One of the great things about sports, beyond the realm of gambling, is the myriad of opportunities fans get to second guess decisions that are made from trades to starting line-ups to critical play calling and ad infinitum. So let me join in the chorus of voices making judgements on the wisdom of the recently (albeit tardy) release of 330 or so names invited to the NFL Combine at the end of this month.
The Combine is indeed a big deal in the Draft prospect evaluation process, because it provides a common ground for teams to evaluate players based on medical exams, team interviews and of course the underwear Olympics. The first two items can even cause teams to take off their Draft Boards completely as “poor” fits for their particular player/employee concept. It is not the end of the world for players who do not get invited since almost every FBS school hosts Pro Days on their campuses, many even allowing small school players from nearby campuses to participate for NFL personnel people.
But the week in Indy is the big one with all 32 teams in attendance. SO who gets invited and who does not is a big deal. Just call around and ask some agents how they feel about the process when a few of their clients don’t get an invite. THat some surprising names get left off the invite list should surprise no one since the list is made up by committee. National Scouting controls the process but BLESTO scouting and individual team reps also get their chance to input. Thusly, a few names show up on the list that may only have interest from a handful of teams.
So without any further ado, let me present you with my list of prospects who should have been included on this year’s invite list.
KEVIN BYARD/S/MIDDLE TENNESSEE
ED EAGAN/WR/NW LOUISIANA
JAMAL GOLDEN/S/GA TECH
DARION GRISWOLD/TE/ARKANSAS STATE
ALEX HUETTEL/G/C/BOWLING GREEN
My first response to this annual debate would be to suggest that they round the invite number up to 350 players, but in reality no matter how many get invited there will always be players some feel have been slighted. The NCAA still gets that argument every year for Men’s Basketball March Madness. And they have expanded that field multiple times. So enjoy and make your own list of deserving non-invitees.