About the games
The reasons to discuss this topic get to the very core of scouting and understanding what GM’s and scouts do. As Detroit Lions fans, we often feel that we could do a better job without all of the tape, access to prospects and coaches, or seeing the players in person in any way. Many scouts and general managers dismiss events like the combine or pro days.
A common reference is to call workouts in shorts, or not against live competition, the Underwear Olympics. There is not as much contempt for games like the Senior Bowl or Shrine games. Why? Simply put it is a chance to see players out of their college system, against other draft-worthy players, and the rules of these games are usually simplified so that a team cannot hide a player’s shortcomings.
Rules stipulate that offensive and defensive lineman block or get by, one man. Receivers see man coverage to allow scouts to see if cornerbacks, safeties, and linebackers can cover an opposing player. The whole set-up is to get evaluations on individual talent and expose any weak areas if there are any.
Detroit Lions, Shrine Game & notables
The East-West Shrine game benefits the Shriners Hospitals for Children, an organization that provides amazing medical procedures and care to families regardless of a family’s ability to pay. The game has been played since 1925 and is the “longest running college football all-star game in the nation.” “Players must be college seniors and currently eligible to play for their school. All divisions are considered”, their website states.
The Shrine game doesn’t have as many big names (likely high round picks) as the Senior Bowl but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t names to pay attention to. I’ll highlight a couple from each game to add to your watch list. Of particular interest are players at offensive line, wide receiver, tight end, edge defender, and cornerback, although the Lions have enough picks to address depth anywhere.