East-West Shrine Game 2014: Top Skill Position Players in Annual Showcase

Austin GreenCorrespondent IJanuary 18, 2014

Wisconsin running back James White (20) gains yardage as he breaks away from South Carolina linebacker Skai Moore (10)during the first half of the Capital One Bowl NCAA college football game in Orlando, Fla., Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014.(AP Photo/John Raoux)
John Raoux/Associated Press

The 2014 East-West Shrine Bowl kicks off in a matter of hours (4 p.m. ET on NFL Network), giving some of the nation's top seniors an opportunity to showcase their talent. 

While the Shrine Game features lower-level prospects in comparison to the Senior Bowl (which will be played next Saturday), there are still some quality players to check out. Be sure to keep an eye on the following skill position players, who could all be making some noise on Sundays in the very near future. 


Jordan Lynch: QB, Northern Illinois

Lenny Ignelzi/Associated Press

After finishing third in the 2013 Heisman Trophy race, Jordan Lynch is the most well-known player participating in this game. 

The dual-threat quarterback racked up some of the most impressive numbers in NCAA history, producing 4,812 total yards and 47 total touchdowns in 2013.

His ability to hurt teams with his arm (2,892 passing yards, 24 touchdowns) and his legs (1,920 yards, 23 touchdowns) was absolutely amazing. He also did a good job protecting the ball, throwing just eight interceptions on the season. 

Of course, Lynch's numbers and name recognition don't guarantee him NFL success. Former Kansas State quarterback and Shrine Game participant Collin Klein also put up some monster numbers and was a Heisman finalist his senior year, but he went undrafted and was unable to land a contract in the NFL. 

Still, Lynch is one of the most intriguing prospects in this game. With a strong showing on Saturday and an impressive performance at the combine, he could boost his draft stock significantly. 


James White: RB, Wisconsin

Andy Manis/Associated Press

Joining Lynch in the backfield for the East will be James White, who was one of the most productive running backs in the nation this year. 

White, who shared the ball-carrying duties with sophomore Melvin Gordon, finished 14th in the country with 1,444 rushing yards. He led the Badgers with 13 rushing touchdowns, and his average of 6.5 yards per rush should impress scouts. 

White was also a threat in the passing game, recording 39 receptions for 300 yards and two touchdowns.

If the 5'10", 195-pound back impresses scouts this week, he could be a fourth- or fifth-round pick in this year's draft. 


Chandler Jones: WR, San Jose State

Tony Avelar/Associated Press

Chandler Jones had a fantastic senior year for San Jose State, and he could be a major difference-maker for an NFL team in need of some help at receiver.

Jones caught a career-high 79 passes in 2013 and finished in the top 10 in the nation in both receiving yards (1,356) and touchdowns (15). 

He lacks ideal size, but he is a big-play threat (17.2 yards per reception in 2013), he has great hands and he doesn't mind blocking in running situations. Look for Jones to make a big impact in Saturday's game.