Which players hoping to be drafted in the 2023 NFL Draft had big performances in the East-West Shrine Bowl?
The East-West Shrine Bowl was played Thursday night in Las Vegas and was the first big step in the process for players in hopes of hearing their names in the 2023 NFL Draft. There wasn’t much in terms of scoring as the West beat the East by a final score of 12-3 however this is one game that the score doesn’t really matter as much.
Rather it is the individual performances and these were some of the top players who stood out in this game on Thursday night.
One of the stars on the East defense was EDGE BJ Thompson out of Stephen F. Austin. He was explosive and almost unblockable for most of the game finishing with two sacks. The first sack he had was due to miscommunication by the offensive line which closed quickly to record the sack. However the second sack, in this tweet from Evan Lazar, shows what he can do.
As Lazar notes, Thompson doesn’t have an invite to the Scouting Combine but that really should change after the performance he had on Thursday night.
There wasn’t much in terms of passing in this game as all six quarterbacks who played combined for only 209 passing yards but there was more success on the ground. One of those players that found some room was Xazavian Valladay, who finished the game with the most carries (13) and rushing yards (76). He also added one reception for four yards.
Valladay played three seasons at Wyoming before transferring to Arizona State this past season. He was a versatile player with 215 rushing attempts, and 1,192 rushing yards while also catching 37 passes for 289 receiving yards and 18 total touchdowns.
Trey Dean III
One of the biggest plays of the game was made by former Florida Gators’ safety Trey Dean III, who had an interception in the closing minutes of the first half. The East looked like they were about to take the lead after a fumbled snap by Tommy Devito gave them a short field.
However, a few plays later the West was able to take the ball back after a pass from Tanner Morgan bounced up in the air and Trey Dean III was there to make the interception. The performance by Trey Dean III earned him defensive MVP for the game and he has built some momentum moving forward toward the NFL Draft.
It is not common for a placekicker to have notable performances but Jake Moody was impressive. The former Michigan Wolverine kicker made all four field goal attempts, including two from 51 yards that would have been good from longer.
Jake Moody is one of the best kickers in this draft class and in the past two years has made 87% of his field goal attempts and every extra point attempt with a career-long of 59 yards, which he made this past season.
He should have a real chance of hearing his name called on Day 3 of the 2023 NFL Draft.