The East-West Shrine Game is a haven for potential draft steals.
Though the coaching staff of the New England Patriots will be firmly entrenched in film studies of the Baltimore Ravens, their scouting team should be focused on a few talented Shrine game participants.
Let's take a look at some players the Pats should have their eyes on during Shrine game weekend.
Armstead has come from obscurity and made a name for himself in time for the 2013 draft. Now, the value of the monster tackle is skyrocketing, and he's got the potential to be drafted as high as the second round.
With right tackle Sebastian Vollmer entering free agency, the Patriots may be looking for a young outside power lineman. Armstead might fit that role perfectly.
At 6'5", 304 pounds, Armstead is a big fellow, but what separates him from the rest of the crowded field of mutant offensive linemen are his quick feet. He's able to shuffle quickly to cover the corner and leverage rushers well past the pocket.
Armstead anchors well and is able to maintain good balance through his shuffle to ensure his long frame doesn't cost him leverage.
He has the skills to develop into an NFL player at either tackle position, and he could slide into the right tackle position as a starter next season Armstead might well be worth the investment for the Patriots if they opt for a cheaper alternative than Vollmer at right tackle.
Junior put up huge numbers for the Purple Raiders this year, racking up 92 receptions for 1,694 yards, 22 touchdowns and 18.4 yards per catch.
The question with Collins comes down to whether his measurables (he's listed at just 5'10", 183 pounds with a 4.53 40-time—not world-class size or speed for his position) will prevent him from producing at a high level in the NFL.
Still, the Pats need youth and upside at the receiver position, and Collins' strong route-running and quickness out of his breaks could make him a strong pick if he lasts until the seventh round.
As a bonus, he's also a talented returner.
If 2011 third-rounder Jake Bequette doesn't pan out, the Pats may be in the market for another pass-rusher.
As a likely mid-round pick, the Ivy League's Mike Catapano could bolster their defensive line.
Catapano's stock has risen during practices for the Shrine game, according to the National Football Post's practice report:
Able to consistently beat the offensive tackle around the corner and inside allowed him to regularly pressure the quarterback in every drill. Not only productive rushing the passer, his ability to defeat run blocks allowed him to make plays against the run at him and away. His strong week of practice has put Catapano in position to be a third round pick if he continues to perform well the rest of the spring.
The concern with Catapano, of course, is whether he'll be able to produce against stronger competition. Still, he's been elite against the teams he has faced—he racked up 12 sacks this year, best in his conference.
A big performance at the East-West Shrine Game could vault Catapano into the high rounds, but if he's still around in the third round of the draft, the Pats would be wise to consider taking him.
Price is an interesting play for the Pats—he's likely a middle-rounder, and they lack middle-round picks (with no picks between the end of the third and the beginning of the seventh rounds).
Still, if they trade out of the higher rounds, New England might want to take a look at Price.
He's not a first-round measurables type of player, and for that, he might be underrated. Though he's slim for his size—he weighs in at just 185 pounds at 6'1"—he's got everything else you want in a press cornerback.
Price leverages well at the line, has fluid hips in getting upfield and protects well over the top. That makes him a good fit for the Pats' press scheme.
He didn't have great playmaking production at UCLA—following his three-interception game against Houston he didn't record another pick—but his unsexy pick totals might cause teams to pass on an otherwise capable corner.
Yes, he's no Jadeveon Clowney—but there isn't another defender of Clowney's caliber in college football. Still, for being the other Gamecocks defensive end, Devin Taylor is beginning to make a name for himself.
Taylor has impressed thus far at practice for the Shrine game. According to SB Nation:
In one-on-one drills, Taylor overpowered a lot of the tackles, including flat out throwing one to the ground on the drill.
Taylor still needs coaching—he comes in too high out of his stance at times—but he's got the kind of strength that NFL scouts won't be able to ignore. He's able to leverage the point of attack and set the edge, and has the push to get into the backfield and the versatility to play inside.
Taylor could play a big role in boosting the Patriots' interior rush, and he's strong enough against the run to have every-down potential. He might be one of the first participants in the East-West Shrine Game to be selected in the NFL draft.