Allow me to dust off my draftnik style of writing.
It was great to be back out on the grounds of Shorecrest and St. Pete High’s football fields on Monday to get a closer look at some of the next generation of NFL players who will be coming through via the 2018 NFL Draft. It’s fun spectacle for those in attendance – and even those who are reading and following it from a far.
The East-West Shrine practices give coaches, scouts, general managers, media members and fans a look at just how a prospect handles himself and his talents in totally new environment. Think about it. Most of the players at this All-Star event haven’t felt unfamiliarity like this since they were 17 or 18-year-old kids leaving home and going off to college. Now, they’ve grown into young adults. They become the collegiate players they needed to be to get to this point, and now it’s about showing they can take that to the next level.
Each day PewterReport.com will be out at both the East and West practices to give you video and analytical updates on players from all positions as the week rolls on, all the way up to the game, which is Saturday at 3:00 p.m. at Tropicana Field.
There aren’t too many big name edge players on either roster for the Shrine game this year, but that just means one of these players has the opportunity to be the best in show and leave good thoughts against their competition in the minds of NFL members who are in attendance.
On the day, it seemed that East team pass rusher Chad Thomas from the Miami Hurricanes took an early lead. Thomas, listed at 6-6, 275 pounds, is a big bodied edge player who showed good speed off the edge on Monday. Thomas seemed to also overpower his blockers, and as shown above, did well getting off blocks.
Thomas had 10 sacks and 26 tackles for loss in his career at Miami.
Brian Allen was one of the offensive linemen that we spotlighted in our preview of the East-West Shrine event as a possible Bucs target in the later rounds.
On Monday, Allen looked as comfortable as he would have back in East Lansing at Michigan State, where he was a consistent starter and team captain. Allen controlled the interior line well all day. He had a handful of reps that were very solid, and moved himself well ahead of the rest of the pack as the best center in attendance, if you ask us.
Chase Edmonds was taking reps with what you would consider the “first team” during the first practice of the week for the East team.
Edmonds rushed for 5,682 yards in his four years as a starter at Fordham. He, like Allen, looked very comfortable with the ball in his hands on day one. Edmonds showed good burst through holes in the line and was strong when taking on contact, as you can see at the end of the clip above.
In an interview with Edmonds after his practice, he told PewterReport.com that the Buccaneers have spoken with him already.
Every year there are always those small school players who get invited to all-star events because of their outrageous stats. The point in doing that is to see if they can match the stats to the talent once the competition takes a step up – Trey Hendrickson was the example last year.
Ostman may be the Hendrickson of this year’s group. At Central Michigan, Ostman notched 26 career sacks and 46.5 career tackles for loss. We weren’t sure how he would fare this week, but if Monday was any indication, he’ll do just fine. He was rushing the edge from stand-up and hand-in-the-ground positions. We’ll keep an eye on him as a pass rush target for the Buccaneers – though he is just 6-foot-3, 250 pounds.
Jamerson was one of a few defensive back stands out for the West roster, but he was the one who deserves the shout out today.
The entire defensive back group for the West was all in with their attitude today, in a good way. They were doing what defensive backs love to do with a little trash talk and chirping at the offense, but that turned into encouragement and motivation for one another, too. Jamerson’s interception above was the highlight, but he safety Chucky Williams from Louisville and cornerback Malik Reaves from Villanova also had noteworthy days.
Each day we’ll keep our eyes open after practice to which teams are talking to which prospects and we’ll report back with a list. Now, the important thing to remember is that teams talk to players beyond just what we see after practice. Just because one team didn’t talk to one prospect doesn’t mean they won’t or haven’t already. This is just what we saw.
Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: email@example.com