The college football season may be over but there is still some work left to do for some NFL hopefuls. On Thursday night, we had the East/West Shrine Bowl in Las Vegas where we saw a total of 13 Big 12 players display their skills.
For those who aren’t familiar, these events are primarily used as camps as players practice for an entire week in front of NFL scouts before playing in a game. It is identical to a bowl game except the teams don’t get weeks of practice before playing the game.
Before the game on Thursday, I shared six Big 12 players who should see their draft stock rise this week. Of course, it was subject to change depending on how players performed in the game, and speaking of the game, here are my top three Big 12 performances from the Shrine Bowl.
1. Kansas State QB Skylar Thompson
If there was a Big 12 MVP award for this game, it should go to Skylar Thompson because I thought he put together a solid performance on Thursday evening. Skylar got a couple of drives at quarterback, and he even led the West Team to a score as he found Virginia tight end, Jelani Woods, for a score. Outside of a fumbled snap, Thompson was terrific with his decision-making and was able to use his athletic ability to pick up some yardage as well. He had total command of the offense and the two plays that really stuck out to me were his shovel pass to Tyquan Thornton and his first-down pass after a low snap on third down. There is no doubt that he had the best Big 12 performance out there.
2. Oklahoma State WR Tay Martin
Speaking of good performances, Tay Martin made his presence felt early on in the game. In the first drive alone, Tay had two catches from Notre Dame quarterback Jack Coan. He added another grab or two by my count later in the game but overall, Tay played well enough to earn the number two spot on my list. Also, during the broadcast NFL Analyst, Bucky Brooks mentioned that Tay Martin had been giving defensive backs trouble all week long in one-on-one drills.
3. Baylor WR Tyquan Thornton
Yet another Big 12 receiver makes the list and rightfully so. Tyquan is an explosive player when the football is in his hands, and he has excellent ball skills. Sure, he needs to put on some more weight, and I believe he will only get better as the years go on. Thornton had a couple of catches in the game including an important two-point conversion from Kansas State’s Skylar Thompson. Much like Tay Martin, NFL Analyst Bucky Brooks also mentioned how good Tyquan has been throughout the week during practice sessions talking about his ability to create separation.
Texas Tech OL Dawson Deaton
Baylor OL Xavier Newman-Johnson
Oklahoma OL Tyrese Robinson
I kept a close eye on these three players and all three of them showed up to play. Dawson Deaton started at center for the West team and did his part in pass protection and his snaps. Meanwhile, Xavier Newman-Johnson and Tyrese Robinson had great practices and followed it up with a good performance in the bowl game.
Non-Big 12 Players Who Impressed Me
Brown QB EJ Perry
I am not going to lie; I had no idea who EJ Perry was before the game, but he certainly made a name for himself on Thursday night. EJ led the East team back into the game and nearly made the full comeback to win the game. He finished the Shrine Bowl going 13/18 for 241 yards and three touchdowns. The Ivy League offensive player of the year had a performance to remember, and I think he could be a late steal in the draft. He throws a good ball and seems to be fairly cool under pressure.
North Carolina RB Ty Chandler
He has been the talk of the week at the Shrine Bowl practices and he proved himself again in the game. When Ty touched the ball good things happened and it just seems like he had a burst that some of the other running backs didn’t have. He rushed for over 1,000 yards this past season at North Carolina and the more I watched him the more I came away impressed.