Full Redskins' Scouting Guide for the 2013 East-West Shrine Game
On Saturday, January 19, the East-West Shrine Game will be played in St. Petersburg, Florida. This game, often overlooked by fans, pits former college players from the Eastern United States against players from the Western United States.
A lot of the best players in college football don't play in the game, but there are several other prospects participating who are eager to make a name for themselves in the presence of NFL scouts. Many of the players will go undrafted, and most will be mid-round picks—which means their draft stock depends heavily on how well they play.
The Washinton Redskins sold the farm to get Robert Griffin III last season, so the East-West Shrine Game will be important to crafting their draft strategy. Without any top picks, a lot of the players in the game will be the ones the Redskins are looking the most at.
With that in mind, there are a few players in particular who Washington should give a serious glance at; players who may not become stars, but who will become integral contributors on a potentially deep and talented team. These players are the ones that could make the difference between a deep playoff run and an early-January exit.
Jasper Collins, Wide Receiver, Mount Union
Washington seems pretty much set at a lot of the skill positions, but depth at wide receiver is still an issue. When Pierre Garcon played last season, he made the entire unit better. But when he didn't, there was no clear-cut number one option for Robert Griffin III. Jasper Collins could help.
Like Garcon, Collins is a product of Division III Mount Union, a small school in Ohio that Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Cecil Shorts also attended. Mount Union seems to be churning out wide receivers at a good rate, so it might behoove the Washington Redskins to give Collins a look.
He's not the biggest or the fastest receiver in the Shrine Game, but he still grabbed 92 passes for 1,694 yards and 22 touchdowns in 2012, numbers that are impossible to overlook. With the recent success of Mount Union prospects, there's no reason to think Collins won't be a solid receiver. If Washington drafts him, he won't be asked to be the first option, or even the second. He'd probably start as a deep threat or slot receiver, and work from there.
If Garcon can stay healthy, Santana Moss can still be a threat, and Leonard Hankerson can catch the football, a player like Collins could find a nice niche in Washington's offense. He'll probably be a mid-round pick, and it wouldn't hurt to take a look.
Zeke Motta, Safety, Notre Dame
Zeke Motta is a player who has been on draft boards for a while, ever since Notre Dame's defense turned it up a few notches and entered the realm of the elite in 2012. His performance in the BCS National Championship game was underwhelming, which will probably hurt his draft stock.
But the truth of the matter is that he was a solid player on arguably the nation's best defense in 2012.
Motta won't light up the opposition, but he is athletic and can make plays. He's also durable, something the Washington Redskins desperately need at the safety position. Washington was ravaged by injuries in the defensive backfield in 2012 and it was a major reason why the pass defense ranked 30th in the league. Motta played in all 38 games in his college career, rarely missing time on the field or at practice.
As is the case with a lot of positions on the Redskins, Motta would be a great pickup for depth. The depth on defense in 2012 was poor at best, and Motta could step in behind the starters and learn on the fly. He was also an accomplished special teams contributor at Notre Dame, so he could start his career off with a bang there.
It probably wouldn't be the sexiest pick, but Motta would be a very good selection to solidify the Redskins' defensive backfield.
Micah Hyde, Cornerback, Iowa
It's no secret that the Washinton Redskins have problems in the secondary. If there is no clear-cut option on the draft board, Micah Hyde could be a possibility. Hyde had a solid year for Iowa as a senior, and was Second Team All-Big 10 as a junior. He has playmaking ability and led the Big 10 in passes defensed in 2011.
Hyde doesn't have the pedigree that someone like Morris Claiborne did last season, but he's been on NFL draft boards for a while and is probably going to be drafted somewhere in the third or fourth round.
If the Redskins feel that they want to shore up their secondary, Hyde could be an option. He's not going to be a star, but he could be a Josh Wilson-type player—one who isn't flashy, but goes about his business and gets his job done effectively.
Hyde won't start right away. He'll definitely be a project, but with time, he could develop into a very solid defensive back. He also has experience playing safety, so he could provide versatility for the Redskins as well. Fans should be satisfied if Washington decides to pick him up in the draft.
Devin Taylor, Outside Linebacker, South Carolina
The Washington Redskins probably won't be looking for outside linebacker help early in the draft, but if Devin Taylor falls to them, they could really fortify the position by selecting him. With the uncertainty surrounding Brian Orakpo, Taylor could be a quality player who could provide depth behind Rob Jackson.
At first glance, Taylor is an NFL team's dream: He's very quick, has some excellent moves to get to the passer, and he's enormous, clocking in at 6'7" and 275 pounds. He played primarily on the defensive line in college, but his skill set translates to the linebacker position in the NFL. He seems like the perfect blend of speed and size.
The knock on Taylor, though, is his inability to play in space. Since he's so large, he is very susceptible to any running back who can make a move in the open field. But as far as mid-round prospects go, Taylor is one of the players NFL scouts will have their eyes on.
If Taylor has a solid performance in the Shrine Game, he might find himself on Washington's radar as the burgundy and gold look to shore up a talented but thin linebacking corps.
Blaize Foltz, Guard, TCU
Blaize Foltz fought for notoriety during his first few years at TCU, when the TCU Horned Frogs were a successful program in an otherwise under-appreciated conference. But after a move to the Big 12, Foltz finally got the recognition he deserved.
Foltz won't set the world on fire, but his credentials are unquestioned. He started all 12 games for TCU last season and was selected to the All-Big 12 Second Team. He also was a primary reason for the Horned Frogs' success running the ball. TCU racked up almost 1,900 yards on the ground last year.
The Washington Redskins' offensive line was productive, if unspectacular this year. The only truly excellent players on the line were Trent Williams at left tackle and Will Montgomery at center. The rest of the unit was in and out, and depth continues to be an option.
Foltz may not be a first round pick or a front-line starter, but he could be a great pickup if the Redskins are looking to fortify their front five.