East-West Shrine Game: 7 prospects to watch for Detroit Lions
The Detroit Lions will be coaching the Senior Bowl next week, a prime scouting opportunity for the team. But before that event, the league's first prospect all-star contest, the East-West Shrine Game, is being held Saturday in St. Petersburg, Fla.
The Shrine Game is chock-full of mid- and late-round prospects. Last year, the Lions brought in a number of participants from the game, including sixth-round draft pick Ty Johnson, as well as quarterback David Blough and cornerback Michael Jackson, who were plucked off other rosters after training camp.
Here are seven players set to compete this year who could interest the Lions.
► Calvin Throckmorton, OL, Oregon
One of the more versatile offensive linemen in this draft, Throckmorton started at left tackle, right tackle, guard and center for the Ducks. His frame, particularly his short arms, will keep him inside at the next level, where his power figures to play well.
There are questions about Throckmorton's athleticism, whether it's picking up stunts in pass protection or pulling to get ahead of the back on a run. The Shrine game is a good chance to quell some of those concerns.
► Alex Highsmith, Edge, Charlotte
Highsmith's production exploded during his senior season. After tallying 6.0 sacks his first three years, he dropped opposing passers behind the line 15 times in 2019. With arms a shade longer than 33 inches, he doesn't have ideal length to be a three-down player, but with good burst and hand usage off the edge, he could contribute early as a situational pass rusher.
► Jack Driscoll, OT, Auburn
Driscoll played two seasons at UMass before transferring as an early graduate and finishing out his college career in the SEC. A two-year starter at right tackle for the Tigers, he was consistently solid in pass protection, despite less-than-ideal length (6-5, 295). There's some potential for versatility here, as well, with experience playing inside during the early stages of his college career.
► John Hightower, WR, Boise State
A junior college transfer, Hightower quickly proved to be a playmaker for the Broncos, tallying eight touchdowns on 39 touches his first season. He built on that in 2019, catching 51 passes for 943 yards (18.5 yards per catch) and eight scores, adding a ninth as a kick returner.
Hightower is on the lean side at 185 pounds, and he doesn't possess great length, but he has shown the ability to blow by defenders, as well as make tacklers miss in the open field.
► Raequan Williams, DT, Michigan State
An elite run-stuffing defensive tackle, the 6-foot-4, 287-pound Williams recorded 5.0 sacks as a senior and could bolster his stock even more if he can show greater pass-rush ability outside the confines of Michigan State's defensive system.
► Dante Olson, LB, Montana
A tackling machine, the small-school standout was in on 179 stops as a senior, adding 3.5 sacks, a forced fumble and an interception to his stat line. Olson's work ethic showed up in the team honors he received while at Montana, earning scout team player of the year his redshirt season and special teams player of the year in 2017. Special teams will be his ticket to immediate playing time in the pros.
► Luqman Barcoo, CB, San Diego State
A defensive back might luck into an interception or two during a season, but nine? That's exceeds the parameters of good fortune. Barcoo tied for the Division I lead in picks, while breaking up another 16 throws. The big knock is going to be his size. He weighed in at 172 pounds at the event. But there's room to pack some pounds on to his 6-foot frame.
East-West Shrine Game
Kickoff: Saturday, 3 p.m., Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Fla.
TV: NFL Network
Michigan: DL Mike Danna, LB Jordan Glasgow, CB Lavert Hill, G Michael Onwenu, OT Jon Runyan.
Michigan State: S David Dowell, OL Tyler Higby, DT Raequan Williams.
Western Michigan: RB Levante Bellamy, C Luke Juriga, TE Giovanni Ricci.