Though the college football season is over with the Alabama Crimson Tide winning the 2017 National Championship over the Georgia Bulldogs, we still have a few more all-star bowl games of sorts left on the slate. Yes, the NFL Draft hopefuls will be playing a few more games to get ready for professional football. This weekend will be the 2018 East-West Shrine Game down in St. Petersburg, Florida. Maybe the Oakland Raiders can find a guy they like in this game and draft him in day three?
Kickoff from Tropicana Field will be at 3:07 p.m. ET, 12:07 p.m. PT on Saturday, Jan. 20. The game will be broadcasted on the NFL Network, as the East takes on the West. Normally, the East-West Shrine Game is seen as the second-best senior all-star game for NFL Draft prospects.
Players that play in this game are normally trying to elevate their draft stock in the hopes of just getting drafted. Many of these players will go late in day three, or wind up signing with one of 32 NFL teams as undrafted free agents. However, there is always a handful of guys that pop in this game. Last year, Florida Atlantic Owls edge player Trey Hendrickson was able to dominate and be a successful rookie with the 2017 New Orleans Saints.
Since the Raiders have six picks in the sixth round in the 2018 NFL Draft, it is paramount that Reggie McKenzie and his staff pay close attention to the players competition in the 2018 East-West Shrine Game. Here are five guys to watch in this game on Saturday afternoon.
One guy that will be carrying the ball out of the backfield for the East will be Vanderbilt Commodores running back Ralph Webb. Though overlooked in an SEC with other dominating tailbacks the last few years, Webb was an incredibly productive player playing for Derek Mason in Nashville.
Webb leaves Vanderbilt with 931 carries for 4,178 yards and 32 rushing touchdowns. As a receiver, Webb had 68 receptions for 572 yards and three receiving touchdowns. Though he only played in one bowl game in college, Webb managed to rush for over 1,000 yards in his sophomore and junior seasons with the Vanderbilt program.
At 5-foot-10, 202 pounds, Webb has the frame to be a versatile change-of-pace running back at the next level. His numbers might have been diminished playing for a defensive-minded head coach at Vanderbilt and having to find three yards and a cloud of dust against many menacing defensive fronts in the SEC.
Webb is likely to be drafted in the latter rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft. He may not be the fastest tailback prospect, but he has home-run potential out of the backfield. The biggest knock on him might be that he took a beating at Vanderbilt. You only have so many carries in one’s body and he had nearly 1,000 while playing for the ‘Dores in the SEC.