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Who are the best wide receivers still available late on Day 2?

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NFL free agency opened with wide receiver as the deepest position group, and deep into the second day of the legal tampering period, that hasn’t changed. While more than a dozen receivers have agreed to contracts, the best of the best still remain. Here’s a breakdown of the top pass catchers still on the market.

Free agent wide receivers still available

The market is constipated for a number of reasons, but the two biggest are probably the actions of the Jacksonville Jaguars and the uncertainty of the quarterback market.

When they grossly overpaid Christian Kirk and Zay Jones, the Jags upended the market, and it might be taking a minute to recalibrate. Plus, the unresolved fates of Deshaun Watson and Jimmy Garoppolo are presumably causing some planning issues for teams in need of a QB.

The latter is a short-term inconvenience, and the following players should largely find homes sooner than later. They will presumably have to be OK with taking less than Kirk ($18 million AAV).

Odell Beckham Jr., Los Angeles Rams

Spotrac calculated market value: 2 years, $26.4M ($13.1M AAV)

The No. 1 receiver still available is No. 1 in injury uncertainty. Beckham Jr. tore his ACL in the Super Bowl and might not be ready for the opener, let alone the start of training camp.

Beckham tweeted through it early Tuesday morning:

“For anyone out there that had a rough day. Just kno u were not alone…. ‘Just keep goin’ I guess I gotta follow my own advice. One more thing, appreciate the small wins no matter how small they may be!”

Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears

Spotrac calculated market value: 4 years, $65.5M ($16.3M AAV)

The biggest mystery of this position group is where Robinson will land. NFL Network reports that several teams are “in the mix,” including the New York Jets, Detroit Lions, Cleveland Browns, and Las Vegas Raiders.

In eight NFL seasons, Robinson recorded 495 catches for 6,409 yards and 40 touchdowns — numbers all the more impressive when you consider the quarterbacks on the other end of the passes.

JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers

The rumor mill has been relatively quiet regarding Smith-Schuster, and it’s possible that he could fall to the second wave of free agency. If he does, some team is going to get great value.

While his 2021 season was a wash due to injury, Smith-Schuster had 97 receptions for 831 yards and 9 touchdowns in 2020.

Emmanuel Sanders, Buffalo Bills

Sanders turns 35 on Thursday. There’d be no better birthday present than one final payday, particularly with a team that is in contention for a title. Sanders had 43 receptions for 626 yards and 4 touchdowns in his lone season with the Bills.

Jarvis Landry, Cleveland Browns

Spotrac calculated market value: 2 years, $24.1M ($12.05M AAV)

We feel like there might have been too much of a market correction with Landry, who, like his friend OBJ, could go through a career renaissance once he gets away from Baker Mayfield.

The Saints are reportedly among the teams in the mix, and if they could somehow pair him with Watson, vintage Landry could return.

A.J. Green, Arizona Cardinals

Spotrac calculated market value: 4 years, $28M ($7M AAV)

How much does Green have left? He’ll be 34 years old before the start of the 2022 season. With Kirk gone, perhaps the Cardinals are motivated to bring Green back.





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Why Sean Payton Could Wait Until 2024 To Return to the NFL

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Will Sean Payton return to the NFL for the 2023 campaign? No one knows for sure, but there have been suggestions Payton could stick with FOX for another year before pursuing the league’s vacant head coaching jobs next season. Now that the Carolina Panthers have hired Frank Reich, Payton is down to four options if he wants to coach this year.

Let’s run through the most significant reasons why Payton could hold off until 2024 before returning to the NFL sidelines.

Sean Payton May Not Coach in the NFL Next Season

It’s been fascinating to watch Payton’s potential return to the NFL, especially because his work as a FOX analyst has essentially required him to discuss his situation on the air. We’ve never been granted such access to a coaching candidate’s thought process before, and Payton has been quite candid with his thoughts on the vacancies around the league.

Payton has interviewed with the Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, Arizona Cardinals, and Panthers, leaving the Indianapolis Colts as the only team without a head coach that failed to meet with Payton. While it appeared to be a near certainty that Payton would accept a job this offseason, recent reports have indicated his return is a coin-flip decision.

Why wouldn’t Payton come back to the NFL in 2023? We’ll start with the most obvious answer before examining a few other reasons that might make sense.

The Available Head Coaching Jobs Aren’t That Appealing

Throughout this process, Payton has been forthcoming about what he’s looking for in his next team. The answer shouldn’t surprise anyone: talent at quarterback, and stability in the front office and ownership group.

