Shrine Game Notes - Tuesday

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Tony Pauline

Draft Analyst Writer

Day 2 of Shrine Game practices saw some impressive performances by next-level prospects on the field of the Tropicana Dome plus plenty of news off the turf. Here with the latter are the notes from the second day of Shrine Game practice.

- Sutton Smith, the pass rusher extraordinaire from Northern Illinois, is training for the combine just south of here in Naples, Florida. I’m told Smith looks very athletic during training, and in preparation for his next-level future, he’s been working out at linebacker and showing a lot of skill in coverage. I would expect Smith to receive a combine invitation and work out in both defensive line and linebacker drills at Lucas Oil Stadium.

- Nick Foles seems to be top of the list for any quarterback-needy team as we head into the offseason. The Eagles’ reserve signal caller is coming off a pair of terrific seasons when he came off the bench to fill in for an injured Carson Wentz, leading the Eagles to last year’s Super Bowl title and deeper into this year’s playoffs than anyone thought possible. But will Foles be an automatic savior for whomever he plays for in 2019? Many including myself are not so sure, and this belief is not meant to demean Foles. Several people tell me Foles was perfect for the role he filled the past two seasons - stepping in during the second half of the year - and may struggle being a 16-game starter. Others, including myself, believe the association, tutelage and partnership with Eagles coach Doug Pederson was priceless for Foles, and there’s no guarantee that will continue with another organization. In other words, Doug Pederson and the Eagles organization were vital to Foles’ success the past two years.

- Some 2,500 miles west of where Shrine Game practices are taking place, an additional 100 next-level hopefuls have been practicing for scouts at the NFLPA Game. Overall the word from that event has been muted, as I'm told there are only three or four players on the roster who have any chance of making an NFL team. Far and away the top player on hand is Wake Forest guard Phil Haynes, a player many believed should be here at the Shrine Game. Haynes looked impressive in weigh-ins then looked terrific during the initial practice before being sidelined with a groin injury Tuesday. Haynes is projected as a mid-third day selection. Small-school center Nate Trewyn of Wisconsin-Whitewater has also looked impressive, with many feeling he will jump into the late rounds.