Shrine Game: Players to Watch (Offense)

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /
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Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

The college football post-season All-Star games start this Saturday with the East-West Shrine Game (3 PM EST, NFL Network). It’s a step down from next weekend’s Senior Bowl, but there are still plenty of players involved in this year’s game who will be drafted.

The Shrine game is mostly a showcase for day three draft picks, but there have been plenty of Shrine alums who have gone on to make an impact at the NFL level. Seventy players from last year’s game made an opening day NFL roster this year.

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The Shrine game may not involve as many highly regarded prospects as the Senior Bowl, but there are plenty of players who have gone on to play key roles for NFL teams the last few years. Here is a list of players from the last three Shrine games who became solid NFL players.

NFL (2016): WR Tajae Sharp, G Joe Thuney, DT Javon Hargrave, WR Robbie Anderson, WR Geronimo Allison, LB De’Vontre Campbell, DE Dean Lowry

NFL (2015): FB Aaron Ripkowski, LB Jake Ryan, OG Mark Glowinski, WR Keith Mumphrey, CB Bobby McCain, LB Ben Heeney, DT David Parry, C Greg Mancz

NFL (2014): WR Allen Hurns, QB Jimmy Garoppolo, WR John Brown, WR Quincy Enunwa, LB Preston Brown, TE Crockett Gilmore, CB Andre Hal, DT Kerry Wynn, S Daniel Sorenson, CB Bene Benwikere, C Justin Britt, DT Justin Ellis, OT Terron Armstead, DB Micah Hyde, RB Christine Michael, RB Theo Riddick

The Bears have also added plenty of Shrine Bowl alums the last few years. Here is a list of past and current Bears who participated in the last three Shrine Bowls:

CB Cre’Von LeBlanc, S Deon Bush, DL Bruce Gaston, G Eric Kush, OLB David Bass, WR Cameron Meredith, CB Bryce Callahan, TE MyCole Pruitt, OT Tayo Fabuluje, CB Brock Vereen, OT Charles Leno Jr, CB Rashaad Reynolds, TE Khari Lee

With four day-three draft picks this year, the Bears will most likely add a few players from this year’s Shrine Bowl as well. Here is a list of players to watch who could be good fits for the Bears on day three of the draft:

QB Gunner Kiel, Cincinnati (6’4 | 225 | 4.87) -I’ve been a fan since he was the #1 high school quarterback recruit what seems like ten years ago. After spending time at Indiana, LSU, and Notre Dame, Kiel eventually ended up at Cincinnati and played well enough his first two seasons with the Bearcats that he would have likely been a mid-round pick (50 TDs, 24 INTs) last year.

Injuries and ineffective play cost Kiel his starting job this season, but he still has enough potential to get an invite to the Shrine Game. Here is my scouting report on Kiel last year.

Who knows what the Bears are going to do at quarterback? Kiel won’t be their first choice as a starter and probably not even their fourth choice, but Kiel has ideal physical traits for an NFL quarterback and he’s worth a flyer to see if he ever figures out the mental aspect of the position.