2012 NFL Draft: Biggest Combine Snubs by Position

Dan Hope@Dan_HopeContributor IIIFebruary 19, 2012

2012 NFL Draft: Biggest Combine Snubs by Position

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    Although 328 players were invited to the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine, some players who were not invited deserve to be among the 254 who will be selected in this year’s draft.

    As we look ahead to next weekend’s prospect showcase at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind., I have broken down the best players at each position who will not get the opportunity to perform.

G.J. Kinne, QB, Tulsa

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    Grade: Round 7 or Undrafted

    Position Rank: No. 13

    There were no major snubs for this year’s combine at the quarterback position, but one signal-caller who deserves to be in Indianapolis is Tulsa’s G.J. Kinne.

    While Kinne may go undrafted, he was productive and consistent in his three years as the starting quarterback for the Golden Hurricane. He does not have a great arm and played in a statistically-friendly system, but he is a smart and accurate quarterback who makes strong decisions with the football.

    The biggest problem with Kinne’s snub is that while he was held out of the combine, LSU’s Jordan Jefferson and Miami’s Jacory Harris did receive invites, two quarterbacks who could not even consistently hold down a starting quarterback position.

    While neither of those quarterbacks should come close to being drafted, a team could take a chance on Kinne in the late rounds, and it is unfortunate he does not get a chance to show scouts his abilities at the combine.

Bobby Rainey, RB, Western Kentucky

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    Grade: Round 7

    Position Rank: No. 18

    It is very surprising that Western Kentucky’s Bobby Rainey, who has been among the nation’s top three rushers in each of the past two seasons, failed to receive an invite to this year’s scouting combine.

    Rainey does not have any spectacular abilities as a runner, but his productivity speaks for itself. Over his last two seasons, Rainey has run for a total of 3,344 yards. Oregon’s LaMichael James is the only running back in the nation who has rushed for more yardage over that span.

    At only 5'7", Rainey’s size could present challenges for him at the next level, but with 709 carries over the past two seasons, Rainey has displayed his durability, and also possesses enough shiftiness to make some defenders miss.

    Rainey will not be a star at the next level, but his durability, quickness and productivity make him worth a late-round draft pick, and he should be able to succeed as a third-string running back in the National Football League. He was worthy of an invite to this year’s NFL scouting combine.

Nelson Rosario, WR, UCLA

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    Grade: Round 6 or 7

    Position Rank: No. 32

    UCLA wideout Nelson Rosario gets knocked for his inconsistent play, which is a legitimate concern, but Rosario also deserves credit for his tremendous hands and big-catch ability.

    Rosario does not have great speed and most likely would have performed poorly in the 40-yard dash at the combine. However, he has tremendous size for a wide receiver at 6'5" and 219 pounds, has impressive vertical ability and has displayed on numerous instances the ability to make tremendous catches.

    Need proof? Check out these videos of Rosario making one-handed catches against Houston and against Oregon. Rosario has big hands and can make big catches look easy. While Rosario may lack the speed to be a deep threat in the NFL, his size and ability to make tough catches make him, at the very least, a very dangerous red-zone threat at the next level.

    Rosario is worthy of being a late-round draft pick and deserved an opportunity to showcase his abilities at the combine.

Lance Lewis, WR, East Carolina

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    Grade: Round 7

    Position Rank: No. 38

    East Carolina’s Lance Lewis had his senior season plagued by injuries, which has hurt his draft stock and likely resulted in his exclusion from this year’s scouting combine. That said, he is an overall talented wide receiver who would be a worthy seventh-round choice in the upcoming draft, and would have also been worthy of an invitation to Indianapolis.

    In a full junior season, Lewis had 89 receptions for 1,116 yards and 14 touchdowns. As a senior his numbers dropped, but he is a talented wideout with decent speed and good hands, and should get some looks at his Pro Day.

    Lewis may not truly be a combine snub, but he is the second-best receiver not in Indianapolis, and a better prospect than some of the wideouts who did receive a combine invitation.

Brian Linthicum, TE, Michigan State

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    Grade: Round 6

    Position Rank: No. 6

    As one of the better tight end prospects in the 2012 draft class, Linthicum’s exclusion from the scouting combine came as a surprise. There is nothing spectacular about Linthicum’s game, but he is a well-rounded tight end. He has good size and is a strong blocker who also has the ability to make plays as a pass-catcher.

    The fact that nothing stands out about Linthicum’s game probably kept him from getting the invite, but he is worthy of being selected in the late rounds of the draft. Over players such as USC’s Rhett Ellison and Oklahoma’s James Hanna, who have not proven much at the collegiate level, a consistent player in Linthicum deserved an invitation to Indianapolis.

