Red Zone

A Chiefs fan's guide to Saturday’s East-West Shrine Game

Updated: 2014-01-18T07:37:33Z

By TEREZ A. PAYLOR

The Kansas City Star

The Senior Bowl is widely considered to be the premier postseason showcase event for the nation’s top senior collegiate stars, but Chiefs fans hoping to catch a glimpse of some of the NFL’s future stars will have to wait a week, as that game will be held Jan. 25.

However, those hoping to scratch their itch for postseason football can still do just that Saturday, when the East-West Shrine Game — the nation’s longest-running college all-star showcase event — kicks off at 3 p.m. in St. Petersburg, Fla.

The overall talent at the East-West Shrine Game, which will be aired on the NFL Network, simply doesn’t compare to the Senior Bowl’s, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any prospects worth checking out.

So I caught up with Eric Galko, the director of scouting for OptimumScouting.com, and asked him to identify any players who could fit what the Chiefs like to do on offense and defense. We took that list and then narrowed it down to 10. So if you plan on vegging out on the sofa and watching some football today, you’re in luck — you now have a quick reference guide of prospects to keep an eye on.

Without further ado, let’s get to it.

EAST SQUAD

Offense

Name: Zach Fulton

• Position: Guard

• School: Tennessee

• Height: 6-5

• Weight: 323

• Jersey number: 73

• Galko’s take: “He wins at the point of attack and is impressive for his size, in terms of being a pulling guard. In the South Carolina game, he handled Jadeveon Clowney 3-4 times while engaging him in trap situations and really drove him back. He could be a trendy guy that teams look for in the third-round area.”

• How he fits with the Chiefs: The Chiefs may need another road-grading guard because both of the 2013 starters, Geoff Schwartz and Jon Asamoah, are free agents.

Name: Matt Hall

• Position: Offensive tackle

• School: Belhaven (Mississippi)

• Height: 6-10

• Weight: 320

• Jersey number: 76

• Galko’s take: “He’s definitely a project but has the size teams are excited about it. I don’t think he wowed enough during the season to be one of top 100 picks, but he’s the kind of guy teams love to develop, talent-wise. He can play tackle and has the capability to be a mauler down the road.”

• How he fits with the Chiefs: Starting left tackle Branden Albert is a free agent and will likely command a large salary. Youngsters Eric Fisher and Donald Stephenson earned plenty of experience but Stephenson is versatile enough to play guard and the Chiefs may want another developmental tackle.

DEFENSE

Name: Jay Bromley

• Position: Defensive tackle

• School: Syracuse

• Height: 6-4

• Weight: 293

• Jersey number: 96

• 2013 stats: 42 tackles, 14 1/2 for loss, 10 sacks

• Galko’s take: “He’s really a pass-rush specialist on the inside. He played d-tackle but can definitely play the five-technique at the NFL level, especially as a pass rusher on third down.”

• How he fits with the Chiefs: Teams were able to spread the Chiefs out last season and take two of their better defensive players, ends Tyson Jackson and Mike DeVito out of the game due to their limitations as pass rushers. Allen Bailey was adequate as a pass-rush specialist, but the Chiefs could really use an upgrade here.

Name: Will Clarke

• Position: Defensive end

• School: West Virginia

• Height: 6-7

• Weight: 273

• Jersey number: 98

• 2013 stats: 49 tackles, 17 for loss, six sacks, three pass breakups

• Galko’s take: “He’s one of the best pure pass rushers they have at the Shrine Game. He’s the only really good inside guy.”

• How he fits with the Chiefs: Teams were able to spread the Chiefs out last season and take two of their better defensive players, ends Tyson Jackson and Mike DeVito, out of the game due to their limitations as pass rushers. Allen Bailey was adequate as a pass-rush specialist, but the Chiefs could really use an upgrade here.

