2016 NFL Combine: 10 surprise invitations and 10 snubs

Sometimes referred to as the NFL Draft Underwear Olympics, the NFL combine is an opportunity to match quantifiable data with a prospect’s scouting report, including everything from arm length to 40-yard dash time.

The 2016 NFL combine is scheduled for Feb. 23-29 in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium. Here is the official list.

Even with 332 prospects invited to Indianapolis, there were several notable omissions from the official list. For prospects who did not receive an invitation, it’s not the end for them. Last year, 41 players were drafted who did not participate at the 2015 NFL combine, including three players drafted as high as the fourth round. Meanwhile, 108 players who were invited went undrafted in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Below is a breakdown of the snubs and surprises at each position:


SNUB: Jake Rudock, Michigan

  • A passer who gained confidence with each snap, Rudock doesn’t have ideal physical traits, but the game appeared to slow down for him in the second half of the season. Yes, his tools are average-at-best, but his intelligence and intangibles will give him a chance.
  • Five more snubs: Blake Frohnapfel (Massachusetts), Jacob Coker (Alabama), John Robertson (Villanova), Marquise Williams (North Carolina), Vad Lee (James Madison)

Josh Woodrum was a pleasant surprise on the combine invitation list. (USATSI)
Josh Woodrum was a pleasant surprise on the combine invitation list. (USATSI)

SURPRISE: Josh Woodrum, Liberty

  • A surprise, but a pleasant surprise. Woodrum was stuck in a very conservative offense in college, but he is a precision passer who throws with timing and touch.

SNUB: Aaron Green, TCU

  • A possible later round pick, Green has electric feet to juke his way out of trouble. His lack of power limits his NFL role, but with his creative athleticism in space, he deserves to be in Indianapolis.
  • Five more snubs: Keenan Reynolds (Navy), Leon Allen (Western Kentucky), Russell Hansbrough (Missouri), Storm Woods (Oregon State), Travis Greene (Bowling Green)

SURPRISE: Shadrach Thornton, Ex-NC State

  • Based on ability, this isn’t a surprise. But Thornton earned too many strikes with the coaching staff at NC State and was dismissed from the team mid-season. The combine is a great opportunity for him to rebuild his image.

SNUB: Jay Lee, Baylor

  • After his impressive performance at the Senior Bowl, many were looking forward to seeing how Lee would test at the combine. But that will have to wait until Baylor’s pro day.
  • Five other snubs: Robby Anderson (Temple), Daniel Braverman (Western Michigan), Paul McRoberts (Southeast Missouri State), K.J. Maye (Minnesota), Michael Thomas (Southern Miss)

SURPRISE: Duke Williams, Ex-Auburn

  • A top-five senior wide receiver prospect over the summer, Williams was unreliable off the field and eventually kicked off the team. Not only does he need to stay out of trouble off the field, but his coaches quickly grew tired of his laziness on the field.

SNUB: Darrion Griswold, Arkansas State

  • A former quarterback, Griswold was underutilized on the Arkansas State offense, but sports an impressive blend of athleticism, strength and size. In a weak tight end class, he has a chance to be a late round development option.
  • Five other snubs: Kyle Carter (Penn State), Steven Scheu (Vanderbilt), Sean Price (South Florida), Kivon Cartwright (Colorado State), Derek Watt (Wisconsin)

SURPRISE: Andy Janovich, Nebraska

  • Another pleasant surprise. Janovich averaged only 20.3 rushing yards per game as a fullback, but it’s his impact on special teams coverages that attracted NFL attention and earned him this invite.

SNUB: Chase Farris, Ohio State

  • While he struggled mightily at right tackle, Farris impressed during East-West Shrine practices inside at guard, where he has a chance to be drafted. Ohio State had 14 players invited to this year’s combine, but unfortunately Farris wasn’t one of them.
  • Five other snubs: Tyrell Smith (Massachusetts), Clint Van Horn (Marshall), Taylor Fallin (Memphis), Ted Karras (Illinois), Marcus Henry (Boise State)

SURPRISE: Matt Skura, Duke

  • Although he isn’t a well-known name, Skura being invited isn’t a surprise for anyone who has studied Duke in recent years. He was the Jeremy Cash of the Blue Devils’ offense.