Levy Adcock, OT, Oklahoma State

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    Grade: Round 4

    Position Rank: No. 7

    This year’s offensive tackle class is very top-heavy, with four first-round-caliber left tackles, but then there is a major drop-off to the next best player at the position (excluding Georgia’s Cordy Glenn, who is best suited to play guard, but could very well be drafted as an offensive tackle given the need at the position). That said, there are a few Day 3 sleepers who have the potential to develop into very good NFL left tackles. Oklahoma State’s Levy Adcock is one of those players.

    Adcock has the combination of size and athletic ability that scouts look for in a left tackle. As a junior, Adcock had the difficult task of replacing former first-round pick Russell Okung as the Cowboys’ left tackle, but has done a great job in his two seasons as a starter.

    Adcock is not a great run-blocker and could get eaten up in the run game at the next level if he does not have the proper time to develop. However, he is a skilled pass-protector who has the potential to succeed as a starter in the NFL. Adcock likely would have shown very well athletically at the combine, so it is a disappointment that he was not among the players invited.

Blake DeChristopher, OT, Virginia Tech

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    Grade: Round 6

    Position Rank: No. 14

    Unusually for a collegiate offensive tackle, Blake DeChristopher was the best on Virginia Tech and never played left tackle. That said, he was a dominant presence at right tackle, especially as a run-blocker, and should have a future at the position at the next level.

    DeChristopher has shown his ability to dominate the run game, leading running backs such as David Wilson, Ryan Williams and Darren Evans to big numbers over the past few seasons. His downside as a draft prospect is that he may be strictly a right tackle, and a lack of versatility could really hurt his draft stock.

    That said, DeChristopher has starting potential at the next level, and if he can display an ability to kick inside and play guard, he should certainly be worthy of a pick somewhere on Day 3. It is unfortunate that he will not have the opportunity to display his talents at the combine.

Brandon Brooks, G, Miami (Ohio)

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    Grade: Round 4 or 5

    Position Rank: No. 8

    Miami University’s Brandon Brooks had a terrific week at the East-West Shrine Game but, in one of the most surprising exclusions, that was not enough for him to get an invitation to the combine.

    Weighing in at 353 pounds, Brooks is an absolute massive man, but he has force in both strength and quickness. He is a very good lead interior blocker in the run game.

    A number of guard prospects who are unlikely to be drafted, such as Syracuse’s Andrew Tiller, Clemson’s Antoine McClain and SMU’s Josh LeRibeus, all received invitations to Indianapolis—but Brooks, a solid middle-round selection, was snubbed.

Will Blackwell, G, LSU

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    Grade: Round 6 or 7

    Position Rank: No. 15

    On an LSU team full of talent, Will Blackwell’s contributions at guard were often overlooked, but they were valuable. He may not be a starter at the next level, but he can be a very good backup interior lineman and is worthy of a late draft selection.

    Blackwell was one of the leaders of LSU’s offense as a stalwart of the front lines. He is a solid prospect who deserves the opportunity to put his skills on display in Indianapolis over some of the guards who actually received invitations, including those mentioned in the previous slide.

Moe Petrus, C, Connecticut

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    Grade: Round 5 or 6

    Position Rank: No. 5

    Consistency is what every team wants in their offensive linemen, and Connecticut’s Moe Petrus brings consistency to the field. Petrus was a four-year starter at Connecticut, including the last three seasons at center, and never missed a start.

    Petrus is slightly undersized, but he is a physical technician inside who has the versatility to be a three-position backup at center and both guard spots. He may never develop into a starter at the next level, but for a team in need of depth on the interior offensive line, Petrus would be a great Day 3 choice.

    As a top-five center in this year’s draft class, Petrus belongs at the scouting combine.

Julian Miller, DE, West Virginia

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    Grade: Round 4 or 5

    Position Rank: No. 11

    West Virginia defensive end Julian Miller is another example of a Shrine Game standout who surprisingly did not receive an invitation to this year’s scouting combine. Making Miller’s exclusion more surprising is that he was not simply a standout at the Shrine Game but, in my opinion, was the standout of the Shrine Game, looking like the best player on the field when he was in the game.

    Miller is undersized for a defensive end, so his best fit is as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense, and he may not be a good option for a 4-3 defensive team. That said, Miller is a well-rounded player who was productive at West Virginia, and then had a tremendous showing in the Shrine Game, as he put his athleticism on display and brought consistent pressure against the opposing quarterbacks.

