Since 1925, the East-West Shrine Bowl has been helping prospects from all levels, from Power Five down to FCS and beyond, to elevate their draft stock and realize their dream of playing in the NFL. Here, we’re examining the top Group of Five NFL Draft prospects who will be on show at the 2023 Shrine Bowl.
Group of Five NFL Draft Prospects at the 2023 Shrine Bowl | West Team
Chase Brice, QB, Appalachian State
As the only quarterback Group of Five NFL Draft prospect at the 2023 Shrine Bowl, let’s give Chase Brice his flowers. Since joining Appalachian State in 2021, he’s had consecutive seasons with 27 passing touchdowns, completing over 62% of his passes, while averaging over eight yards per pass attempt.
This season, he duked it out with Drake Maye and put Texas A&M to the sword. Brice has the arm strength to reach all levels of the field, the ability to go through his progressions, and an elevated understanding of coverages that allows him to dissect defenses at will.
Kadeem Telfort, OT, UAB
Considered a potential prospect in the previous cycle, Kadeem Telfort returned to UAB for the 2022 college football season and positioned himself as one of the top Group of Five NFL Draft prospects at the 2023 Shrine Bowl.
At 6’8″ and 330 pounds, Telfort is a mountain of a man whose size understandably dominates his scouting report. However, he boasts impressive mobility for his sheer mass and is able to move fluidly out to the second level. The UAB OT has violent hands as a people mover but also possesses a high football IQ.
Desjuan Johnson, DL, Toledo
There are a number of defensive line Group of Five NFL Draft prospects to be excited about during the 2023 Shrine Bowl, but Desjuan Johnson should definitely command your attention. The versatile Toledo defensive lineman has racked up 29 tackles for loss and 10 sacks over the last two seasons alone.
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The 6’3″, 275 pounds fifth-year has seen time at defensive tackle and edge for the Rockets, demonstrating his versatility. He achieves this with an exciting athletic profile that boasts an explosive get-off, good speed, and exciting lateral agility. Meanwhile, Johnson already has a well-developed pass-rush arsenal and a motor that runs hot on every single snap.
Nic Jones, CB, Ball State
After accepting his invite to the 2023 Shrine Bowl, Ball State cornerback Nic Jones is one of the Group of Five NFL Draft prospects that is already beginning to emerge from under the radar. A solid performance against an East Team brimming with WR talent will only help further his cause as a potential draftee.
At 6’0″ and 186 pounds, Jones has decent size for the position and boasts excellent length, which, combined with his ball-tracking ability, makes him a menace at the catch point. The Ball State cornerback has all the athletic traits to be successful in man schemes while possessing the play recognition and reaction skills to succeed as a zone corner.
Myles Brooks, CB Louisiana Tech
Good luck throwing on this West Team secondary, as it’s littered with top-tier Group of Five NFL Draft prospects at the cornerback position. Joining Jones as the headliner of the group is Louisiana Tech’s Myles Brooks, a playmaker who snagged three interceptions in the 2022 college football campaign.
The former Stephen F. Austin cornerback had a standout first season in the FBS, and it’s easy to see why. At 6’2″, he boasts excellent size, and he plays the game with ludicrous explosion downfield and vertical athleticism at the catch point. Showcasing more composure and strength as a tackler at the Shrine Bowl will help him continue his ascent up draft boards.
Other Group of Five NFL Draft Prospects on the Shrine Bowl West Team
- Demario Douglas, WR, Liberty
- Michael Jefferson, WR, Louisiana
- Andre Jones, EDGE, Louisiana
- Starling Thomas IV, CB, UAB
- Eric Scott Jr., CB, Southern Miss.
Group of Five NFL Draft Prospects at the 2023 Shrine Bowl | East Team
Jalen Cropper, WR, Fresno State
As the go-to pass catcher in the Fresno State offense for the past three seasons, Jalen Cropper has etched his name in program record books alongside Bulldogs greats such as Davante Adams and KeeSean Johnson. After the first 1,000-yard season of his career, Cropper heads to the 2023 Shrine Bowl as one of the top Group of Five NFL Draft prospects.
