ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The NFL scouts attending Tuesday morning’s East-West Shrine Game practice at Shorecrest Preparatory School certainly appeared to take notice of Ohio State safety Damon Webb.
Almost immediately after the East team broke the huddle to conclude its second practice of Shrine Game week, Webb was surrounded by a group of eight NFL scouts. As most of that group, which included scouts from the Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders among them, finished speaking with Webb, more scouts came over, and Webb spent additional time speaking with the scouts from the Los Angeles Chargers, New Orleans Saints and New York Giants (pictured above).
Group of eight NFL scouts gathering around Ohio State safety Damon Webb after practice: pic.twitter.com/UmhsxIZbP0
— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) January 16, 2018
That’s as good an indicator as any that Webb had a good showing on Tuesday morning. After spending much of Monday’s first practice lined up as a deep safety, Webb spent some time closer to the line of scrimmage on Tuesday, but continued to play the single-high safety role often in team drills while also participating in one-on-ones and individual defensive back drills. For the second day in a row, Webb looked fluid in his movement around the field while appearing to have himself where he was supposed to be on the field more often than not.
During one of his reps in one-on-one coverage, Webb committed Buckeye-on-Buckeye crime when he broke up a pass thrown by Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett:
Barrett later completed a pass against Webb during a seven-on-seven drill, but even then, Webb was where he needed to be to quickly wrap up the pass-catcher:
Webb wasn’t the only Buckeye to be surrounded by scouts after Tuesday’s practice in St. Petersburg. Ohio State linebacker Chris Worley spent time after practice chatting with a group of scouts from the NFL’s Denver Broncos, Houston Texans and Philadelphia Eagles.
Among media observers, meanwhile, Worley drew as much praise as any player during Tuesday’s East practice. RealGM’s Jeff Risdon described Worley as the "best player on the East" after watching him practice Tuesday. Zach Goodall of LockedOnJaguars.com named him as one of the East team’s "Practice MVPs" for Tuesday. DraftAnalyst.com’s Tony Pauline was "very impressed" with Worley, adding that Worley was "proving to be the tough, cerebral linebacker he's been on film the past two years."
While Worley wasn’t used frequently as a pass-rusher during his career as a Buckeye, he performed well in pass-rushing drills during Tuesday’s practice, which could legitimately elevate his draft stock as it demonstrates an added skill to the versatility he already showed at Ohio state by playing all three linebacker positions in the Buckeyes’ 4-3 defense.
Barrett had an up-and-down showing in Tuesday’s practice, missing behind his receiver on multiple short throws, including the one broken up by Webb above but also including one later in practice that resulted in an interception:
On the other end of the spectrum, however, Barrett impressed many in St. Petersburg with the well-placed, 45-yard deep ball seen below:
Overall, Barrett continued to be the sharpest of the three quarterbacks on the East squad – also including South Florida’s Quinton Flowers and Memphis’ Riley Ferguson – and looked comfortable running the offense for the second day in a row. Numerous observers who have attended practices for the West team – whose quarterbacks are Sam Houston State’s Jeremiah Briscoe, Texas Tech’s Nic Shimonek and Colorado State’s Nick Stevens – said Barrett has been the most impressive quarterback on either squad.
JT Barrett is generating some buzz down here. Only QB with positive reviews thru 1 1/2 days of practice #ShrineGame
— Justin (@afc2nfc) January 16, 2018
Despite the aforementioned interception, Optimum Scouting’s Eric Galko listed Barrett as one of his "winners" from Tuesday’s practice.
The week of East-West Shrine Game practices, which NFL scouts consider to be more important than Saturday’s actual game itself (3 p.m., NFL Network), is now halfway complete. Barrett, Webb, Worley and the rest of the East team are set to take the field for two more practices in St. Petersburg on Wednesday and Thursday morning.