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2024 NFL Draft: East-West Shrine Bowl coaches vote on week’s top players

A couple of pass-catching running backs turned heads in Frisco this week, which should interest the Green Bay Packers.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 16 Starco Brands LA Bowl - UCLA vs Boise State Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Draft season is officially underway, as both the East-West Shrine Bowl and Senior Bowl held All-Star practices this week. The Shrine Bowl finished up its week of events first, culminating in a 26-11 West victory on Thursday.

If you want to understand which draft prospects had the best weeks in Frisco, Texas, why not ask the coaches who actually worked hands-on with these players? Before the game, the East-West Shrine Bowl released an All-East and an All-West team, as voted by the coaching staff for each squad.

With the Green Bay Packers’ needs in mind, let’s take a deeper dive into the All-Week running backs, offensive linemen, linebackers and safeties, as those are the positions that appear to be the biggest holes for the squad’s 2024 roster going into the offseason.

Tyrone Tracy Jr., RB, Purdue

Tracy is an interesting prospect, as he actually began his career as a wide receiver for Iowa. The 5’11”, 209-pound running back is currently not listed on the consensus draft board, but that will probably change after a week of strong practices. The 24-year-old is a sixth-year player who posted 146 carries for 947 yards and 10 touchdowns (6.5 yards per carry) to go along with 113 receptions for 1,201 yards and five touchdowns during his college career. He also has added value as a kick returner, as he took 17 returns for 428 yards and a touchdown at the collegiate level.

Blake Watson, RB, Memphis

Chad Reuter of NFL.com actually singled out Watson as one of the best players at this week’s event. Here’s what he had to say:

Watson was a productive runner and receiver during his time at Old Dominion and Memphis and showed those skills again during Thursday’s game. He was a checkdown king during a two-minute drill in the first half, shaking off would-be blockers on two receptions to move the chains. Watson also showed speed and patience on a 25-yard throwback screen to start the second half, following his blocker in the open field. He carried the load for the West as a runner, exploding for big gains when the line created opportunities and taking what he could when blocking broke down. He would have had more than his 111 total yards of offense, but he made the right move late by taking a knee to run clock in the final minutes.

Watson is a little undersized for a running back, weighing in at 189 pounds. With that being said, that’s probably around the playing weight that Packers starter Aaron Jones plays at currently. The Memphis product originally began his career at Old Dominion, only transferring to Memphis in 2023. For his career, he’s registered 591 carries for 3,301 yards and 28 rushing touchdowns, as he has much more experience as a runner than Tracy. He also caught 113 balls for 928 yards and six touchdowns. At the moment, he’s ranked 302nd on the consensus draft board.

Christian Mahogany, OL, Boston College

Mahogany is worth highlighting here for a couple of reasons. First of all, he played at Boston College for Jeff Hafley, the Packers’ new defensive coordinator. Secondly, he was one of the highest-ranked players at the Shrine Bowl. On the consensus draft board, he’s ranked 94th overall, making him one of the better pure interior offensive linemen in the class. The two-time All-ACC lineman came in at 6’2.5” and 318 pounds. He had a great bounce-back season in 2023 after missing all of 2022 with a torn ACL that occurred during an off-season basketball game.

Mason McCormick, OL, South Dakota State

If you don’t pay much attention to FCS football, South Dakota State probably doesn’t ring many bells. The team has won back-to-back national championships at that level, though, as the team has overtaken North Dakota State as the premier program in the FCS. McCormick, who shared the field with 2023 Packers third-round pick Tucker Kraft, was a three-time team captain for the Jackrabbits. The multiple-time All-American mostly played left guard during his time in Brookings. The sixth-year player weighed in at 6’4” and 310 pounds and is currently listed as the 379th player on the consensus draft board.

Easton Gibbs, LB, Wyoming

The Packers are simply going to need more off-ball linebackers as they transition from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3 base. One player with plenty of experience is Wyoming’s Easton Gibbs, who registered 361 tackles, 22.5 tackles for loss, seven sacks, 11 pass breakups and one interception, all with the Cowboys. He measured in at 6’0”-flat and 231 pounds and is currently ranked as the 346th player on the consensus draft board.

Darius Muasau, LB, UCLA

Muasau, a native of Hawaii, began his college career with the Rainbow Warriors before he transferred to UCLA. In total, he was a 4.5-year starter as an off-ball linebacker, leading to career marks of 436 tackles, 40 tackles for loss, 16.5 sacks, 14 pass breakups and five interceptions. He was a two-time All-Mountain West player at Hawaii and an All-Pac 12 player at UCLA. He’s ranked 347th on the consensus draft board and measured in at 6’0” and 234 pounds.

Omar Brown, S, Nebraska

Brown started his college career at Northern Iowa, where he played with current Packers safety Benny Sapp III. At the FCS level, Brown was named an All-American as a true freshman in 2019, leading to a jump up in competition when he transferred to Nebraska. With the Cornhuskers, he was a two-year starter. He measured in at 6’0” and 2021 pounds and is currently ranked as the 278th player in the class per the consensus draft board.

Dadrion Taylor-Demerson, S, Texas Tech

A high school running back, Taylor-Demerson didn’t focus on the defensive side of the ball until he arrived in Lubbock, Texas. The 5’10”, 189-pound safety is a little light for an NFL safety, but he was a 2.5-year starter for the Red Raiders. He’s ranked 212nd on the consensus draft board, which means that he’s expected to be a sixth-round pick.