The hardest working guy in the draft analysis business -- my fellow senior analyst Chad Reuter -- wrote the following note regarding a few of the worthy prospects spurned by the Combine committee... He wrote this en route to El Paso, Texas to scout the Texas vs. Nation game.
Every year a few deserving names are not included in the final Combine list, mostly due to space concerns. There are only so many spaces available to make drills and team interviews workable during the six day event, held in Indianapolis.
Last year, 45 players not invited to the Combine were drafted, four of which were selected in the top 100. Oakland and New England selected FS Mike Mitchell and RT Sebastian Vollmer in the second round, respectively, while Dallas picked LB Jason Williams and Tennessee Jacksonville CB Derek Cox in third round.
That was the exception, rather than the rule, as the Combine usually includes all but one or two of the top 100 selections. It is expected that only a one or two prospects not invited to Indy will sneak into the third round this year.
Tennessee QB Jonathan Crompton is at the top of the list of those thinking they were snubbed by the National Football Scouting services and its member teams. His improvement from 2008 to 2009 under the tutelage of Lane Kiffin was astounding. He has the physical tools to be an NFL starter and seemed to be destined to prove himself in workouts at the LucasOil Dome.
Receiver Freddie Barnes from Bowling Green State is an impact college player with a legitimate beef after not receiving an invite. His production was unparalleled as a senior, even given the spread offenses prevalent in today's college football. Barnes' lack of speed may have caused him to skip the forty yard dash, anyway, but he deserved to be included as one of the draft's top 300-plus prospects.
Versatile defenders DE/OLB Alex Daniels (Cincinnati) and DT/DE Jeffrey Fitzgerald (Kansas State) could be fourth or fifth round picks for 3-4 teams looking for pass rush help in the front seven. Both players transferred from other major programs, Daniels from Minnesota (off-field incident) and Fitzgerald from Virginia (academics) raising some concerns from scouts that could have been discussed at team interviews.
Interior linemen John Estes (Hawaii) and Sergio Render (Virginia Tech) may not even be fourth-round picks, but performed well enough during their careers and at the East-West Shrine Game practices to be considered for the Combine. Estes lack of size and short arms won't excite some teams, but his bullish strength and solid technique could earn him a starting role eventually. Render is a run-blocking specialist who could be another fifth or sixth round pick with the potential as a starter in the right system. UCLA inside linebacker Reggie Carter and Utah free safety Robert Johnson also seemed to enjoy solid weeks in Orlando, but apparently weren't impressive enough to make the list. Similarly, Maryland free safety Terrell Skinner, who'd flashed during last week's practices in Mobile, didn't the cut.
Other draftable players who were left off the Combine list include intriguing small-school players DE/OLB Danny Batten (South Dakota State) and RB Deji Karim (Southern Illinois) and BCS conference standouts DT Andre Neblett (Temple) and FS Aaron Webster (Cincinnati), all of whom join Crompton and Daniels, along with many other interesting prospects, at the Texas vs. the Nation All-Star Challenge this week.
Follow our coverage of the week of TvN practices on NFLDraftScout.com!