The 2019 East-West Shrine Game will be played Saturday afternoon and below are just a few draft hopefuls that fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers might want to pay close attention to. We’ll have a game thread posted later today for those of you would like to discuss the annual all-star game. The game starts at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday and can be watched on the NFL Network. The game is being played again at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla.
WR KeeSean Johnson (Fresno State) 6011 – 204 – (West No. 2) – From a stats perspective, only, Johnson, certainly has the credentials needed to play in Saturday’s East-West Shrine game. In his 53 college games played in over a span of five seasons, Johnson registered 275 receptions for 3463 yards and 24 touchdowns. He posted a steady increase in production and development throughout his college career and that will also be attractive to NFL teams. All stats aside, Johnson enters the pre-draft process with concerns about his overall athleticism and particularly his speed. He’s sure to hear his name called at some point during this year’s draft and he’ll certainly be a player to keep close tabs on during the annual scouting combine.
CB Tim Harris (Virginia) 6017 – 204 – (East No. 21) – Harris played in parts of six seasons at Virginia due to injuries so he’s probably going to be one of the oldest players in this year’s draft class. In 48 games played in at Virginia he registered 119 total tackles, 4 interceptions, and 18 pass breakups. He’s reportedly had a good week of practices this past week and certainly has the measurables NFL teams look for in cornerbacks. At best, he’s likely to be a early day-three draft selection and he can help secure that by starting his pre selection process off with a good showing in St. Petersburg and following that up with an impressive scouting combine performance.
TE Kendall Blanton (Missouri) 6062 – 265 – (West – No. 11) – Blanton won’t be hard to spot at 6’6″, 265-pounds during this college all-star game. Build makes him look more like a wide receiver than a tight end but was asked to line up all over the place at Missouri and that includes a lot of snaps on the end of the line of scrimmage. Blanton needs a lot of work as a blocker and as a route runner but he did catch 44 passes for 476 yards and 6 touchdowns during his college career that included him playing in 43 games. He’s a player that will be interesting to watch test at the combine and appears headed toward being a later round selection in this year’s draft. He has NFL bloodline as his father played several season in the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs as a backup linebacker.
EDGE Justin Hollins (Oregon) 6052 – 245 (West – No. 48) – At 6’5″, 245-pounds, Hollins is another draft hopeful that will play Saturday in St. Petersburg that should ny be hard to spot. After originally playing as a 4-3 defensive end, Hollins made the move to 3-4 outside linebacker once a new defensive coordinator arrived and changed schemes in 2017. 10 of Hollins’ 13 career college sacks at Oregon came with him playing as a 3-4 outside linebacker as did both of his interceptions. In 52 games he registered 184 total tackles, 13 sacks, 9 pass breakups, 2 interceptions, and 8 forced fumbles. Due to his size and build, Hollins is likely to be viewed more as 3-4 outside linebacker at the NFL level unless teams believe he can put on some weight and still function effectively as a base 4-3 defensive end.
DT – Chris Slayton (Syracuse) 6035 – 310 (East – No. 95) – Slayton might be the best interior defensive lineman at this year’s East-West Shrine game and he certainly projects as a one-gap penetrating defensive tackle at the NFL level. In 49 career games at Syracuse, Slayton registered 107 total tackles of which 32.5 resulted in lost yardage. He also had 9.5 sacks, 5 forced fumbles and 3 defensed passes. He looks like he can play anywhere on the defensive line inside the offensive tackles and that includes playing directly over the center as a 0 or 1 technique defender.
T/G Joshua Miles (Morgan State) 6052 – 300 (East – No. 66) – There’s been enough buzz about small-school offensive lineman Joshua Miles this past week that he’s probably a player worth watching closely during Saturday’s game. While he seemingly played quite a bit of left tackle at Morgan State, Miles projects as a guard at the NFL level and thus that’s likely where we’ll see him play on Saturday. Many believe he’ll wind up being a day-three section with a good showing on Saturday followed up by another nice showing at the combine, if he’s invited to attend.