Best, worst at East-West Shrine Game
Bobby Rainey (right) gave the West a spark. (AP)
The annual East-West Shrine Game kicked off the NFL's pre-draft college all-star games -- the NFLPA Bowl followed later Saturday evening, with the prestigious Senior Bowl set for next Saturday.
The Shrine Game doesn't feature the elite-level talent that the Senior Bowl usually lands, but there still were some intriguing names on the field at Tampa Bay's Tropicana Field on Saturday.
Here's a look at who did the most to help his draft stock during the game ... and which players might have hurt their cause:
• B.J. Coleman, QB, Tennessee-Chattanooga: Coleman has a huge arm and good size, and he was the talk of the quarterback position throughout the week. He backed that up Saturday with a 6-for-6 first half. He struggled after rejoining the action in the fourth quarter.
• Brandon Brooks, OG, Miami (Ohio): You'll notice a theme here -- most of the guys who played well Saturday also had big weeks in practice. Brooks fits the bill. He had people talking with his performance during the week, then followed it up with an impressive game. Brooks had multiple plays where he blew open holes by driving his man out of position.
• Kyle Wilber, DE, Wake Forest: He was everywhere, furthering the notion that he might be a real solid 3-4 outside linebacker at the next level. Wilber created havoc in the West backfield throughout the game and capped it all off with a crushing sack of Chandler Harnish in the fourth quarter.
• Chase Ford, TE, Miami: Questions remain about Ford's ability to block at the next level, but he showed off his best attributes early with a 64-yard catch. Ford found a little room up the seam, made a terrific catch in traffic, then picked up an additional 40 yards before being dragged down. With NFL teams salivating over any tight ends with deep and red-zone potential, Ford could climb the charts.
• Devon Wylie, WR, Fresno State: Cut out of the Wes Welker mode, Wylie is a speedy slot receiver who also flashed his abilities in the return game. He definitively juked a defender on one of his two catches, then later turned in a long punt return (though it was called back on a penalty).
• Bobby Rainey, RB, Western Kentucky: Rainey was on his way into the negative column early, as he dropped one screen pass and looked hesitant on another. But he wound up showing off some impressive moves, both as a runner and pass-catcher. He looks like a player who might have a future as a third-down back.
• Shawn Loiseau, LB, Merrimack: You're forgiven if you haven't heard of this small-school star. He's a little reminiscent of 2009 seventh-round pick Zack Follett (who's currently out of the NFL because of a neck injury) -- Loiseau's a high-motor guy that simply makes plays. He shot into the backfield for a tackle for loss in the first half Saturday and consistently wound up around the football.
• Others Who Played Well: Chandler Harnish, QB, Northern Illinois; Tyler Hansen, QB, Colorado; Tauren Poole, RB, Tennessee; Lennon Creer, RB, Louisiana Tech; Thomas Mayo, WR, California-Pennsylvania; Jairus Byrd, WR, Arkansas; Ryan Miller, OT, Colorado; Jabaree Tuani, DL, Navy; DaJohn Harris, DT, USC; Jabaree Tuanai, DL, Navy.
• Dan Persa, QB, Northwestern: Persa didn't see a ton of time, but he didn't do a lot to warrant more action. He badly overthrew a potential touchdown pass and chucked a fourth-down throw out of the end zone to end his lone long drive. Worse yet, he was tracked down from behind by a defensive end on a scramble attempt, then took a sack on a play-action pass despite being well outside the pocket.
• John Brantley, QB, Florida: From a purely physical standpoint, Brantley has a terrific array of abilities. He's yet to translate that to the field on any regular basis, though, and probably exited the week with the worst grades of any of the six QBs present. He hit just one of six passes and had issues with both his throws and his decision-making.
• Matt Reynolds, OL, BYU: This wasn't a great setup for Reynolds, who will have to play guard at the next level but started at tackle for the West. He looked way out of place, too, struggling on several passing plays. Reynolds also picked up a holding flag, which stunted a promising drive.
• Davin Meggett, RB, Maryland: Meggett never put up the big numbers in college that Maryland hoped he would, and it's hard to see any team being too high on him heading into the draft. He picked up just four yards on six carries and showed no real feel for finding running room.
• Rodney McLeod, DB, Virginia: McLeod's one big came early, when he completely whiffed on a tackle attempt against wide receiver B.J. Cunningham, allowing the Michigan State star to waltz into the end zone. Defensive backs were not allowed to play press coverage anywhere but inside their own 5-yard lines, so McLeod had plenty of time and space to come up and make the play.Others Who Struggled: Tyler Shoemaker Matt Daniels Desmond Wynn