Julian Miller, Keith Tandy, and Najee Goode participated in the East/West Shrine Game last weekend. It gave them an opportunity to showcase their talents to NFL scouts and coaches to move up in the 2012 NFL Draft. All three players certainly helped themselves with strong performances. In this article, I will recap how the three Mountaineers played and what people are saying about them now. Going into this game, Najee Goode was projected to narrowly go undrafted. Julian Miller was projected as a 6th Round pick with Tandy going in the 4th.
Miller has a similar challenge facing him going into the Draft that Bruce Irvin does: Is he a DE or a OLB at the next level? Like Irvin, Miller is smallish for a DE, but, because of his speed and size, could be an ideal fit as a 3-4 OLB on an NFL team. Miller stood out during the 2nd half of the Shrine Game flashing his speed at getting to the quarterback and showing that he can move around offensive linemen by almost grabbing an interception after steering tackle Marcel Henson into quarterback Tyler Hansen’s passing lane. He also flushed Dan Persa out of the pocket to get a sack. Miller pressured quarterbacks consistently in the game. Miller was noted by coaches being one of the best defenders in practice throughout the week, and it carried over into the game with many sites praising Miller’s performance. Miller definitely helped himself in the game. From this game, Miller moved himself into a 5th round projection.
Like Miller, Tandy did most of his work in the second half. The knock on Tandy is that because he spent most of his college career playing zone, that he will have to learn man-to-man techniques to consistently contribute in the NFL. After a week of practices where Tandy was lauded for how he performed, he nearly had an interception near the end of the game. He also stood out on special teams. Following the week of practices and the game itself, Tandy’s Draft stock is on the rise.
I wrote in my Shrine Game Preview, that Najee Goode could help himself the most with a good Shrine Game. He certainly helped his cause. Goode made several nice plays in the game. As he did at WVU, Goode showed that he is a versatile linebacker, playing at all three positions at various times during the game. At the NFL level, Goode is a middle-linebacker candidate with his ability to seek out and destroy running backs as he did during the Shrine Game. Goode went from being on the fringes of the NFL Draft to potential 4th or 5th Round pick. It was reported that Goode spoke with the Denver Broncos after the game.
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