Combine Coverage: The Best Of The Rest
The NFL recently finalized a list of about 330 prospects that have been invited to the league’s annual Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Indiana. As always, there were a number of quality athletes omitted from the list of prospects. Below, we take a look at our “All-Snubbed Offensive and defensive Team”. These players, in my opinion, are the best at their respective positions not to get a Combine invite.
QB Justin Holland ~ Colorado State — Big, strong-armed quarterback, with a nice release, who shouldâ€˜ve been invited. He threw for over 3,100 yards and 23 touchdowns in 2005. Too many career interceptions and a history of injuries mayâ€™ve cost him a spot. ESPN guru Kirk Herbsteit loves Hollandâ€™s physical skills.
RB Antonio Warren ~ Arkansas State — Canâ€™t say we are surprised this smaller school prospect didnâ€™t get an invite, but he may be the best running back not invited. Ran for over 1,000 yards in 2004 and 2005, despite sharing the backfield with fellow NFL prospect Shemar Bracey.
FB Gilbert Harris ~ Arizona — Only four fullbacks have been selected so far, so not much room for Harris. Still, the omission of this talented, all-around fullback caught us by surprise. Good blocker, who can help out as a receiver, too.
WR Troy Bergeron ~ Georgia (AFL) — Bergeron, a former Auburn recruit, never attended college. After a while away from football, won the AFLâ€™s 2005 Rookie of the Year award at the age of 21. Reportedly ran a sub 4.4 40 in front of pro scouts in January of 2005. Being connected with the Arena League had nothing to do with this snub, as 2004 AFL Rookie of the Year Adrian McPherson (QB) received an invite to the 2005 Combine.
WR Sam Hurd ~ Northern Illinois — Tall (6â€˜ 2″, 188), sure handed receiver, who loves to block and does it well. Had 65 receptions for 1,074 yards and 13 TDâ€™s in 2005. Speed “might” be an issue in the NFLâ€™s eyes, but this omission is still a surprise to us. Had 7 receptions for 233 yards and 2 touchdowns against Miami (Ohio) and NFL prospect Darrell Hunter (CB) in early October. Scary thing is, that wasn’t even his best game of 2005.
TE Greg Estandia UNLV — Tall, reliable tight end, in the Zach Hilton (New Orleans) mold. Had 49 receptions for 563 yards and 7 TDs in 2005 for the Rebels. May not have gotten a deserved Combine invite due to missing almost the entire 2004 season due to a knee injury.
OT Albert Toeaina ~ Tennessee — Toeaina gets a Senior Bowl invite, but no Combine invite? This isnâ€™t a huge surprise to us, but we thought the 6â€™ 5″, 355 pound lineman would be invited. Off-field issues probably didnâ€™t help.
OT Travis Leffew ~ Louisville — Longtime starter for the Cardinals, watches teammate Jason Spitz get an invite as a guard. The Leffew snub is a little surprising, but heâ€™ll still have a chance to impress at Pro Day.
OG Will Allen ~ Texas — In the Longhorns galaxy of stars on the offensive line, Allen seems to be a tad bit underrated to us. Rough, tough player, who we think will be tough to keep out of the NFL, once he gets a chance to perform for coaches.
OG Tony Palmer ~ Missouri — Big, strong interior lineman, who has been a top notch Big 12 performer for several seasons. Palmer is very highly regarded by his teammates, as well as opponents, and is the type of player that may surprise people in the NFL, whether he gets drafted or not.
OC Chris Morris – Michigan State — Highly decorated college performer, who gets snubbed by the NFL. This isnâ€™t totally unexpected to us, but like Allen and Palmer, Morris can find solace in the fact many starting interior offensive lineman in the NFL where drafted in the latter rounds, or went totally undrafted.
DT Scott Paxson ~ Penn State — Very Much an unsung player on PSUâ€™s talented defensive line. Paxson played next to impact junior Jay Alford and the pair did a nice job, helping the Lions to a 12-1 season. Paxson finished the 2005 season with 44 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and 3 sacks. Had 33 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and 3 sacks in 2004. Tall, athletic player at 6â€™5″ and 280 pounds, who blocked 5 kicks in 2004 alone. He reminds us of former NFL player Shane Burton. Paxson did not receive an invite to the Combine, which is a mild surprise to us, considering his size and how well he played for a top ranked team.
