On Saturday afternoon, the annual East-West Shrine Game kicks off in St. Petersburg, Fla.
For the Baltimore Ravens, the game promises to showcase a few players who will be in training camp with the team this season.
Last year, the Ravens signed four Shrine Game participants – Will Pericak, Nathan Stanley, Trent Steelman and Jordan Devey – to rookie deals as undrafted free agents.
None of the four are still with the team, but it’s no coincidence the Ravens have welcomed Shrine Game participants in the past.
As a college all star game that doesn’t bring in as many high-caliber draft prospects as the Senior Bowl, not all NFL front offices send top officials to the game’s practices.
That’s not the case for the Ravens, however.
So who could be some potential Baltimore targets on display Saturday?
Here’s a look at a few Shrine Game prospects who could be on the team’s radar.
Tre Boston, S, North Carolina
The Ravens will be in the market for at least one other safety this offseason with James Ihedigbo’s assumed departure. Not limited to being just a free safety prospect, Tre Boston will likely get drafted as a two-way safety, which could fit what the Ravens need. The starting free safety job will have to be filled, but after Matt Elam and Ihedigbo’s eventual replacement, Baltimore’s group of safeties is underwhelming. Boston could be a day three selection as a backup at both safety positions, and his experience at both spots as well as cornerback could make him a valuable commodity.
Jeremy Gallon, WR, Michigan
At 5’8” on a good day, Jeremy Gallon isn’t going to shop at the department store’s “Tall Men” section but that didn’t prevent him from having success in college. Gallon used his well-built frame and underrated route running to gain separation from much larger defenders. He is going to be limited to the slot in the NFL and isn’t a lock to be drafted, but he constantly showed at Michigan that he is a technical player whose hard cuts and sure-handedness made him the go-to target for the Wolverines. The Ravens (as always) are in the market for multiple wide receivers this offseason, and Gallon has the talent to make an NFL roster in 2014.
Gabe Ikard, C, Oklahoma
He doesn’t necessarily fit Baltimore’s desire to beef up the interior of the offensive line, but Gabe Ikard makes the list because of his experience as a center in a zone blocking scheme. If Baltimore is in it for the long haul running the ZBS, it may behoove the franchise to find some linemen with experience in the run scheme that doomed Baltimore’s offense in 2013. Baltimore has invested three draft picks in centers over the past three drafts (including this year’s Shipley trade), so don’t bet heavily on them using another pick on one. Nonetheless, Ikard could still be a desirable target for the team.
Austin Wentworth, OG/OT, Fresno State
Baltimore’s affection for versatile offensive linemen is evident every year, as the Ravens seem to always dip into the guard/tackle hybrid market. Last year the Ravens did that with Ricky Wagner and Ryan Jensen, and one Shrine Game participant who fits that description is Austin Wentworth. He played left tackle at Fresno State, but may project better as a guard in the NFL.
Zach Kerr, DT, Delaware
The Gaithersburg native played two seasons at Maryland before transferring to Delaware, and he could be a late-round option for a Baltimore team that figures to have a hole or two to fill along the defensive line. With Terrence Cody set to be a free agent and Brandon Williams waiting to take over his spot, Kerr could be a worthwhile investment as a developmental nose tackle. In college, he relied on his athleticism against lesser competition to make an impact, but if he can fix his high pad level tendencies, his quickness and hand usage could lead to success in the NFL. He’s a physical specimen who still needs development, but could be a steal for whichever NFL team snatches him up.