After being snubbed by the Senior Bowl, Collin Klein accepted an invitation to attend the East-West Shrine Bowl – viewing the spot as an opportunity to demonstrate his ability to thrive outside of Kansas State’s offensive scheme. However, his intentions of moving up the NFL draft board by demonstrating his abilities as a passer were impeded by a rough night, completing only five of 12 passes. Klein finished the night with only 43 yards and an interception, failing to allay fears that his motion is too exaggerated to complete the quick passes necessary in the NFL.
While Klein only recorded 3.6 yards per attempt, he demonstrated tremendous overall athletic ability. Klein led the East in rushing with 35 yards. Of the game’s six quarterbacks, he was the only threat to carry the ball and recorded his yards on five carries, averaging seven per carry. Also notable was that Klein’s longest run of the day was for eight yards – while never breaking a long run, he consistently gained yardage every time Klein tucked the ball and ran.
Klein also struggled due to an imbalance of talent in the game. His East team was defeated 28-13, and the East’s three quarterbacks combined to go 10/24 on the night, with no one completing more than 50 percent of their throws. Perhaps the worst statistic of the night was the East’s failure to convert a single third down in nine attempts. The team finished with 95 yards passing and three interceptions against a stingy West secondary that featured fellow Wildcat Nigel Malone. In fact, Malone was named the Most Outstanding Player on defense after returning an interception 30 yards for a touchdown and helping shut down the East’s passing attack all night.
The performance will only boost Malone’s draft chances – being the best player in an All-Star game is never a bad thing – while Klein may have moved closer to being drafted for a different purpose in the NFL. For more information on the draft prospects of Nigel Malone and Collin Klein, please click the players’ names in this sentence, click here and here.