It's Draft Season (or is it Draft SZN?) 24/7/265 for me, but it really cranks into high gear over the next week or so. By the time we reconvene next Friday for my next Daily Brew, the East-West Shrine Bowl festivities will be kicking off in Las Vegas. Players will meet the media on this day a week from now and start practice the next day. The East-West Bowl Game isn't as high profile for fans as the Senior Bowl, but it should be. Regardless, it's still a wonderful tool for the Texans' personnel hierarchy to get a look at potential contributors for this organization in the near future. How important has it been for teams to get a look at prospects in this game? EIGHT former Shrine Bowl participants were voted to 2022 Pro Bowl rosters last month, including some guy named Tom Brady. Furthermore, the Texans got a great look at former Pro Bowl OT Duane Brown back when the Shrine Game practices took place at the Houston Methodist Training Center.
So, there's quality players to be had and many heading to Las Vegas that'll have a shot to follow in the footsteps of Duane, Brady, Matt Judon, Trey Hendrickson and Chandler Jones.
Here are five players to watch that'll be featured in practices and the Game next week.
- Arizona State OT Kellen Diesch - the 6-7, 300 lb. Texan started his career at Texas A&M before he left for the desert where he starred at Arizona State. When he was a high school senior, I got a text from a Brown football alum friend of mine and he said that I needed to watch out for his nephew. "Diesch. Kellen Diesch. He's better than me". That wasn't saying much because he was WAY better than his uncle. Regardless, Diesch is athletic, agile and long. He can move as well as any tackle in this draft and should shine against speed rushers in the one-on-one setting that everyone loves to watch.
- Baylor Weapon X Trestan Ebner - It'll say "RB" as his position, but Ebner is much more of a Swiss Army Knife in two of the three phases - offense and special teams. In 2021, he had 148 carries, 28 receptions, 19 punt returns, 24 kick returns and racked up 1,775 yards of all-purpose yardage for the Big 12 Champion Bears. I love players of this caliber as he can make an impact in so many different ways, especially when the NFL's 46-man gameday roster demands such a thing.
- Brown QB E.J. Perry - YES! I've been waiting for a while to pump up anyone from my alma mater and E.J., nephew of current Sam Houston OC and former Texans WR coach John Perry, is an intriguing QB prospect to say the least. I first saw him, not knowing who he was, in 2018 stepping into the lineup against a Clemson defense that was unbelievably stout and he more than held his own. However, when his other uncle James took over as the head coach at his alma mater Brown, Perry transferred and shattered nearly every single passing/QB running record imaginable, most of those formerly held by his head coach/uncle James. He's a bull in a china shop with a strong arm and toughness for days.
- Florida State RB Jashaun Corbin - After getting injured and transferring back near his hometown at Florida State, Corbin sort fell through the cracks like the five dollar bill falling out of your pocket in between the couch cushions. Corbin has every asset a next level RB is supposed to have (size, speed, toughness between the tackles, burst, short area quicks) and a good week in Vegas should help people "find" Corbin, aka that five dollar bill, next week.
- Houston Edge David Anehih - Similar to Corbin, I feel like many have been sleeping on the Cougar edge defender. He didn't put up astronomical numbers and production but I feel like his best football is in front of him, ala Tyus Bowser who is now a mainstay at OLB for the Baltimore Ravens. Anenih is long and agile at 6-3, 250 lb., fitting the bill perfectly for an outside backer/edge type. The Shrine Game should be a great stage for the former Cougar out in Las Vegas.
There's plenty more and I'll be writing about all of them in the following weeks, but this will give you a little flavor of five guys I'll be focused on in Vegas.