FAB 3. SR’s Insight On East-West Shrine Game Prospects
Tampa Bay found Canadian tight end Antony Auclair from last year’s East-West Shrine Game, which takes place in the Bucs’ backyard in St. Petersburg, Fla. Will the 2018 all-star game produce another Buccaneer or two in April?
I attended the East-West Shrine practices this week and here are my Bucs-related observations:
• Miami defensive end Chad Thomas was probably the best-looking pass rushing defensive end at the East West Shrine Game. Thomas spoke with the Bucs scouts and looks the part of an NFL defensive end at a chiseled 6-foot-5, 275 pounds. Thomas was a two-year starter for the Hurricanes and record 26 tackles for loss and 10 career sacks, with 23.5 tackles for loss and nine of those sacks coming over the last two years. Thomas looks like he hasn’t reached his ceiling yet, but he hasn’t proven to be anything close to an elite passer yet. Thomas performed so well that he got the call up to play in the Senior Bowl next week and he could wind up in the third round.
• North Carolina State defensive end Kentavius Street had a nice week in St. Pete where he showed a nice mix of power and quickness off the edge. Street played opposite of his roommate, Bradley Chubb, and recorded 3.5 sacks as a senior and nine during his Wolfpack career. When Chubb didn’t play in the bowl game against Arizona State, Street came through with 1.5 sacks in the win. The Bucs spoke with Street during the week and the 6-foot-2, 287-pounder could be a Day 3 target.
• Missouri defensive end Marcell Frazier only played three years for the Tigers, but notched 31 tackles for loss and 17.5 sacks in his career. He recorded 8.5 sacks during the 2016 campaign and saw that number dip to seven last year, but Frazier told me he became a much better run stuffer and increased his tackles for loss from 9.5 in 2016 to 15.5 last year, which was the most in the SEC by a defensive lineman. He interviewed with the Bucs and got a good feeling from it. The 6-foot-5, 261-pound Frazier will likely be drafted somewhere between the third and fifth rounds depending on how he tests at the NFL Scouting Combine and his pro day.
• Central Michigan defensive end Joe Ostman had a sensational week at the East-West Shrine practices and was the fastest and most relentless pass rusher despite being undersized. Ostman had 45.5 career tackles for loss and 26 sacks for the Chippewas, including 19.5 tackles for loss and 13 sacks last year. Ostman has tremendous hands that would allow him to swim over tackles, tight ends and running backs despite being undersized. NFL coaches and scouts, including the Bucs, loved his high motor, maximum effort and pursuit of the ball during the week. He could have a big East-West Shrine Game on Saturday.
• Fordham running back Chase Edmonds was incredibly productive at the FCS level, rushing for 5,862 yards and 67 touchdowns while averaging 6.2 yards per carry. Edmonds didn’t rush for less than 1,600 yards per season and averaged over 20 touchdowns per year during his first three years until injuries struck during his senior campaign, limiting him to 577 yards and five touchdowns and a 4.2 average. Edmonds suffered an ankle sprain on Tuesday, but what he showed in one and a half practices made scouts drool. Although not the biggest back at 5-foot-9, 205 pounds, Edmonds ran with speed, power and great body lean, which caught the Bucs’ eyes. What works in his favor is that he’s an accomplished receiver, catching 86 passes for 905 yards (10.5 avg.) and seven touchdowns in his Rams career. That will help him get drafted on Day 3.
• Michigan State center Brian Allen was probably the best offensive line prospect in attendance this week. Allen is a compact, 6-foot-2, 303 pounds, but plays with great leverage, technique and tenacity. He moves well, which allows him to combo block at the line of scrimmage and then get to the second level and block a linebacker. If the Bucs have any plans to move Ali Marpet from center back to guard and draft a center, Allen, who is viewed as a mid-round pick, could be a target.
• UConn defensive tackle Folorunso Fatukasi is a big, 6-foot-4, 303-pounder that plays with tremendous leverage and pad level for a big man. He played nose tackle and three technique tackle both at UConn and during the East-West Shrine Game. Fatukasi recorded 170 tackles, 21 tackles for loss and 14 sacks for the Huskies, including a career-high 7.5 sacks in 2015. Fatukasi notched four sacks as a senior and displayed great strength, explosion and decent quickness for a big man. He definitely helped himself and is viewed as a mid-round pick, possibly by Tampa Bay, which interviewed him.
• USF defensive tackle Deadrin Senat was a force to be reckoned with in St. Petersburg. At 6-foot, 305 pounds, Senat is shorter than ideal as an NFL nose tackle, but he was by far the best interior defensive lineman at the East-West Shrine and turned down an invitation to the Senior Bowl to replace Michigan defensive tackle Maurice Hurst, who opted out of the game. Instead, Texas’ Poona Ford, who is similarly built at 5-foot-11, 303 pounds, but not as good, will head to Mobile after the East-West Shrine Game. The thick, squatty Senat anchored extremely well against double teams and showed good quickness with his pass rush. He’s likely a Day 3 pick due to his size.
• Kansas State kicker Matthew McCrane had a great week in St. Petersburg. McCrane broke several K-State records held by Martin Gramatica, who was the Bucs’ third-round pick in 1999 and helped Tampa Bay win Super Bowl XXXVII four years later. McCrane has a big leg, and drilled a 55-yard kick to end practice on Tuesday with the majority of the team yelling and screaming in his ear. McCrane, who connected on 86.4 percent of his field goals for the Wildcats could get drafted on Day 3 or could go undrafted. I know general manager Jason Licht got crucified for spending a second-round pick on Roberto Aguayo in 2016, but spending a late draft pick on another kicker like McCrane to challenge Patrick Murray wouldn’t be a bad idea if it was in the sixth or seventh round.
Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: email@example.com
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