The 2022 East-West Shrine Bowl officially kicked off on Saturday, bringing with it the sound of cracking pads for the thousands of scouts, team officials, and media members in attendance. After a terrific first day of practice on the field, there were certainly a fair amount of takeaways from both the East and West teams. Here, however, we’ll highlight the top Shrine Bowl risers from the first day of action as we move closer to the 2022 NFL Draft, as well as maybe one player who will look to rebound in the subsequent days of practice this weekend.
Want more after reading this? PFN Draft Analyst Tony Pauline has also published his Day 1 Practice Report from Shrine Bowl practice today (Saturday, January 29).
Shrine Bowl Practice No. 1 Risers
A beautiful morning in Las Vegas gave way to some exquisite action on the field. Here are our top risers from the first practice of the Shrine Bowl.
Bamidele Olaseni, OT, Utah
Arguably the biggest riser of the whole day, Utah’s Bamidele Olaseni was dominant all session long. He worked at both right and left tackle spots in one-on-one drills. Bam also rotated into both guards spots at certain times, showing his willingness to put his skills on display.
He already made headlines with his massive 88′ 3/8″ wingspan and backed that up with stellar performances in every drill. Olaseni’s feet were particularly impressive as he never lost balance or looked out of control. He contacted defenders first and even spent time honing his craft when not in the action. It was a commanding showing.
Darien Butler, LB, Arizona State
Surprising to no one who watched his tape, Arizona State LB Darien Butler really wowed people in attendance during practice No. 1. Whether it was filling run gaps or patrolling the middle of the field in coverage, Butler did it all in team drills. He looked light on his feet and quick to react.
He was always moving forward in the run game and never lost any ground in the passing drills. Butler led whatever unit he was with whenever he was on the field.
Kyler McMichael, CB, North Carolina
Making the best play of any defender during the first practice, Kyler McMichael put his name on the map officially. During team drills, McMichael closed space between him and his receiver on a post route from off coverage. He closed the space, jumped the route, and made a dramatic pass breakup that sent the defensive sidelines into a frenzy.
McMichael showcased great feet in agility drills and sure hands in individual sessions. The production on very limited snaps in team drills is something to take note of for McMichael here. He was on point all session long.
Charleston Rambo, WR, Miami (FL)
Unguardable for essentially the entire practice, Miami (FL) WR Charleston Rambo was dominant all over the field. Whether it was the release drill off the line that he continually won or sure hands during passing drills, Rambo absolutely turned heads.
But Rambo’s best moment came in team drills where he made the best play of the day for the offensive units. Beating his defensive back off the line of scrimmage, Rambo adjusted his route on a deep go ball, tracked it perfectly, and made a leaping snag in between two defenders. It would have been called back in a real game due to an illegal motion, but the catch was nonetheless spectacular.
Matthew Butler, DT, Tennessee
Proving to be too quick and too strong for most that stood in front of him, Matthew Butler won with a variety of pass-rush skills during the first practice. Butler was strong when he needed to, blowing up anchor attempts from the offensive line.
Yet, he was also speedy enough to use a push-and-pull move where he gave a strong arm, pulled back, and ran right by linemen at times as well. It was a dominant showing, perhaps the most dominant of the defensive linemen who played specifically on the interior during the practice.
Xavier Newman-Johnson, OL, Baylor
Proving to have it all, Baylor interior lineman Xavier Newman-Johnson had an imposing showing. He anchored well and moved in the run game even better. Newman-Johnson showcased a great strength and base as well as terrific balance through contact.
Linemen often don’t get credit for their wins unless they’re pancaking defenders. But in Newman-Johnson’s case, the cheer for “X” was all too prevalent every time he won a rep. And he won a lot.
Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, DL, Notre Dame
Playing in-between positions, it seems, Notre Dame DL Myron Taogvailoa-Amosa rotated from edge to interior all session long. Yet, it didn’t matter.
Tagovailoa-Amosa won no matter where he lined up. He used a quick spin to destroy tackles to the quarterback spot. Then, he showcased strength going against guards as he consistently bull rushed linemen back into the spot.
His highlight-reel moment came when he pulled off the most impressive spin move of the day. Tagovailoa-Amosa clubbed the lineman with a heavy fist and spun inside to his left, beating the guard within two seconds of the snap. It was impressive and received a just reaction from those watching.
Chigoziem Okonkwo, TE, Maryland
A possession receiver in a tight end’s body, Chigoziem Okonkwo was dominant in individual drills as well as in team and 7-on-7 drills. He proved to be too much for linebackers to stick with and routinely made plays over defensive backs. Okonkwo put on quite a show for Maryland this season, and he’s continued that so far in Vegas.
Having spoken to PFN, Okonkwo also showcased what makes him special: his versatility. He routinely mixed it up in the run game during team drills, finding first- and second-level defenders with ease. That willingness to do it all as a tight end will pay off in spades for Okonkwo.
Thomas Booker, DL, Stanford
Moving for such a big man, Thomas Booker was beating his own teammates in individual drills. Including teammates who were much smaller, Booker was a monster all day long, winning just about everything he did. He was terrific on the inside, pushing guards or centers into the pocket with ease.
Booker also showcased great hand usage and even better feet on the pass-rush drills. He also came downhill in the run game well and showcased versatility as he lined up all the way from 7-tech to 0-tech in the session.
Hayden Howerton, OL, SMU
It didn’t matter who was in front of him, Hayden Howerton gave them all he had. He pulled well in the run game when called upon and gave interior linemen fits in pass protection. Howerton certainly showcased strength and balance in one-on-one drills, putting forth a pancake block on one of his trail-away blocks.
He reached well and played all around the interior of the offensive line from right guard to left with some center reps in there as well. Howerton more than backed up our first-team All-AAC selection of his this season.
Want to choose which of these players could land on your favorite NFL team? Take a spin on the free PFN Mock Draft Simulator with trades.
Shrine Bowl Practice No. 1 Sliders
As with any event of this kind, there are bound to be some players who will need to rebound after a sluggish showing. Rather than call them out by name, we’ll use this here to showcase what they can do to have a better showing the rest of the time out.
It wasn’t the best showing from the quarterbacks as a whole. Each quarterback had a few nice throws in sporadic nature, but each fumbled snaps under center and from the shotgun. Some quarterbacks were slow to make reads, while others were slow to get the ball from Point A to Point B.
Getting the ball out quicker and making progressive reads will go a long way at showcasing not only the ability to rebound but also linear growth. Showcasing that they can take coaching and implement it on the field will go a long way for one of these six quarterbacks to hear their name called in April.
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