Michigan’s De’Veon Smith Impresses in Shrine Week

Michigan running back De’Veon Smith and  Cincinnati quarterback Gunner Kiel Have a good first day of East-West Shrine Week.

East-West Shrine Week is here again!

Most of your top NFL prospects are training for the NFL Scouting Combine in a few months. A couple of those prospects like Christian McCaffrey and Leonard Fournette didn’t even play in their school’s Bowl games. But most prospects don’t have more to lose than win.

There are a lot of prospects out there that didn’t get the ball every play for their schools. So they don’t put up big statistical seasons and get noticed. Then there are prospects that come from smaller schools whose competition is questioned.

They take every opportunity they can to impress scouts with real football activity. Tampa Bay Buccaneers guard Ali Marpet came from little Hobart. Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz came from North Dakota state.

They made their cases to be drafted in recent years in the Senior Bowl and East-West Shrine Games. But the thing about these All-Star games is it isn’t just about the game film at the end. It’s about the practice week that scouts get to see who each player is.

Is he a hard worker?

Does he learn fast?

What kind of competitor is he?

A lot of what these prospects do throughout the week will be taken into consideration. But there is one prospect in particular that turned heads on Day 1 of Shrine Week. Michigan running back De’Veon Smith started making his case immediately.

Smith is known more for his power than his speed and moves during his career at Michigan. But the former Wolverines running back showed some wiggle Monday at East-West Shrine practice. In the process, he impressed NFL Network Draft analyst Mike Mayock.

He said, “I thought De’Veon Smith had a good first day. I was impressed with him that, in the passing game at 228 pounds, how quick-footed he was. He did a nice job against some linebackers in one-on-one drills.

“When they’re in shorts and it’s one-on-one pass drills, the running back should win on a linebacker. But you try to look at the skill set, the traits, and what I saw was quick feet and change of direction. And he has that at 228 pounds. He’s got quick feet and showed soft hands.”

Smith’s best college season was in 2016, when he rushed for 846 yards and 10 touchdowns on 181 carries. Smith was mainly a between-the-tackles and short-yardage back at Michigan. But his first day of Shrine Week may have revealed some things we didn’t know about him.

If he can keep it up he’ll get himself pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.

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