LAS VEGAS The first practices for the Eastern and Western teams at the Shrine Bowl are on the books in Las Vegas. Here’s a site-by-site look at a handful of players who excelled on day one and others I’ll watch as the rest of the week’s training unfolds in the desert.
Aidan O’ConnellAnd Bordeaux
Dorian Thompson RobinsonAnd University of California
The best quarterbacks on their Shrine Bowl teams, O’Connell and Thompson-Robinson, threw enough throws on Saturday to keep them on the radar for teams. Thompson-Robinson had an impressive shot that showed slope and anticipation. O’Connell was meticulous in working over the midsection during the seven-to-seven. Both will be fun to watch throughout the week as they develop their comfort level with their receivers and the plays they run.
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Denrick PrinceAnd Tulsa
Not only did Prince start the week strong, measuring in at 5-11 5/8 and 217 pounds, but he showed more volatility and explosiveness on Saturday than his bar in Tulsa alluded to. Prince has longer legs than you’d normally see from a running back, but doesn’t seem to get in the way of his running during a PvP matchup against linebackers, and the ability to sink in and catch the football consistently. Prince had solid, but not overwhelming, stats in college. It’s just a lined practice, but displaying a rush and explosiveness to get away from defenders and triple receiving ability got practice observers to take notice.
Ibrahim was very productive even with combat injuries throughout his college days in Minnesota. Abraham wins by seeing and feeling like a runner, so it was a pleasant surprise to see some burst through the hole. That made him stand out even without the benefit of all 22 coaches’ training bar.
Abraham also had a solid day as a receiver, as his patience got the way. Show detail and feeling in both individual and group periods.
Unfortunately, costume flowers from Boston College You will not be practicing this week during the Shrine Bowl. Otherwise, their name will be highlighted, starred, and underlined in this part of the article.
AT BerryAnd Wake Forest
Perry loaded the box points at Wake Forest and had a productive first day in Las Vegas. The streamlined offense run by the Satan Deacons has made Perry’s Road stints one to watch. He showed a good amount of polish with the depths of his path and an ability to sink in choppy ways that would only help his stock. Perry’s longtime speed would continue to be questioned until the combine or his pro day. His ball skills, length and ability to beat pressure were on display on Saturday. He’s been the quarterback all day.
Jalen CropperAnd Fresno State
Cropper lined up on the outside and in the slot on Saturday and displayed a smooth ride and strong hands in the team stints. Seeing him win from the outside, especially against the press, was a huge box to check out. Continuing to do so the rest of the week makes Cropper an interesting name to watch in the middle rounds. Polish is the name of the game as a cropper, so his immediate flick and power show will make Scouts keep his name in a circle for the rest of the week and beyond.
Jack ColitoAnd Oregon
Coleto’s teammate TE Luke Musgrave He began to attract a lot of fanfare as the draft gained steam. Coleto, a linebacker who also played linebacker at Oregon State, was the recipient of the Paul Hornung Award in 2022 as the nation’s most versatile player. Coleto showed the versatility on Saturday that is a prerequisite for the linebacker position on the day NFL. Colito lined up in the backfield and remained a lightsaber as an F-tight end in tight end formations. He showed a surprisingly polished track tree, reliable and athletic hands that allow him to line up all over the formation rather than just in the backfield as we expect most linebackers.
Stromberg started off a great week with his measurements, tipping the scales at 315 pounds and also measuring in at 33 cubits 1/8 inch. Both are incredibly important to controlling a pivotal position in the NFL today as teams begin to bolster their inside line defense again.
It’s not just size and length that sets Stromberg apart. He was strong in the team’s periods, blasting holes in the middle in the running game and providing clear lanes for the Western team’s offensive backs. Stromberg’s footwork will be something to continue to watch on pass protection, but his height and strength made him a solid start during Shrine Bowl week.
Kadim TelfortAnd uab
Telfort is hard to miss. He is legit 6-foot-7 with arms measuring 35 7/8 inches. Its length, of course, is very noticeable. But Telfort highlighted his athleticism and recovery ability in one-on-one training against the defensive linemen. He has the size of an elite but still raw with his hand and technique. If he can demonstrate practical footwork and balance during this week’s practice, the teams will take note.
Talent was never a question with Cox, and she was on full display on Saturday. He was sometimes just a handful to prevent the attack of the West. Sometimes, he would win immediately on plays and on the field before the quarterback could even give a running back the ball or finish a touchdown. If Cox can show he can play within the defense structure and not play on plays this week, he’ll have enough athleticism and height to keep teams ticking.
PJ MusteverAnd Pennsylvania state
There’s nothing like some defensive midfield beef to get you excited – Mustipher was tough to move in a running game all day. He even showed solid handwork and won the spot to get onto the field and disrupt the running game during the Western team’s practice.
Mustipher will not be a real threat. But continuing to deliver will help his cause to be a useful player to the next level.
Drake ThomasAnd North Carolina
An instinctive college tackle machine, Thomas’s measurements (5-11, 228 pounds, 29 1/8 inches) will cause plenty of hesitation when evaluating his game. Seeing how he holds up in coverage this week and if he can get some of his taller offensive linemen off him in the running game will help his stock immensely.
McKee GarnerAnd LSU
Garner won the Battle of Shrine Week measurements – 6-1 1/2, 220 pounds with arms 32 1/2 inches. Garner looked more like a safe linebacker or younger outside cornerback. Garner is a physical player and more than keeps himself during one-on-one road spells. Showing real covering ability this week plus his size and height make him an intriguing name to watch during the draft process. I’d love to see how he handles playing in the slot this week in practice.
De Sean JamisonTexas
Jamison is a diminutive cornerback (5-9, 186 lbs.) but his competitive playing style is spot on. Jamison had one of the best, if not the best, days for the eastern corner during odd stints against wide receivers. Playing with an astute physique, Jamison has created issues for receivers of all shapes and sizes. While Jamison lacks size, he does have good length (31 1/4 inches of arms) and has shown hand-eye coordination when playing ball all day, sparring and hitting putts on the ground.
I’m excited to see Jamison compete the rest of the week and hope to see him work from the inside and see if his competitive play style holds up in the physical aspects of the game.
(Top photo of Dorian Thompson Robinson: Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)