A factor in most draft evaluations is how well a prospect performs on the all-star circuit. Each and every year, hundreds of players participate in one of several of these contests.
Today, we are going to set the stage for what you can expect from each of the All-Star games.
Setting the Stage for the All-Star Circuit
COLLEGE GRIDIRON SHOWCASE
The first event up is the College Gridiron Showcase or CGS. The CGS takes place in Fort Worth, Texas from January 7th through January 11th, 2023.
The CGS takes in mostly prospects that will go undrafted but the occasional drafted player will sneak in. The best recently was likely former Illinois corner Nate Hobbs. Hobbs went on to start as a rookie for the Raiders after being selected in the 5th-round.
The Tropical Bowl has been going on for a few years now but has moved around the top half of Florida. This all-star game will once again be played in Camping World Stadium in Orlando. Thankfully this year they decided to not play the game simultaneously with the Hula Bowl (also in Orlando).
This year, Tropical Bowl week will take place between January 16th and January 21st, 2023. This game hasn’t seen many players selected since its inception.
Speaking of the Hula Bowl, this year’s game will once again take place on the campus of UCF in Orlando. The game week will begin on January 10th, concluding with the actual contest on January 14th, 2023.
Last year, the Hula had several prospects selected and many more worth hearing their respective names called.
NFLPA COLLEGIATE BOWL
The NFLPA game has been going for over a decade and has been regarded as the #3 all-star game since its inception. The game will take place on January 28th, 2023 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA.
The NFLPA Collegiate Bowl had 14 players selected in the 2022 NFL Draft that wasn’t later called up to another all-star game. *I didn’t count anyone that went on to play at the Shrine or Senior Bowl*
EAST-WEST SHRINE BOWL
The oldest of the all-star games, the East-West Shrine Bowl has been making a lot of noise to disrupt the pecking order. Starting in 2022, the Shrine Bowl partnered with the NFL to become a part of its Pro Bowl week in Las Vegas. The 2023 contest will take place on February 2nd.
This year, the game will have a full NFL coaching staff from the two NFL teams with the worst records (unless they fire their head coach). This designation has belonged to the Senior Bowl for all recent memory. Now, this designation will rotate on a yearly basis between the two games. It will be interesting to see if this affects the way top prospects view things.
The 2022 Shrine Bowl saw 42 players selected in the 2022 NFL Draft, including the 50th overall selection, Tyquan Thornton.
The premier all-star game, the Reese’s Senior Bowl has taken place in my hometown of Mobile, AL since 1951. The 2022 game saw 106 players selected in the draft, including five in the first round. Since taking over the game, executive director Jim Nagy has taken the game to new heights.
I have covered every practice and game since the 2016 contest as a credentialed media member, including calling the last two as a radio color analyst. It is the most fan-friendly event in football. You learn so much from seeing the practices up close.
The 2023 game week will begin on January 31st and conclude with the 73rd edition of the game on February 4th.
The Draft Countdown Senior Bowl coverage begins next Friday (10/21) when I take a guess on which offensive players will be selected for this year’s game. The following Friday, Shane P Hallam will take a stab at the defensive players and specialists.
HBCU LEGACY BOWL
The HBCU Legacy Bowl was started to give players from HBCUs another opportunity to get in front of NFL coaches and scouts. In 2023, that opportunity will double as the HBCU Combine (last year in Mobile) will be held in conjunction with the Legacy Bowl.
While no players were drafted from last year’s game, several signed as undrafted free agents. This year’s game will take place in Yulman Stadium in New Orleans on February 25th, 2023.