What does the Falcons staff coaching East-West Shrine Bowl mean for the NFL Draft?

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The Atlanta Falcons finished the season with a 7-10 record, last place in their division, setting themselves up to pick 8th in the draft for the second straight year. This is a pivotal offseason for the organization, given the amount of cap space the front office will be operating with. They’ll be busy, and you can add one more task to the to-do list — the 2023 East-West Shrine Bowl.

The Falcons and Patriots coaching staffs will travel to Las Vegas in late January in preparation for the game on February 4th. Atlanta and New England will coach separate teams, featuring over 100 of the country’s top college seniors. The East-West Shrine Bowl has been in existence for nearly 100 years and is an excellent opportunity for the Falcons to get hands-on with these NFL Draft prospects while simultaneously creating opportunities for others on the staff to potentially garner more prominent roles.

Terry Fontenot and Arthur Smith have selected more than a handful of players from the Senior Bowl in the last two years, and I expect that trend to continue in 2023. Among the top prospects who have accepted their invites to the East-West Shrine Bowl are Boston College receiver Zay Flowers, LSU cornerback Mekhi Garner, TCU cornerback Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson — the Jim Thorpe Award winner — Purdue quarterback Aidan O’Connell and Michigan tight end Luke Schoonmaker.

The Falcons will be able to create more opportunities to further evaluate potential prospects through the East-West Shrine Bowl that the staff wouldn’t usually have access to. At their end of year press conference, Fontenot and Smith spoke about this and how important it is to get as much exposure to these prospects as possible.

Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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