East-West Shrine Game 2012 Roster: Defensive Stars to Keep Close Watch on

Michael DixonAnalyst IIIJanuary 21, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 29:  Quarterback Andrew Luck #12 of the Stanford Cardinal is hit after throwing a pass by defensive linemen Wes Horton #96 and Dajohn Harris #98 of the USC Trojans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on October 29, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The offensive stars will grab the headlines at the East-West Shrine Game, but these defensive players are the ones that will be the best to watch.

Keep a close watch on these players, as they will improve their draft stock with strong performances against some of the country's top offensive stars. 


DaJohn Harris, DL, Southern California

Harris has the size (6'3", 308 pounds) to dominate opposition. On top of that, he's even got some quickness, running as low as a 5.02 40-yard dash. That is good enough for NFLDraftscout.com to rank Harris as the number eight defensive tackle in the draft.

He recorded seven tackles for a loss in his senior season, also earning one-and-a-half quarterback sacks. A good performance from Harris would bolt him solidly into the second round. With that size, he's a player that will make an instant impact in the NFL

If nothing else, Harris will eat up blockers, allowing the linebackers to freely attack the ball carriers.


Najee Goode, LB, West Virginia

Goode's numbers in his senior year with the Mountaineers were too good to ignore. He recorded five quarterback sacks and had 87 tackles, 14 for a loss. He is a reliable man in the middle, and a good performance on Saturday would solidify Goode as a late round pick. 

A poor performance, on the other hand, will make it hard for Goode to get picked. According to NFLDraftscout.com, he is 6'0" and 245 pounds, and his low 40 time was 4.64. That isn't terrible, but not particularly overwhelming. 

The positive is that his value is shown on the field. That is why he put up good numbers, despite having less than overwhelming size and speed. This is the last on-field chance for Goode to show what he can do; he won't disappoint. 


Shaun Prater, DB, Iowa

The combine numbers will be there for Prater. If he can show an ability to play well against some of the nation's top receivers, look for Prater to be taken at worst in the early third round of April's draft. 

At 5'10" and 185 pounds, Prater is not as undersized as many defensive backs. He had only one interception and three broken-up passes in 13 games, which is a sign that quarterbacks have no interest in throwing to that side of the field. 

According to NFLDraftscout.com, Prater has run a 40 as fast as 4.39, so speed is not a problem. He will do fine going against the East's best receivers and quarterbacks. Prater may be projected as a third rounder, but I see that as a worst case scenario. 

The NFL is becoming more pass-heavy every year, so defensive backs are only becoming more valuable. A good performance will have Prater vaulting up the boards.