None of the franchises still searching for a coach can boast both qualities. Even the Panthers’ job, which I ranked as the No. 1 vacancy earlier this month, didn’t offer an answer under center. Carolina had the best roster of the clubs in need of a head coach, and while they could land a rookie QB in the upcoming draft, there’s no guarantee they’ll be able to grab a signal-caller with the ninth overall pick.

The Texans’ head coaching position came in at No. 2 in our rankings, but this isn’t a slam-dunk role either. Houston can offer draft capital — including the second overall selection — and a few intriguing roster pieces, but their ownership and front office are erratic. They’ve run through two head coaches in the past two seasons, which could make Payton wary of attaching himself to such a disjointed franchise.

Payton was thought to be the leading candidate for the Broncos, but San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans has recently emerged as the frontrunner. Payton’s second interview with Denver is now on hold, and some reports have suggested the former New Orleans Saints head coach fears a potential power struggle with Broncos ownership (which Payton has denied).

MORE: 2023 NFL Head Coach, General Manager, and Coordinator Interview Tracker

Although Payton is willing to work with Russell Wilson, being contractually tied to a declining 34-year-old QB can’t be all that alluring.

The Cardinals have a quarterback capable of near-elite play in Kyler Murray, but he’s likely to miss the beginning of next season after tearing his ACL in December. The rest of Arizona’s roster needs a total reset.

While the Cardinals’ decision to hire former Titans executive Monti Ossenfort is a positive sign, owner Michael Bidwill and Co. still run this organization like a family business. Payton could get to Arizona and find a franchise unwilling to change its stripes.

Finally, the Colts never even requested an interview with Payton. That’s probably for the best, as I can’t imagine Payton would be willing to sign up with Indianapolis.

Owner Jim Irsay’s behavior over the past year has bordered on erratic, and his decision to hire Jeff Saturday as the Colts’ interim head coach calls into question how serious this team is about winning.

Better Jobs Might Come Open in 2024

Payton can afford to be patient as he chooses his next job. As a future Hall of Famer, he’s earned the right to be selective. Payton’s already earned plenty of money in his career, and he’s only 59 years old, so the clock isn’t exactly ticking on a potential return to the NFL.

If Payton isn’t enthusiastic about any of the positions available this offseason, there’s no reason why he can’t wait until 2024 to come back. While we don’t know which teams will have head coaching vacancies next year, we can make an educated guess — and some of the clubs could be far more attractive than this year’s crop.

The Dallas Cowboys will always be at the center of the Payton conservation. Even back-to-back 12-win seasons haven’t been enough to stave off speculation that Jerry Jones could fire Mike McCarthy and install Payton — who is good friends with Jones and served as the Cowboys’ quarterbacks coach from 2003-05 — as Dallas’ head coach.

The Cowboys plan to run it back in 2023, but Jones is 81 years old. Dallas hasn’t advanced out of the Divisional Round in nearly 30 years. At some point, possibly as soon as next year, the Cowboys could make a head coaching change, and Payton would immediately become their top candidate.

Payton could also make sense for both Los Angeles teams if either needs a new head coach in 2024. The Chargers’ Brandon Staley kept his job this offseason despite allowing the Jacksonville Jaguars to complete the third-largest comeback in NFL playoff history in the Wild Card round, but he might not be so lucky next year.

Parting ways with offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi might help LA’s offense get back on track. If not, Payton would surely relish the opportunity to work with Justin Herbert.

Meanwhile, the Rams won’t fire Sean McVay, but he’s openly flirted with retirement in each of the past two offseasons. He’ll be back for at least one more year, but it wouldn’t shock anyone if McVay decides to take a break after 2023.

Given their aged roster and lack of future draft capital, the Rams offer a less appealing situation than the Chargers, but the prospect of a Los Angeles-based job could entice Payton.

Teams May Not Want To Sacrifice Draft Picks for Payton

Payton isn’t your standard head coaching candidate. Technically, he’s still under contract with the Saints through the 2024 campaign. Thus, New Orleans expects trade compensation from whichever team ultimately hires its former head coach.

The package the Saints are seeking in exchange for Payton remains to be determined. Payton himself has suggested that New Orleans wants a mid-to-late first-round pick. Other reports have indicated it will take a first-round selection “and more.” Jeff Duncan of the Times-Picayune recently reported Saints general manager Mickey Loomis might be looking for two first-rounders.