DT Tony McDaniel ~ Tennessee — McDaniel is a towering 295 pound declared junior, with a ton of potential, who’s been mostly a career backup for the Vols. Had only 33 career tackles (6 TFL’s) and 1 sack in his three college seasons. Picked up 13 tackles (3TFL’s) in 2005, playing in only 9 games after being suspended the first two weeks due to a fight with a Tennessee student. McDaniel has said that the NFL Draft Advisory Panel has projected him as a first day draft pick, which sounds high for a player with his lack of experience and off-field problems. Nonetheless, should be a decent project type at some point in the draft.
DE Jason Hall ~ Tennessee — Coming into 2005, he was a career backup — 1 start in 27 games. But given the opportunity to start, he caught fire for the Volunteers, registering 51 tackles (13 for losses) and 7 sacks in 11 games. Hall is somewhat undersized, by NFL standards at his position, at 6′ 3’and 260 pounds. This former high school tight end isn’t considered a great athlete. However, teammates and coaches describe him as great technician and an extremely hard worker.
DE Willie Evans ~ Mississippi State — Sort of “small” for a defensive lineman, listed at 6â€™ 2″ and 275 pounds, but you canâ€™t take away Evansâ€™ fantastic production — 15 sacks and 21 tackles for losses in 2005. Had 24 career sacks. Outstanding athlete, with a motor that is always running full speed. Will need to come up big at Pro Day to be drafted.
LB Nick Reid ~ Kansas — Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, turned in a fantastic senior season in 2005 — 90 tackles (12 TFLâ€˜s), 2 sacks and 6 PDâ€˜s. Great athlete, who really made a lot of big plays in his Big 12 career. Reid is listed at 6â€™ 4″, 230 pounds, but appears to be a little skinnier than the 230 pounds might suggest. That, perhaps, has some NFL scouts fearing heâ€™s a bit of safety/linebacker tweener. Quite honestly, we are surprised he didnâ€™t get a Combine invite.
LB Justin London ~ UCLA — Tough performer for the Bruins at linebacker, who plays the game with a lot of enthusiasm and energy. Is a decent run stopper, but really looked good in coverage when he was healthy and at his best. Had a terrific start to his college career, registering 99 tackles (8.5 TFLâ€™s) and 3 interceptions as a sophomore. Stats dropped a bit as a junior in 2004, to only 57 tackles, but still had 7 TFLâ€™s and 4 interceptions. Hobbled by injuries as a senior, London totals plummeted to just 43 tackles and no interceptions in 2005. Is “listed” at 6â€™ 1″ and 235 pounds, so his size might be less than ideal. Nonetheless, he might be a player that can help himself with a good workout at Pro Day.
LB Kevin Schimmelmann ~ Stanford — 6â€™ 3″, 230 pound former safety for the Cardinal who bulked up during his career and became an impact Pac-10 linebacker, leading the team with 86 tackles (7.5 TFLâ€™s) in 2005. Culminated his college career with a tackle for a 3 yard loss in the final seconds of the East-West game to give the West squad a narrow victory. He’s speedy enough to play on the outside and rugged enough to handle middle or inside linebacker. Pretty good in coverage too, which isnâ€™t a surprise considering the time he spent at safety. This is a player that didnâ€™t get a Combine invite, but might impress enough at Pro Day to get drafted.
CB Jovon Johnson ~ Iowa — A starter all four seasons at Iowa and the nations active career interception leader (17), measured in at 5’8” and 180 pounds at the Hula Bowl. Johnson was one of the better players at the Hula Bowl all week, but his lack of ideal size seems to be the area of most concern to NFL personnel. On the upside, however, he sports a 41″ vertical leap, holds the Iowa record of 3.71 seconds in the shuttle drill and ran a decent 4.5 in the 40 yard dash in front of scouts at Iowa’s junior Pro Day in 2005. Whether heâ€™s drafted or not, might stick in the NFL as an extra defensive back/special teams ace.
