New England Patriots

New England Patriots

New England Patriots

As the Patriots begin a crucial offseason, they’ll be adding a new wrinkle to their schedule for 2023, one the pertains to the NFL Draft and the pre-draft process. On Wednesday, it was reported that the Patriots’ coaching staff will be staffing the Shrine Bowl in Las Vegas, along with the staff of the Atlanta Falcons. Practices will take place starting Jan. 27, with the game taking place on Feb. 2.

The Shrine Bowl is one of the premier postseason college football all-star games. Rosters feature draft eligible players, as the game acts as a pre-draft showcase for some of the top prospects in the upcoming draft. Unlike its Alabama counterpart, the Senior Bowl, the Shrine Bowl includes underclassmen who have declared early for the draft.

Players are split into two teams (mainly divided by the location of their schools, with an East team and West team), and practice against each other for four days before playing the game. Those reps – both in practice and in the game – are a valuable scouting opportunity for NFL teams.

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  • By coaching the game, the Patriots will get an up-close look at the almost 100 players expected to be involved. The full rosters have yet to be released, but a running list of the prospects who have accepted invitations to the game can be found here. We’ll have a full preview of the prospects once the rosters are announced in the coming weeks.

    Historically the Patriots have focused heavily on the Senior Bowl, but last year their attention seemed turned more towards the Shrine Bowl. Four of their eight draft picks – WR Tyquan Thornton, CB Jack Jones, RB Pierre Strong, and DL Sam Roberts – all played in the game. So did two of their UDFAs, QB D’Eriq King and DL LaBryan Ray.

    This is the first year the NFL is having two full coaching staffs coach the week. In the past, the league had selected a collection of assistant coaches from teams around the NFL to coach the game.

  • Following the announcement, Shrine Bowl director of Player Personnel and Football Operations gave a statement to ESPN’s Mike Reiss on the Patriots participating in the game. “We are incredibly excited to have the Patriots coaching the 2023 East-West Shrine Bowl,” Galko said. “They’ve had phenomenal success over the last 25 years finding special talent at the Shrine Bowl, from Tom Brady in 2000 to Tyquan Thornton and three others in last year’s draft. They’ll have the opportunity to coach, work with, and deeply learn about our future NFL players during the week, and they’ll greatly benefit from this access as they dive into their draft process.”

    To select the coaching staffs for the game, the NFL offers the opportunity to teams based on the draft order. Teams undergoing coaching or coordinator changes are “excused,” eliminating eight of the top 14 teams. The Patriots own the 14th pick in the draft, while the Falcons own the eighth.

    Given the guideline on teams undergoing coaching changes being exempt, there was some confusion as to whether participating in this game would limit the Patriots’ ability to make changes to their coaching staff – namely on the offensive side of the ball. Galko clarified that “teams who have changes at HC or OC/DC are excused” from participating, but that may only apply to teams undergoing wholesale changes. According to Mike Dussault of, “the move is unlikely to be affected by any potential staffing changes in the coming weeks.”

  • Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at [email protected].

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