MORE: Latest Denver Broncos News and Rumors on Their Head Coach Search

Head coaching trades have typically worked out for the acquiring team, but it’s still difficult to ask any club to give up draft capital for a coach. These jobs are only open because the situations aren’t ideal.

The Broncos, Cardinals, Texans, and Panthers all need to add significant talent to their rosters. Sacrificing the chance to land a first-round prospect — and sign him to a below-market rookie contract — might be too great an opportunity to give away.

Payton’s Salary Requirements Could Give Teams Pause

Although NFL head coach salaries aren’t readily available, Bill Belichick is believed to command the highest pay in the league at roughly $20 million annually. Five other coaches — Pete Carroll, McVay, Mike Tomlin, Andy Reid, and John Harbaugh — are thought to have eclipsed $12 million per year.

Per Duncan, Payton is aiming for a four-year contract that would pay him between $20 and $25 million annually. There is no cap on NFL coaching salaries, so paying up for an elite staff could be a way to exploit a hiring inefficiency.

Payton’s demands likely wouldn’t have presented a problem for the Panthers, as David Tepper is among the NFL’s richest owners. Ditto in Denver, where the Walton/Penner family is the wealthiest ownership group in the league.

But the Cardinals and Texans aren’t known as heavy spenders around the NFL. It would be highly out of character for either of those clubs to allot $20+ million for a head coach, even for someone with Payton’s track record. Add in the projected draft capital cost of trading for him, and the concept of Payton landing in Arizona or Houston begins to look less likely.





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Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers Matchup Is a Dream Battle Between Dominant Rosters

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The Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers NFC Championship Game is a battle of the titans. Not the titans of Nashville but the ones of legend. This is Goliath vs. Goliath. Both rosters are stacked to the gills, and each organization boasts unbelievable coaching staffs. All four coordinators could be head coaches in 2023, but only one of these rosters can be the NFC representative for Super Bowl 57.

The Cincinnati Bengals hold some clear advantages over the Kansas City Chiefs, but the lines are far more blurred in the NFC matchup. The NFL is a matchup league. If one unit holds a massive advantage over another, or if one team holds a schematic advantage over the other, it could tilt the entire game in one team’s direction.

49ers vs. Eagles Film Study

We know the basics. The 49ers have the best defense in the NFL. The Eagles have the top rushing offense in the NFL. Jalen Hurts is an MVP candidate, and Nick Bosa might win Defensive Player of the Year. Philadelphia has elite players everywhere on offense and defense, as does San Francisco.

Kyle Shanahan and Shane Steichen are schematic wizards on offense, while DeMeco Ryans and Jonathan Gannon both command talented and multiple defenses. And what makes handicapping this game so difficult is that neither team faced an opponent similarly structured to the other.

In such an evenly-matched game, where do the potential advantages lie?

Unit Vs. Unit Advantages

Eagles OL vs. 49ers Front Seven

The Eagles have the best offensive line in the NFL. It’s the reason why they had one of the best rushing attacks of the past decade. They are what happens when talent and scheme meet in perfect harmony. Philadelphia has bullies on the left and right, with a wizard in the center of the offense.

Meanwhile, San Francisco has one of the most talented front sevens in the league. Bosa and Fred Warner are both arguably the top players at their respective positions, and there is no lack of depth. Dre Greenlaw has been unbelievably good beside Warner, and there are a half-dozen other contributors on the defensive line to applaud.

Advantage: Eagles (slightly)

Jordan Mailata and Lane Johnson (the best right tackle in the league) should be able to survive on the edges. Although Javon Kinlaw and Arik Armstead are good players, neither are the “trash can full of dirt” type, and the Eagles’ interior has the advantage in the run game.

If the 49ers can defend the run, San Francisco’s defense is disciplined and talented enough to win the battle. Forcing Philadlephia into obvious passing situations is the way to victory, but it’s very hard to get them in that situation.

Eagles Weapons vs. 49ers Secondary

A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, Quez Watkins, Dallas Goedert, Miles Sanders, Kenneth Gainwell, and Boston Scott are nothing to scoff at. Brown is arguably one of the five best receivers in the NFL, and Smith is coming off a 1,300-yard season. Goedert is among the second tier of NFL tight ends, and Watkins’ speed is a problem.

