NFL Draft Scouting Combine: Snubs and surprises in the Underwear Olympics

By Dane Brugler, The Sports Xchange
To the victors go a chance to meet NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, live and in-person. Brian Kersey/UPI
To the victors go a chance to meet NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, live and in-person. Brian Kersey/UPI | License Photo

Sometimes referred to as the NFL Draft Underwear Olympics, the annual NFL Scouting 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 2017 NFL Scouting Combine is scheduled for Feb. 28-March 6 in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium.


Even with 330 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, 38 players were drafted who did not participate at the 2016 Combine, including one player in the third round (safety Kevin Byard) and two fourth-rounders (defensive lineman David Onyemata, tight end Seth DeValve).

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Meanwhile, 117 players (35.2 percent) who were invited to the Combine were not selected in the 2016 NFL Draft.


Also new this year is a rule that prevents players with past criminal issues to attend the Combine. Once a player is invited, he is subject to a background check. And that player will be unable to participate if the search shows a misdemeanor or felony conviction involving violence or use of a weapon, domestic violence, sexual offense and/or sexual assault.

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

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SNUB: Chad Kelly, Ole Miss

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Presumably because of his past off-field issues, Kelly will not be in Indianapolis. He has NFL arm strength, toughness and mobility, but his character is the question mark. Still rehabbing from an ACL injury, Kelly wasn't expected to workout at the Combine, but it is a missed opportunity to interview with teams. He is nephew of Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly.

Ten other omissions: Alek Torgersen (Penn), Patrick Towles (Boston College), Ryan Higgins (Louisiana Tech), Gunner Kiel (Cincinnati), Zach Terrell (Western Michigan), Brady Gustafson (Montana), Antonio Pipkin (Tiffin), Bart Houston (Wisconsin), Nick Mullens (Southern Miss), Austin Appleby (Florida).

SURPRISE: Trevor Knight, Texas A&M


An Oklahoma transfer, Knight scored 29 total touchdowns (19 passing, 10 rushing) for the Aggies as a senior. His inconsistent mechanics and decision-making standout but so does his athleticism, which he will show off in Indianapolis.

Running Back

SNUB: Joe Mixon, Oklahoma

With his well-publicized off-the-field incident looming large, Mixon will be a hotly debated prospect this spring. And unfortunately for him, the Combine won't be an option as he attempts to convince an NFL team one terrible decision shouldn't define him as a person. He broke four bones in the face of an Oklahoma female student with a punch in July 2014.

Ten other omissions: Joseph Yearby (Miami), Marcus Cox (Appalachian State), I'Tavius Mathers (Middle Tennessee), Tarean Folston (Notre Dame), Khalfani Muhammad (California), Anthony Wales (Western Kentucky), Le'Shun Daniels (Iowa), Taquan Mizzell (Virginia), Brandon Radcliff (Louisville), Matt Breida (Georgia Southern).

SURPRISE: Chris Carson, Oklahoma State

Carson finished third on the Cowboys in rush attempts (82) this past season, but maximized each carry with a 6.8 yards per rush average and nine touchdowns on the ground.

Wide Receiver

SNUB: Chad Williams, Grambling State


One of the risers coming out of Senior Bowl week, Williams is a good-sized athlete with natural receiving traits. Unfortunately for him, an arrest last May for marijuana and firearm possession might be the reason he won't be able to continue that momentum in Indianapolis.

Ten other omissions: Ishmael Zamora (Baylor), Damore'ea Stringfellow (Ole Miss), Tim Patrick (Utah), Austin Carr (Northwestern), R.J. Shelton (Michigan State), Corey Smith (Ohio State), Tim White (Arizona State), DeAngelo Yancey (Purdue), Geno Lewis (Oklahoma), Gehrig Dieter (Alabama).

SURPRISE: Victor Bolden, Oregon State

Although he is undersized and the production doesn't catch your eye (46 catches, 542 yards, two touchdowns in 2016), Bolden has speed to burn and should light up the 40-yard dash.

Tight End

SNUB: Blake Jarwin, Oklahoma State

A former walk-on, Jarwin was underutilized as the "Cowboy" back in Oklahoma State's offense, but his raw athletic traits are draftable.

Ten other omissions: Josiah Price (Michigan State), Jake Maulhardt (Wyoming), Phazahn Odom (Fordham), Taylor McNamara (USC), Billy Freeman (San Jose State), Tyrone Swoops (Texas), Derrick Griffin (Texas Southern), D.J. Dowdy (Cincinnati), Jacob Hollister (Wyoming), Barrett Burns (Appalachian State).


SURPRISE: Scott Orndoff, Pittsburgh

With only 23 career catches entering 2016, Orndoff made the most of his senior season and attracted attention from NFL scouts, including after a career-game in the win over Clemson (nine catches, 128 yards, two touchdowns).

