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Defense and Running Game Shine at East-West Shrine Bowl

The East All-Stars won in a lopsided game where their defense and running game carried to the team to victory over the West, 25-8.

East running back Delone Carter was selected as the offensive MVP in the game as he rushed 11 times for 54 yards and a touchdown. The West All-Stars were limited to just 126 total yards of offense, including just 14 rushing yards. They also turned the ball over four times (three fumbles, one INT).

The East’s Marvin Parker, out of Richmond University, won defensive MVP with two sacks and a forced fumble.

With an early lead, East head coach Dan Reeves was content to run the ball and dominate time of possession. They ran the ball 43 times and possessed the ball for 37:25, nearly two-thirds of the game.

No player was able to accumulate big stats in this game as the rotation called for most players to play a little more than one quarter.

DRAFT STOCK IMPROVED

TE Greg Smith, Texas
Smith led the East with four receptions for 77 yards, including one huge 35-yard reception. Since the East was content to play small ball, the underneath routes were the safe decision. At 6-4 and 250 pounds, Smith is a big target more widely known as a blocking prospect. He had a very quiet 2010 season at Texas but this game put his talents on display. Smith will likely go undrafted but he may have played his way onto a practice squad on Saturday.

QB Ricky Dobbs, Navy
With the Midshipmen, Dobbs led their potent triple option as quarterback. Dobbs completed five of ten passes for 51 yards as well as 40 yards on just five carries. It’s unlikely that he projects as a quarterback at the next level but Dobbs has a lot of heart. He could fit in any locker room and has enough talent to earn a roster spot. Dobbs is another player who may not get drafted but played well enough to get looks from NFL scouts.

LB Orie Lemon, Oklahoma State
With eight tackles, Lemon made plays for the West squad at the middle linebacker position. Lemon is a bit under the radar but players with a nose for the football on defense always have a shot. He needs to perform well at the combine, particularly in the 40-yard dash but he does possess a good short burst which is key for his position. Lemon projects as an undrafted free agent.

QB Tyrod Taylor, Virginia Tech
Sometimes at the quarterback position, it is what you didn’t do rather than what you did. Taylor very quietly completed four of his five passes for 59 yards. Taylor’s skill set fits nicely into a game-manager role as he is an efficient decision-maker and he showed that. He led both teams in passing yards, completion percentage and yards per attempt. Taylor did look shaky in the pocket as he does seem tempted to scramble at times, but his style of play still worked. He projects as a sixth round pick and his performance justifies that placement.

RB Delone Carter, Syracuse
As offensive MVP, Carter’s draft stock definitely improved. Carter is among the top ten running backs in this draft. He is listed at 5-9 and 226 pounds but he has great speed despite his weight. Carter isn’t afraid of contact either, making one of the few candidates who could potentially be an every-down back in the NFL. Carter projects as a fourth to fifth round pick with the opportunity to improve with this performance and a good show at the combine.

DT Marvin Parker, Richmond
Parker had an excellent game and displayed what might be the most important factor at play in these exhibition games: “want-to”. He played hard with a high motor. Parker’s draft stock has steadily improved over the last 12 months, going from a relative unknown to potential fifth to sixth round selection. Parker played well enough to improve upon that slightly, perhaps as a solid fifth rounder.

DRAFT STOCK DECLINE

OT Joseph Barksdale, LSU
As the marquee offensive tackle on the West squad, Barksdale has to absorb some of the problems that plagued the West’s offense. In what looks to be a thin offensive tackle class, Barksdale had projected as a potential early-round pick but his stock continues to decline. The “on-paper” measurables are there, ranging from his size (6-5, 336) to his school pedigree (LSU), but his performances are underwhelming and it appears he is best suited as a right tackle only. Barksdale projects as a third to fourth-round pick.

QB Scott Tolzien, Wisconsin
Going from Wisconsin’s offensive line to the West All-Stars patchwork line was apparently a bit of a drop-off for Tolzien. He ate up two big, back-to-back sacks early in the game as the West struggled to gain any traction against the East. When Tolzien was sacked the second time, his team gave up the safety. At that point, the game pushed in the East’s favor and never looked back. Tolzien was a seventh-round pick who may have just played his way into a undrafted free agent projection.

QB Pat Devlin, Delaware
Devlin has had a lot of buzz surrounding his name amongst the second tier of quarterback prospects after the big names like Ryan Mallett, Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert. Many analysts projected him to be the next name called at the NFL Draft, but with his Shrine Bowl performance, that may not be the case. Devlin was the lone East quarterback who did not play well, only completing two of seven passes for 22 yards, no touchdowns and one interception. Granted, passing conditions weren’t favorable but as a potential third round quarterback selection in the NFL Draft, he should have performed better.

RB Alex Green, Hawaii
The quickest way to get in the doghouse as a NFL running back is to have ball security issues. Green fumbled away the first play of the game and the West was playing catch up all game because of it. With only 18 yards on eight carries, Green put the West in an early hole and failed to play his way out of trouble. Green projected as an undrafted free agent but even that is in question now.

WR Terrence Toliver, LSU
LSU has put Dwayne Bowe and Brandon LaFell into the league at the wide receiver position and at 6-5 and 210 pounds, Toliver looked to be the next big receiver prospect for LSU. But Toliver was held to zero receptions. He projected as a third round pick in this draft but he may have dropped since it appears his speed isn’t near his listed time.

More 2011 NFL Draft Coverage

Bowl Game React | Mock Drafts | NFL Combine | By Position Rankings | Prospects In-Depth

About The Author

Matt De Lima is the guy behind the guy behind the guy. Born and raised near Los Angeles, CA during simpler times where the Rams and Raiders both played there. Back when Eddie Murphy was funny and people still listened to Whitney Houston's music. A graduate of Virginia Tech (Go Hokies!), he's played fantasy sports for the last 10 years and began writing down his opinions in 2010. You remember that fantasy football league you were in last season, there was that one team that somehow had Aaron Rodgers, Chris Johnson, and Andre Johnson? Matt was that guy. You should listen to him. Follow his exclusive content @ OpenSports.com

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