Yesterday was the first day of the East-West Shrine Game practice in St. Petersburg, Florida. Eric Galko of Optimum Scouting has been one of the many scouts and bloggers who have been keeping tabs on what is going on in Florida. Galko reported yesterday that the Redskins showed particular interest in four prospects and even met with a few of them.
Jarius Wright, WR, Arkansas: The Redskins may be following the 2011 mold by checking out Arkansas team captain, Jarius Wright. Wright is a small (5'9, 178 lbs) speedster who registered over 1,000 yards at Arkansas this year, along with 12 touchdowns. Wright also contributed in the punt return game for the Razorbacks. He is currently slated as a 5th round prospect.
Wes Bunting had a brief review of Wright's first day of practice:
Arkansas WR Jarius Wright had some struggles catching the football with two drops early in practice where he really fought the football. However, his straight-line speed was apparent with his ability to get vertically down the field on the nine route and routinely run by corners. He also displays a snap out of his breaks working the comeback/stop routes and is one of the few guys down here who seems to strike fear into corners with his speed.
Akiem Hicks, NT, Regina: Hicks is one of the most intriguing prospects down at Tropicana Field this week. He's a Canadian import but was slated to play for LSU after leaving junior college. He ran into an issue with a housing situation and a booster then bolted north. Hicks is 6'5, 305 lbs and a space eater. He's a bit raw, but would be a phenomenal developmental nose tackle for any team.
Vaughn Meatoga, NT/DE, Hawaii: Guess what? Another team captain! Meatoga has been praised as a leader and hard worker in his time as a Rainbow Warrior. He lacks the ideal size and length for the NFL, but he'd be a good developmental pick in the 7th round or as a UDFA. Meatoga is 6'1, 291lbs.
Justin Francis, DE/OLB, Rutgers: At 6'2, 265lbs Francis is a little bit of a tweener for the 3-4. He's a 7th round prospect who could be a good developmental guy as an outside linebacker backup. He certainly has a lot of talent and was one of the most highly touted recruits out of Florida when he was in high school. He also has a bit of checkered past missing a couple of games for "undisclosed reasons" and also holding up a student with an air pistol and stealing their cell phone.
Takeaways: We're still extremely early in the offseason/scouting process, but it looks like to me the Redskins may be looking to add another body in the nose tackle rotation with Barry Cofield and Chris Neild.