Shrine Game 2016: Biggest Takeaways from This Year's Game

Ryan McCrystalFeatured ColumnistJanuary 23, 2016

West quarterback Vernon Adams Jr., (3), of Oregon, throws a pass against the East during the first half of the East West Shrine football game Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

The 2016 East-West Shrine Game is in the books, and while it doesn't attract the same high-profile prospects as the Senior Bowl, a number of quality sleepers emerged from the week of practice and Saturday's game. 

Typically, Shrine Game participants are viewed as potential late-round prospects, such as Tom Brady, who landed in the sixth round in 2000. 

However, there are some Shrine Game prospects who can elevate their stock considerably and rise into the early rounds with a strong week. These prospects, such as 2006 second-round pick Greg Jennings, who played at Western Michigan, usually come from smaller schools and didn't receive the national attention other players at major programs were able to attract. 

Saturday's Shrine Game resulted in a 29-9 victory for the West, but it featured standout performances from prospects on both sides. 

Here's a look at three prospects who made the biggest impact on Saturday and should receive a boost to their draft stock as a result. 


Vernon Adams, QB, Oregon

Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

Vernon Adams is undersized (he measured 5'11", 195 pounds at the Shrine Game weigh-in) and has limited starting experience against top competition. But it's hard to ignore his production.

Adams was 6-of-9 for 191 yards and three touchdowns for the West and set himself apart from the other quarterbacks in action. 

As Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports noted, Adams just makes plays:

Vernon Adams putting on a show. Again. Has as many incompletions as TD passes 6-9, 191 yards 3 TDs. He's very small BUT..damn he makes plays

— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) January 23, 2016

It's worth noting however, Adams' performance—while in line with what he showed at Oregon this season—didn't always show up on the practice field this week.

Chris Kouffman of Optimum Scouting provided this observation during the first two days of practice: "There are times [Adams] looks as if he does not belong."

In his latest scouting notebook, Bleacher Report's Matt Miller also passed along a quote from a scout who believes Adams "won't be in the NFL in two years." However, Miller believes he's "worth a late-round flier."

Because of his size, there are concerns about Adams' ability to play quarterback in the NFL. At the very least, his standout performance in the Shrine Game buys him some more time to prove himself. 

Eventually, a move to running back or wide receiver may be necessary, but at least a few teams should give Adams a longer look at quarterback based on this performance. 


Daniel Lasco, RB, California

Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

Daniel Lasco entered this week as a fringe prospect, primarily because of the fact he missed the majority of the season with various injuries. 

After rushing for over 1,000 yards as a junior in 2014, Lasco managed to get on the field for just 65 carries during his senior year. 

Lasco doesn't have elite speed, but his incredibly quick feet make him tough to corral in the open field and allow for him to make defenders miss. 

His explosive ability was on display in the Shrine Game, as Lasco carried the ball six times for 62 yards, including a long run of 42 yards. 

Fox Sports' Charles Davis listed Lasco among his standouts from the game:

Guys that keep showing up for me:Geronimo Allison, WR, IL, Daniel Lasco, RB, Cal, Justin Simmons, S, BC, Cre'Von LeBlanc, CB, FAU....

— Charles Davis (@CFD22) January 23, 2016


Victor Ochi, DE, Stony Brook

Gregory Payan/Associated Press

Victor Ochi, who carried that momentum into the game on Saturday, was one of the stars of the week. 

CBS Sports' Dane Brugler noted Ochi "routinely stood out during Shrine practices" and praised him for his "terrific first-step quickness to fire off the snap."

Eric Galko of Optimum Scouting added, Ochi was among the best players on the field: 

Ochi's one of the 2 or 3 best prospect there. Every reason to expect him to develop too.

— Eric Galko (@OptimumScouting) January 23, 2016

Ochi continued his effectiveness on game day, with an early sack of Western Kentucky quarterback Brandon Doughty. 

Coming from Stony Brook, a program that has never produced an NFL draft selection, Ochi's performance this week was as critical as any prospect in attendance. 

With a dominant display, Ochi proved he was ready for the significant jump in the level of competition, and his stock should rise considerably as a result of his performance.