If you missed Part I of my East-West Shrine Game preview, you can take a look at the East offense right here. Part II of the preview focuses on the men of the East team's defense...
DL: Karter Schult (Northern Iowa), Ejuan Price (Pitt), DeAngelo Brown (Louisville)
If Schult isn't the top FCS prospect in attendance, he's at least the most productive. He broke his own school record with 24 tackles for loss this season, and he's recorded 32 sacks over the past two years. I had a chance to see Schult early in the season against Montana, and he was in the backfield all day, with 5.5 tackles for loss, a pair of sacks and a forced fumble. He's a big 270-pound dude, and is expected to measure in around 6'3" tall. This game is a great chance for him to compete against some FBS offensive linemen and try to solidify himself as a mid-Day Three pick.
Draftniks who like Price have been comparing him to Elvis Dumervil for over a year, and there's no denying that Price has been a highly productive pass rusher. The sixth-year Pitt senior has battled injuries throughout his career, but over the past two seasons he's totaled 24.5 sacks among 42.5 tackles for loss, and he’s forced four fumbles. Price has some explosiveness in his lower body and some pop in his hands, but he may not even measure 6' tall at the weigh-ins. It's important to recognize that NFL pass rushers this size are extreme outliers. I'm not sure what Price can do to improve his stock in Tampa. I expect him to be available in the 5th-7th rounds this spring.
Brown is another squatty lineman, listed at 6'1" 310. He's coming off his best season, having logged 14 tackles for loss in 13 games, and he's also a member of Bruce Feldman's 2016 "freaks" list. Brown reportedly carries only 18% body fat on his frame, can bench press 315 pounds 21 times, and can squat 600 pounds.
Other East DL: Bryan Cox (Florida), Trey Hendrickson (Florida Atlantic), Joey Ivie IV (Florida), Jason Carr (West Georgia), Matthew Godin (Michigan)
LB: Marquel Lee (Wake Forest), Ben Gedeon (Michigan)
Lee is a new player on my radar, so I was surprised to learn that he's recorded double-digit tackles for loss in each of his last three seasons, capping out with a career-high 20 this past year. The three-year starter added 7.5 sacks and three forced fumbles as a senior.
Unlike Lee, Gedeon did not become a full-time player until his senior season, but he made the most of his opportunity with 15.5 tackles for loss and four sacks. An Ohio kid, Gedeon - like his Michigan and East teammate Kyle Kalis - was a highly-touted high school recruit who chose Michigan over Ohio State.
Other East LB: Richie Brown (Mississippi State), Andrew King (Army), Austin Calitro (Villanova), James Onwualo (Notre Dame), Brooks Ellis (Arkansas), Javancy Jones (Jackson State)
CB: Jalen Myrick (Minnesota), Channing Stribling (Michigan)
Myrick is on the short side for a corner, so he's likely ticketed for slot duty or maybe safety. He had five interceptions and 21 pass breakups (11 in 2016) over the last three seasons, and offers added value as a kickoff return man.
Stribling, on the other hand, was only a one-year starter at Michigan, but at 6'2", he's probably the more coveted prospect. Or, at least, he's the one scouts will want to like more. Despite being overshadowed by teammates Jabril Peppes and Jourdan Lewis, Stribling was terrific for most of this past season. He finished the year with four picks and 13 pass breakups, and if he runs well he could creep into the later part of Day Two of the draft.
Other East CB: Jeremy Cutrer (Middle Tennessee), Nate Hairston (Temple), Brad Watson (Wake Forest), Jack Tocho (NC State), Tony Bridges (Ole Miss)
S: Fish Smithson (Kansas), Damarius Travis (Minnesota), Xavier Woods (Louisiana Tech)
Smithson was adopted at the age of 15 by his older brother Shaky (Antoine), a former Utah and NFL receiver. The arrangement got Fish (Anthony) out of a rough Baltimore neighborhood and onto a track of high academic achievement and football success. Originally committed to the Naval Academy, Fish moved on to Kansas, and became a starter for the past two seasons. He finished his senior year with four interceptions, seven pass breakups and two forced fumbles - all career highs.
Minnesota used Travis deep, in the box, and in coverage over the slot. At over 6' tall and 215 pounds, he has the size and versatility NFL teams desire in safety prospect, so he's another player who's likely to rise if he posts a good 40 time. The biggest question mark for Travis is the hamstring injury that kept him off the field for all but one game in 2015, but he did return this season to play 13 games and log 83 tackles, five tackles for loss, two INTs and four pass breakups.
I saw Louisiana Tech play three times this season, and can't say Woods ever stood out to me. But he's been a highly productive player for four seasons, with 14 INTs, 18 pass breakups, 20.5 tackles for loss and six forced fumbles. He's a prospect I'm going to have to go back and take another look at, and I imagine he's going to get a lot of attention from scouts and coaches at the Shrine Game.
Other East S: Jamal Carter Sr. (Miami), Dymonte Thomas (Michigan), Delano Hill (Michigan)