The 2012 NFL draft is rapidly approaching, and some lesser-known prospects are trying to make a name for themselves in NFL scouting circles by performing well at the 2012 East-West shrine game. Wes Bunting from the National Football Post has been evaluating players at the team practices, and has some interesting notes on local late-round prospects from Illinois, Northern Illinois and Notre Dame.
Illinois wideout A.J. Jenkins made a nice catch plucking the football off his frame early in the day. However, after that he displayed his struggles as a route runner not really setting up his routes and running through his breaks. He also struggled to gain much separation and was inconsistent all day catching the football. Looks like an inside player only in the NFL who needs to be used off the line and asked to run mostly vertical routes.
On day three, quarterback of the Northern Illinois Huskies, Chandler Harnish had a difficult time gripping the ball and throwing clean spirals on a wet and sloppy field, which is something Bunting took note of in West practice. Finally, Notre Dame Fighting Irish cornerback Robert Blanton made a positive impression during day three practices for the East squad:
It was a bit of a coming out party for Notre Dame CB Robert Blanton Wednesday. The taller, physical corner has had his fair share of struggles in off coverage this week. However, in press man this afternoon he did a nice job shooting his hand into contact, maintaining his footing and getting his head around quickly in order to locate the football. He did get a bit grabby at times, but he possesses the balance to create a burst out of his breaks and was tough to separate from in press coverage.
Each player is hoping to improve their stock heading into the 2012 NFL Draft, so the game itself should help to erase or reinforce any impressions taken from practice.
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