East-West Shrine Game: Top 20 Prospects To Watch

Nathaniel UyFeatured ColumnistJanuary 19, 2011

East-West Shrine Game: Top 20 Prospects To Watch

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    The Annual East-West Shrine Game may not have a clear-cut number of NFL draft picks taking part in the festivities, but that doesn't mean there's a shortage of NFL quality talent available to play.

    Here is when the scouts will need to be at their best.  There could be possible gems playing in this game.

    For team's looking to build for their future, here are the top 20 prospects to watch.

20. Korey Lindsey, CB, Southern Illinois

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    Playing for a non-BCS team definitely makes him a lesser-known prospect.

    But Lindsey is a legitimate cornerback.  He shows patience in coverage and has shown a great knowledge of the game.

    Now, he'll need to prove his talents can match up against heavier BCS competition in the Shrine game.

19. Cortez Allen, CB, Citadel

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    At 6'2", he's a tall cornerback with solid defensive skills.

    His tackling is one of his biggest assets as he has finished near the team lead in his last two seasons.

18. Chris Hairston, OT, Clemson

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    At 6'7" and 333 lbs, Hairston is a very big kid.

    He was known as leader for his Syracuse football team. He may not be as quick as some of the other offensive linemen in the draft, but his size makes him a very tough matchup.

17. Jordan Cameron, TE, USC

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    Cameron started his college career as a basketball player with BYU, he redshirted his first season. 

    He ultimately decided to transfer to USC where he saw limited time with the basketball team. Cameron finally dropped basketball for football and got time at wide receiver and tight end. 

    Although he didn't exactly had a breakout year in his senior season (126 yards, one TD), he still possesses the size (6'5", 235 lbs) and athleticism that makes him an intriguing prospect.

16. Graig Cooper, RB, Miami (Fl.)

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    Doug Benc/Getty Images

    Built like a rock, Cooper also has the quickness that makes him a threat running the football.

    However, his problem has been dealing with injuries.  He only carried the ball 35 times his senior season and will need to prove he won't be a liability at the next level.

15. Orie Lemon, LB, Oklahoma State

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    There was a lot of talk about the Cowboys prolific offense this season as they managed to put up a lot of points this season.

    Thus, their defense has been overlooked.

    But a big leader in that defense has been Lemon, and he managed to come back from a serious knee injury to put together a very solid senior year.

14. Alex Linnenkohl, C, Oregon State

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    At 6'2" and 300 lbs, there are more offensive linemen bigger and more athletic than him.

    But Linnenkohl works very hard and has solid mechanics.

13. Jerrod Johnson, QB, Texas A&M

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    Aaron M. Sprecher/Getty Images

    At 6'5" and 245 lbs, Johnson has great size for a quarterback, and he also has the mobility to make plays running the football.

    But after a promising 2009 season, Johnson seemed to regress in his senior season and was even benched for the last five games.

    He'll need to prove he can make better decisions throwing the football in this game, and an NFL team may take a flyer on him with a late draft pick.

12. Brian Rolle, LB, Ohio State

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    Rolle is a great athlete with football in his blood, his cousin is Giants' safety Antrel Rolle. 

    However, the knock on Rolle is his size.

    At 5'11" and 218 lbs, he may be a little too short to play linebacker at the next level.

    If he wants a chance to improve his draft stock, Rolle needs to have a big day in the Shrine game.

11. Cecil Shorts III, WR, Mt. Union

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    Despite playing for little-known Mount Union, Shorts is an intriguing prospect because of his all-purpose play in college.

    He racked up three straight seasons with over 1,000 receiving yards and has also successfuly run the football.

    Shorts has also returned punts and kicks during his college career and has the speed and quickness to run one all the way back for a score.

10. David Carter, DT, UCLA

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    He's a big kid 6'5" and 300 lbs with the quickness that makes him a very tough guy to block.

    Carter posted a career high 41 total tackles and four sacks in his senior season.

    His size and strength helps him clog running lanes and become a pest in the backfield.

9. Michael Mohamed, LB, Cal

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    As a sophomore, he was already being called one of the most athletic players on the Cal football team.

    Mohamed has been the heart of the Bears defense over the last three years.  He has great size 6'3", 245 lbs and is a well balanced linebacker that can help stuff the running game and also has the versatility to drop back in coverage to defend against the pass.

8. Cliff Matthews, DE, South Carolina

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Matthews played defensive end for Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks in a very tough and competitive SEC.

    That alone should help his value go up.  He is tall and very athletic, but he'll need to work on his consistency as a pro.

7. Armon Binns, WR, Cincinnati

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    The numbers are there for the 6'3", 204-pound Binns.

    During his senior season, he caught 75 passes for 1,101 yards and 10 touchdowns.

    Although Binns played in a very weak Big East conference last season, many teams will be on the market for a receiver with his size and numbers.

6. Joseph Barksdale, OT, LSU

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    Barksdale came into LSU as a five-star recruit on the defensive side.

    But, there was an opportunity for him to get more playing time on the offensive line, so he made the switch.

    He's got excellent speed for someone his size and could be a very intriguing pick for NFL teams.

5. Dontay Moch, LB, Nevada

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    Speed.  That's Moch's greatest asset.

    He's rumored to have been clocked doing the 40 at 4.20 seconds.

    That alone makes scouts giddy over his NFL potential, but he's also been shaky dropping back in coverage and pass rushing.

    Moch's strength is in his run defense.

4. Jeffrey Maehl, WR, Oregon

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    Maehl was the starting receiver for Oregon, the nation's most prolific offense.

    He is a smart player that makes good decisions and has the ability to make tough catches.

    The knock on him is his speed and athleticism.

3. Tyrod Taylor, QB, Virginia Tech

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    Taylor was a five-star recruit as a high schooler, and he's gone on to win the ACC Player of the Year Award in his senior season.

    He's a mobile quarterback with a decent passing arm, however, his size (6'1", 215 lbs) remains a big question mark for pro scouts.

    Taylor's passing numbers have improved each and every season, and he also managed to run for over 100 yards twice this season.

2. Pat Devlin, QB, Delaware

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    He has the size, the arm and the athleticism (6'4", 222 lbs) that makes him a very interesting draft prospect.  Devlin even led his team to the NCAA Division I football championship game.

    But he did play against Div I-AA competition.

    Devlin will need to show he can match up with stronger and bigger competition in order to improve his stock.

1. Marvin Austin, DE, North Carolina

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    Despite not being able to play a single game this season, Austin has shown flashes of brilliance in his three years at North Carolina.

    Austin has the size and athleticism (6'3" and 310 lbs)  that could make him an early first-round draft pick.  He's got the speed and quickness to create havoc on the defensive line.

    But he'll need to show scouts he will not be trouble off-the-field like this past season.