The Fresno State WR is an explosive weapon in multiple phases of the game. Cropper’s speed and acceleration allow him to create almost effortless separation while giving him an after-the-catch advantage. Additionally, he has been used with the ball in his hands out of the backfield. For his size (5’11”, 176-pound), the Fresno State WR is a constant competitor at the point.
Leonard Taylor, TE, Cincinnati
Tight end teammate Josh Whyle has earned significant attention for the Cincinnati Bearcats, but Leonard Taylor was an exciting addition to the 2023 Shrine Bowl roster. His statistical résumé won’t blow you away, but when you dig behind the numbers, you realize that Taylor has the potential to be one of the top Group of Five prospects on show in Las Vegas.
At 6’5″ and 260 pounds, Taylor is a nicely sized NFL tight end with the accompanying blocking strength that you’d expect from a man of his size. Yet, it’s the Cincinnati tight end’s smooth, quick route running and excellent ball-tracking as a downfield pass-catching threat that should have scouts salivating at the 2023 Shrine Bowl.
Viliami Fehoko, DL, San Jose State
This East Team has some incredible Group of Five NFL Draft prospects across the defense, and it starts on the defensive front with Viliami “Junior” Fehoko. The San Jose State star now has three consecutive double-digit tackle for loss seasons, with 47 TFL and 23 sacks across his Spartans career. He has the potential to be a legitimate disruptor at the 2023 Shrine Bowl.
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At 6’4″ and 263 pounds, with reported 33″ arms, Fehoko is a big, powerful, defensive lineman who can use his strength and natural length advantage to bully opposing offensive linemen. He’s not all power and no panache, however, with an exciting pass rush toolbox and the explosion and flexibility to threaten from any alignment.
Jose Ramirez, EDGE, Eastern Michigan
Between Fehoko and Eastern Michigan’s Jose Ramirez (not to mention Ferris State’s Caleb Murphy), stopping the East Team from getting into the opposing backfield is going to be a tough task. Ramirez led all FBS players in sacks per game in the 2022 college football season, ending the year with 19.5 tackles for loss, 12 sacks, and two forced fumbles.
At 6’2″, 253-pound, he’s not the tallest of pass rushers, but that doesn’t stop him from being one of the top Group of Five NFL Draft prospects. Ramirez boasts impressive explosiveness off the snap and has the flexibility to bend around the edge with the best of them. While smaller, he has good length and showcases the ability to use it was a devastating long-arm move.
Lance Boykin, CB, Coastal Carolina
Coastal Carolina cornerback Lance Boykin ended the season as the Chanticleers’ leader in pass breakups (eight) while tying the team lead for interceptions (two). Meanwhile, only JT Killen had more tackles than the Coastal CB, as he showcased an all-around game that should see him viewed as one of the top Group of Five prospects at the 2023 Shrine Bowl.
Boykin is a 6’3″, 200-pound menace with 32″ arms that give him an almost unfair advantage at the catch point. This is buoyed by the physicality that you see him put to good use as a tackler. In the quest to find another cornerback anomaly like Tariq Woolen, the former high school running back brings excellent speed to the table, enabling him to be hyper-effective in man coverage.
Other Group of Five NFL Draft Prospects on the Shrine Bowl East Team
- Jordan Mims, RB, Fresno State
- Deneric Prince, RB, Tulsa
- Derek Parish, FB, Houston
- Nikko Remigio, WR, Fresno State
- Joel Wilson, TE, Central Michigan
- John Ojukwu, OT, Boise State
- Ikenna Enechukwu, DL, Rice
- Brodric Martin, DL, Western Kentucky
- Nehemiah Shelton, CB, San Jose State
- Kahlef Hailassie, CB, Western Kentucky
- Gervarrius Owens, S, Houston
- Tyreque Jones, S, Boise State
- Art Green, S, Houston