The East-West Shrine games often get overlooked as an evaluation opportunity by fans. It is overshadowed by the Senior Bowl that brings in the top talent from around the country, but the Shrine game does have a nice track record of pumping out some talented players. Could this year have a Dak Prescott or Cooper Kupp? Here are the top prospects from the East and the West.
- J.T. Barrett (QB), Ohio State
Depending on what happens with whether AJ McCarron is listed as an unrestricted free agent or a restricted free agent will have an impact on whether the Bengals are in the market for a young backup quarterback again. Barrett could be there on day 3 for the Bengals to snatch up and fill that same role that McCarron did for them. Still Barrett needs to prove he can be a consistent enough quarterback to deserve a spot in the NFL.
- Riley Ferguson (QB), Memphis
Similar to Barrett, Ferguson could fill the requirements of being a back up for the Bengals. He will likely be around during day three. Ferguson was a very productive quarterback at Memphis, and he really got a chance to show off his arm strength. Still, he needs sometime to learn the game and progression before he can be thrown out into the action.
- Brian Allen (C), Michigan State
Allen anchored a very young Michigan State offensive line. He is a very solid player, but his best attribute may be how smart he is. He was often refered to as the “Academic Heisman.” He has also shown the ability to play guard as well as center, which would be a good depth addition for the Bengals who may be losing Russell Bodine in free agency this offseason.
- KC McDermott (OT), Miami
McDermott played guard and tackle at Miami, and while he was a solid player there were clearly issues. He strggled helping to protect the passer consistently, and he especially struggled against talented pass rushers. He will have a chance to shine at the Senior Bowl against the best of the best.
- DaeSean Hamilton (WR), Penn State
Hamilton really ended his career on a high not with a two touchdown performance in the Fiesta Bowl. While he doesn’t blow you away with his physical abilities, he showed he could be a reliable receiver through out his senior year. Right now he is projected to be a third day pick, and the Bengals could use some help at that position if they let Brandon LaFell walk in free agency.
- Cody O’Connell (OG), Washington State
O’Connell got labeled as “The Continent” for his size. At 6’9 354 pounds he is easily one of the biggest linemen in the draft. The size could be working against him though as big linemen like him have often struggled in the NFL, but he still could be developed into a quality linemen with the help of Frank Pollack.
- Zachary Crabtree (OT), Oklahoma State
Crabtree is a big man at 6’7 310 pounds, but the biggest knock on him is he ability to run block. He showed he could be a solid tackle in college, but he will need to work on building his strength to make it in the NFL. Crabtree could be hearing his name late on day two or even on day three. Either way, for a team like the Bengals who should be thinking about taking multiple offensive linemen, he could be a potential pick later in the draft.
- Nic Shimonek (QB), Texas Tech
Shimonek was Patrick Mahomes replacement at Texas Tech, and he has a very solid year completing 67 percent of his passes for 33 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He didn’t face any real defensive threats though, but he could easily develop into someone who could be a back up in the NFL.
- Jake Wieneke (WR), South Dakota State
Wienke is a very talented possession receiver who has a nose for the endzone. He scored 16 touchdowns in his final season, which tied his school record that he made earlier in his career. He could develop into the sure handed target that Andy Dalton has been missing on the outside since Marvin Jones Jr. left in free agency.
- Phillip Lindsay (RB), Colorado
Lindsay is a very small back at 5’8 190 pounds, but he more than makes up for it in speed. Lindsay could become a mismatch in the passing game at the next level for whatever team takes a late flyer on him. Even though the Bengals brought in Brian Hill, they could always stash Lindsay on the practice squad in case Giovani Bernard goes down.