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2020 East-West Shrine Bowl: Offensive Recap

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The 2020 East-West Shrine Bowl took place yesterday in St. Petersburg Florida. After four great days of practice, the two all-star teams rewarded us with a doozy of a game. The East picked up the W with a come-from-behind touchdown by running-back and offensive MVP Benny LeMay, with 1:50 remaining. Final Score: 31-27.

But as is the case with every all-star game, even competitive ones, we rarely remember the final score. These players participated to promote their stock in front of all 32 NFL teams and prove that they are draft-worthy. A lot of them did just that.

The level of play in this year’s East-West Shrine game was great. We witnessed very little mistakes, penalties or turnovers and many spectacular plays. Coaches had fun and got creative with play-calls, and did a great job putting these prospects in situations where they can showcase their skills. A lot of these players might not get a chance to perform for NFL Teams again until their pro-day, so the importance of this event cannot be overstated.

I’ll present the top 20 prospects from this week’s 2020 East-West Shrine Bowl, with a short blurb on what made them stand out.

2020 East-West Shrine Bowl

James Morgan – QB – Florida International

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The quarterback prospects did not pop off the screen to me at any point this week. But Morgan was the most anticipated and came out as the top performer out of the bunch.

He reportedly interviewed really well with teams and made very little mistakes throughout the week. He understood the scheme Mike Caldwell of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers implemented and made correct reads. The timing of his throws wasn’t always perfect and the same goes in terms of accuracy, but he got the job done for his team. He finished with a stat line of  9/14 completions, 116 yards and a touchdown.

Binjimen Victor – WR – Ohio State

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Victor was my favorite receiver this week and it wasn’t really close. He ran some outstanding routes in one-on-ones all week, creating easy smooth separation against any corner lined up across from him. Victor’s footwork is tremendous, he gets in and out of breaks very smoothly. He’s a long-strider with good long speed, complemented with great high-point ability. He showcased it during the game on this SportsCenter worthy flea-flicker:

Overall, there was very little Victor couldn’t do this week. He had a couple of drops during the week, something he should clean up before his pro-day (or maybe the Combine). He was the most polished of the group this week.

Malcolm Perry – WR – Navy

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Perry might be the biggest development project in the draft. Former option QB at Navy, the shifty athlete is making a move to WR at the next level. He has great footwork quickness, agility and speed and it showed on his route running. He still has work learning the mental aspects of the position and technicalities of route running but the tools are there. He’ll need to work on his hands as well, he dropped some back-breakers during the week.

I wanted to highlight Perry because we previewed him as the most fun prospect at this event and he showed up. It was awesome of Caldwell to give him a rep at QB so he could run the option. Perry did the most of it and took it to the house by the way. He’s good at football.

Juwan Johnson – WR – Oregon

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6 foot 4, 222 lbs. Juwan Johnson STOOD OUT this week and not only in terms of size. Although that did play a big role. He absolutely dominated red zone sessions, posting up corners in the endzone. This is Johnson’s floor: a big red zone target. But what makes him so interesting is that he showcased so much more. More specifically, he’s a sneaky good route runner. He manipulates the stem of his routes so well, setting himself up for separation out of his break. The former Nittany Lion definitely helped himself this week.

Here’s an example of how well Johnson can manipulate the stem of his routes:

Benny LeMay – RB – Charlotte

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Practice week isn’t the best to evaluate running back prospects as they never go full contact. But when game-time hits, we get to see the vision and athletic traits we evaluated at practice in full speed coupled with full contact. And with Benny LeMay, full contact means full contact. Here is the first of two Charlotte 49ers in this article.

From the first drive of the game, the offensive MVP stood out as a wrecking ball. Behind a tremendous interior offensive line, and a well-executed drive by James Morgan, LeMay gashed the western defense from the jump. He’s a thick back, weighing in at 5 foot 8, 222 lbs, and he runs like it. He bounced off tackles all game long, read his blocks really well and showed his upside as a day 3 power back prospect.

James Robinson – RB – Illinois State

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James is another power back that caught my eye this week. He’s sturdy too at 5’9″, 222 lbs and while he doesn’t seem to offer elite breakaway ability, his speed does look deceptive for a player of his size. He showed good vision all week, hit gaps with aggressiveness and found the open field for several big plays. Another day three prospect that helped himself and proved he can perform against higher-level competition than he faced at Illinois State.

Michael Onwenu – IOL – Michigan

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The East squad had the best group on both sides of the trenches and it carried them to a win. Well, Onwenu was the best offensive lineman all week. He was a rock in 1-on-1 pass pro sets during practice and laid some killer blocks in the run game. He’s aggressive in the run game with a tremendous anchor ability. The chemistry with Darryl Williams in the interior and the rest of the offensive line is also something to take note of. Quick honorable mention to Jon Runyan out of Michigan who also had a great week on the line!

He weighed in as the biggest player at the Shrine Bowl, at 6’2″ and 362 pounds yet still showed incredible athleticism and movement skills. He’s a legitimate NFL prospect, a potential day two pick with very high upside. He and Darryl Williams make this touchdown run for Benny LeMay (watch #50 at Right Guard and #53 at Center) :

Darryl Williams – IOL – Mississippi State

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Here’s another guy I was waiting for with high hopes. After a down year in 2019, he had a chance to show teams he still has the fire that made him a top 50 prospect entering the season. He did just that. Williams showed out in the running game, as shown in the previous clip, as well as in passing sets. He moves very well, with a good sturdy base. He has good hands and while not showing as much finish as Onwenu, he’s still very aggressive in power and gap concepts.

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Honorable Mentions: 

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About Selyan Lonqueux

NFL Draft analyst.

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