Why the East-West Shrine and NFLPA Collegiate all-star games matter for Lions

Miami defensive end Chad Thomas could be one of the draft prospects for the Lions to keep an eye on at this weekend's East-West Shrine Game. Richard C. Lewis/Icon Sportswire

While much of the attention on college all-star games will be next week at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn has used the two games that will take place this week -- the East-West Shrine Game and the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl -- to help put together his draft classes over the past two years.

Of the Lions' 19 draft picks over Quinn’s first two years as GM, six played in the Shrine Game and another, receiver Kenny Golladay, was selected for the game but did not play due to injury. Another two participated in the Collegiate Bowl.

That means a little less than half of Quinn’s draft selections have come from games that will take place this weekend.

In 2016, four of Quinn’s picks played in the Shrine Game: third-round pick Graham Glasgow, fifth-round pick Antwione Williams, and a pair of sixth-rounders in quarterback Jake Rudock and defensive lineman Anthony Zettel. Additionally, offensive lineman Chase Farris, who was with the Lions through most of that year’s training camp as an undrafted free agent, was on the roster for the Shrine Game. Only one player of note for the Lions was in that year’s NFLPA game, but cornerback Adairius Barnes went from undrafted free agent to making the initial 53-man roster in 2016.

The number of Lions picks who came out of the Shrine Game that year equaled the number out of the Senior Bowl: Glasgow, fourth-round pick Miles Killebrew, fifth-rounder Joe Dahl and sixth-rounder Jimmy Landes. Taylor Decker, Detroit’s eventual first-round pick in 2016, was expected to play in the Senior Bowl but pulled out.

Last year, two eventual Lions picks played in the Shrine Game: fourth-rounder Michael Roberts and sixth-rounder Jeremiah Ledbetter, along with the aforementioned Golladay missing the game due to injury. The Lions found an undrafted free agent there, too, in offensive lineman Storm Norton.

The NFLPA game had more of an impact on the Lions' rookie haul last year, as defensive lineman Pat O'Connor (seventh round) and eventual All-Pro returner Jamal Agnew (fifth round) played in the game. So, too, did four eventual undrafted free agents: Noel Thomas, Leo Kolomatangi, Michael Rector and Jeremiah Valoaga, who made the Lions' initial 53-man roster this season.

Roberts also played in the Senior Bowl, while Jarrad Davis was selected for the game but didn’t play due to injury.

It’s also worth noting four of the Lions’ picks under Quinn have not been able to play in all-star games because they declared early for the draft: Teez Tabor, Brad Kaaya, A'Shawn Robinson and Dwayne Washington.

In other words, there's a good chance Detroit will draft at least one player -- if not multiple players -- from games being played this weekend. With that in mind, here are some potential players to watch in this year’s NFLPA and Shrine games at positions of need for the Lions:

East-West Shrine Game

Chad Thomas, DE, Miami (No. 99 East): He had 103 career tackles, 26 tackles for loss, 11 sacks and eight passes defended in four seasons with the Hurricanes.

Matthew Thomas, LB, Florida State (No. 6 East): He had 85 tackles, eight tackles for loss, two sacks and an interception this past season. The 6-foot-4, 219-pound Thomas has some questions to answer for scouts, though, about injuries throughout his career.

Tony Adams, OG, NC State (No. 50 East): A four-year starter at NC State, he has played right guard and center. Notably, he didn’t allow a sack in 2016 as a junior. The Lions could use an interior lineman as a developmental player, and Adams -- who has a lot of experience -- could fit that mold.

Tegray Scales, LB, Indiana (No. 48 West): He was an All-American in 2016 and an All-Big Ten selection this past season. A productive player throughout his time at Indiana, he had 325 tackles, 46 tackles for loss, 18 sacks, 16 passes defended and eight interceptions in his college career. Depending what defense the Lions run, he could be an intriguing selection.

Joe Ostman, DE/OLB, Central Michigan (No. 45 West): He had 69 tackles this past season, with 20.5 of them for a loss. He also had 14 sacks and four forced fumbles. The 6-foot-3, 259-pound Ostman was a starter since 2014 but medically redshirted the 2015 season.

NFLPA Collegiate Bowl

Darius Jackson, DE, Jacksonville State (No. 90 National): The Buck Buchanan Award winner as the best defensive player in the FCS, he set school career records in sacks (27.5) and tackles for loss (60.5). The 6-foot-3, 237-pounder made 20.5 tackles for loss this past season.

Anthony Philyaw, RB, Howard (No. 27, National): He has some size at 6-foot-1, 205 pounds and rushed for 1,999 yards and 18 touchdowns in two seasons combined with the Bison, averaging 5.6 yards per carry.

Austin Proehl, WR, North Carolina (No. 80 National): He hasn’t had the production but does have the pedigree as the son of former NFL receiver Ricky Proehl. At 5-foot-10, 175 pounds, he’d be more of a slot receiver and a guy who could find his way into a camp. He had 91 career catches for 1,265 yards and three touchdowns in college.