Shrine Bowl QB Rankings Day 1: Austin Reed, Kedon Slovis Stand Out

Western Kentucky QB Austin Reed set himself apart among the Shrine Bowl QBs on Day 1 of practices, but which other passers gave reason for optimism?

Which Shrine Bowl QBs shined on Day 1 of the 2024 NFL Draft showcase? A top-notch performance from Western Kentucky’s Austin Reed kicks off our daily rankings, but other Power Five passers are hot on his heels.

Day 1 Shrine Bowl QB Rankings: Austin Reed Shines Early

Neither Jordan Travis nor Jason Bean participated in practice drills on Day 1 of the Shrine Bowl. Bean is a very recent addition to the roster, and Travis is still recovering from a severe ankle injury suffered at the end of the 2023 season.

1) Austin Reed, Western Kentucky

So far, the class of the Shrine Bowl QB roster is Austin Reed. Reed was by far the most consistent QB on both rosters on Day 1, and it’s no surprise after his incredibly productive two-year stint with the Hilltoppers.

Mechanically, Reed is an incredibly sound passer, with great rotational torque and short-range velocity. Mentally, his consistent anticipation allowed him to hit receivers with timeliness and keep the offense on schedule.

With his anticipation and rotational velocity, Reed was able to hit tight-window slants with ease in 7-on-7s, and he also anticipated a break on a deep curl to Tejhaun Palmer, using his torque to drive the ball ahead. Meanwhile, in 1-on-1s, Reed also had the touch to hit impressive bucket throws.

Practice is a place to let passes rip and take chances, and Reed did hesitate on occasion in that department. He had a vertical shot open at the top of his play-action drop in team drills at one point but hesitated. He also led Isaiah Williams a bit too far on a dig in 1-on-1s.

But overall, Reed’s first day at the Shrine Bowl served to separate him from the pack as a passer. On top of that, he also showed off some evasiveness as a runner and scrambler during his team session.

2) Kedon Slovis, BYU

There were two quarterbacks who stood out from the rest on Day 1 of Shrine Bowl practices. Reed takes the top spot on our early rankings, but Kedon Slovis was also on a tier above.

Like any all-star QB, Slovis is still gaining chemistry with his wide receivers. That was clear through his imprecision when anticipating breaks, and a miscommunication in team drills that almost led to a pick. But overall, Slovis was solid, and he wasn’t scared, either.

Slovis had good zip and mechanical efficiency in warmups, and that carried over to drills. He came out firing in 7-on-7s with an opposite-hash drive ball outside the numbers. Although it fell incomplete, he gave his receiver a chance on a higher-difficulty throw.

MORE: 2024 Shrine Bowl Day 1 Risers and Sliders

Elsewhere in team drills and 7-on-7s, Slovis had good ball handling and operation off play-action. He read high-to-low and was patient, placing the ball low with contact threats incoming. He also had a beautiful touch pass to UTSA WR Joshua Cephus in 1-on-1s.

Slovis must continue to gain chemistry, and his deep accuracy can still improve, but his first day was very much a positive.

3) Taulia Tagovailoa, Maryland

Taulia Tagovailoa is perhaps the most experienced veteran in a veteran-laden Shrine Bowl cast. That experience yielded a degree of comfort and rhythm in his first day, amongst a sea of moving parts.

Early in team drills, Tagovailoa recovered quickly when faced with a bad snap, and he routinely hit his checkdowns in-stride with accuracy while under pressure. And in 1-on-1s, he dished a perfect deep ball to Lideatrick Griffin, placing it where only his WR could reach.

Of course, Tagovailoa’s entire career at Maryland was plagued by volatility, and that hasn’t left him yet. His situational precision can still hit a greater threshold, and his release is a bit winding and cumbersome for his size, which can impact his trajectory at times.

That said, Tagovailoa at least proved himself to be a capable distributor and offensive leader on Day 1. Over the next couple of days, the next step for him will be to take more chances when given open opportunities in the deep third on rollouts.

4) John Rhys Plumlee, UCF

At 6’0″, 200 pounds, John Rhys Plumlee is the superlative athlete at the Shrine Bowl, and his easy mobility stood out as a plus on option hand-offs and play-action reps. He also has underrated arm elasticity, with a quick release and easy zip in the short range.

The highlight of the day for Plumlee was an impressive low completion to Cephus over the middle of the field. Cephus had a defender closing in on his position coming out of a break, but Plumlee led him low and away from contact, allowing him to gather the ball.

MORE: Top Wide Receivers at the Shrine Bowl

That play, however, was a bright spot in an otherwise inconsistent passing outing for Plumlee. He didn’t always use his mobility to adapt when rushers occluded passing windows, and his narrow base caused shoulder instability and imprecision at times, forcing high-difficulty adjustments from WRs.

Plumlee needs to become more controlled mechanically in the days to come, to further consistently attune his situational precision. But at the very least, his natural talent is a foundation to build off of.

5) Jack Plummer, Louisville

In terms of having the prototypical frame and the necessary arm, Jack Plummer does look the part. However, he’s clearly still finding his stride at the Shrine Bowl, especially when faced with simulated pressure in team drills.

On one pass in team drills, Plummer anticipated a window over the middle of the field, but his wide base and slow feet inhibited velocity drive, causing the pass to fall into the dirt. And when he was forced outside by pressure, he visibly lacked comfort as an off-platform thrower, hesitating on open scramble-drill receivers.

Plummer was absent from WR 1-on-1s, but as the primary thrower in TE and RB 1-on-1s, he displayed a fluid release, as well as solid accuracy and touch. In a confined environment, those traits are present — but bringing it against pressure is the next step.

6) Devin Leary, Kentucky

A fumbled snap early in team drills somewhat set the tone for Devin Leary on Day 1. Leary entered this week trying to recapture his 2021 magic from NC State, but he’ll need more time to do so.

Indecision and inaccuracy plagued Leary in his initial Shrine Bowl action. On his first play-action rollout in team drills, he had an open receiver on a middle-of-field crosser, but he chose to check down to his RB in the flat and missed the throw left after pulling his shoulder too far around.

Leary did have a nice in-stride laser on an intermediate crosser later on, but that was negated by an instant win and sack by Fabien Lovett. Outside of that play, Leary’s scattershot accuracy and lack of direction to the intermediate and deep ranges stood out.

It wasn’t all bad for Leary. He was generally accurate and timed breaks well in 7-on-7s. And in 1-on-1s, he had a nice drive ball to Palmer on a go-route and led Casey Washington back outside for RAC on a boundary comeback.

If Leary can build on those positive moments over the next two days, he can rise in the rankings. But overall, more consistent accuracy and anticipation are necessities for the Wildcats’ QB.

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