- A.T. Perry thrives through the air: The Wake Forest WR found success against the DBs at the Shrine Bowl, as he finished the week as the highest-graded receiver in attendance.
- B.J. Thompson explodes onto scouts' radars: The Stephen F. Austin EDGE's explosiveness enabled him to have an impressive week in Las Veags, as he was the second-highest-graded edge defender in attendance over the week.
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
The 2023 East-West Shrine Bowl practices featured six top-100 players on the PFF draft board; however, they didn't make this list. Going up against other future NFL talents in a controlled setting really shines a light on who belongs and who doesn’t. These five guys proved they most certainly belong.
OT Connor Galvin, Baylor
Due to Galvin's experience in his collegiate career, he better have looked comfortable in a setting like the Shrine Bowl. He played 3,554 snaps in his collegiate career — 3,446 of them at left tackle — and on 873 pass-blocking snaps over the past two seasons, he’s allowed just 19 pressures. Therefore, it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that on 25 pass-blocking reps between the one-on-ones and team drills, Galvin only lost twice. He finished the week as the highest-graded tackle in attendance and even if it may not be enough to sneak him into Day 2, it secured him a spot on early Day 3 of the 2023 NFL Draft.
Checking out some Shrine practice tape. OT Connor Galvin great rep here. pic.twitter.com/Ff6GobnJza
— Jared Stanger (@JaredStanger) January 30, 2023
EDGE B.J. Thompson, Stephen F. Austin
Thompson may very well have been the biggest riser in Vegas. He started off well by weighing in at 238 pounds — a massive gain from the 210 pounds he was listed at in 2021. He compounded that by maintaining the trademark explosiveness that made him a “Freaks” list member this past fall. That explosiveness combined with his 82.5-inch wingspan was too much for FCS tackles this past fall, as evidenced by his 92.6 pass-rushing grade, and it was also too much for the tackles at the Shrine Bowl. He finished with the second-highest grade among edge defenders in attendance. He still needs to add considerable muscle to his frame, but his skillset is a unique one that defensive line coaches have to be salivating to develop.
Slick inside spin move from Stephen F. Austin’s BJ Thompson to win a rep at the #ShrineBowl on the first day of practice. pic.twitter.com/hD6zM3LKwx
— Bobby Football (@Rob__Paul) January 29, 2023
CB Terell Smith, Minnesota
Smith took quite the path to have his day in the sun at the Shrine Bowl. He was starting for the Golden Gophers way back as a true freshman in 2018 before getting jumped on the depth chart the next two seasons, playing only 209 snaps in the process. Smith finally won the starting job back in 2021 but struggled down the stretch due to injuries. He broke out in a big way this past fall with a 78.7 coverage grade, and that carried over to his time in Vegas. Smith forced incompletions on six of his 13 targets and allowed only five catches for 44 air yards throughout the week.
Great play by Minnesota CB Terell Smith in coverage #PFNShrine | @ShrineBowl pic.twitter.com/1nEDskmep6
— Cam Mellor (@CamMellor) January 28, 2023
WR A.T. Perry, Wake Forest
Perry showed off his entire skillset during the one-on-ones out in Las Vegas. His ability as a bigger receiver to separate down the field is something that everyone is looking for in the NFL, and it makes him a weapon at all three levels of the football field. He finished as the highest-graded receiver in attendance and pushed himself firmly into the late-Day 2 conversation.
A.T. Perry has been unguardable pic.twitter.com/9zKt77jCgg
— Billy M (@BillyM_91) January 30, 2023
C Juice Scruggs, Penn State
Scruggs was a tone-setter on tape at Penn State and that continued at the Shrine Bowl. He looked like a bull rider with the way he was latching onto nose tackles in one-on-ones before riding them away from the pocket. His fluidity and base really stood out, as he lost only three of his 56 pass-blocking snaps on the week. That’s massive for him considering he was far from lights out in that regard with 36 pressures allowed over the previous two seasons.
Penn State’s Juice Scruggs showing a strong base and impressive balance on this rep at the #SeniorBowl. He’s had a great two days of practice. pic.twitter.com/3QDKJeOJdj
— Bobby Football (@Rob__Paul) January 30, 2023