum. He must still have a solid combine showing, but Jones has the potential to be a sixth or seventh-round selection after showing off his hands this past Saturday.
No. 4 Ross Cockrell, CB Duke
Ross Cockrell has some very impressive ball skills for a fourth-round talent. In the Shrine Game he did a solid job in coverage throughout, but really made an impact with a one-handed fourth quarter interception to help seal the victory for the East squad. Cockrell played well in his bowl game against Texas A&M, and may be moving further up draft boards after an impressive showing Saturday.
No. 3 Alden Darby, SS Arizona State
Good safeties are always tough to come by, so when one has a two-interception performance everyone takes notice. Darby did just that in the Shrine Bowl as he intercepted both Jordan Lynch and Jeff Mathews on two very different throws. One was a shorter route early in the game, and the other was a deep pass in which Darby read Mathews all the way and came down with an interception in the end zone. Currently seen as a sixth-round talent Darby is someone who could really move up draft boards if he has good workouts.
No. 2 Jeremy Gallon, WR Michigan
Jeremy Gallon is another small receiver who had a good game, but unlike Chandler Jones the Michigan product was able to show that his height is only a number. Gallon finished with four receptions for 55 yards, but his most impressive play of the day was on a poorly thrown ball by Mathews that forced Gallon to display an impressive amount of body control on the 19-yard reception. Gallon was also forced to show off his vertical leap on that catch, and I'll say now don't be surprised if he puts up a ridiculous number.
No. 1 Jimmy Garoppolo, QB Eastern Illinois
Jimmy Garoppolo was the most hyped prospect coming into the game, and he left as the most impressive player and game MVP. Garoppolo completed nine of his 14 passes for 100 yards on the day, and threw the game's first touchdown as well. Garoppolo displayed great zip and accuracy on his throws and is seen by some draft experts as a possible second-round selection. This was Garoppolo’s first game against legitimate D1 competition, and he passed all the tests and will only climb draft boards in the coming weeks.