MORE: 3 Philadelphia Eagles Keys to Victory vs. the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game

Charvarius Ward has been a revelation for the Niners since coming over from Kansas City, and Jimmie Ward is a versatile player. Talanoa Hufanga is a heat-seeking missile, but his laser-guided system can sometimes be outsmarted by opposing technology. Then there’s Warner, who is as terrifying a presence as we’ve seen defending the middle of the field, to include running the pole stride-for-stride against CeeDee Lamb just one week ago.

Advantage: Philadelphia

This isn’t a fair fight, and we’ll see this again soon. It’s simply impossible to match up man for man against an uber-talented offensive roster. The Eagles have too many options to choose from.

49ers OL vs. Eagles Front Seven

The 49ers’ offensive line was better in 2022 than many expected. While Trent Williams is the best left tackle in the NFL, a few new names on the front line lowered the unit’s expectations.

It didn’t matter that Spencer Burford was a fourth-round rookie or that Jake Brendel had played fewer than 300 offensive snaps since entering the league in 2016.

Meanwhile, Philadelphia sacked opposing quarterbacks 70 times in the regular season, the most since We Didn’t Start the Fire was No. 1 on the Billboard Top 100.

Four Eagles defenders had at least 11 sacks. Fletcher Cox added seven himself. He and Javon Hargrave make for a dominant interior duo, and the three-headed monster of Haason Reddick, Josh Sweat, and Derek Barnett could spell doom for Mike McGlinchey, who, while overall a solid player, has been criticized heavily at times.

Advantage: Eagles

So far, things may seem heavily in favor of Philadelphia winning this game. However, their advantage over the 49ers’ offensive line is a bit one-sided.

The Eagles aren’t a horrible run-defending team, but that is their weak point defensively. Gap integrity can sometimes be an issue, particularly against zone runs. They’re an aggressive defense that can occasionally get out over their skis. They’ll get burned on the ground if they do that against Christian McCaffrey and Elijah Mitchell.

49ers Weapons vs. Eagles Secondary

Let’s harken back to a conversation we had a few hundred words ago. James Bradberry, Darius Slay, and C.J. Gardner-Johnson are all playmakers on the back end. But none of that matters in the face of Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, George Kittle, and McCaffrey.

Advantage: 49ers

Even while disregarding the potential schematic advantages the 49ers may hold, their talent is unquestionably greater than the Eagles here. Potentially no team has assembled such a unit before in the league. They’ve built a roster full of YAC bullies from receivers, to tight end, to running back.

Eagles Defending Middle of Field

We all know that the 49ers devour the middle of the field on offense. According to Sports Info Solutions, they rank fifth in yards per attempt and ANY/A when throwing left middle to right middle. When we filter down further to just the middle, they rank fifth and third, respectively.

Shanahan finds ways to get the ball into the hands of his playmakers moving east and west, somehow always in space. San Francisco’s attention to detail offensively is unmatched. Shanahan is a wizard with formations and motions, using them to create vacated zones.

MORE: 49ers vs. Eagles Injury Report

Philadelphia is an interesting matchup for San Francisco. According to SIS, of the 453 dropbacks the Eagles faced using Cover 1-6, three of the six coverages were nearly identical at the top.

Cover 1 – 123 times
Cover 3 – 120
Cover 4 – 124

At times, things can get tricky for Philadelphia on the back end. They check in and out of coverages against motion and will show man coverage while dropping into zone, which is great for disguise but can put defenders in awkward positions.

In Cover 3, sometimes they’ll throw a linebacker outside on a running back with the cornerback responsible for the deep 1/3 in the slot pre-snap. In the above video, the safety followed the motion, but the Eagles dropped back into Quarters. Because of the 3×1 set on offense, and the outside receiver releasing vertically, the backside safety could look to defend the post or deep crossing pattern. Here, it resulted in an INT for Philadelphia.

The Eagles will also run a lot of man coverage and Cover 3. When they run Cover 3, they must squeeze their CBs tight, as the Bills did against Miami. Defend the middle of the field and beg Brock Purdy to win outside the numbers downfield.

Philadelphia ranked 11th in EPA per attempt over the middle of the field, just behind the Cowboys. Dallas’ defense defended San Francisco’s passing attack well. It took a few Herculean efforts from Kittle to make plays in that area of the field.

It’s scary to think we could see much Cover 1 against the 49ers, but the Eagles like doing it. Dallas ran it nine times against San Francisco, who completed six of the nine attempts for 83 yards. The Cowboys tackled well. What makes Cover 1 so dangerous is that if one Eagles defender misses a tackle on a pass catcher, it could end up being a house call.