Name: Preston Brown

• Position: Linebacker

• School: Louisville

• Height: 6-2

• Weight: 255

• Jersey number: 2

• 2013 stats: 98 tackles, 12 1/2 for loss, 4 1/2 sacks

• Galko’s take: “Has some trouble in traffic at times but his quickness reminds me a lot of (Baltimore’s 2013 second-round draft pick from Kansas State) Arthur Brown. He’s a guy I like in a 3-4 set, especially with some big bodies up front like the Chiefs have.”

• How he fits with the Chiefs: Starting inside linebacker Akeem Jordan is a free agent, and 2013 fourth-round pick Nico Johnson couldn’t crack the rotation. Another run stuffer might be needed inside.

Name: Derrell Johnson

• Position: Linebacker

• School: East Carolina

• Height: 6-2

• Weight: 263

• Jersey number: 46

• 2013 stats: 80 tackles, 14 for loss, eight sacks, one interception

• Galko’s take: “He’s played a lot of Sam linebacker in college, but he’s built well and his explosion on the interior will make him a great run stopper on the inside (of a 3-4).”

• How he fits with the Chiefs: As mentioned previously, starting inside linebacker Akeem Jordan is a free agent, and 2013 fourth-round pick Nico Johnson couldn’t crack the rotation. Derrell Johnson also provides some ability as a pass rusher, which is needed in passing downs.

Name: Pierre Desir

• Position: Cornerback

• School: Lindenwood

• Height: 6-2

• Weight: 206

• Jersey number: 3

• 2013 stats: 33 tackles, four interceptions, eight pass breakups, 12 passes defensed

• Galko’s take: “I know some scouts feel he’s already a sixth-round prospect and could go even higher than that after the Shrine Game. He plays well, is physical at point of the attack in press and has the ability to keep deep as well.”

• How he fits with the Chiefs: The Chiefs have a lot of money invested at cornerback with Sean Smith and Brandon Flowers, and 2013 seventh-round pick Marcus Cooper showed flashes of being a capable player. But the second half of the season proved more depth is needed here.

WEST SQUAD

Offense

Name: John Brown

• Position: Receiver

• School: Pitt State

• Height: 5-11

• Weight: 170

• Jersey number: 2

• 2013 stats: 61 catches, 1,198 yards, 14 touchdowns, 17 rushes, 103 yards, three touchdowns, one kick return touchdown

• Galko’s take: “I heard rave reviews from scouts on him. He might run a 4.3 (in the 40-yard dash) when he gets to the combine. I don’t know a whole lot about him, but I know scouts love him and have assigned a late-round grade on him.”

• How he fits with the Chiefs: The Chiefs need another downfield threat to compliment Donnie Avery and Dwayne Bowe, and if Brown runs as fast as Galko suspects he will, he could provide just that.

Name: Kaneakua Friel

• Position: Tight end

• School: Brigham Young

• Height: 6-5

• Weight: 250

• Jersey number: 82

• 2013 stats: 11 catches, 128 yards, one touchdown

• Galko’s take: “He’s a guy I think Andy Reid would love to develop, and he’s also a BYU guy, like Reid. He got a lot of work as a hitch-route guy but has the size and build you like and can develop in sixth or seventh round.”

• How he fits with the Chiefs: Anthony Fasano and Sean McGrath are adequate, but Reid is likely seeking more juice at the tight end position. Travis Kelce, a 2013 third-round pick, might provide that, but the Chiefs could bring in another developmental player with a high upside to be safe.

Defense

Name: Max Bullough

• Position: Linebacker

• School: Michigan State

• Height: 6-3

• Weight: 245

• Jersey number: 44

• 2013 stats: 76 tackles, 9 1/2 for loss, 1 1/2 sacks, two pass breakups

• Galko’s take: “I think he’s probably better in the 4-3, but it’s hard to pass on Max Bullough from Michigan State. I think he’s the best inside guy here.”

• How he fits with the Chiefs: Starting inside linebacker Akeem Jordan is a free agent, and 2013 fourth-round pick Nico Johnson couldn’t crack the rotation. Another run stuffer might be needed inside.

To reach Terez A. Paylor, call 816-234-4489 or send email to tpaylor@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/TerezPaylor.

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