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East-West Shrine Game 2014 Preview: First-hand evaluations begin

The East-West Shrine Game is this Saturday, and if it is time for college football showcase games that means NFL Draft season is in full swing.

Jerry Glanville coaches in the 2013 East-West Shrine Game
Jerry Glanville coaches in the 2013 East-West Shrine Game

The evaluation portion of the 2014 NFL Draft season starts in earnest today as practices begin for the 2014 East-West Shrine Game, the first major college All-Star showcase for 2014 NFL Draft prospects. In truth, NFL teams have been evaluating potential draft picks for months, but the 89th Shrine Game marks the beginning of the time when scouts can get up close and personal with possible future NFLers.

The game will be held at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., Saturday, Jan. 18 at 4 p.m. ET. NFL Network will televise. The game, though, carries less significance to NFL teams than the practice sessions scouts get to witness leading up to it.

SB Nation's Dan Kadar has a breakdown of players to watch. Kadar also points out that while the Senior Bowl "gets more attention and better players" the Shrine Game is a valuable source of NFL talent. Three players from the 2013 Shrine Game were third-round picks a season ago, and Kadar points out that eight Shrine Game participants in 2012 were drafted.