The coaching staffs of the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons will lead the two teams of 2023 NFL Draft prospects competing in this year's East-West Shrine Bowl.
The Shrine Bowl -- which annually features 130 or so of the nation's top college seniors -- announced the news on Wednesday, stating that this is the first time in the game's 98-year history that two full NFL coaching staffs will lead their teams. The game will be played at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on Thursday, Feb. 2 (8:30 p.m. ET on NFL Network) and will be preceded by a week's worth of practices for the participating players.
Atlanta's Arthur Smith and New England's Bill Belichick will serve as supervisors at the event, creating opportunities for others on their staffs to potentially step into bigger roles, per the release. Both Smith and Belichick are expected to attend practices and the game, according to the Shrine Bowl. Belichick hasn't always attended postseason all-star games -- often because his team is making a playoff run.
The Shrine Bowl announced coaching fellows from Historically Black Colleges and Universities will take part in practices, as well.
The Patriots clearly liked the talent at the 2022 Shrine Bowl, drafting four of its attendees: second-round wide receiver Tyquan Thornton, fourth-round cornerback Jack Jones, fourth-round running back Pierre Strong Jr. and sixth-round defensive lineman Sam Roberts.
The Falcons hold the eighth overall pick in Round 1 of this year's draft (April 27-29 in Kansas City, Missouri). The Patriots are slated to select 14th. New England could end up with double-digit draft picks in 2023 once compensatory selections are announced.
Among the top prospects who have accepted invites to the Shrine Bowl include Boston College wide receiver Zay Flowers, Purdue quarterback Aidan O'Connell and Michigan tight end Luke Schoonmaker. All three could end up among the highest-drafted senior prospects attending pre-draft all-star games, at their respective positions.