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5 Standouts from East-West Shrine Game

Defensive players dominated the East-West Shrine Game on Saturday in St. Petersburg.


The East defeated the West, 19-3, in the 2014 Shrine Game.



DL Ze'Darius Smith, Kentucky (6-6, 265)
Projected round: Undrafted
Smith was named the Defensive Player of the Game for his efforts on the line for the East team. He recorded two tackles, one for a loss, and applied pressure that led to an interception. "I came off the edge and told myself, 'I'm going to come off the edge as hard as I can'", Smith said in reference to the play where he forced the interception. "I tried to swipe it and he stepped up, so that gave me an opportunity to get in there and hit him and force that interception." The ball floated out of the quarterback's hand and was intercepted by Florida Atlantic's Damian Parms.

Smith showed impressive pass rush ability, something he didn't have many opportunities to showcase at Kentucky. "At Kentucky, we were playing a 4-3 and I was playing inside, I didn't really have many opportunities to rush. But coming here (to the Shrine Game), I was able to work on my technique and work on my speed." Smith was a two-year starter for Kentucky after transferring from a junior college and was the top-rated JUCO, strong-side defensive end in the country in 2012. He didn't begin playing football until his senior year of high school.

DT Derrick Lott, Tennessee-Chattanooga (6-4, 298)
Projected round: 7
It's eye-opening to see a 300-pound defensive tackle on the kickoff coverage team, but Lott's speed and athleticism allowed him to do that for the East in the Shrine Game. "I like using my athleticism," Lott said. "When Coach said that he needed guys for special teams, I was one of the first guys to raise my hand and offer to do it. I feel like I'm pretty quick, pretty fast. I got down there on the first play of the game and made a tackle, set the tempo. I was pretty excited." Lott's speed was apparent from his defensive tackle position as well. In the second quarter, he blew past a double team and laid a vicious hit on West running back John Crockett for a seven-yard loss. Lott had 6.5 sacks and 13 tackles for losses in his sixth year of eligibility at Chattanooga in 2014. He missed most of 2013 with an injury after transferring from Georgia.

CB Josh Shaw, USC (6-1, 200)
Projected round: 5
On the West's second drive, Shaw was tested with a deep pass down the left sideline. He showed excellent speed, hanging with the receiver stride-for-stride, and the pass eventually fell incomplete. "That long pass, they tried to come out and run a nine route on me, they tried to stretch the field," Shaw said. "My job is just to stay on top and squeeze the receiver to the sideline. I had to turn on the wheels a little bit there." Shaw made an interception in the second quarter, ripping the ball out of Michigan wide receiver Devin Gardner's hands on a pass that could have been caught by either player. "It was man-to-man defense," Shaw said. "He was going to win or I was going to win. I was able to stretch my arms out and get the interception."

Two quarterbacks are among players to keep an eye on when the East and West all-stars play in the Shrine Game on Saturday.

LB Jake Ryan, Michigan (6-3, 240)
Projected round: 5-6
Ryan led the East team in tackles with five and recorded one of his team's four sacks. An inside linebacker, Ryan took smart angles to the ball carrier, proved to be a great tackler and was efficient in pass coverage. He was the Pat Tillman Award-winner, an award given at the Shrine Game to a player who best exemplifies character, intelligence, sportsmanship and service. Ryan was a four-year letter-winner at Michigan and a team captain.

OL Bobby Hart, Florida State (6-4, 322)
Projected round: Undrafted
Hart looked strong in pass protection for the West. He played with a low center of gravity and quick feet. Hart stonewalled defenders at the line of scrimmage and didn't give up any negative ground in his time on the field.


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