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2023 East-West Shrine Bowl Preview

Players to watch Thursday in Las Vegas

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 03 Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game - Oregon vs Georgia Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The East-West Shrine Bowl is happening Thursday, February 2, at 8:30 EST on the NFL Network. A game that has been played since 1925 to benefit Shriners Children’s, it’s one of the first opportunities people will have to focus on 2023 NFL Draft prospects. There are a lot of talented players who will be hoping to make an impact this week as current NFL players like Za’Darius Smith and Jimmy Garoppolo have done in this game. Maybe Washington will find another player like East-West Shrine Bowl Hall of Famer Mark Rypien!

I wanted to highlight a few that I think the Commanders should watch closely because of their potential to contribute to the team.

East Team

A.T. Perry, WR, Wake Forest

Washington has a lot of talent at wideout, but they do not have a lot of size. A player like A.T. Perry could address that need. Listed at 6’5” 205 lbs, Perry presents a big target for a quarterback. I’d like to see if he can be a little more aggressive at the point of the catch.

Kearis Jackson, WR, Georgia

Jackson is here for one reason and one reason only: punt returns. If he can provide quality depth at receiver as well, that would be a bonus.

Leonard Taylor, TE, Cincinnati

With good size at almost 6’5” and 250 lbs, Taylor is able to get open downfield and hard to bring down. I’ll be looking to see how he contributes in the run game.

Carter Warren, OT, Pittsburgh

He may not be the quickest off the snap, but Warren has quick feet, reacts quickly to defenders, and does a good job using his length to control defenders.

John Ojukwu, OT, Boise State

Another left tackle prospect that looks to have the tools to excel in pass protection. My favorite trait of his is his patience. I’ll be watching for his run blocking and his ability to block in space.

Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu, OT, Oregon

Predominately playing at right tackle for the Ducks, Aumavae-Laulu has an enticing blend of strength and athleticism that would be a huge asset to the Commanders offensive line.

Juice Scruggs, OG/C, Penn State

Chase Roullier has been an excellent player when healthy, but he’s ended the past two seasons on injured reserve. Scruggs, a team captain for the Nittany Lions, is an athletic lineman that will have to get stronger to really contribute. If Roullier returns to form, Scruggs can hold down a spot at OG.

Kobie Turner, DT, Wake Forest

Shoutout to The10Jersey for sharing this prospect in another post. Turner is athletic, quick, and plays the run well. Is he strong enough to make an impact at the next level?

Jose Ramirez, EDGE, Eastern Michigan

With excellent get-off, speed around the edge, and ability to flatten to the QB, Jose Ramirez had the second-most sacks in college football last season. I’m looking to see him elevate his play against prospect from Power Five schools and how he plays the run.

Anfernee Orji, LB, Vanderbilt

What intrigues me about Orji is his lateral quickness. He’s good at scraping along the line and tracking ball carriers to the outside. He also will fill gaps in the run game. I want to see more of him in coverage.

Kei’Trel Clark, CB. Louisville

He might be a bit undersized at only 5’10”, 179 lbs, but Clark is technically sound, quick, agile, and has the hands to take the ball away from the offense. If he can’t survive on the boundary, he should be able to start at nickel.

Kahlef Hailassie, CB, Western Kentucky

For a team that plays a lot of zone coverage, Hailassie should fit right in. He plays his assignments in zone coverage well and has the length to make up for being out of position. Speed and agility are my questions for him as they might hinder him in man coverage.

West Team

Kazmeir Allen, RB, UCLA

There are a lot of talented backs in this game, but I think most are similar to Brian Robinson, Jr. What Allen brings to the table is speed. He’s small, so I worry about his ability to block, but he would be an ideal third-down back and kick returner.

Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College

Curtis Samuel will be a free agent after next season. If you are looking for a replacement, consider Flowers. He is small at 5’9”, 180 lbs, but he is electric. He should thrive in the slot and be a player you move around the formation and get the ball to in various ways.

Jaxson Kirkland, OT, Washington

Once a highly-regarding prospect, Kirkland struggled last year with some of the top pass rushers. Can he regain his form as a top tackle prospect? If he can’t, can he flip to the right side or play guard?

Ricky Stromberg, OG/C, Arkansas

Primarily playing center the past two seasons, but with experience at both guard spots, Ricky Stromberg is strong in the pass game and excels when he gets to block downhill. He’s not the most athletic or agile blocker, so he might struggle with faster interior defenders.

Kadeem Telfort, OT, UAB

Kadeem Telfort is a huge tackle at 6’7”, 319 lbs that is mauler in the run game and hard to move in the passing game. I’d like to see more pass pro before I’m sold on him staying at LT.

Shaka Heyward, LB, Duke

Heyward offers length and size at almost 6’3” and 239 lbs. He was very productive for Duke, especially when attacking the line of scrimmage. I’m curious to see more of him in coverage.

Myles Brooks, CB, LA Tech

Brooks has good size and looks to have some scheme versatility. Speed is my big question with him.

A full list of players in the East West Shrine Bowl game can be found here. What do you think of these players and are there any player you’re looking forward to seeing in the game?