This Saturday, January 19th The 88th annual East/West Shrine Game will be held at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg Florida. This game will essentially showcase some of the “best” talent from all over the country.
It’s no secret that the Jets, who are in the middle of a search for a new GM, will probably be looking to turn the roster upside down and inside out as much as possible to get things moving in a better direction. That means new players will certainly be on the team in some shape, form or fashion next season and there’s no better place to start looking for great/hungry talent than the college ranks and this weekend’s East/West Shrine Game is a perfect place to scout some hungry players with a lot to prove.
Here are at least 5 players Jets fans/Jets management should be paying close attention to this weekend…..
Christine Michael, RB Texas A&M
At any other school playing with any other QB, Christine Michael’s talents would’ve stood out a bit more but Michael had the unfortunate or fortunate (depending on how you look at it) responsibility of playing college football with one Johnny Manziel as his QB (Manziel actually had more carries than Michael).
Michael is a special talent with excellent worth ethic and conditioning, he is a quick and powerful runner who gets good yards after contact and in the age of RB back committee approach in the league, Michael is a sleeper that would be a wonderful addition to a NFL backfield.
Zac Stacy, RB Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt’s RB Zac Stacy is another sleeper RB that can do a lot for his draft stock this weekend with a great showing in the East/West Shrine Game. Stacy ran for 1,141 yards (5.5 average) and 10 touchdowns this past season at Vanderbilt and became Vanderbilt’s all-time leading rusher in the process. Stacy has mediocre top speed, but he seems to reach top speed pretty quickly, which helps him as an inside runner. He isn’t really shifty, but his solid change of direction skills combined with his fantastic vision makes him very dangerous when reversing his field and on halfback cutbacks. Like Michael, Stacy would immediately compliment a backfield tremendously.
Arizona QB Matt Scott is a dual threat QB that NFL teams will be looking to see if he has the intangibles to follow in the footsteps of some of the dual-threat QBs in the NFL this past season.
Matt Scott, QB Arizona
The NFL is a copy cat league and Arizona QB Matt Scott will certainly find a home in the NFL because of that. Gone are the days of simply scouting for wildcat players. NFL QBs like Russell Wilson, Cam Newton, RG3 and Collin Kaepernick are showing a mobile QB need to be able to do more than just run to have a legit and secure spot in the pros and 6’3 198 pound QB Matt Scott has those intangibles. Scott is a very mobile QB, probably possessing the same speed as Russell Wilson but more importantly Scott has the ability to beat you legitimately with his arm. He’s accurate with great arm strength and possesses a nice amount of touch on passes that need it. Scott threw for 3238 yards, 24 TDs and 12 INTs with a 60% comp. The East/West Shrine game will be a great opportunity for Scott to showcase his talents and prove to scouts that he can be that next dual-threat sleeper QB who can make the teams that pass on him pay for it later.
Chris Pantale, TE Boston College
The 6’5 256 TE from Boston College will look to rebound from a foot injury that shorten his 2012 season. Pantale certainly flashed before injuring himself. Pantale isn’t a household name, but he might be the most talented tight end in the ACC as he’s a legitimate pass catching TE and has the size to be a force in the blocking area as well. Pantale needs to prove to scouts this weekend that he’s capable of catching and blocking and that his injury is completely healed. If he can do that I believe without a doubt some team will grab them one of the sleepers in the draft. If the Jets are smart they are paying close attention to him considering TE Dustin Keller could very well be on his way out.
Dan Buckner, WR Arizona
The 6’4 218 pound WR out of Arizona is a wonderful prospect that can and should climb the draft boards after the dust settles by April. Buckner was an excellent target for the aforementioned Matt Scott. Buckner possesses a big frame and long arms. He as excellent strength for the position when he extends his arms good leaping ability and strength when fighting for a jump ball. Buckner showed that he has the lower body strength to run through arm tackles along with good strength to snare the ball in traffic. He also has proved that he can absorb contact and keep control of the ball. He lacks elite speed and burst but with a solid outing on Saturday, can prove to scouts that he can be an asset to some NFL team’s WR corp.