Just as the draft isn't an exact science, neither is the combine selection process, and recent history certainly has demonstrated that.
Over the last five years, an average of 38.4 prospects not invited to the combine were chosen in the draft. The average for the past 10 drafts is 39.6. Just as an invitation to the combine doesn't guarantee a spot in the lottery, neither does being snubbed for the workouts at Indianapolis completely scuttle a prospect's chance of hearing his name called on draft weekend.
This year, just as in every other, there are players who aren't at the RCA Dome for this weekend's sessions who will be chosen somewhere during the seven rounds on April 29-30. Here are some possibilities:
• RB Patrick Cobbs (North Texas): Doesn't have great size (5-foot-8, 207 pounds), but is a feisty runner between the tackles and has some speed at the second level. Rushed for 4,050 yards and 36 touchdowns in his career, including 1,680 yards and 19 scores in 2003.
• FS Terryl Fenton (Louisiana-Lafayette): Didn't make a lot of big plays in 45 games, but has better range than he sometimes displayed. Possesses good size (6-foot-1, 208 pounds) and has been clocked in under 4.4 in the 40. A good wrap-up tackler who gets around the football, he comes from a program that has produced a lot of good NFL defensive backs over the past five years.
• DE Brent Hawkins (Illinois State): Was the defensive player of the year in his conference in 2005, when he recorded 68 tackles, 18 sacks and seven forced fumbles. Has a big motor but will stay engaged with the blocker too long at times and will have to use his hands better at the next level. At 6-foot-2¼, 244 pounds, probably will have to move to linebacker and might be best suited for a 3-4 front.
• RB/FB De'Arrius Howard (Arkansas): Carried 413 times for 1,832 yards and 21 touchdowns for the Razorbacks. A good, productive back who could play fullback if he improved his blocking and receiving skills. Might also be able to play in a one-back formation. Never carried the ball more than 131 times in a season, but his size (5-foot-11¼, 235 pounds) and speed make him an intriguing guy.
• QB Brandon Kirsch (Purdue): Would probably have been better served returning to school for his senior season in 2006, but his size (6-foot-3, 212 pounds) and arm strength will interest some teams. Played in an offense that stresses making good reads. Only started for one full season, completing 292 of 489 passes for 3,532 yards, with 23 touchdown passes and 16 interceptions for his career.
• OTs Patrick McCoy and Dejuan Skinner (West Texas A&M): Raw and rawer. Both are in the 6-foot-6, 330-pound range and, having played at a school that ranked No. 1 in passing offense at the Division II level in 2005, know something about protecting the quarterback.
• DT Steve Williams (Northwest Missouri State): A football vagabond who played at Northern Illinois and Indiana before settling in at Northwest Missouri State. A productive player against the run, and has some ability to get through the inside gaps. Might be a little too short to be anything more than a part-timer.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click here.