The second practice of the day at the East-West Shrine Bowl took place when the West team took the field. This group was led by good linebacker play by a pair of Big Ten linebackers in Curtis Jacobs and Steele Chambers. It also saw another player from this conference play a different position, a dynamic receiver prove he can overcome his lack of size, and much more.
Good coverage linebacker: Going into this week of practice one of the players I was most excited to see was Penn State linebacker Curtis Jacobs, and he didn’t disappoint. He looked extremely fluid in linebacker drills especially when it came to opening up and dropping into coverage. He should be an early day-three pick.
Chambers impresses: Another Big Ten linebacker who impressed was Ohio State’s Steele Chambers. He showed great aggression in the run game constantly firing downhill to make the stop. He also had a nice pass breakup at the end of practice and overall showed solid coverage skills.
Switching position: Iowa defensive tackle Logan Lee saw plenty of time as a defensive end in the West team’s 3-4 defense. This could be his best position in the NFL since he comes in at only 291 pounds. No matter where he plays though you can expect him to give 100% play after play.
2024 East-West Shrine Bowl: Practice notes from the West squad
Small school player to watch: An FCS player who proved he can compete at the NFL level is Holy Cross wide receiver Jalen Coker. His best play of the day came in on-on-ones when he made a tough catch with a defender all over him. While there is no doubt about his hands he will need to prove he is quick enough to consistently gain separation at the next level.
South Dakota State offensive lineman: South Dakota State has two offensive linemen in this game, and both looked good at different times. Offensive guard Mason McCormick showed impressive strength and routinely shut down his man once he got his hands on him. He should be a good fit in a gap-blocking scheme. Offensive tackle Garret Greenfield had some trouble with his footwork, but overall looked like he could stay at tackle in the NFL.
Needs to get stronger: One player who didn’t have his best day was North Carolina State center Dylan McMahon. He had trouble against power on several occasions, and this was also a concern with him when watching his college film. He was also beaten off the ball at least once.
Size is a concern: One of the more surprising things about the West practice was how small Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa is. While he is listed at 5-foot-11 I would not be surprised if he came in shorter than that. On the positive side, he threw a pretty ball and showed quick feet in the pocket. Despite these positives though I have a hard time seeing a team using a draft pick on this small of a quarterback.
Size is a concern part two: Another player whose lack of size that will likely cause him to go undrafted is BYU tight end, Isaac Rex. Rex who weighed in at 6-foot-5 and 244-pounds at the Hula Bowl lacked much bulk in his upper body. He will need to add muscle if he is to have any chance in the NFL, even though he is a solid athlete who displays soft hands.
Size is a concern part three: Yet another player whose lack of size could cause some issues for him is USC’s Tahj Washington. However, unlike Tagovailoa and Rex, Washington is still worth a day-three pick. This is due to his dynamic playmaking ability. He made the catch of the day today at the end of practice and was a consistent playmaker for the Trojans this year. He also offers good value as a punt returner in the NFL.
Players sitting out: Like on the East team we saw several players sit out of practice from the West team. These players include Texas running back Jonathan Brooks, Texas tight end JT Sanders, Pittsburgh offensive lineman Matt Goncalves, Michigan State offensive lineman Nick Samac, Notre Dame edge defender Javontae Jean-Baptist, Washington edge defender Zion Tupuola-Fetui, USC cornerback Christian Roland-Wallace, and Washington safety Dominique Hampton.