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Draft Central | 2024

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Ten players to watch at the East-West Shrine Bowl

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FRISCO, Texas — It's all-star game season for the 2024 draft process, and the East-West Shrine Bowl is in Frisco for the first time in its 99-year history, as the Dallas Cowboys host the annual all-star event with 130-plus of the nation's outgoing college football talent.

The Cowboys have found multiple draft picks from the Shrine Bowl in its history, most recently in 2023 when they selected Michigan tight end Luke Schoonmaker in the second round after he competed in the event. The last two years have seen first-round pick and Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Zay Flowers go through the event as well as Kansas City running back Isiah Pacheco.

The crop of prospects in this year's game is expected to yield roughly 30-40 draft picks, and some could make sense for the Cowboys both in the early and late rounds. Here's a list of ten guys to watch in this week's Shrine Bowl practices, concluding with the 99th East-West Shrine Bowl presented by Shriners Children's on Thursday night.

OG Christian Mahogany, Boston College: Widely considered the top offensive lineman in attendance, Mahogany has been projected as a day two interior lineman option in April's draft. Through two days of practice, the Boston College product has backed that up with his strong lower base and active hands. The Cowboys are expected to grab offensive line in the first round, but it couldn't hurt to add even more depth as the draft goes on, similar to how they've done in years past.

RB Frank Gore Jr., Southern Miss: Do you feel old yet? Yes, that is the son of 16-year NFL veteran Frank Gore. Playing in the Shrine Bowl after four productive seasons at Southern Miss, Gore Jr. draws a lot of headlines for his lineage, but his power and third down ability could draw even more attention as the week goes on. Projected as a day three option in April's draft, Gore Jr. could be a fun addition to a running back room needing short yardage help.

WR Josh Cephus, UTSA: A big-bodied wide receiver that finished his career at UTSA with three productive seasons including 89 receptions for 1,151 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2023, Cephus has already shined through two practices at the Shrine Bowl with his red zone ability and long speed downfield. While off-the-field concerns are present, his interview process has yielded positive results so far in Frisco. If he can show teams that those concerns are in the past, Cephus could be a productive and valuable day three pick.

WR Malik Washington, Virginia: One of the top players in the entire game, Washington arrives at the Shrine Bowl fresh off one of the top receiving campaigns in all of college football in 2023 with 110 receptions for 1,426 yards and nine touchdowns. Used primarily out of the slot for the Cavaliers, Washington has some versatility across the line with his speed and developed route tree, and he could impress scouts even more this week in Frisco with a big opportunity in front of him. A good week could push him into the top three rounds in April.

OT Garret Greenfield, South Dakota State: South Dakota State brought a large contingency to Frisco for the Shrine Bowl just weeks after winning the FCS national championship a few miles north at Toyota Stadium, and Greenfield is the headliner in the big group for the Jackrabbits. A physical, large presence at left tackle, Greenfield has picked up early day three love during the draft process and could rise further with a strong week. In what is already a deep class at the tackle position, Greenfield could be an option in the later rounds that could yield results.

LB Darius Muasau, UCLA: After accounting for 436 tackles in five seasons at Hawaii and UCLA, Muasau entered the Shrine Bowl as one of the hotter names, and he's backed that up with athletic play as the week has gone on. A true sideline-to-sideline presence, Muasau is an off-ball prospect that will only see his stock rise as the draft process continues in the coming weeks.

CB Qwantez Stiggers, Toronto Argonauts: One of the more unique stories in draft history, Stiggers arrives at the Shrine Bowl after having not played college football and instead taking a journey that saw him play in the FCF arena league before winning the Most Outstanding Rookie award in the Canadian Football League in 2023 with the Argonauts after nabbing five interceptions and 56 tackles. The NFL sent a memo out to all 32 teams earlier this month that stated that Stiggers is eligible to be drafted, and it has had a lot of intrigued eyes pinned in his direction. After two strong days of practice, it's clear that Stiggers belongs in the group, but the question that will remain is if his physical components can get him drafted in April.

S Ryan Watts, Texas: A long, lengthy defensive back that primarily played cornerback for Texas and Ohio State during his college career, Watts will participate this week deeper in the defensive backfield at the safety position which could end up producing stronger results for the 6-foot-3 defensive back. His length and quick twitch has already shown up in practice, and a continued strong week could solidify his placement as a day three pick.

LB Curtis Jacobs, Penn State: A rangy linebacker with some pass rush ability, Jacobs possesses an athletic physique that had scouts intrigued going into the week at the Shrine Bowl, and his play so far has furthered the intrigue. A potential late day two to early day three option at linebacker, Jacobs' Big Ten experience has shown up in the run game while his athleticism and range shows up in the pass game.

RB Isaac Guerendo, Louisville: After being a part of a two-back system in his final season at Louisville after transferring from Wisconsin, Guerendo pairs track speed out of the backfield with a contact balance ability that makes him a high value back in this year's draft that could see his name be called on day three. While he is more so viewed as a third down back, his power and reliability in short yardage situations will be valuable at the next level. And if he gets loose in the second level, it could be a house call with his elite speed.

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