Cleveland Browns 2014 Draft: Scouting Guide for East-West Shrine Game

Will BurgeContributor IJanuary 17, 2014

Cleveland Browns 2014 Draft: Scouting Guide for East-West Shrine Game

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    Mark A. Cunningham/Getty Images

    It’s scouting season for every team in the NFL, including the Cleveland Browns. While most scouts have their reports just about completed on the players who will be entering the draft, there are still a few opportunities for prospects to improve or hurt their stock. The first such opportunity is the East-West Shrine Game.

    The East-West Shrine Game is the first collegiate all-star game of the offseason and boasts a long history of showcasing players for the next level. This game started in 1925 and claims to have had more than 100 players from last year’s game heading to training camp with professional football teams.

    So what does this mean for you as a fan? It means this is the perfect opportunity to put your scout hat on.

    Sure, you know about the guys who will be drafted in the first round, but what about round three? The East-West Shrine Game is the place to research your draft gems and stay sharp.

    Here is the East-West Shrine Game scouting guide for Browns fans. Let’s go through some positions of need and see whom you should be watching during the game and how they fared during their week of practice.

Offensive Line

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    Wade Payne/Associated Press

    By all accounts, the week did not start very well for the offensive linemen. Luckily, this group picked up the pace throughout the week, and a few players have caught the eyes of scouts and media.

    The Browns are obviously in need of guards and possibly a new right tackle. The one they currently have, Mitchell Schwartz, might be better served moving inside to guard after seeing him struggle so mightily against speed rushes last season.

    While most of the linemen struggled in Tuesday’s practice, Fresno State guard Austin Wentworth stood out to Eric Galko of OptimumScouting.com.

    Phone died, report being typed now. Biggest winners at West practice today: OL Dozier/Wentworth, DL Ellis/Mauro, DBs Richardson/Darby

    — Eric Galko (@OptimumScouting) January 14, 2014

    Galko said, “Wentworth also was one of the few linemen to control Justin Ellis all practice, utilizing strong hands initially and positioning them with success when defensive linemen exposed their chest plate.”

    Ellis, who weighs 357 pounds and is expected to be drafted, has given most of the offensive linemen problems this week.

    Furman’s Dakota Dozier, the other guard mentioned in Galko’s tweet, had a great day as well. Galko said, “Dozier held his ground very well against the two nose tackles on the West roster, and exchanged his hands well with a strong first punch and a quick hand rip on multiple 1v1s.”

    According to CBSSports.com, Dozier is projected as a sixth- or seventh-round draft pick, while Wentworth is looking to climb his way onto the scouting radar.

    On Wednesday, it was Tennessee’s James Stone’s turn to impress. Galko went as far as calling him one of the day’s biggest winners.

    East Practice finished for the day. Report coming soon . Biggest winners: QB Garopppolo, WR Gallon/Lora, OL Stone,  DL Bromley/Gaston.

    — Eric Galko (@OptimumScouting) January 15, 2014

    Galko’s analysis after practice was glowing.

    The best lineman of the bunch today was Tennessee’s James Stone. Playing guard today after playing both guard and center his senior season, Stone showed solid hand placement and the strength to hold on and force his rusher to get high. Driving to finish his blocks as well, Stone seemed to win most of his battles today in individual and team drills today.

    CBSSports.com has Stone ranked as the 10th-best center and being drafted in the seventh round, but that status could improve if he shows scouts he can successfully move to guard.

     

    What Number Will They Wear?

    Austin Wentworth—No. 72 (West)

    Dakota Dozier—No. 79 (West)

    James Stone—No. 64 (East)

Wide Receiver

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    Stephen Morton/Associated Press

    The Browns will be looking for offensive weapons in the draft this offseason. Whether they are surrounding a rookie quarterback with them or looking for a way to make Brian Hoyer as productive as possible, they will be selecting receivers.

    One guy who has jumped out to everyone in practices this week is Coastal Carolina’s Matt Hazel. Listed at 6’3” and 190 pounds, this senior had 70 receptions for 990 yards and nine touchdowns in 2013. He was named first team All-Big South.

    Hazel has carried that production into the East-West Shrine Game practices. He certainly caught the eye of Dane Brugler from NFLDraftScout.com.

    Other prospects w/ strong practices today: RB Zach Bauman (N. Arizona), WR Matt Hazel (CC), WR Chandler Jones (SJST), CB Andre Hal (Vandy)

    — Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) January 14, 2014

    CC WR Matt Hazel just put a pretty double move on CB Pierre Desir and finished with a diving catch 40 yards downfield

    — Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) January 15, 2014

    On Wednesday, Erik Galko of OptimumScouting.com took notice of Hazel as well:

    Matt Hazel had the nice vertical catch from Garoppolo and over Desir today, but didn’t get much more love in my notes throughout the day. After a strong Monday and showing as the best NFL outside receiver on the East roster, he’s done enough to potentially earn draftable grades from teams, maybe as high as round 5.

    That would be a vast improvement over the seventh-round grade that CBSSports.com had placed on him.

