East West Shrine Game 2013 Roster: Breaking Down Most Intriguing QB Prospects
The NFL season isn't quite over, but teams who aren't fortunate enough to still be playing at this point are looking ahead to April's draft. The 2013 East-West Shrine Game is sure to produce some buzz on Saturday in that regard.
While this is a perceptibly weak QB class that will no doubt fall short of last year's extraordinary bunch of talent, there are some intriguing prospects that will be in action in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Here is a breakdown of the signal-callers whose games are most likely to translate to the professional level.
Collin Klein, Kansas State (East)
Prior to this season, concerns about Klein's passing may have outweighed how effective he has been as a runner. But with the quarterback position even at the professional level lending itself to more opportunities for more athletic players, Klein's draft stock has to be at least slightly on the rise.
At one point in the season, the Wildcats senior was the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy. That bid was derailed in a disappointing home loss at Baylor, although it wasn't necessarily Klein's fault.
Standing at a towering 6'5" and 220 pounds, Klein has the prototypical size for an NFL quarterback. He definitely showed improvement as a passer, as he saw his yards per attempt reach nearly 8.7 and his accuracy jump to 64.8 percent—7.5 points higher than 2011.
What was most impressive was Klein's nose for the end zone, as he ran for 23 touchdowns and nearly 920 yards despite factoring in sack yardage.
The Wildcat formation may be losing its luster. However, the pistol formation and the zone-read option have been effectively utilized by several teams in the pros, most notably the Washington Redskins with Robert Griffin III, the Seattle Seahawks with Russell Wilson and the San Francisco 49ers with Colin Kaepernick.
Before he got his shot to become the man under center in San Francisco, Kaepernick came in almost exclusively to run the option in his first season-and-a-half as a pro.
If Klein can undergo a similar developmental process behind a strong veteran QB in a great organization, he could have a successful pro career.
Scouts will want to see how Klein operates from the pocket in this game, though. It will be interesting to see how he is utilized and if those college concepts that are being increasingly utilized in the pros will be a big part of the game plan.
Matt Scott, Arizona (West)
Rich Rodriguez brought his spread attack to Tuscon, and Matt Scott ran it extremely effectively. Scott was counted on to shoulder the load of the Wildcats offense. He averaged over 300 yards passing per game and also ran for 506 yards and six touchdowns in 2012.
Scott's compact delivery and college production make him an attractive pro prospect, and he can still add some thickness to his 6'3" frame. He likely won't be selected until the middle of the draft, but could definitely improve his stock in the Shrine Game.
According to Steve Muench of Scouts Inc. (h/t ESPN), Scott has been impressive in practices leading up to the impending game in Tropicana Field:
...Scott showed some interesting flashes, with a quick release and the ability to get the ball out in a hurry. Scott does need to learn to control the pace of his underneath throws, though, and his ball placement was off early on.
Scott forced receivers to make some tough catches, but to his credit he took coaching well midway through the session and did a better job keeping the ball up from that point on.
Being forced into obvious passing situations in college thanks to a putrid defense should actually help Scott's cause, as he had to constantly overcome adversity and big deficits to bring his team back.
That was on display in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl when Scott drove Arizona to two touchdowns in the last 46 seconds to pull out an improbable 49-48 victory over Nevada. Getting it done in the clutch like that put an emphatic exclamation point on his collegiate career.
Several multiple-interception games against some of the better teams on the Wildcats' schedule are cause for concern for those evaluating Scott. Still, he will get the starting nod for the West and will have a golden opportunity to showcase his talents.
Colby Cameron, Louisiana Tech (East)
As the winner of the Sammy Baugh Award, Cameron was the catalyst for the No. 1 scoring offense in the country. The WAC champion Bulldogs averaged over 51 points per contest, pushing their way into the Top 25.
Cameron completed nearly 69 percent of his passes for well over 4,000 yards, 31 touchdowns and just five interceptions. He obviously makes good decisions with the football and has exceptional touch, and he has also shown the ability to throw the ball on the run well despite limited mobility.
The kind of efficiency he displayed at Louisiana Tech is spectacular regardless of the level of competition. He set an NCAA record over the past two seasons by going a whopping 444 passing attempts without an interception (h/t LATechSports.com).
Although he doesn't possess the cannon arm that many quarterbacks have, plenty of successful franchise QBs have overcome that.
Similar to Scott's situation at Arizona, Cameron had to constantly put points on the board for his team to keep up.
He even stood toe-to-toe with Heisman winner Johnny Manziel in a 59-57 loss to the Texas A&M Aggies. In that game, Cameron threw for 450 yards and five touchdowns, proving he could get it done against elite competition.
He will be vying for playing time with Klein in the Shrine Game, but Cameron has all the makings of being one of the top performers on Saturday.
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