East-West Shrine Game 2012: Game-Changing NFL Prospects You Must Watch

Andrew KulhaSenior Analyst IIIJanuary 21, 2012

IOWA CITY, IA - NOVEMBER 20:  Defensive back Shaun Prater #28 of the University of Iowa Hawkeyes returns a pass interception against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the second half of play at Kinnick Stadium on November 20, 2010 in Iowa City, Iowa. Ohio State won 20-17 over Iowa. (Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images)
David Purdy/Getty Images

Arkansas wide receiver Jarius Wright and Iowa cornerback Shaun Prater are going to be game-changers in the NFL.

If there are two players that you need to keep your eye on at the East-West Shrine Game, these two are the ones that I'd recommend.

This year's game has a fair share of recruits who have solid NFL potential, but these two really take the cake in my opinion.

They both possess the athleticism and intangibles to be high-impact players at the next level, and they both really have a chance to impact their draft stock with a good game and combine.

Let's break each player down a little bit and I'll give you a taste of what to expect.

 

Jarius Wright, WR, Arkansas

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 04:  Jarius Wright #4 of the Arkansas Razorbacks runs after a catch against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome on January 4, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Matthew Stockm
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Wright is quickly becoming one of my favorite "sleeper" picks in this year's draft, and I fully believe that he's going to be a game-changer in the NFL. There are a few factors that play into that though, as right now seems to be the perfect time for him to come out.

With the way the NFL is progressing—small, fast wide receivers are becoming a necessity for every team—not only are teams finding ways to create huge mismatches in the slot or coming over the middle against linebackers, but utilizing them out of the backfield, in motion and especially in special teams.

Wright fits that description perfectly.

At 5'10'', 180 pounds, he is definitely going to be a small receiver, but his breakaway speed is what makes him so dangerous. Couple that with his great hands and the ability to run after the catch and therein lies his true potential.

He reminds me a lot of Packers' wide receiver and return man Randall Cobb right away, but I think he can develop into a Percy Harvin-esque player in the NFL.

Projection: Late Second

 

Shaun Prater, CB, Iowa

LINCOLN, NE - NOVEMBER 25: Wide receiver Kenny Bell #80 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers just misses a touchdown reception in front of defensive back Shaun Prater #28 of the Iowa Hawkeyes during their game at Memorial Stadium November 25, 2011 in Lincoln, Nebr
Eric Francis/Getty Images

Prater has all the necessary intangibles that you look for in a cornerback coming into the NFL, and if this draft wasn't so corner-heavy, with big names coming in the first round, he would be talked about a lot more than he is.

He has average size at 5'11'', 185 pounds, but according to Chad Reuter of NFL.com, he's really setting himself apart in practices with his quickness:

There was little doubt watching the West team Thursday that Prater had the best foot quickness and hip turn among the cornerbacks on the squad.

His speed and quickness is what will make him very intriguing to NFL teams, as is his ability to make plays on the ball. He has good ball-hawking instincts, and when he gets his hands on one, he's a threat to take it back.

With all the big corner names in the first round of the draft, Prater may end up being a steal in the early-mid rounds, as he is being somewhat undervalued.

Projection: Third


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