The 2012 edition of the East-West Shrine Game kicks off tomorrow, marking the last chance for some of college football’s most successful seniors to impress NFL scouts. Of course, scouting reports cut both ways, and some players could see their draft stock fall with a subpar showing in this all-star extravaganza.
Here are the five pro hopefuls who could drop the farthest if they don’t put up strong showings tomorrow:
WR A.J. Jenkins, Illinois
The best player on either team in tomorrow’s game, Jenkins’ outstanding season—90 catches, 1,276 yards, eight TDs—peaked against Northwestern, when he gained a school-record 268 yards on 12 catches (including three scores). A 6’1” wideout with respectable speed, he’s facing inferior corners on the West team and must come through with big plays in spite of the East’s iffy collection of passers.
LB Jerry Franklin, Arkansas
The versatile Franklin played both ILB and OLB for Arkansas, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him do a little of both for the West team tomorrow. After recording just 0.5 sacks for Arkansas this season (down from 6.5 a year ago), he needs to show some big-play ability against an unremarkable East line.
QB Chandler Harnish, Northern Illinois
Harnish faced only one elite defense this season, throwing for just 164 yards in a blowout home loss to Wisconsin. With his West team boasting a solid receiving corps that includes Greg Childs and Junior Hemingway, Harnish must prove that he can perform against better defenders than he saw in the MAC.
OL Ryan Miller, Colorado
Miller didn’t have much in the way of skill players to block for on the weak Colorado offense, yet—like ex-teammate Nate Solder—he still managed to play his way onto NFL draft boards. He’s got some legitimate playmakers behind him now, including Harnish and USC’s Marc Tyler and he needs to make sure they can keep the chains moving.
DT Nicholas Jean-Baptiste, Baylor
One of the leading nose tackle prospects in the draft by some estimates, the 6’2”, 335-pound Jean-Baptiste must demonstrate that he can shut down the run. He’ll get plenty of chances to prove it against RBs such as Tyler and Western Kentucky’s Bobby Rainey.