Dynasty Rookie Prospects that Stood Out at the 2023 Shrine Bowl
While much of the 2023 Shrine Bowl felt like the 2023 Snooze Bowl for those that do not play IDP, or like kickers, there is still information to glean from the game. None of the quarterbacks did much, with starters Aidan O’Connell and Dorian Thompson- Robinson combining to go 13-33 and 156 yards. On top of that, no one caught more than two passes in the game.
We still have standout players from the week of practice and the game, and I would bet all of these players get drafted in late April this year. Will there be some IDP names discussed at the end? You’ll have to keep reading to find out, but you don’t have to take my word for it.
Xazavian Valladay, RB, Arizona State
Turning a game-high 13 carries into 76 yards, with 1 catch for 4 yards, the former Sun Devil was the best offensive, non-kicker, for the West All-Stars. He showed great hands in practice all week and did well in his last year in college for a team that had a poor season. A playmaker with the ball in his hands, he is not overly physical but fits well as a pass catching running back in a committee. At 6’0″, 200 pounds, if he shows well at the Combine he could find his way into late Day Two or early Day Three.
Tavion Thomas, RB, Utah
Sort of the opposite of Xazavian, the 6’1″, 247-pound former Ute had a good showing for the East. He only got 4 carries but ended with 26 yards, good for a game second-best 6.5 yards per carry. A strong, powerful back, that has more elusiveness and wiggle than you might expect, he is a throwback to days of yore in the NFL; think of a beefier Corey Dillon. Still, he will have a place in the NFL and could end up an early Day Three pick.
Jordan Mims, RB, Fresno State
Similar to Xazavian in size (6’0″, 200 pounds) and style (pass catcher more than bruiser), Jordan had 6 rushes for 40 yards and 2 catches for 25 yards on Thursday night. He has nice speed, quickness, and acceleration, although his vision and strength will need to improve to have much of a career in the NFL. A likely late Day Three pick, Mims will need to have a great Combine to improve his stock much more than where it is.
A.T. Perry, WR, Wake Forest
Well, it was A.T. Perry or kicker Jake Moody, and I figured most of you would prefer to not hear about a kicker (sorry Jake). So yeah, A.T. did not record a catch in the game. He had five targets, but most of them were bad throws and not catchable, and he had the full attention of West defensive backs. At 6’3″, 195 pounds he moves faster and smoother than most his size, and he dominated at practice all week. He may end up sneaking into the backend of Day 2 of the 2023 NFL Draft.
Trey Dean III, S, Florida
Did you really think I would go without a few IDP names on here? Dean was the Defensive MVP of the game, with an interception and four pass deflections in the highly defensive affair. He did not create many turnovers in his five years at Florida, but he did have 255 tackles, 13.5 TFL, and 18 pass deflections. A hard worker and wrap-up tackler, Dean has the size and athleticism to succeed in the NFL. If his offseason continues in this direction he may work his way up to a Day 2 draft selection.
Brenton Cox Jr, LB/EDGE, Florida
A physically dominant five-star high school recruit, Brenton started his career at Georgia (2018) and transferred to Florida after his first year. He was kicked off of Florida in October 2022 due to issues with the coaching staff. He began training for the 2023 NFL Draft after that and showed up well at practice for the Shrine Bowl. He had a sack to go with a few tackles and pressures. He will have to continue to develop his pass-rushing and coverage skills to become a three-down NFL player. He could work his way into late-Day 2 of the draft, assuming he can answer questions that teams will inevitably have about his character. For now, he looks like an early Day 3 player.
Jose Ramirez, EDGE, Eastern Michigan
A likely late-round prospect from a small school, Ramirez may have done the most to improve his draft stock. The MAC’s Defensive Player of the Year is still likely a Day Three pick, but he showed his pass-rushing ability off in a big way in the Shrine Bowl. He had a strip-sack of former Illinois quarterback Tommy DeVito, and forced his way into the backfield most of the night. Already an effective, if a bit undersized, pass rusher who needs to work on his run defense, The Combine in early March will be his next chance to further increase his draft stock.
Dante Stills, DT, West Virginia
A 5th-year Senior, Dante is a big man (6’4″, 280 pounds) that can move. He was a standout all week in the Shrine Bowl practices and he brought that same level of play to the game last Thursday night. A productive player while at West Virginia (137 tackles, 53 TFL, and 24.5 sacks) he was regularly in the backfield during the Shrine Bowl. He is still a likely Day Three pick, but being a player of character with a high motor, and college production, he may work his way up to the earlier part of the day.
Thank you for reading Dynasty Rookie Prospects that Stood Out at the 2023 Shrine Bowl
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