    With his Shrine Game performance, Miller should have worked his way up into the fourth or fifth round of the 2012 draft, but the selection committee did not take notice. He will have to wait until his Pro Day for another opportunity to impress the scouts. Fortunately for him, he did what he needed to do at the Shrine Game, so his combine snub should not hurt him considerably.

Cordarro Law, DE, Southern Miss

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    Grade: Round 4 or 5

    Position Rank: No. 15

    There may not have been a more impressive performance of the entire bowl season than the dominant defensive night that Southern Miss defensive lineman Cordarro Law had in the Hawaii Bowl against Nevada. In that game, Law had 4.5 tackles for loss, two of which were sacks, and also broke up a pass, as he absolutely dominated the line of scrimmage throughout the game.

    Law has not received much attention as a draft prospect, with that trend continued by being shut out of the combine, but he is a real sleeper to make an impact at the next level. Law played defensive tackle at Southern Miss, but at only 6'2" and 261 pounds, he stands as an undersized defensive end in the NFL.

    Law probably would not have been a combine standout anyway, because he does not fit the prototype for an NFL defensive lineman. That said, Law has very good burst off the line of scrimmage and an ability to wreak havoc in the backfield.

    In today’s NFL, teams are really starting to utilize more players who have the ability to rush from the interior as well as the edge, and Law is a player who will be able to line up inside in certain formations and rush, which could make a dangerous player.

    Law, who ranked third nationally last season with 22 tackles for loss, will be a Day 3 draft pick and could be a big steal.

Nicolas Jean-Baptiste, DT, Baylor

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    Grade: Round 4

    Position Rank: No. 10

    In today’s National Football League, where more teams than ever are running the 3-4 defensive scheme, nose tackles are very important and valuable. Baylor’s Nicolas Jean-Baptiste rates as the second-best true nose tackle (behind Memphis’ Dontari Poe) in this year’s draft class but, for some reason, he has not received any attention and ended up being snubbed from the combine.

    Other potential nose tackles, such as BYU’s Hebron Fangupo and Washington’s Alameda Ta’amu, have received more attention, but Jean-Baptiste is actually a better prospect in my opinion. Jean-Baptiste has tremendous size at 335 pounds, and has the power at the line of scrimmage to be a difference-maker as a nose tackle in a three-man front.

    Jean-Baptiste is raw, but his potential to play the important nose tackle position makes him worth a fourth-round draft pick, and he deserved an opportunity to put his skills on display at the combine. With very few true nose-tackle prospects in this draft class, he is one of the most surprising snubs.

Tony Jerod-Eddie, DT, Texas A&M

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    Grade: Round 7

    Position Rank: No. 20

    Texas A&M defensive tackle Tony Jerod-Eddie is a borderline draft pick, so calling him a snub is a bit of a stretch. That said, Jerod-Eddie is an athletic defensive tackle who had a solid showing at the Senior Bowl and is a better prospect than some of the defensive tackles who received invites to this year’s combine.

    Jerod-Eddie does not have great strength for a defensive tackle, but he's athletic, so he may be best suited to play defensive end in a 3-4 scheme. Jerod-Eddie has upside as a developmental project and would be worth a seventh-round draft selection.

    While he may not truly be a snub, Jerod-Eddie probably would have done well with his combination of size and athleticism at the combine. With a number of defensive tackles unlikely to be drafted who were invited, such as North Carolina State’s Markus Kuhn and J.R. Sweezy and Cincinnati’s John Hughes, Jerod-Eddie should not have been held out of the combine.

Sammy Brown, OLB, Houston

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    Grade: Round 5

    Position Rank: No. 18

    It is difficult to understand why Houston’s Sammy Brown, who led the NCAA last season with 30 tackles for loss, has received no attention as an NFL draft prospect. Brown may not have the skill set as many of the top pass-rushing prospects in this year’s draft, but his productivity speaks for itself.

    Brown would fit best as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense, but at the very least, he should have a role as a situational pass-rusher at the next level. Brown needs to bulk up for the next level, but he likely would have had a great showing at the combine given his athleticism.

Adrian Robinson, OLB, Temple

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    Grade: Round 5

    Position Rank: No. 19

    Temple’s other outside linebacker, Tahir Whitehead, received an invitation to the scouting combine, but that is hard to understand because Adrian Robinson is a much better prospect than he is.

    Robinson has struggled with inconsistent play at times, which likely resulted in his snub from the combine. Robinson is undersized to play defensive end, the position he played at Temple, but he is a good athlete who can bring heat against the quarterback and is skilled at making run-stops in space.

    Robinson should be able to make the transition to playing outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense, and the combine would have been a good place to showcase his potential to do so. Now, he will have to show that ability at his Pro Day, but he remains worthy of being a fifth-round selection.

