Who stood out at the East West Shrine game?

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For this article I ignored the potential draft position of the players and rated their performance on the field on game day. Let me say up front that I do not agree with the “experts” that watch the practices and leave on game day. In my years of coaching, I have seen a lot of guys that looked like Tarzan in practice but when the pressure was on in a game they played like Jane.

Blair White WR Michigan State 14 points (4th round)

Blair gets open, has very good hands, and can adjust to bad balls (because he has had so much experience with bad QBs). He was a 4th or 5th projection before the EW game but with a very solid game he has moved into the 4th. The one question about him is speed. He is projected to run a 4.52. At 6-1 200 lbs, that is just OK. If he gets under 4.5 he could get into the 3rd.

Rahim Alem DE Louisiana State 13 pts (3rd)

Alem is 6-3 and 262. That is too light for a starting DE in the pros. He doesn’t really look like he can put on another 30 pounds and keep his speed. He is expected to run a 4.7 40 and depends on that speed to be effective. He could be a pass rush specialist at the next level. He had 2 hurries and caused an interception in the game. He needs work to develop something other than a one move outside rush.

Freddie Barnes WR Bowling Green State 13 pts (5th)

Barnes is one of my favorite value picks. He is only 6′ and 206 and runs a slow 4.58. But he is the prototype slot receiver. Ask Tom Brady how valuable WR Welker is to his offense! Barnes is a high motor guy that will block for the run, get open on short routes, catch the ball in a crowd and will be a pain to any D trying to cover him. He was one of the few weapons at BG and still drove Ds nuts.

James Ruffin DE Northern Iowa 13 pts (5th)

Ruffin is another too light DE. But at 6-4 he has the ability to add bulk and be a starting DE. He played really well and got a hurry and a sack. He also caused a penalty and got a couple of other pass rushes. He is not good at anchoring against the run but more bulk will help. He could be a value pick in the 5th and could go higher if he puts on some good weight and still runs a 4.75-4.8 40.

O’Brien Schofield OB Wisconsin 10 pts (3rd prior to injury)

Schofield reportedly tore his ACL which is a real shame. He had never played LB until the EW game but picked up the position very quickly. He got an interception, had the speed to get wide to stretch out the run, and covered receivers well. Given the injury, he will fall to the 7th round or may not be drafted. He will be an outstanding value for someone but not until 2011.

Andrew Quarless TE Penn State 9pts (6th)

This is a very deep TE draft. As a result, Quarless may drop to the 6th. He is a decent blocker but a good receiver. He gets open, and had 3 nice catches in the game including a TD. He is 6-5 248 and should be able to run a 4.7 40. He will be a nice 2nd TE and does well on special teams.

Doug Worthington DT Ohio State 9pts (7th)

Worthington was a mainstay of the Buckeye D. He had a solid EW game as well. He was doubled a number of times, got half a sack in my grading, and was solid in rushing the passer. He is decent against the run but at 275 could add some weight to get better.

Lindsey Witten DE Connecticut 8pts (4th)

Witten was one of the higher rated players at the EW game. But he is another of the underweight DEs in college. At 264 he needs weight to be a potential starter. But he uses his speed (4.7) to get to the QB. He may not be able to add the weight and keep the speed. At 6-4 he could be a LB conversion as well.

Jamar Wall CB Texas Tech 8pts (5th)

Wall will give you a great play then screw up badly. He scored 14 points with 3 excellent pass breakups but lost points with bad coverage and a penalty. At 5-10 with 4.5 speed, he is going to have to improve his coverage skills to make a team. He will contribute on special teams but will be a risk to draft even in the 5th round.

Reggie Carter IB UCLA 8pts (5th/6th)

Carter is a high motor guy with good instincts and the ability to stop the run. At 243 he will likely end up outside and should be OK there if he runs the 4.7 that he is expected to do at the Combine. He covers receivers fairly well and can contribute on special teams.

Alric Arnett WR West Virginia 8pts (6th)

Drafting a WR from a running team is always a little risky. But Arnett may be the exception. He has decent speed (4.49) good hands and can catch the bad pass. The question is can he get open regularly? He looked good in the game.