CB Brett Bell ~ Wisconsin — Physically talented prospect, whoâ€™s stock seems to have dropped significantly due to an accumulation of injuries during his career at Wisconsin. As a true junior, he sustained a serious shoulder injury. He was granted a red shirt and given another junior season in 2004. He played extremely well that season (64 tackles, 13 PDâ€˜s), but things went downward when he tore the ACL in his right knee during off season workouts in January of 2005. Played and started much of last season, despite lingering knee pain. Real good prospect, at one point, but knee concerns wonâ€™t be easy to overcome for Bell.
S Trevis Coley ~ Southern Mississippi — 6â€™1″, 225 pound strong safety had a great career for the Golden Eagles playing with his twin brother Kevis (150 tackles and 5 sacks in 2005), a 6â€™ “1, 228 pound linebacker with NFL potential. Trevis, who has also played outside linebacker in college, is a ferocious run stopper and hitter in the secondary, but must prove at Pro Day heâ€™s got the speed to be a factor in coverage. He finished the 2005 season with 109 tackles and 2 interceptions. Tremendous football player, who should make a team, regardless whether heâ€™s drafted or not.
S Mike Lorello ~ West Virginia — Versatile safety had another fine season in 2005, collecting 82 tackles (7 TFLâ€™s), 3 sacks, 3 interceptions, 7 PDâ€™s and a league leading 5 forced fumbles. Much more talented athlete than he is given credit for, with a great work ethic. Most adept at stopping the run and blitzing the quarterback. Problem, according to insiders, is NFL scouts doubt Lorelloâ€™s speed and see him more as a 6â€™ 1″, 210 pound linebacker, until he can show them he has the required speed to play safety in the NFL. If he does run well, donâ€™t be surprised if he sticks around as a special
teams demon/backup safety.
More Notable Combine snubs:
QB — Josh Betts, Miami (Ohio); Brett Elliott, Linfield College; Cody Hodges, Texas Tech
RB –A.J. Harris, Northern Illinois; Chris Taylor, Indiana; De’Arrius Howard, Arkansas; Patrick Cobbs, North Texas; Bryson Sumlin, Fresno State
WR— Drouzon Quillen, ULM; Jason Boyd, UTEP; Matt Miller Arizona State; Tres Moses, Rutgers; Erik Davis, Vanderbilt; Travis LaTendresse, Utah; Eric Kimble, Eastern Washington
TE–Erik Gill, Pitt; Ryan Hamby, Ohio State; David Jones, LSU; Bristol Olomua, Texas Tech; Darcy Johnson, Central Florida
OL — Derek Morris (OT), North Carolina State; Rob Smith (OG) Tennessee; Brian Van Acker (OC) Northern Illinois; Brad Honeycutt (T/G), Georgia Tech; Aaron Merz (OG), California; Brandon Eason (OT), Hawaii; Randy Hand (OT), Florida; Jason Palermo (OC), Wisconsin;
DT— Larry Dibbles, Texas; Gerald Anderson, Georgia; Chris Mineo, UTEP; Alvin Smith, Oregon State; Antwon Burton, Temple; Alex Guerrero, Boise State
DE — Ryan Neill, Rutgers; Moe Thompson, Grambling; Garrett McIntyre, Fresno State; Devan Long, Oregon; Paul Carrington, Central Florida, Val Barnaby, Rutgers; Brady Fosmark, Weber State
LB — Jimmy Cottrell, New Mexico State; Colin Allred, Baylor; Moses Osemwegie, Vanderbilt; William Freeman, Furman; John Syptak, Rice;
S — Darren Williams, Jacksonville State; Kyler Hall, Florida State; Steve Paris, Iowa State; Tyrone Culver, Fresno State; Greg Threat, Miami; Joe Miklos, UNLV
CB— Cletis Gordon, Jackson State; Vernell Brown, Florida; Marcus King, Missouri; Nick Turnbull, Florida American; Willie Hughley, Florida International; Marques Binns, Grambling State; Mike Davis, Arizona State; LeMarcus Hicks, Iowa State
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