A stretch of all-star showcases are among us once again.
Before the Pro Days, Combine workouts and rookie visits come the All-Star games. This week, the Chiefs front office has migrated to central Florida to take in the workouts associated with the 86th East-West Shrine Game.
While the game is set for a 3:00 PM (CST) kickoff inside the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida this Saturday (broadcast nationally on the NFL Network), it’s the week of practices that are dissected by NFL personnel.
Though most scouts and general managers have seen these players practice a handful of times already, all-star games also represent the initial opportunity for many NFL coaching staffs to watch the prospects train in a live setting.
Once again, each team is guided by a coach with NFL ties.
Last year’s game carried a Chiefs flare when Romeo Crennel’s East Team squred off against Marty Schottenheimer’s West Team. This year, Dan Reeves will coach the East while Wade Phillips takes coaching duties for the West.
Who knows, maybe Phillips will give us a glimpse of the prospects operating in a 3-4 defense?
Despite having a man on the inside, and possessing a history of drafting at least one prospect from the Shrine Game, Kansas City came up empty-handed in 2009. The only player on either roster to dress for the Chiefs last season was undrafted rookie DE Jeffrey Fitzgerald out of Kansas State.
Fitzgerald signed with the Chiefs shortly after the 2010 NFL Draft and remained on Kansas City’s roster until August 17th.
Prior to the 2010 season, the Chiefs had selected at least one Shine Bowl participant in each of the previous seven NFL Drafts (shrinegame.com only has its rosters archived through the 2003 season). None of those draftees remain with the organization, but each spent time on the 53-man roster.
Here’s a look at Shrine Bowl alumni drafted by the Chiefs since 2003:
RB Javarris Williams, 2009 (7th round, 212th overall)
*WR Will Franklin, 2008 (4th round, 105th overall)
WR Kevin Robinson, 2008 (6th round, 182nd overall)
K Justin Medlock, 2007 (5th round, 160th overall)
T Herb Taylor, 2007 (6th round, 196th overall)
TE Michael Allan, 2007 (7th round, 231st overall)
WR Jeff Webb, 2006 (6th round, 190th overall)
LB/FB Boomer Grigsby, 2005 (5th round, 138th overall)
T Will Svitek, 2005 (6th round, 187th overall)
WR Samie Parker, 2004 (4th round, 105th overall)
DE Jared Allen, 2004 (4th round, 126th overall)
T Jordan Black, 2003 (5th round, 153rd overall)
S Willie Pile, 2003 (7th round, 252nd overall)
*Invited, but missed game due to injury
The biggest storyline in this year’s game revolves around North Carolina defensive lineman Marvin Austin. Regarded as one of the top interior defenders in the 2011 draft class, Austin has some ground to make up, and convincing to do, after missing his senior campaign because of breaking several NCAA violations that included improper agent benefits, preferential treatment and ethic conduct rules.
Austin was eventually dismissed from the UNC Football Program. Bucky Brooks of NFL.com breaks down what Austin must do this week to elevate his draft status.
Though there are no prospects from local BCS schools in this year’s game, there are still a handful of other players that Chiefs fans might find of interest.
Wichita, Kansas native OL David Arkin (Missouri State) will take part in the game, as will Fort Hays State WR O.J. Murdock. Murdock began his collegiate career at South Carolina before a roundabout collegiate career that eventually landed him in Hays, Kansas.
QB Pat Devlin was tabbed by some as the second-coming of Joe Flacco at the University of Delaware and he’s trying to do the same at the NFL level as well. Virginia Tech QB Tyrod Taylor will also take part in the game this weekend. One of the top overall athletes in Orlando, Taylor has an opportunity to give coaches an idea of where he might fit on an NFL roster.
If you’re looking for a pass rusher, Arizona DE Ricky Elmore is thought to be a versatile lineman and posted back-to-back double-digit sack seasons. South Carolina DE Cliff Matthews is another defensive lineman that might generate interest among 3-4 teams.
The week won’t be short of receiving options with Cincinnati’s Armon Binns and LSU’s Terrance Tolliver taking part in the workouts as well.
Go ahead, have a look at the complete Shine Game rosters.
Following a week of practices in Orlando, Chiefs personnel will move their scouting headquarters to Mobile, Alabama for the 2011 Senior Bowl.
As we did last year, KCChiefs.com will be on-site in Mobile to provide you with exclusive stories and interviews from the workouts.