LAS VEGAS -- The 98th East-West Shrine Bowl kicks off Thursday at 8:30 p.m. ET on NFL Network. For the second straight year, the game is being played at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, the home of the Raiders.
For the first time in the game's history, each team is being coached by a full NFL staff. The New England Patriots are charged with leading the West team, while the Atlanta Falcons are coaching the East team. The teams wrapped up practice for the week Tuesday, and here are five players that stood out from Tuesday's practices.
1) Aidan O'Connell, QB, Purdue
The former Boilermaker has had a solid week in Las Vegas and impressed Tuesday with a nice touchdown over the middle during the red-zone period. O'Connell started 27 of 33 games played in his career at Purdue, throwing 65 touchdowns, and was a second-team All-Big Ten selection in both his seasons as the starter (2022 and 2021), with Ohio State's C.J. Stroud, a potential top-10 draft pick, earning first-team honors in each of those seasons. According to Pro Football Focus, O'Connell compiled 55 big-time throws since 2021, third-most among Power Five quarterbacks behind only Alabama's Bryce Young and Notre Dame's Sam Hartman.
2) Jalen Cropper, WR, Fresno State
Cropper led the Bulldogs in receptions and yards in each of his final three seasons with the program and was named first-team All-Mountain West in 2022. The 6-foot, 173-pound wideout has shown an ability to separate on his routes in Vegas, especially during one-on-ones. Cropper caught at least three passes during team periods Tuesday, with one going for a touchdown.
3) Justin Shorter, WR, Florida
Shorter made two consecutive catches during the West team's two-minute session of Tuesday's practice. The first gained around 20 yards on a beautiful corner route with UCLA QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson hitting Shorter in a hole between the corner and safety. Shorter followed it up on the next play by capping the simulated drive with a touchdown.
Shorter played three seasons at Florida after starting his career at Penn State as a top-10 overall recruit. He started nine games for the Gators in 2022 while missing four due to a hamstring injury. The wideout is a big-play threat, as he averaged just shy of 20 yards per reception (19.9) in 2022.
4) Jake Bobo, WR, UCLA
Bobo is a New England native relishing the chance to play for the Patriots' coaching staff as part of the West team this week. Measuring 6-5, he has great size and moves well for such a big receiver. He showed off his ability during Tuesday's red-zone period by catching a touchdown on a nice back-shoulder fade, using his size to box out the defender.
Bobo led the Bruins last season with 57 receptions, 817 yards and seven TD receptions. Two of his best games came against quality opponents, as he posted a line of 6/142/2 in a win over Washington and recorded 8/101/1 against Oregon. This past season was his line year with UCLA as a graduate transfer. He spent four years at Duke, where he had 74 receptions in 2021.
5) Lance Boykin, CB, Coastal Carolina
Boykin made a great play in one-on-one drills Tuesday, cutting off an out-breaking route and knocking down a pass intended for Clemson wide receiver Joseph Ngata. Boykin led Coastal Carolina with eight pass breakups in 2022, his lone full season as a starter at the college level. Boykin began his career at Old Dominion but transferred following the 2020 season, when the Monarchs did not play due to COVID-19 concerns.