Wednesday, February 26, 2014
And now for those non-combine Patriots
By Field Yates
The 2014 NFL scouting combine has concluded, affording the 32 teams an up-and-close and personal look at hundreds of prospects.
And while the combine featured many of the best and brightest from the pool of eligible players, it's important to remember that not all of those prospects will be drafted. Moreover, it's important to remember that many players who did not attend the combine have gone on to be drafted.
Julian Edelman, who caught 105 passes last season, is one of several standout Patriots who were not even invited to the combine the year they were drafted.
Below is a sampling of some of those players who did not get invited to the combine but have wound up on the Patriots roster.
Offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer. In 2009, the Patriots turned heads by taking Vollmer in the second round (58th overall). The team was on to something, however, as he has evolved into one of the best right tackles in the NFL.
Safety Duron Harmon. The 2013 third-round pick out of Rutgers was the highest-drafted player (91st overall) in his class that was not invited to the combine. If his rookie season is any indication, he should have been, as Harmon evolved into the team's third safety and has the ability to play either strong or free safety.
Safety Tavon Wilson. The 2012 second-round pick out of Illinois was also the highest drafted player (48th) from his class not to be invited to the combine. Wilson had four interceptions during his rookie season but his defensive role rapidly shrunk after mid-season struggles. He was essentially a core special teamer in 2013.
Safety Nate Ebner. The 2012 sixth-round pick was hardly on the draft radar at all, much less the combine invite list. The former rugby star impressed with a strong pro day workout, enticing the Patriots enough to add him as a projected special teams standout.
Wide receiver Julian Edelman. Digging back a little further in the archives, Edelman was not invited to the 2009 scouting combine after a standout career as the Kent State quarterback. After conducting an impressive individual workout for the Patriots, the team felt he had the requisite skills to transition to another position in the NFL. He's played defensive back, has evolved into one of the best punt returners in the league, and, of course, had 105 catches last season.
This list isn't to mitigate the importance of the combine. Far from it. But it does serve as a reminder of how exhaustive teams are in their prospect research, studying many more than just those players who were present in Indianapolis over the past week.