SNUB: Josh Gordon, Minnesota State

  • A highly productive small schooler, Gordon is under-the-radar on a national level, but his play jumps off the film and speaks for itself. Even if he isn’t drafted, Gordon is the type of talent who can win a job in camp.
  • Five other snubs: Ugonna Awuruonye (Campbell), Theiren Cockran (Minnesota), Silverberry Mouton (Cincinnati), Terrell Lathan (TCU), Vontarrius Dora (Louisiana Tech)

SURPRISE: Branden Jackson, Texas Tech

  • It was an underwhelming senior season for Jackson, who finished with just 31 tackles and two sacks. But he should test well and help himself in Indianapolis.

SNUB: Trevon Coley, Florida Atlantic

  • A four-year starter, Coley is an active interior player who carries his weight well and has the hand moves to stab, sidestep and penetrate gaps. He should have been a combine invite based on tape alone, but especially after he performed well during the week at the East-West Shrine Game.
  • Five other snubs: Greg Milhouse (Campbell), Davion Pierson (TCU), Gerald Dixon (South Carolina), Hersey Walton (Temple), Delvon Simmons (USC)

SURPRISE: Chris Mayes, Georgia

  • A juco transfer, Mayes has been a rotational player on the Bulldogs’ defensive line the last three seasons. He didn’t produce gaudy numbers (one tackle for loss, zero sacks), but his traits are intriguing.

SNUB: Junior Jatavis Brown, Akron

  • Is he undersized at 5-feet-11 and 225 pounds? Yes. But Brown can fly. He plays with the pursuit speed and closing burst that belongs on a NFL field. His tweener size might keep him from starting at the next level, but at worst, he looks like a possible special teams demon.
  • Five other snubs: Antwione Williams (Georgia Southern), James Burgess (Louisville), Antonio Longino (Arizona State), Reggie Northrup (Florida State), Desmond Morgan (Michigan)

SURPRISE: Raphael Kirby, Miami (Fla.)

  • After undergoing major knee surgery in October, Kirby became somewhat of a forgotten prospect, but he is now walking without crutches and NFL teams will have the chance to find out more about his rehab in Indianapolis.

SNUB: Morgan Burns, Kansas State

  • A special teams standout, Burns was the Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year and although he has his ups and downs on tape at cornerback, but his versatility as a return man will help his draft stock, even if he can’t show his skills at Lucas Oil Stadium.
  • Five other snubs: Lloyd Carrington (Arizona State), Cre’Von LeBlanc (Florida Atlantic), Michael Jordan (Missouri Western State), Brian Poole (Florida), Kenya Dennis (Missouri)

SURPRISE: Brandon Williams, Texas A&M

  • A former running back, Williams made the transition to cornerback before this season and was thrown into the fire in the season opener. He obviously had some struggles, but also showed promise and how he performs pedaling in the cornerback drills is something scouts will pay close attention to.

SNUB: Kevin Byard, Middle Tennessee

  • A four-year starter, Byard leaves Middle Tennessee with the school record for interceptions (19) and interception yardage (377). He projects as more of a late round player, but certainly worthy of a spot on the combine roster.
  • Five other snubs: Clayton Fejedelem (Illinois), Jamal Golden (Georgia Tech), R.J. Williamson (Michigan State), Travis Blanks (Clemson), Michael Caputo (Wisconsin)

SURPRISE: Lamarcus Brutus, Florida State

  • With all the athletes in the Seminoles’ secondary, Brutus often goes overlooked. But with a team-best three interceptions and better tape as a senior, he has earned his spot in Indianapolis.
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