The first day of Shrine Game practice is complete. But the action on the field is just part of the news in St. Petersburg. After breaking down practices from the East and West squads, here is the latest buzz I’m hearing from the Tradewinds Hotel, home base for the game.
Related | East-West Shrine Game Reports
NFL Draft Buzz
Clemson and LSU underclassmen aside, scouts are wondering what the immediate future holds for Iowa offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs. Sources tell me over the past few days that Wirfs has told people he has yet to make a final decision. His mother has been a big factor in this decision, and she’s pushing her son to return to Iowa and finish his degree. This situation is to be continued.
Meanwhile, scouts have said there are as many as a dozen Shrine Game participants they feel are deserving of a Senior Bowl invitation. Bravvion Roy of Baylor, Juwan Johnson of Oregon, and James Robinson of Illinois State are just a few of the names passed on to me as prospects who should be playing in Mobile next week.
NFL Free Agency Buzz
Speaking of the Senior Bowl – while next week is the unofficial beginning of free agency, there’s plenty of talk about the off-season event here in St. Petersburg.
Byron Jones of the Dallas Cowboys is expected to be one of the hottest names in free agency this spring. Expect the Pro Bowl corner to sign with a team other than Dallas, as the Cowboys have a few other players they must get sorted.
Denver Broncos safety Justin Simmons will also be a hot name if he hits the open market. But people here at the Shrine Game believe Denver may put the franchise tag on him. This was also reported by PFN Insider Ben Allbright on December 17.
Shelby Harris could be another Denver defender on his way to free agency. I’m told Harris prefers to stay in Denver and would gladly re-sign with the club if the two sides come to a contract agreement. Otherwise, the feeling is Harris could land in Indianapolis if he hits the open market.
During my review of East practice, I mentioned New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas is in attendance this week. The fact is this – Shrine practices are crawling with Jets scouts and front office people. Besides Douglas, Phil Savage is on hand, and I counted almost a dozen Jet scouts today.
That should come as good news if you’re a fan of the green and white.
Tony Pauline is Pro Football Network’s NFL Draft Analyst and Insider. Follow him on Twitter @TonyPauline. Follow PFN on Twitter @PFN365. And join us tomorrow for coverage of day two of East-West Shrine Game practices.