The 2023 East-West Shrine Bowl has concluded. Here are the top 2023 NFL Draft risers from the event. Which schools are represented most, and which prospect comes away as the top riser? Plenty of prospects impressed, but these ones stood above.
Final Risers From the 2023 East-West Shrine Bowl
Trey Dean III, S, Florida
You distinguish yourself by making plays. Trey Dean III made plays all week in Las Vegas and was the most consistent safety at the Shrine Bowl by far. On Monday, he notched two interceptions, both with his range and ball skills. And during the game, he had another pick — an excellent focus play off a deflection.
None of this mentions Dean locking down opponents during 1-on-1s with his athleticism and technique. He’s a definite riser.
Nic Jones, CB, Ball State
The cornerbacks were largely very strong throughout the week, but a select few stood out from the rest. Nic Jones was one of those cornerbacks from the start.
Jones filled the week with stellar 1-on-1 reps, showcasing his patience, short-area athleticism, and playmaking ability — but he saved his best for the game. Jones notched a pick with his zone awareness. On another rep in off-man coverage, he was able to engineer a speed turn on a quick dig route, preventing the WR from manipulating his blind spot, and using his length to notch another deflection.
Jones is smart, fluid, and very proactive, and he showed it all in Vegas.
Xazavian Valladay, RB, Arizona State
It’s not brash to say Xazavian Valladay was the top offensive performer in the Shrine Bowl game. That’s not saying much in a 12-3 outing, but regardless, Valladay earned himself more fans this week.
In practices, Valladay had several dynamic runs and showed off his utility as a receiver with quickness on his routes. And in the game, he once again showed off his speciality — getting downhill with efficiency and zeal.
Brenton Cox Jr., EDGE, Florida
Brenton Cox Jr.‘s goals at the Shrine Bowl were two-fold: Answer team questions about his past at Georgia and Florida, and show off more refinement beyond the raw tools.
Only teams can say if Cox accomplished the first goal, but he clearly accomplished the second. Cox was incredibly hard to block all week, applying his rare natural talent with violent swipes, swims, rips, and power moves. In the game, he earned a sack as well.
Drake Thomas, LB, NC State
Even after his strong week, you may see Drake Thomas fall under the radar again. But don’t fall for it: Keep him on your list.
Thomas had three total tackles in the game, and leading up to game day, he was the most consistent and impactful linebacker on the Shrine Bowl roster. He measured in at 5’11”, but Thomas is rocked up for his size, with stellar foot speed and short-area athleticism, to go with great football IQ and physicality.
Ochaun Mathis, EDGE, Nebraska
Ochaun Mathis’ usage at the Shrine Bowl will be a peculiar study, as he proceeds through the rest of the 2023 NFL Draft process. Mathis played as an interior lineman just as much as an edge rusher. And despite weighing 247 pounds at 6’4 1/2″, his elite length and wingspan allowed him to drive power, and his athleticism gave him opportunities to recover. He used those traits to secure two sacks in the Shrine Bowl game.
Kei’Trel Clark, CB, Louisville
Kei’Trel Clark wasn’t a highlight of the Shrine Bowl game, earning just two tackles. But we’ll give him a pass for not racking up stats because, more often than not, he was dissuading quarterbacks from throwing his way.
Clark earned his stats this week, serving as a near-lockdown CB in 1-on-1s with his explosiveness, tenacity, and instincts. With his size, he also proved he could come downhill with voracity and support in the run game.
Dante Stills, DT, West Virginia
Dante Stills was a constant disruptor throughout the week. At his size, he’s very explosive and flexible, and that showed up time and time again against hapless offensive linemen.
Stills’ blend of quickness and violence caught many blockers lurching, and that carried into the game. Early on, he had a ruthless club-swim to beat a block and halt a play in the backfield. Stills played well in Las Vegas, and brought great energy, too.
Moro Ojomo, DT, Texas
The game itself was a quiet affair for Moro Ojomo. After seeing his week of practices, however, it’s hard to keep him off any risers list.
Ojomo piqued interest right away with his measurements, coming in at 6’2 1/2″ and 294 pounds, with massive 34 1/2″ arms. His build was very intriguing, and he spent practices using that build to pulverize offensive linemen. Ojomo’s elite power element allowed him to drive blockers back consistently.
Demario Douglas, WR, Liberty
Demario Douglas ultimately didn’t play in the Shrine Bowl. That’s not an issue, however, because Douglas shined all week.
Despite coming in at around 5’8″, 175 pounds, Douglas routed up defenders all week with his high-end explosiveness, agility, and throttle control. When he was crowded, Douglas displayed sure hands, both against contact and when extending beyond his frame. He made the impact Zay Flowers was expected to make.
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