The East-West Shrine Game will kick off for the 91st time Saturday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg Florida. The game will be broadcast on the NFL Network and can also be viewed online at nfl.com/watch. In addition to providing fans a football fix as they await the start of the 2016 season, the East-West Shrine Game is a great opportunity to preview top college talent.
Fans of the Steelers should keep an eye on several players who could end up drafted by the Black & Gold, or on a rival AFC North team.
1. Stephane Nembot, OT, Colorado
The Steelers offensive line has thrived under offensive line coach Mike Munchak, who is particularly skilled at developing new talent acquired outside of the first few rounds. Nembot is the definition of raw talent. From Cameroon, Nembot initially immigrated to the United States to play basketball. At 6-7 and 315, he soon found himself playing left tackle for the Colorado Buffaloes. Versatile, Nembot has also played right tackle. He is equally adept in pass protection and run blocking and has a very high ceiling, especially given his relatively late arrival to the sport of football.
2. Nate Sudfield, QB, Indiana
Nate Sudfield threw for 3,573 yards as a senior with 27 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions. With weakness at backup quarterback one of the Steelers biggest liabilities, might the Steelers add depth to that position during the 2016 draft? It might be a wise move, especially considering that the success of the team hinges on Ben Roethlisberger. Offensive weapons Antonio Brown had minimal productivity with Landry Jones and Michael Vick at the helm earlier in the 2015 season. Sudfield is 6-6 and weighs 240 pounds. He could be an interesting option at backup.
3. Keenan Reynolds, RB, Navy
Under James Saxon, the Steelers running backs have excelled. Even without Le'Veon Bell, the team was able to maintain a strong run game with DeAngelo Williams and then Fitzgerald Toussaint. A healthy Bell meets all of the Steelers needs at running back, while backup players and coach Saxon have been able to carry out the Next Man Up philosophy exceedingly well. Nonetheless, Reynolds is a player worth watching, if not as a future Steeler then as a future NFL competitor. Reynolds played quarterback for Navy, but has stood out for his astounding FBS stats, becoming the all-time leader in touchdowns, rushing touchdowns, and rushing yards by a quarterback. How will Reynolds make the transition to running back? It is worth checking out Saturday's game to find out.