    The great equalizer, however, is the combine. He better be near that reported 6’3”, or it could hurt his draft stock. Some media, including Kyle Crabbs from NFLDraftBible.com are not buying his listed size.

    Matt Hazel disappointed me with his size in person. I'm six foot and he only had me by a little more an inch WITH cleats. Was expecting BIG.

    — NDT Scouting, KMC (@NFLDraftTracker) January 17, 2014

     

    What Number Will They Wear?

    Matt Hazel—No. 84 (East)

Inside Linebacker

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    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    One position of great need for the Browns is inside linebacker. Craig Robertson was definitely the weakest link on the Browns defense last season, and you can imagine the look CEO Joe Banner has on his face when he thinks about D’Qwell Jackson’s $9.2 million hit on the salary cap next season.

    A few names that jumped out this week were Michigan State’s Max Bullough and Western Kentucky’s Andrew Jackson.

    Bullough had a dazzling career as a Spartan. He finished with 499 tackles and was named first team All-Big Ten and third team All-American in 2013. He was always a leader on defense, and it was very tough to find a knock on Bullough through four years.

    It isn’t so hard anymore. Bullough was suspended from the Rose Bowl for violating unspecified team rules. Many, including Mike Griffith from MLive.com, feel he should explain what held him out of the biggest game of the year. Instead, he chose to deny all media requests and has not spoken to anyone but NFL representatives this week.

    If that was not bad enough, he also came into practice 20 pounds heavier than he was listed at Michigan State. He weighed in Tuesday at a whopping 265 pounds.

    MSU LB Max Bullough might be in his first trimester. He definitely has some bad weight to lose before the Combine, starting with his gut

    — Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) January 14, 2014

    Despite the cloud of silence hanging over him and despite his unplanned pregnancy as Dane Brugler chided, Bullough has still shined.

    Eric Galko of OptimumScouting.com wrote:

    While Bullough weighed in heavier than expected, he finished the day with two pass breakups and an interception from what I saw today. He’s not flashy and doesn’t bend overly well to his drops, but he was able to make plays today from that spot.

    According to CBSSports.com, Bullough is expected to be drafted in the fourth or fifth round. That could change dramatically, however, if he does not get his act together.

    Jackson has also been turning heads for his performance on the field. He is the guy everyone seems to be noticing for both good and bad reasons.

    Hearing a lot of "Jackson!!" being yelled (both good and bad) by the coaches in 9 on 7 drills referring to WKU LB Andrew Jackson

    — Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) January 13, 2014

    Steve Shoup from HogsHeaven.com delivered a very clean and realistic analysis of Jackson after the third day of practice.

    In a short area he can cover pretty well, it's the deeper area that will give him trouble. His best skill though is clearly his run defense, where he made a number of nice plays today filling holes and blowing up plays.

    WKU's ILB Andrew Jackson has done a bit of everything. Physical vs. TE pickup, holding ground well vs OL, filling/exploding through holes

    — Eric Galko (@OptimumScouting) January 15, 2014

    He is also projected to be drafted near the fifth round according to CBSSports.com. He could be a target for teams that need inside linebacker help like the Browns.

     

    What Number Will They Wear?

    Max Bullough—No. 44 (West)

    Andrew Jackson—No. 4 (East)

Defensive Back

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    Ralph Freso/Getty Images

    The Browns' lack of depth at defensive back was no secret by the end of the 2013 season. They will once again be looking to add young playmakers that can develop into every-down cornerbacks in the NFL.

    While there have been plenty of good performances in practice this week, two names have continuously been praised.

    The first is Oregon State’s Rashaad Reynolds. He had six interceptions in 2013 for the Beavers and showed more of his playmaking ability in practice this week.

    Eric Galko of OptimumScouting.com wrote:

    Also at cornerback, Rashaad Reynolds of Oregon State and Bene Benwikere of San Jose State both showed the quick feet and the adjustments away from their body during drills and again during team work. Benwikere is still the better athlete, but both fit the role of a nickel cornerback at the next level.

    Kyle Crabbs of NFLDraftBible.com agreed with the sentiment that those two young men stood out this week.

    I loved watching Shaq Richardson, Rashaad Reynolds and Bene Benwikere go through DB drills.  Shaq and Bene have some nice length to them.

    — NDT Scouting, KMC (@NFLDraftTracker) January 17, 2014

    So obviously our second name to watch is San Jose State’s Bene Benwikere. He too had a nose for the football, snagging five interceptions during the 2013 season.

    Former college running back and current analyst Emory Hunt of Football Gameplan loved what he saw from Benwikere this week.

    @TDavenport_BSN - Right off the bat, I think that Vandy's Andre Hal & Bene Benwikere have done very well

    — Emory Hunt (@FBallGameplan) January 15, 2014

    CBSSports.com has Reynolds as a fifth-round draft pick and Benwikere as a sixth.

     

    What Number Will They Wear?

    Rashaad Reynolds—No. 4 (West)

    Bene Benwikere—No. 22 (West)