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11 names Browns fans should have on their radar at East-West Shrine Game


Is it NFL Draft season yet?

The answer to that question, no matter the time of year, is always a big yes.

That season really got going Monday in St. Petersburg, Florida, the site of this year's East-West Shrine Game. Though this annual all-star game doesn't draw as much draftable talent as the Senior Bowl, it's an event that serves as an important landmark on the NFL calendar. Browns General Manager Ray Farmer was in attendance for a practice or two earlier this week. The game is Saturday (4 p.m., NFL Network).

There might just be a Pierre Desir or two at this year's game. Desir, whom the Browns selected in the fourth round of last year's draft, wowed scouts enough at the 2014 East-West Shrine Game to earn an invitation to the Senior Bowl, where he thrived as well.

It's also worth remembering just how successful some of the Browns' undrafted free agents (RB Isaiah Crowell, DB K'Waun Williams, QB Connor Shaw and WR Taylor Gabriel) were in 2014.

Here are 11 who could potentially do the same.

C B.J. Finney (6-4, 303) - Kansas State

• Browns fans learned how valuable the center position is in the worst way when Pro Bowler Alex Mack went down with a season-ending injury. Finney is considered the fifth-best center in the 2015 class by and is among the top offensive line prospects at this year's game.

OG John Miller (6-2, 321) - Louisville

• The big-bodied guard has been impressing scouts in practice with his power and has performed well in one-on-one drills. The Browns could use some more depth at guard behind John Greco and Joel Bitonio.

TE Wes Saxton (6-4, 235) - South Alabama

• Though he didn't put up huge numbers during his senior season (20 rec., 155 yards), his athleticism puts him among the top-ranked players at the position. If Jordan Cameron signs elsewhere, the Browns will be looking for a tight end or two to fill the roster.

WR Austin Hill (6-2, 210) - Arizona

• He missed all of 2013 with a torn ACL one season after leading the Wildcats with 81 catches for 1,364 yards and 11 touchdowns. He's among the top-ranked at his position at the Shrine Game and is projected as a Day 3 draft pick.

RB John Crockett (6-0, 215) - North Dakota State

• The Browns have shown a willingness to go young and off the beaten path to fill the running back room, and Crockett fits that mold. He ran for 1,994 yards and 21 touchdowns in yet another national championship season for the Bison.

QB Cody Fajardo (6-2, 215) - Nevada

• The heir apparent to Colin Kaepernick started three seasons and, much like his predecessor, provided a dual-threat option. He threw for 2,498 yards and 18 touchdowns while running for 1,046 and 13 scores during his senior season.


DE Za'Darius Smith (6-5, 264) - Kentucky

• Played inside and outside in the Wildcats' 4-2-5 defense and finished with 61 tackles (third on the team), 7.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. He's likely to be drafted on Day 3.

CB Cam Thomas (6-1, 190) - Western Kentucky

• Intercepted two passes and defended seven one season after he led the Sun Belt in both categories as a junior. His size and length makes him an intriguing Day 3 possibility.

DT Tyeler Davison (6-2, 309) - Fresno State

• A first-team All-Mountain West selection, he made a large number of big plays out of the nose guard position. He led the Bulldogs in sacks and tackles for loss.

ILB Ben Heeney (6-0, 230) - Kansas

• Piled up 127 tackles, 12 of which went for a loss, to land on the Big 12's postseason first team. Like Miller, he's been making noise at Shrine Bowl practices.

SS Jordan Richards (5-11, 208) - Stanford

• One of the Cardinal's team captains, Richards won the National Football Foundation's Scholar-Athlete award after finishing third on the team with 79 tackles and intercepting three passes. He's projected by as a fourth-round pick.

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