East-West Shrine Game 2019: Highlights, Top Performers Who Boosted Draft Stock

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJanuary 20, 2019

East Wide receiver Terry Godwin II (4), of Georgia, and West linebacker Justin Hollins (48), of Oregon, pose with their trophies after being named MVP's of the East-West Shrine football game Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

Saturday's East-West Shrine Game provided NFL draft prospects with the opportunity to shine during live game action.

The one of many college football showcases for draft prospects was won by the West team 21-17 over the East at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Plenty of prospects took advantage of their final in-game action before the NFL preseason, with some standouts dispensing of underrated tags and catching the attention of all 32 teams.

Georgia's Terry Godwin took home the Offensive MVP and Oregon's Justin Hollins won Defensive MVP, but they were just two of the many players who improved their draft stock Saturday.



The West team jumped out to an early advantage behind Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien, who linked up with LSU running back Nick Brossette for the game's first touchdown.

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A pair of Big Ten defenders combined to put West in position for its second score, as Northwestern's Montre Hartage forced a fumble that was recovered by Michigan's Tyree Kinnel.

West continued to make impressive defensive plays in the second half, as McNeese State's BJ Blunt made a diving interception at the start of the third quarter.

North Dakota State's Easton Stick, who is looking to follow in the footsteps of Carson Wentz, picked out Arizona's Shawn Poindexter to open up a 21-point West advantage.

East finally got on the board late in the third quarter, when Purdue's David Blough hit Godwin in the end zone.

Just a few minutes later, Godwin hauled in his second touchdown pass in the same corner of the end zone, and those two scores were good enough to earn him Offensive MVP.

Despite the second-half surge, East came up short by four points, with West extending its winning streak to four games in the showcase.


Players Who Boosted Draft Stock

Terry Godwin, WR, Georgia

Any time you win Offensive MVP at a college showcase game, you're doing something right.

Godwin helped his draft stock by catching a pair of second-half touchdowns and bringing East back into the contest.

According to Rotoworld's Josh Norris, Godwin was the best receiver during Shrine Game practice, and he couldn't be covered.

Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

That's an excellent sign for Godwin, who needs to put in work in front of NFL personnel following a senior season in which he caught 22 passes for 373 yards.

Godwin's low totals occurred because of the wealth of talent in the Georgia program, but if the senior shows he's capable of increasing his production in the NFL, he could be a solid value pick in the middle to late rounds.

The Athletic's Dane Brugler recently said that Godwin is one of the biggest sleepers in the draft class, and while some teams may not have him rated highly, a few franchises boosted him up draft boards because of his showing at the Shrine Game.


Justin Hollins, LB, Oregon 

Hollins leaped on to the radar of NFL teams Saturday as well, as he turned in a dominant outing off the edge.

Hollins recorded 10 tackles, three tackles for loss and two sacks, per Oregon football's official Twitter account.

NFL Network's Bucky Brooks noted that NFL scouts and coaches couldn't stop talking about Hollins' potential as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme.

While he impressed at linebacker in the Shrine Game, Hollins might turn himself into a pass-rushing defensive end if he continues to get to the quarterback in the manner he did Saturday.

In his senior season at Oregon, Hollins recorded 6.5 sacks and five forced fumbles, and after Saturday's performance, those numbers should have teams in need of pass-rushers salivating.

Hollins might not break through the defensive depth in the draft class to warrant a first-round selection, but he's a player to keep an eye on during the second and third days of the draft.


BJ Blunt, LB, McNeese State

Blunt's performance at the Shrine Game was exactly what you want to see from a player out of a smaller school.

Since there weren't a ton of scouts at McNeese State games this season, Blunt needs to impress scouts and coaches with every opportunity he receives.

The linebacker will have wowed NFL personnel throughout the week, and he capped off the strong showing in Florida with a diving interception.

Blunt was flying around the field on defense and special teams, and it's that ability that stood out to Draft Network's Jon Ledyard, who believes the effort in every aspect of the game could get Blunt a spot on a 53-man roster.

If he continues to impress ahead of April's draft, Blunt is going to end up as a solid value pick who could help a team fill out the back end of its roster.


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.