With 338 spots available, you think it’d be a little easier to get all the big names in, huh? But every year, we’re left wanting more when the Combine invite lists finally drop.
Now, all in all, the Combine does as bang-up a job as you can expect. No matter what, someone would have a complaint or two about the players invited and spurned. You can’t make everyone happy. You can also invite Devine Ozigbo, of course — but you can’t make everyone happy.
These are the biggest names that stand out when you comb over the Combine lists — players at least equally talented to those who made it, if not markedly above them. We’re going off of TDN’s composite rankings here, which are of course, truth embodied and tabulated.
Note: players not invited for disciplinary/off-field reasons were not considered snubs
Quarterback: Taylor Cornelius, Oklahoma State
Generally speaking, quarterback is the easiest to get right. You’re never really going to cap how many quarterbacks you’re willing to bring, and — as is the case every year — you typically invite more QBs than will get drafted (looking at you, Jake Browning).
Cornelius was a Shrine invite and one-year starter for the Pokes. Big-bodied with a decent arm, Cornelius added a nice rushing attack dimension to Mike Gundy’s offense, but overall he lacks the accuracy to make a big mark for an NFL team.
Honorable Mention: Marcus McMaryion, Fresno State
Running Back: Devine Ozigbo, Nebraska
The most egregious snub on my list is Ozigbo, who has been clawing for attention in NFL Draft circles since leaving Nebraska and Scott Frost’s offense. Ozigbo’s style of play doesn’t much fit the Frost offense, in that he lacks ideal long speed and quickness — but for his size, he’s solid in those fields. Every other trait on his eval?
Ozigbo began drawing heads even before his Shrine week, but in St. Pete, really impressed with his fluidity, vision, and explosiveness at his size. Dude can catch as well, which is great for a ~220 pound back. I currently have Ozigbo flirting with a Day 2 grade, and his athletic ability is a huge factor in his evaluation, given how light-footed and brisk he seems for such a thick player. His exclusion is a huge oversight.
Wide Receiver: Anthony Ratliff-Williams, UNC
I flirted with hitting Penny Hart here, who will end up my honorable mention given his tremendous Senior Bowl week, fantastic quickness in space, and career production in the Sun Belt — but I landed on Ratliff-Williams because it’s just shocking. Hart is a smaller-school, diminutive frame guy. I kinda get it for those reasons, but ARW? Ratliff-Williams is a traditionally sized NFL player who would also hit benchmark figures in explosiveness and speed.
Ratliff-Williams’ name was hardly heard all year in Draft circles given the awful state of the Tarheel football program, but that’s no excuse for the Combine. He was the big surprise among the names we didn’t already know coming in.
Tight End: Donald Parham, Stetson
Surprised the NFL and the Combine both didn’t want to snag this physical specimen for the bevy of athletic testing that takes place in Indy. For players like Parham, a 6-foot-8 WR/TE hybrid out of Stetson, the Combine can be astronomically important. Nobody benefits more, and unless the NFL has suddenly discovered how to gauge athleticism from tape against non-scholarship players, they’re missing out by failing to bring Parham through.
Doubly so! Parham missed the back-end of Senior Bowl practices with a nagging injury, so the NFL didn’t even get as much exposure to him live as they would have liked. Huge missed opportunity for both Parham and the league.
Honorable Mention: Andrew Beck, Texas
Offensive Line: Terronne Prescod, NC State
Lumping OT and iOL together here, because the Combine does it that way — and because it’s hard to find snubs with the number of bodies the league brings in at these positions.
Prescod is a good example. While we didn’t love his tape here at TDN, there were folks with league connections who were calling Prescod a potential Day 2 pick — even Day 1, we saw early in the season! Typically those players, especially from Power-5 school, get pulled in on name recognition alone. Same can be said for the tackle out of Texas, Calvin Anderson, and Bunchy Stallings, the swing player out of Kentucky — both failed to make the cut.
Honorable Mention: Casey Tucker, Arizona State
Interior Defensive Line: Michael Dogbe, Temple
This was one we knew about a few days ago, but it still stings. I found myself really enjoying Dogbe’s tape, for one big reason: dude’s strong as an ox.
It has been brought to my attention that @Temple_FB DL Michael Dogbe (@mdogbe14) will not be invited to the NFL Scouting Combine. That is a travesty. He would have been in the top percentile across the board, go ask @CoachMattRhule. Here is video of him bench pressing 505 pounds! pic.twitter.com/uLsAqF2HY1
— Ric Serritella (@RicSerritella) February 1, 2019
Who wouldn’t want to see this dude on the bench press? That’s just poor marketing from the Combine, as I see it.
The reality is that it’s a thick position, and it’s impossible to invite everyone — especially when you have one big umbrella category of “DL” that includes some strong-side ends. That forces some tough choices.
Honorable Mention: Ricky Walker, Virginia Tech
EDGE: Mathieu Betts, Laval
If you don’t recall, Betts is the Canadian who took a trip down south of the border to rip up Shrine practices unexpectedly. Well, not unexpectedly — Jon wrote about his strong tape before the week, and was happy to see Betts deliver on what was a promising eval thus far.
But now we’re left wondering…how do we get this dude to a Pro Day? They don’t hold many of those up in Canada, as far as I know. To not invite Betts puts teams terribly behind the 8-ball in seeing him workout live, and is a huge disservice to Betts, who is doing what he can to draw attention to his game despite his geographical disadvantage
Honorable Mention: Kyle Phillips, Tennessee
Linebacker: Khalil Hodge, Buffalo
Hodge is the consensus LB7 — seven! — on the TDN big board. That’s an egregious snub given how weak the position is, and what Hodge has done in the MAC. Dude’s been among the leaders in the nation in tackles for the past two seasons, despite drastically changing his body type over that span to try and fit NFL benchmarks. It’s just disappointing to see.
The honorable mention also deserves a word here: B.J. Blunt is the exact sort of player who needs the Combine. Coming out of McNeese State, Blunt is a weird LB/S hybrid type given his explosiveness and size, and could have done wonders for his draft stock by cross-testing with the LBs and SAFs in the on-field drills. It’s just silly not to give him that opportunity.
Honorable Mention: B.J. Blunt, McNeese State
Cornerback: Jimmy Moreland, JMU
Speaking of silliness in not affording a small-school kid his shot…c’mon. Moreland fights it out in the Shrine Game, wins himself a Senior Bowl call-up, dogs it out there, and then doesn’t get to come to the Combine? Teams looking for nickel corners will love Moreland’s aggressiveness and ball skills at his size, but they won’t get to see if he meets the testing thresholds they like out of their slot guys. Sure, he gets a Pro Day — but those numbers can be tougher to trust.
Honorable Mention: Donnie Lewis, Tulane
Safety: Delvon Randall, Temple
It’s been a long and inauspicious fall from grace for Randall, who was one of the most hyped prospects for the Owls — and maybe in all of the AAC — coming into the season. You regularly saw him on Day 2 of mock drafts. People praised his athleticism and excused some of the lapses on his tape.
But the thing is, Randall never seemed like that strong of an on-field athlete…and now here we are. His production dipped, attention was drawn to other Owls and other safeties across the league, and Randall has continued to tumble down rankings. The snub just goes to show what one weaker season can do to your stock.
Honorable Mention: JoJo McIntosh, Washington