Buffalo Bills Fans Primer for East-West Shrine Bowl Game

Dan Van Wie@@DanVanWieContributor IIIJanuary 19, 2012

HOUSTON - DECEMBER 31:  Quarterback Dan Persa #7 of Northwestern University rushes in the first half against Texas A&M at Reliant Stadium on December 31, 2011 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

This coming Saturday, January 21, at 4:00 pm, EST, the East-West Shrine Bowl will air on NFL Network.

That is one of the games that Buddy Nix and his scouts will be attending to have a closer look at some of the talent playing in that game. The following week, on January 28, will be the Senior Bowl game, and we will come out with an article next week to highlight the players Bills fans should be following. 

As for the players appearing in the game, here is a link to the rosters for both teams. 

As far as the East-West game, from the research I have done, I narrowed my choices down to 14 players who seemed to have some reasonable upside that make them worth watching.

The following is a brief description of the 14 players in question, complete with a link to a scouting report on each player.


Quarterbacks to Watch

B.J. Coleman, Chattanooga, 6'5" and 220 pounds. Coleman is uses his size and frame to leverage a strong arm. He needs to develop more touch on his passes since he throws every pass so hard.

Dan Persa, Northwestern, 5'11-and-1/8" tall and weighs 200 pounds. Persa has missed time in his last two seasons due to a ruptured Achilles' and a shoulder injury. A reasonable question to ask would be, is he going to be tough enough to last in the NFL? 


Tackles to Watch

Matt Reynolds, BYU,  6'6" and weight is in 305-330 pound range. Reynolds is thought to be a better run blocker than pass blocker right now. Concerns have been expressed over his sturdiness and ability to get low and reset his hips. Might wind up as a late-round pick.

SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 6:  (L-R) Matt Reynolds #70, Ray Feinga #76 and Dallas Reynolds #65 of the BYU Cougars look on during a break in game action against the Washington Huskies on September 6, 2008 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington. The Cougars defea
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Markus Zusevics, Iowa, 6'5" and weighs 300 pounds. Is a strong blocker and good technique kid. Well coached and uses good fundamentals.


Wide Receivers to Watch

Laron Byrd, Miami, Fla., 6'3-and-1/2" and weighs 224 pounds. Good size for receiver. Can be a vertical threat to stretch the field.

B.J. Cunningham, Michigan St., 6'2" and weighs 227 pounds. Good hands. Solid possession type of receiver.

A.J. Jenkins, Illinois, 6'0" tall and weighs 192 pounds. Good route runner. Will go anywhere on the field, inside or outside.

Jarius Wright, Arkansas, 5'10" and weighs 180 pounds. Speed-to-burn type of receiver. Smaller but very fast. Good at gaining yards after the catch.

Greg Childs, Arkansas, 6'3-and-1/8" and weighs 215 pounds. Offers plus size and speed. Good ball skills but not necessarily quick.


Defensive Ends/Outside Linebackers To Watch

Depending on the scheme that new defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt ultimately decides to employ, the Bills will be on the lookout to add pass-rushers, either as a defensive end in the 4-3, or as an OLB in the 3-4. Some of the potential pass rushers to watch in East-West Shrine Game are:

AUBURN - OCTOBER 16:  Wide receiver Greg Childs #85 of the Arkansas Razorbacks catches a pass behind defensive back Neiko Thorpe #15 of the Auburn Tigers during the game at Jordan-Hare Stadium on October 16, 2010 in Auburn, Alabama.  The Tigers beat the R
Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

Brandon Lindsey, Pittsburgh, 6'1-and-5/8" and weighs 255 pounds. Lindsey played under Wannstedt at Pittsburgh, so it should be interesting to see if Bills draft him, since the Bills passed on players in 2011 draft like Jabaal Sheard and Greg Romeus, who Wannstedt also coached.

As far as Lindsey goes, he's too small for a DE, but doesn't seem to be a good fit at OLB, so he might wind up being a late-round project.

Kyle Wilber, Wake Forest, 6'5" and weighs 240 pounds. Another type of developmental prospect, Wilber can rush the passer. In National Football Post's review of OLB's, they have Lindsey ranked No. 14 while Wilber is ranked No. 15.


Cornerbacks to Watch

Robert Blanton, Notre Dame, 6'0-and-3/8" and weighs 196 pounds. Tough corner but not the greatest in coverage. Possible position switch to safety.

Josh Norman, Coastal Carolina, 6'3" and weighs 203 pounds. Runs a 4.5. Norman's hoping that Shrine Bowl game will improve his chances of being drafted.

Trevin Wade, Arizona, 5'10" and weighs 192 pounds. Flexible corner that lacks great speed, but can make plays on the ball.

In general, the Senior Bowl is where the cream-of-the-crop draft picks go to play, while the Shrine Bowl is filled with players that will go anywhere from Day 2 to Day 3 of the NFL draft.

In fact, some of these guys might not be drafted at all, but will show up on NFL rosters as undrafted free agents, hoping to make some teams on special teams. 


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