There are many events that lead up to the NFL draft each year that give hopeful draftees a chance to boost their stock for NFL executives. From college football all-star games to pro days; from the NFL Combine to team visits and private workouts, 2017’s “draft season” will be officially underway with the kickoff of Saturday’s East-West Shrine Game.
The East-West Shrine Game was college football’s first all-star game, created in 1925 to support Shriners Hospitals for Children. Today, it is a chance for lesser-known players and underclassmen (who are not eligible for the Senior Bowl) to showcase their abilities and prove they can compete against a high level of competition.
You can see the full team rosters HERE. A quick skim down the list reveals the broad range of schools that will be represented, including a player each from Alabama and Clemson. The East and West teams have spent the week practicing while scouts and members of the media took notes.
Tennessee Titans General Manager Jon Robinson is among a handful of executives who attended the practice sessions, a group which includes Washington’s GM Scot McCloughan, New York Giants VP of Player Evaluation Marc Ross, Oakland Raiders Director of Player Personnel Joey Clinkscales, and Atlanta Falcons Assistant GM Scott Pioli, according to Draft Analyst writer Tony Pauline.
In 2016, Jon Robinson drafted three players who competed in the Shrine Game: wide receiver Tajae Sharpe (5th round), cornerback LeShaun Sims (5th round), and linebacker Aaron Wallace (7th round).
This year, Titans cornerbacks coach DeShea Townsend will be the defensive backs coach for the West squad under defensive coordinator Larry Foote (a former teammate of Townsend’s). This is particularly interesting considering the Titans have a huge need at cornerback.
The Titans clearly share many connections to the Shrine Game. It may play an important role in Jon Robinson’s evaluation in preparation for April’s main event.
Date: Saturday, January 21, 2017
Time: 3 p.m. EST
Location: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, FL
TV: NFL Network
Online: Streaming with NFL Game Pass subscription
The Official Promo for the 2017 East-West Shrine Game: