As college all-star games go the East-West Shrine Game isn’t quite as prestigious as its big brother, the Senior Bowl. That doesn’t mean you won’t find some good football players there.
It is an all-star game after all, one devoted largely to showcasing prospects projected to go in the middle or late rounds of the NFL Draft, and it has produced a few gems.
Redskins corner Josh Norman, Falcons corner Brian Pool and Steelers nose tackle Javon Hargrave are recent Shrine Game alums. So, too, are Buccaneers safeties Keith Tandy and Bradley McDougald and punter Bryan Anger.
Clearly there is talent to be discovered at the Shrine Game and the advantage the Bucs have is that the game and all the practices are held in their own back yard in St. Petersburg.
That allows the Bucs to send not just a team of scouts, but position coaches, coordinators, even head coach Dirk Koetter and general manager Jason Licht, to the workouts.
With that in mind, here’s a quick look at five players the Bucs might find intriguing as those Shrine Game workouts begin and the Bucs begin working in earnest toward developing their draft board for 2017 draft.
Elijah McGuire, RB, Louisiana LaFayette
The Bucs are still high on Charles Sims and well they should be. He’s proven during his three years in the league to be a very productive third-down back. He’s also proven to be a bit brittle. McGuire is a lot like Sims in that he’s an exceptional pass catcher who can also churn up good yardage as a runner. A four-year starter, he ran for more than 1,000-yards in each of his last three college seasons.
Steven Taylor, LB, Houston
When you get to the later rounds of the draft you’re looking mostly for pure athletes who have the ability to help you immediately on special teams. Taylor should be able to do that and more. He’s excelled as a collegian at making big plays as a blitzer, racking up 18.5 sacks and 30.5 tackles for loss the last two years. Playmakers like that are just plain hard to find.
Kenny Golladay, WR, Northern Illinois
The Bucs are on the lookout for a second receiver to pair with top target Mike Evans. It’s speed and the ability to make yards after the catch that they want and need the most, but size and catch radius are still important, especially with quarterback Jameis Winston still in the developmental stages of his career. Golladay has both of the latter two traits and could prove in time to be solid complement to Evans.
Blake Jarwin, TE, Oklahoma State
The Bucs are starting to get a little long in the tooth at tight end, where Brandon Myers will soon turn 32 and Luke Stocker will soon turn 29. The decision to let go of Austin Seferian-Jenkins means the team is once again in need of upgrades at this spot and Jarwin wouldn’t be a bad addition. He’s got tremendous size (6-5, 248), good body control and a skill set that suggests he could eventually develop into a solid pass-catching option at the NFL level.
Tedric Thompson, S, Colorado (shown above)
Scouts have long appreciated Thompson for his ability to fill the box as a physical run defender, but they gained a greater appreciation for him as an overall athlete this past year when he proved himself to be dynamic in coverage. Thompson finished his run with the Buffaloes by earning All Pac-12 honors after breaking up 18 passes and picking off seven more. The Bucs need depth at safety and Thompson could provide that at little or no cost.