When the NFL regular season ends, the 20 teams who didn't make the postseason start to focus on the future of their franchise. The way to build a team in this day in age of the NFL is through the draft. Fortunately for draft hopefuls and draft evaluators, all-star events throughout the draft season go on for prospects to showcase their talents and for scouts to evaluate players. The Senior Bowl is the one that gets the most attention, but the East-West Shrine Bowl is also a game that features a ton of known collegiate talent.
The Dallas Cowboys have drafted well in the past few years and to continue that trend, evaluating all-star events such as the Shrine Bowl is extremely important. Dallas' first-round pick will not be a player from the Shrine Game, but as recent drafts have made it clear, the Cowboys need to hit on their third- and fourth-round picks just as much as their first- and second-round picks. That's where the Shrine Bowl comes in handy. Let's take a look at five Shrine Bowl prospects that would fit with the Cowboys.
Javon Hargrave, DT, South Carolina State
Hargrave is a guy that made a ton of money over the past week. At 6-foot-2, 300 pounds, Hargrave doesn't have the size to consistently play at the 1-technique defensive tackle position the Cowboys need to fix this offseason. However, Hargrave is a player than can give teams headaches in bunches. He'd fit in real well in sub-packages as a situational pass-rusher and he'd be a nice addition to Rod Marinelli's rushmen. Here are a few thoughts on Hargrave:
I'm hearing quite a few people say that Javon Hargrave (DT, South Carolina State) is the best prospect down here. Hard to disagree. Stock ⬆— Christian Shanafelt (@ChrisShanafelt) January 22, 2016
Victor Ochi, EDGE, Stony Brook
It's not often there's a player at 6-foot-1 that was 33-inch arms, but that's the exact case with Ochi. Extremely quick off the snap, Ochi has a motor that never stops. He's a unique player that can use his arms to create separation with opposing lineman or use his quickness to get around the edge. Ochi doesn't have the look of a guy who can be either a starting left or right defensive end, but he does have the look of a situational pass rusher in a 4-3 defensive scheme. Here are a few thoughts on Ochi:
For a player only 6-1, Ochi has longer arms (33 1/2") and uses those limbs and aggressive hands to move blockers.— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) January 23, 2016
They're just doing drills but it's obvious Victor Ochi is the most explosive athlete amongst the East DL.— Jeff Risdon (@JeffRisdon) January 19, 2016
Antonio Longino, Linebacker, Arizona State
The Cowboys have drafted a linebacker in every draft since 2009. With that being said, that trend should only continue, especially with the question marks of Rolando McClain entering free agency and Damien Wilson's ability to become a starter.
At 6-2, 235 pounds, Longino is an interesting prospect. Arizona State continues to produce quality collegiate linebackers, the latest being Vontaze Burfict and Brandon Magee. Longino is the next of that group, outside of the characters antics Burfict has. Longino displays an excellent motor. He glides across the field and he has the athleticism to take on opposing receiving weapons. The Cowboys love improving their special teams and Longino is a guy that could do just that. Here are a few thoughts on Longino:
Antonio Longino, Arizona State. Led Pac-12 in TFL & Sacks. — David Holmes (@DHolmes6) January 7, 2016
With that TFL, Antonio Longino tops 20 TFLs on the year (20.5) — Brad Denny (@BDenny29) January 3, 2016
Devon Cajuste, Wide Receiver/Tight End, Stanford
When I watched the tape of Kevin Hogan, Cajuste continued to impress me. His numbers aren't spectacular, but he still showed enough for me to put a fifth-round grade on him. It's yet to be clear what his exact position will be in the NFL, but he's a guy I think would work perfectly behind Jason Witten. Cajuste has drawn comparisons to Devin Funchess, as both find themselves at the intersection of wide receiver and tight end. Cajuste has solid hands and he has the talent to be a quality red-zone contributor over the course of his NFL career. Here are a few thoughts on Cajuste:
"I don't know if you play (Devon) Cajuste at tight end or as a big receiver or as an H-back, but he's a damn good player," the exec said. "He's too much for some of these cornerbacks out here. He could have played at the Senior Bowl." — An NFC Executive
Devon Cajuste/Stanford with a quality reception. Good balance and solid routes. — Tony Pauline (@TonyPauline) January 20, 2016
Vernon Adams, Quarterback, Oregon
The true MVP of the Shrine Bowl, Adams made a ton of money, finishing the day six of nine for 191 yards and three touchdowns. Despite a limited sample size, Adams was extremely impressive, going through his reads, displaying excellent pocket awareness, and putting passes on the money. Because of his quality day, many people will look at Adams and start falling in love, but the reality is that the Cowboys have already had their eye on Adams:
@RyanRattyNFL they were more visible yesterday but at least two scouts still around. One met with Vernon Adams— Jeff Risdon (@JeffRisdon) January 19, 2016
If the Cowboys end up looking at the top quarterbacks prospects and not falling in love with them, the Cowboys will have to look later in the draft to address the position and because of their interest leading up to the game, there has to be a sense the Cowboys' brass may be more in favor of taking Adams in the later rounds. Here are a few thoughts on Adams:
Vernon Adams is undoubtedly a QB. I think his game is better suited for the CFL, but I'd definitely bring him in to take a look in NFL.— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) January 23, 2016