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Raiders get look at NFL prospects at East-West Shrine game

As the NFL gets into the thick of the draft evaluation process, the East-West Shrine Bowl historically serves as the kickoff to an intense three-month race to build the strongest draft board.

That includes the Raiders, of course. And as they sort out their draft needs while working with a draft-selection arsenal that is expected to grow to 11 picks in the coming weeks, they were well represented this week at practice and Thursday night at Allegiant Stadium.

Here are some players to keep an eye on after the West defeated the East 12-3:

Henry Bainivalu, guard, Washington

The Raiders need interior offensive linemen, and the 6-foot-6-inch, 307-pound Bainivalu is an intriguing prospect. Playing right guard Thursday, he began the game with two straight pulls to his left on run plays in which he sealed off his intended block target. Then, working one-on-one against West Virginia defensive lineman Dante Stills, he put together a nice set of reps on point-of-attack run blocking and in pass protection.

Bainivalu could have declared for the draft last year but chose to stay at Washington for one more season. His strength and athletic ability now look NFL-ready.

BJ Thompson, edge, Stephen F. Austin

A small-school prospect with Power Five attributes, the 6-6, 235-pound Thompson showed next-level burst and pass-rush ability all week, then backed it up with an impressive game.

The Raiders’ lack of consistent pass rush outside of Maxx Crosby was glaring last season, and it’s something they must address. Thompson is clearly on the NFL radar, though he’s likely to land on the third day because of his lower-level college pedigree. But as he showed Thursday with a relentless effort off the edge, he has a moldable set of skills. He finished with three tackles and 1½ sacks Thursday.

Drake Thomas, linebacker, North Carolina State

Thomas was a hunt-and-tackle linebacker at North Carolina State and totaled 67 solo tackles over the past two seasons.

The 6-0, 230-pounder is an old-school run stopper who will have to show he can defend in pass coverage to stay on the field full time.

Nevertheless, with more teams going to power run looks, there is a need again for stout run-stopping. Thomas flashed on a handful of occasions Thursday while generating three tackles in shared duty.

Zay Flowers, wide receiver, Boston College

Flowers was arguably the best player on either roster and had a strong week of practice while displaying all the traits that made him an Atlantic Coast Conference standout. He dressed but did not play Thursday, no doubt confident that the skills he showed over the past few days getting off the ball and after the catch caught the eyes of NFL personnel.

Aidan O’Connell, quarterback, Purdue

O’Connell has size at 6-3, and the arm strength is valid. He showed that during the week and on a couple of deep balls Thursday.

It was a mixed bag overall, as he struggled with his accuracy while completing 5 of 12 passes for 53 yards. In his defense, All-Star games can be deceiving for quarterbacks given the lack of time they work with their receivers and the limited offense that gets installed during a short practice week.

Dorian Thompson- Robinson, quarterback, UCLA

The former Bishop Gorman High and UCLA standout didn’t have a great game, but sometimes that’s expected in this format.

Nevertheless, even on a night in which he threw for 95 yards on 7-of-17 passing, he answered some questions about his arm strength with a handful of decisive throws, including one at the end of the first half.

Contact Vincent Bonsignore at vbonsignore@reviewjournal.com. Follow @VinnyBonsignore on Twitter.

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