Jerry Franklin, ILB, Arkansas

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    Grade: Round 5

    Position Rank: No. 5

    Arkansas middle linebacker Jerry Franklin’s snub from this year’s scouting combine came as a real surprise. In all four of his seasons with the Razorbacks, Franklin has led the team in total tackles and has been one of the best linebackers in the SEC.

    Franklin is not a big-impact defensive player, but he is instinctive and a consistent tackler. He is likely a backup at the next level, but given his productivity in the nation’s toughest conference, he is a safe Day 3 pick for a team looking for a backup middle or inside linebacker.

    Franklin is not a great athlete for the linebacker position, so he probably would not have lit up the combine but, nonetheless, he deserves to be in Indianapolis as one of the top five players at his position.

Noah Keller, ILB, Ohio

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    Grade: Round 6 or 7

    Position Rank: No. 8

    After missing most of the 2010 season with a foot injury, Ohio middle linebacker Noah Keller fell out of the draft spotlight. He has bounced back in a big way in 2011, and has re-established himself as a player who should be drafted in April. Well, at least in my eyes—he has received very little attention from others as a draft prospect and was not invited to the combine.

    Keller does not have great size or athleticism, but he has tremendous instincts and is a very consistent tackler. Keller may not be a starting middle linebacker at the next level, but he should do very well as a rotational linebacker and special teams player.

    Keller has a terrific motor, and that combined with his intelligence and instinct leave him a blueprint for NFL success. He deserves to be drafted in the late rounds, and he deserves to be in Indianapolis next weekend.

Keith Tandy, CB, West Virginia

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    Grade: Round 5

    Position Rank: No. 20

    West Virginia’s Keith Tandy is a good playmaker at the cornerback position. Tandy plays with physicality, has good ball skills and should at least be a solid dime back and special teams player at the next level worth a Round 5 draft selection. It came as a surprise that he was not among the players invited to the combine.

    Tandy is not a star, but he is a solid player who is better than a good amount of the cornerbacks who did receive invites to the combine, such as Penn State’s D’Anton Lynn and Chaz Powell and Pittsburgh’s Antwaun Reed.

    Tandy was a productive collegiate player with decent size and good skills. He will be selected somewhere on Day 3 and deserves to be at the combine.

Isaiah Frey, CB, Nevada

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    Grade: Round 6

    Position Rank: No. 24

    Nevada’s Isaiah Frey is a sleeper who has not received much attention, and that did not change with the selection committee from the combine. That said, Frey has very good size and plays with physicality. He is a solid cornerback who is worthy of being drafted in the late rounds.

    As mentioned in the previous slide, there were numerous cornerbacks invited to the combine who are unlikely to be drafted, whereas an underrated talent in Frey gets left out of Indianapolis. Frey has locked down opposing receivers at Nevada, ranking third in the nation this season with 19 passes defended.

    Frey does not have great speed and will not be a star at the next level, but he is worthy of being a late-round draft pick and should at least be a solid dime back and special teams contributor.

Aaron Henry, FS, Wisconsin

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    Grade: Round 3 or 4

    Position Rank: No. 1

    In a very weak class of safeties, Aaron Henry ranks as the best free safety in the 2012 NFL draft class. Henry is a well-rounded safety, effective at coming up in the box and making tackles, but is also consistent in pass coverage.

    Henry may not be a star at the next level, but in a draft class that is very weak, Henry absolutely should not have been snubbed by the combine. Other free safeties who may not even get drafted, such as South Carolina State’s Christian Thompson and Syracuse’s Philip Thomas, received invitations to Indianapolis, but Henry did not.

    Even with the combine snub, Henry should be among the top safeties taken in the 2012 draft class.

Matt Daniels, SS, Duke

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    Grade: Round 5

    Positional Rank: No. 4

    Another surprisingly snubbed safety is Duke’s Matt Daniels. Daniels was very productive in his collegiate career: He had 126 tackles and 16 passes defended last season, both of which ranked in the top 20 nationally.

    Coming from a non-traditional football school in Duke, he did not receive much attention as a college football player, which may have resulted in his being overlooked as a draft prospect. Daniels needs to work on his tackling angles and is not a great athlete, but he is a hard-hitting safety who has the potential to be an impact player in the National Football League.

    In a weak year of safeties, numerous strong safeties who are unlikely to be drafted, including Kentucky’s Winston Guy and Maine’s Jerron McMillian, received invites to the combine, but Daniels was snubbed. That said, Daniels’ productivity and potential makes him worth a fifth-round choice in the 2012 draft. 


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