EASTCoach, Bobby Ross
1 Jerrell Young, S, South Florida
2 Micah Pellerin, DB, Hampton
3 Tim Benford, WR, Tennessee Tech
4 Gary Gray, DB, Notre Dame
5 A.J. Jenkins, WR, Illinois
7 Nick Sukay, LB, Penn State
8 Tysyn Hartman, S, Kansas State
9 Chase Ford, TE, Miami
10 Shawn Loiseau, LB, Merrimack
11 R.J. Blanton, DB, Notre Dame
12 Austin Davis, QB, Southern Mississippi
13 Kevin Hardy, WR, Citadel
14 Charles Brown, DB, North Carolina
15 Davin Meggett, RB, Maryland
16 John Brantley, QB, Florida
17 LaRon Byrd, WR, Miami
18 Thomas Mayo, WR, California (Pa.)
19 BJ Coleman, QB, Chattanooga
20 Lance Lewis, WR, East Carolina
21 B.J. Cunningham, WR, Michigan State
26 Justin Bethel, DB, Presbyterian
28 Tauren Poole, RB, Tennessee
29 Steven Erzinger, LB, Army
31 Josh Norman, DB, Coastal Carolina
32 Alfred Morris, RB, Florida Atlantic
33 Christian Thompson, S, South Carolina State
35 Brandon Lindsey, LB, Pittsburgh
38 Emanuel Davis, DB, East Carolina
40 Matt Daniels, S, Duke
42 Najee Goode, LB, West Virginia
44 Emil Igwenagu, TE, Massachusetts
45 Shawn Powell, P, Florida State
48 Bruce Figgins, FB/TE, Georgia
50 Joshua Linam, LB, Central Florida
53 Quentin Saulsberry, C, Missisippi State
54 Micanor Regis, DL, Miami
55 Max Gruder, LB, Pittsburgh
57 Blair Walsh, PK, Georgia
63 Derek Dennis, G, Temple
65 Tyler Horn, C, Miami
70 Jeremiah Warren, G, South Florida
72 Lamar Holmes, OT, Southern Mississippi
73 Desmond Wynn, G, Rutgers
75 Rishaw Johnson, G, California (Pa.)
76 Jeff Adams, OT, Columbia
79 Joe Long, OT, Wayne State (Mich.)
78 Bradley Sowell, OT, Mississippi
88 Evan Rodriguez, TE, Temple
90 Nick Jean-Baptiste, DL, Baylor
92 Travian Robertson, DL, South Carolina
94 Matt Conrath, DL, Virginia
95 Kyle Wilber, DL, Wake Forest
97 Julian Miller, DL, West Virginia
98 Jabaree Tuani, DL, Navy
99 Akiem Hicks, DL, Regina
WESTCoach, Brad Childress
2 Duke Ihenaho, S, San Jose State
3 Rodney McLeod, DB, Virginia
4 Jarius Wright, WR, Arkansas
5 Lennon Creer, RB, Louisana Tech
6 Matt Prewitt Punter Kentucky Christian
7 Aaron Henry, S, Wisconsin
8 Austin Cassidy, S, Nebraska
9 Tyler Hansen, QB, Colorado
10 Darius Hanks, WR, Alabama
11 Ronnie Thomton, LB, Southern Mississippi
12 Chandler Harnish, QB, Northern Illinois
13 Dale Moss, WR, South Dakota State
14 Dan Persa, QB, Northwestern
16 Greg Zuerlein, PK, Missouri Western
17 Brandon Hardin, DB, Oregon State
19 Bryan Anger Punter California
21 Blake Gideon, S, Texas
23 Keith Tandy, DB, West Virginia
24 Trevin Wade, DB, Arizona
25 Devon Wylie, WR, Fresno State
26 Marc Tyler, RB, Southern California
27 Chris Greenwood, DB, Albion
28 Shaun Prater, DB, Iowa
30 Bobby Rainey, RB, Western Kentucky
31 Kentrell Lockett, DL, Mississippi
33 Brandon Marshall, LB, Nevada
34 Jerry Franklin, LB, Arkansas
40 Tyrone Crawford, DL, Boise State
43 Tank Carder, LB, Texas Christian
45 Arnaud Nadon, DL, Laval
47 David Paulson, TE, Oregon
49 Kaniela Tuipulotu, DL, Hawaii
52 Steven Johnson, LB, Kansas
53 Markus Zusevics, G, Iowa
54 Moe Petrus, C, Connecticut
56 Brandon Brooks, G, Miami (Ohio)
58 Josh Kaddu, LB, Oregon
61 Ben Heenan, G, Saskatchewan
70 Matt Reynolds, OT, Brigham Young
73 Ryan Miller, OT, Colorado
75 Al Netter, OT, Northwestern
76 Tom Compton, OT, South Dakota
77 Josh LeRibeus, G, Southern Methodist
78 David Snow, C, Texas
79 Marcel Jones, OT, Nebraska
82 Junior Hemingway, WR, Michigan
84 George Bryan, TE, North Carolina State
85 Greg Childs, WR, Arkansas
86 Kevin Koger, TE, Michigan
87 Cory Harkey, TE, UCLA
89 Tyler Shoemaker, WR, Boise State
90 Dominique Hamilton, DL, Missouri
91 Justin Francis, DL, Rutgers
95 Vaughn Meatoga, DL, Hawaii
97 Dajohn Harris, DL, Southern California