East-West Shrine Game 2013 Roster: 5 Players We're Most Excited to See in NFL
The East-West Shrine game is an awesome benefit event for Shriners Hospitals for Children and a showcase for NFL hopefuls as they attempt to improve their draft stock.
The game has been played since 1925, per ShrineGame.com, and it has become a staple of the football offseason. NFL scouts and coaches will flock to Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on January 19 to get a glimpse of the talent on display.
Kickoff is at 4 p.m. ET, and the game will be televised by the NFL Network.
West: Theo Riddick, Notre Dame
Riddick is listed as a wide receiver on the West roster, but I think he has the potential to be a very good all-purpose running back in the NFL. He has good size at 5'11 200 pounds, and he has demonstrated the ability to be effective as a runner and receiver.
He rushed for 917 yards and five touchdowns in 2012 on just 14.6 attempts per game. As a receiver, he was the Irish's third-most productive player with 36 receptions and three touchdowns.
In an offense that utilizes the backs as primary receiving options, Riddick would be an ideal fit. If he lands with the right NFL team, he'll surprise people.
East: Colby Cameron, Louisiana Tech
Cameron had a monster season for the Bulldogs, but he'll be fighting two negative stigmas for quarterback prospects in the NFL.
He's only 6'2", and Louisiana Tech doesn't play the toughest conference schedule in the WAC. To his credit, Cameron lit up Texas A&M for 450 passing yards and five touchdowns on October 13.
The Aggies escaped with a 59-57 win, but Cameron definitely made an impression against one of the nation's best teams.
He didn't throw an interception through the first 10 games of the season. He finished the year with 4,147 passing yards, 31 touchdown passes and only five interceptions.
The East-West Shrine game will be another opportunity for him to prove himself against top talent.
East: Ray Graham, Pittsburgh
Before Graham got hurt in 2011, I thought he was potentially one of the better running backs in the 2012 NFL Draft.
He was injured in the eighth game of the Panthers' 2011 season and had to have season-ending knee surgery. He was leading the Big East in rushing, racking up 134 yards per game before he was lost for the season.
In 2012, he looked good, but not quite as explosive as he did as a junior. He rushed for 1,042 yards and 11 touchdowns. Graham missed an opportunity to shine against Ole Miss in the BBVA Compass Bowl, and the Panthers missed him.
He had injured his hamstring and couldn't get healthy enough to play in the game, per Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
The Panthers fell 38-17 without their best weapon on offense.
I still believe Graham has great vision and cutting ability. As long as his wheels hold up, he can be a solid NFL running back.
East: Devin Taylor, South Carolina
Taylor is huge at 6'8" 267 pounds, but his sack total dipped dramatically from his junior and sophomore seasons. In 2010, he recorded 7.5 sacks and in 2011 he notched six, but as a senior he only collected three.
With super-sophomore Jadeveon Clowney starting at the other defensive end spot, the lapse in production doesn't make a ton of sense.
He has enormous talent, and he was part of what was possibly the best defensive line in the country, but the three-sack senior season is a head-scratcher.
He'll need to perform well in offseason exhibitions, and that starts at the East-West Shrine game. I still believe he'll make an impact as pass-rusher in the NFL.
West: Joseph Fauria, UCLA
The nephew of former NFL tight end Christian Fauria is a 6'7" athletic player who will be better in the NFL than he was in college.
UCLA hasn't had the best quarterback situation in Fauria's tenure, but he was second on the Bruins in receptions with 45 as senior. He also led the team in touchdown catches with 12.
His size and hands will make him a valuable weapon in the red zone, and his athletic ability will be useful up the seams in the NFL.
Aside from Tyler Eifert of Notre Dame, Fauria could be the best pass-catching tight end in the 2013 NFL Draft.