Greg Hardy DE Mississippi 8pts (1st or 2nd)

Hardy led the SEC in sacks and came into the game with a low 1st early 2nd round evaluation. I was not that impressed in this game. He played a lot better against Florida and Georgia. He got a sack, and had 2 other nice plays but allowed himself to get caught up in the wash too often against the run. He is an outstanding athlete but didn’t make enough plays in the game. He is going to have to add some weight to be a regular. But that could hurt his speed. At an expected 4.58 in the 40, he need his speed. He too may be a LB conversion prospect but taking a conversion that high is a huge risk.

Stevenson Sylvester OB Utah 8pts (FA)

Sylvester really popped early then disappeared. He attacks the run with great instincts, but he is too small and too slow but showed a great motor early. I have not yet decided how I feel about him but I will let you know when I get deeper into player evaluation.

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That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio http://www.sportstalkcleveland.com/ Monday morning at 11. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

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Analysis: The Cavs take 2 steps up and 1 step back.

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The Cavs took 2 steps up with the trade for C Shaquille O’Neal. Most of the experts are saying that Shaq won’t impact the Cavs that much. That is both true and false. But then they threw away their 1st round pick by drafting Christian Eyenga of the Congo via Spain. One step WAY back.

False: The thing that Shaq gives the Cavs is an inside scorer. Shaq is also a better passer than almost any other C in the league. When the Cavs get the ball inside and the D begins to collapse on him, he can pass to the perimeter for a 3 point shot. That will work if anyone other than LeBron James is capable of hitting a 3 in the playoffs. Mo Williams was brought in to be the other outside scorer and take some pressure off LeBron. That worked well in the regular season and the first two rounds of the playoffs. However, in the series against Orlando, Mo became one of the statues standing watching LeBron take on the entire Magic team. Add to that the fact that Mo couldn’t have hit the Mississippi River from the middle of a bridge and the Cavs get blown out of the playoffs.

The older C Zydrunas Ilgauskas gets the farther away from the basket he seems to play. Over the last couple of years, no one doubled Z. And most of his points have come from 10 feet and out. He has not been an inside scoring force that LeBron needs. He has never been physical. Given the ability of Shaq to catch the ball and score inside, he is a major improvement in the middle over Z.

True: The addition of Shaq does nothing to help pick and roll D which was half the reason that the Cavs lost to the Magic. The Cavs needed the addition of one more outside shooting threat that can also play D against the opponent PF or SF with some quickness. Don’t even think that Cleveland can play Z at the PF against teams like the Magic. Forward Richard Jefferson that was traded to San Antonio from Milwaukee is EXACTLY the kind of player that could have made the Cavs much more effective against the Magic. He also would have helped against the Celtics. By getting Jefferson, the Spurs can challenge the Lakers in the west.

That brings us to the draft. ESPN NFL draft guru Mel Kiper said of a team during one draft “They clearly don’t understand what the draft is all about.” He was right then and it applies to the Cavs’ 2009 NBA draft as well. Eyenga is supposed to be very athletic. Ok, that’s nice. But any prospect that has a highlight tape that looks like it was taken by a $9 cell phone is not worth a 1st round pick—even the 30th pick. I admit I had never heard of Eyenga. I have a list of 150 players that I have seen and Eyenga is not on that list. He was also not on the lists of any website I have been able to find.

The point that Kiper was making is that having a good draft is a product of getting value with each pick. Do the Cavs really think that Eyenga wasn’t going to be there at 47, their other pick in the draft? He would have been there in September of 09 as an undrafted and unknown FA. With that 30th pick, the Cavs could have gotten DeJuan Blair (PF Pittsburgh 16th on my ranking) who is a good defender and rebounder and can score a little. The Spurs will work Blair into the rotation immediately and he will develop into a starter down the line. They could have gotten Sam Young (SF Pittsburgh) or Dante Cunningham (F Villanova). Even Richie Cunningham would have been a better pick. He played for his high school team on Happy Days didn’t he?

I did like the pick of Danny Green (SF North Carolina). He is as ready to contribute as anyone picked around him (47 overall).

So what do the Cavs do now? Get into the Hedo Turkoglu (F FA from Orlando) sweepstakes. Turk could be the guy they need to fill that other F position opposite LeBron. Turk as I predicted has opted out of his Magic contract. The Cavs need to spend the money now to get Turk and pay the luxury tax. If they fail to win it all in 09-10, they will lose LeBron and 90% of the value of the franchise.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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