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NFL Combine: Several notable 2016 draft prospects left off invite list

By Dane Brugler, The Sports Xchange   |   Updated Feb. 12, 2016 at 8:01 AM
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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 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Even with 332 prospects invited, 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 selected as high as the fourth round. Meanwhile, 108 players who were invited went undrafted in 2015.

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

QUARTERBACK

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)

SURPRISE: Josh Woodrum, Liberty

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

RUNNING BACK

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 midseason. The Combine is a great opportunity for him to rebuild his image.

WIDE RECEIVER

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 last 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.

TIGHT END/FULLBACK

SNUB: Darrion Griswold, Arkansas State

A former quarterback, Griswold was underutilized in the Arkansas State offense, but he 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 at fullback, but it's his impact on special teams coverages that attracted NFL attention and landed him the invite.

OFFENSIVE LINE

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 studied Duke in recent years. He was the Jeremy Cash of the Duke offense.

DEFENSIVE END

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.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE

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.

LINEBACKER

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.

CORNERBACK

SNUB: Morgan Burns, Kansas State

A special teams standout, Burns was the Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year. Although he has his ups and downs on tape at cornerback, 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), Brian Poole (Florida), Kenya Dennis (Missouri)

SURPRISE: Brandon Williams, Texas A&M

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

SAFETY

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.

Dane Brugler is a Senior Analyst for NFLDraftScout.com, distributed in partnership with The Sports Xchange and CBSSports.com

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