Offensive Line

SNUB: Erik Magnuson, Michigan

With 37 career starts spread between right tackle and both guard spots, Magnuson has a versatile skill-set with the lower body athleticism to see NFL snaps.

Ten other omissions: Jonathan McLaughlin (Virginia Tech), Levon Myers (Northern Illinois), Jylan Ware (Alabama State), Richard Levy (Connecticut), Greg Pyke (Georgia), Tyler Catalina (Georgia), Kyle Kalis (Michigan), Evan Goodman (Arizona State), Cameron Tom (Southern Miss), Jon Heck (North Carolina).

SURPRISE: Collin Buchanan, Miami (Ohio)

A player who looks the part, Buchanan needs to find consistency, but the NFL tools are appealing.

Pass Rusher

SNUB: Hunter Dimick, Utah

With 20.0 tackles for loss and 14.5 sacks, Dimick had a career-year as a senior, but his production is based more on hustle than skill and the lack of athletic traits kept him from receiving a Combine invite.

Ten other omissions: A.J. Jefferson (Mississippi State), Keion Adams (Western Michigan), Lewis Neal (LSU), Pat O'Connor (Eastern Michigan), Deon Hollins (UCLA), Se'Von Pittman (Akron), Darius English (South Carolina), Cameron Malveaux (Houston), Terrence Waugh (Kent State), Corey Vereen (Tennessee).


SURPRISE: Ifeadi Odenigbo, Northwestern

After a productive senior season, Odenigbo was overlooked by the major all-star games, but he will receive a chance to audition for NFL scouts in Indianapolis.

Defensive Line

SNUB: DeAngelo Brown, Louisville

With his strong hands and ball-tracking skills, Brown has the upper-body power to split doubles and collects himself well in space to make stops, collecting a team-best 13.0 tackles for loss as a senior.

Ten other omissions: Joey Ivie (Florida), Ralph Green (Indiana), Travis Tuiloma (BYU), B.J. Singleton (Houston), Matthew Godin (Michigan), A.J. Wolf (Duke), Adam Butler (Vanderbilt), Josh Banks (Wake Forest), Woody Baron (Virginia Tech), Darius Hamilton (Rutgers).

SURPRISE: Fadol Brown, Ole Miss

With only four starts and 2.5 sacks, Brown's senior year didn't go quite as planned, but he receive an invite to Indy to showcase his skills for NFL teams.


SNUB: Calvin Munson, San Diego State

Although not elite in any one area, Munson is a well-rounded linebacker who can defend the run, blitz and drop in coverage with seven career interceptions. This is a surprise omission.

Ten other omissions: Elijah Lee (Kansas State), Dylan Cole (Missouri State), Steven Taylor (Houston), Javancy Jones (Jackson State), Tau Lotulelei (UNLV), Jimmie Gilbert (Colorado), Psalm Wooching (Washington), Keenan Gilchrist (Appalachian State), Paul Magloire (Arizona), Brandon Bell (Penn State).


SURPRISE: Blair Brown, Ohio

It is easy to overlook him due to his undersized frame, but Brown flies all over the field and has the closing burst that should translate to his workouts at Lucas Oil Stadium.


SNUB: Desmond Lawrence, North Carolina

Lawrence doesn't have ideal sudden twitch or long-speed for the position, but he checks boxes with his height, length and competitive nature and should be in Indianapolis with the other cornerbacks in this class.

Ten other omissions: Jeremy Cutrer (Middle Tennessee), Dwayne Thomas (LSU), Aarion Penton (Missouri), Greg Mabin (Iowa), Brad Watson (Wake Forest), Michael Davis (BYU), Cole Luke (Notre Dame), Breon Borders (Duke), Najee Murray (Kent State), Brandon Wilson (Houston).

SURPRISE: Jeremy Clark, Michigan

Due to a September ACL injury, Clark has been a forgotten prospect, but he will have the opportunity in Indianapolis to show he is fully healthy and draftable.


SNUB: Jordan Sterns, Oklahoma State

With a team-best 101 tackles and three interceptions as a senior, Sterns had the 2016 season that earned him a Senior Bowl invite, but it wasn't enough to get him to the Scouting Combine.


Ten other omissions: Randall Goforth (UCLA), Fish Smithson (Kansas), Dante Barnett (Kansas State), Demetrious Cox (Michigan State), Leon McQuay (USC), Damariay Drew (California), Zach Hoffpauir (Stanford), Weston Steelhammer (Air Force), Tony Conner (Ole Miss), Dymonte Thomas (Michigan).

SURPRISE: Jamal Carter, Miami (Fla.)

Often overlooked by former safety teammate Rayshawn Jenkins, Carter led the Hurricanes with 85 tackles in 2016 and was a senior captain.

--Dane Brugler is senior analyst of, owned and distributed by The Sports Xchange, in cooperation with

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