49ers Must Defend the Sidelines

NFL teams don’t take much time out of their days to attack the sidelines 20+ yards downfield. It’s a low-percentage throw with decent turnover potential. But no quarterback threw more touchdowns on such throws than Hurts (7). The 49ers ranked 29th in defensive EPA per play against such throws and 28th in yards per attempt against them.

The strength of San Francisco’s defense is up the middle. While Philadelphia has feasted over the middle with slants, they’re no stranger to making big plays along the sidelines, and it doesn’t matter which of the three Eagles receivers is targeted.

The above pass was technically incomplete. On the very next play, Kristian Fulton was introduced to the dirt on a double-move, and Brown walked in for a touchdown. But Hurts and the Eagles favor downfield attempts to the right.

That means Charvarius Ward will likely be the one defending these attempts because he spends about 75% of his time on the left side of the defense. If San Francisco can keep the explosive passes to a minimum, they stand a good chance at slowing down Philadelphia’s offense.

But that’s not the only thing they have to worry about.

Eagles’ Dominant Pass Rush

The Cowboys pressured opposing QBs more often than Philadelphia in 2022, but the Eagles got home at a ridiculous rate. That’s exactly what they’ll need against the 49ers passing attack on Sunday. If they can’t get home, Purdy is athletic enough to make plays outside of structure, and the 49ers’ weapons can make a gold bar out of lemons.

Purdy was pressured 15 times and sacked twice against the Cowboys. In those 15 attempts, he went 4 of 11 for 32 yards. His ANY/A was just 1.3 when pressured, and his EPA was -7.3 in those 11 attempts.

MORE: Brock Purdy Will Have To Find Balance To Beat the Eagles in the Playoffs

When Purdy wasn’t pressured, he went 15 of 18 for 182 yards. His ANY/A was 10.1, and he posted an EPA of 10.24. Further proof that coverage is king, because far more often, on average, your team will not pressure the opposing QB.

It’s imperative that the Eagles consistently move Purdy off his spot and out of rhythm. If he can stand and deliver, the 49ers’ weapons will find a way to win. And unless Philadelphia can bait him into some mistakes without pressuring him, they’ll be picked apart.

49ers Defending Option Game

If there is one singular key to the game, it’s this. San Francisco absolutely must defend the option well. They faced only 23 non-scramble QB runs all season, eighth fewest in the NFL. The 49ers ranked second in EPA per attempt on designed QB runs, but they really only faced one real running threat at QB.

Marcus Mariota beat the 49ers in Week 6. He beat them multiple times on read-option looks, mostly because San Francisco’s defenders weren’t on the same page about their responsibilities pre-snap.

The best option is probably to force the give. When Mariota kept the ball, it was because a defender crashed, and the linebackers were late on the scrape exchange, giving him free grass to frolic through outside of the tackles.

Hurts finished first in rushing EPA on designed runs. Among all runners with at least 50 carries, the Eagles had three runners inside the top 20 in EPA per attempt. But Hurts dwarfed his two teammates. The best thing San Francisco can do is not allow Hurts to beat them himself.

But if the 49ers can somehow limit the Eagles’ effectiveness on the ground, they should win the game.

Eagles vs. 49ers Comes Down To Defending Strengths

They may not win the Super Bowl, but Howie Roseman and John Lynch did their part in creating the two best rosters in the NFL. The NFC Championship Game will be strength vs. strength.

Philadelphia has the QB advantage, but we’ve already seen San Francisco in this position with a quarterback offering less as a playmaker. The Eagles rebuilt from the ground up two seasons ago, much like in their 2017 run. But this team is far better than that one. In the end, Philadelphia has the more complete roster, and their strengths match up better against the 49ers’ strengths.

It should be a close and entertaining game. But in the end, it’ll take a rookie QB doing something a rookie QB has never done against a team with no real weaknesses for San Francisco to come out of this game victorious.



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Division 2 NFL Draft Prospects Led by Caleb Murphy and Quinton Barrow

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Division 2 players face a steep uphill climb toward the NFL draft, but the 2023 East-West Shrine Bowl offers them a chance to prove their mettle against heightened competition. Here are the six DII prospects participating in this year’s Shrine Bowl.

Division 2 NFL Draft Prospects at the 2023 Shrine Bowl

Caleb Murphy, DL, Ferris State

As soon as Shrine Bowl activities kick off, all eyes will be on Ferris State’s Caleb Murphy. The 6’4″, 245-pound edge defender earned the Ted Hendricks Award in 2022, given to the top collegiate defensive end in the country, regardless of level.

If that isn’t impressive enough, it marked the first time in the award’s 20-year history that a non-FBS player received the honor. Last season’s winner? Michigan EDGE Aidan Hutchinson — aka the No. 2 overall player selected in the 2022 NFL Draft.

MORE: Top DL at the 2023 Shrine Bowl

Murphy incinerated his competition this year, breaking the NCAA record for single-season sacks (25.5) and leading all divisions with 39 tackles for loss (tied for the most all-time). As a one-man wrecking crew, Murphy helped lead Ferris State to back-to-back DII championships in his tenure.

He leaves the Bulldogs with 40 sacks, 60.5 TFLs, and eight forced fumbles on his two-year résumé after transferring from Grand Valley State. Murphy’s explosiveness and raw strength pop on tape, but it will be essential to see it consistently vs. Shrine Bowl opponents.

Quinton Barrow, OL, Grand Valley State

While Murphy will receive most of the fanfare, deservedly so, five other Division 2 prospects also require attention. At 6’5″, 330 pounds with long arms, it will be hard to miss OT Quinton Barrow in Vegas.

The left tackle recorded nearly 40 starts since 2019 (the 2020 season was canceled due to COVID) for Grand Valley State, earning all-conference honors each season. On top of displaying the durability and reliability NFL teams covet, Barrow flashed footwork and athleticism you wouldn’t expect from a man his size.

PFN’s own Tony Pauline highlighted Barrow earlier in the season, stating, “Barrow displays excellent awareness and blocking vision, and he’s always looking for someone to hit. He’s a nasty offensive tackle who works to finish off blocks and bury opponents.”

Although scouts Pauline spoke to listed the GVSU lineman as a late-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, Barrow could play himself into the mid-Day 3 range with a solid showing at the 2023 Shrine Bowl.

B.J. Wilson, OL, Quincy

B.J. Wilson committed to Quincy as a tight end, but after redshirting his freshman season, he began to transition to the offensive line. Now standing 6’6″ and 320 pounds with three years of all-conference recognition under his belt, it’s safe to say Wilson has caught the NFL’s eye. Entering the 2022 season, he already had interest from the Bears, Vikings, and Rams.

MORE: Top OTs at the 2023 Shrine Bowl

Basketball was his first love, and it’s easy to see in his ability to box opponents out of the pocket. With the sheer amount of EDGE talent at the Shrine Bowl, Wilson has his work cut out. But if he can hold his own and demonstrate improved play against speed rushers, he’ll shoot up draft boards.

Ethan Evans, P, Wingate

Punters are people, too! In 39 career games, Ethan Evans proved to be one of the most prolific special-teams players in the Division 2 circuit: 186 punts, 43.2-yard average, 72-yard career-long, 47 fair catches, 89 punts inside the 20, and 53 punts of 50+ yards.

He also served as the team’s kickoff specialist, booting 213 for a 62.1-yard average and 120 touchbacks. His 45.7 yards per punt in 2022 ranked second in DII football, with only 11 punters across all NCAA divisions owning a superior average. Evans even handled field goals and extra points this season, converting 10 of 18 FGs (long of 41) and 43 of 44 PATs.

Jacky Chen, OL, Pace

Jacky Chen won’t have a hard time earning name recognition at the Shrine Bowl, but doing so with his play will be more difficult. The 6’6″ and 310-pound left tackle was a three-year starter at Pace, garnering first-team all-conference honors in 2022.

If you can find Pace film, which is about as difficult as it sounds, Chen exhibited patience in pass protection with the lower-body quickness to open his sets. There’s also evidence of him working to the second level as a run blocker and operating in space. Still, NFL scouts will want to monitor how he fares against bull rushers in Vegas.

Brent Laing, OL, Minnesota Duluth

A likely tackle-to-guard convert, Brent Laing has been a stalwart on Minnesota Duluth’s offensive line at right tackle. His 6’4″ and 295-pound build is better suited on the inside due to his middling length, but Laing’s tape will have OL coaches salivating.

He plays with sought-after vigor and viciousness that rarely veers out of control. But what stands outs most about Laing is his suffocating grip strength, halting pass rushers in their tracks and burying defenders into the dirt. But that was against DII opponents — does he have the anchor and upper-body solidity to maintain his success at the Shrine Bowl?



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