If the Draft is Christmas in April, then the Combine is the non-stop barrage of commercials for all the shiny new toys that you hope to find in your stocking. Combine coverage? Bring it on! Although teams have already established their draft boards, they will make adjustments based on how guys perform against one another on a level playing field. Its a thrill to see the best (or some of the best, as some top-notch players always chicken out) go all out against one another in a series of peculiar but fascinating drills.
That said, there are always a handful of players who get drafted in spite of the fact that they didn't receive an invite to Indy. Typically, however, the Combine features the best players, as the people who operate it poll teams to develop a list of the top prospects before extending invitations to the week in Indianapolis. As such, the list of combine invitees offers a good early guesstimate of which players are likely to fill up the majority of the first few rounds, and thus can be a useful tool as we begin to develop our own pool of potential Cowboys prospects.
Thankfully, the Combine has published in advance an official list of invitees (thanks to the fine folks at DraftAce for the link). Its now time to check and see whether or not your pet cats have made the early grade. Invariably, there are some good players who, for some reason or other, don't get a golden ticket to Indy in the mail. Yesterday, the National Football Post's Wes Bunting published his list of the most surprising combine snubs.
From his list, the one that shocked me the most was the exclusion of Auburn ILB Josh Bynes. No, he's not going to remind anyone of Patrick Willis athletically, but he's a tough, physical player--and one I thought Dallas might consider in the late rounds. Here's Bunting's take on Bynes:
LB Josh Bynes: Auburn
Bynes isn’t the most gifted of athletes, but he’s a tough, downhill backer who can tackle inside the box and has been a productive leader on the national champion Auburn Tigers defense over the past couple seasons. And much like the center position, the middle linebacker spot is another really weak class, as I see Bynes as one of the few prospects at the position capable of making a roster and fighting for playing time down the line.
Plus, Bynes baked his bread in the SEC, so we know he can slug it out with the big boys. Because of the scarcity at the position, I'd expect him to get snapped up above his combine invite status.
Chad Reuter of CBS Sports authors a similar list--dotted by a lot of the same names. In a weak year for centers, its peculiar that two solid pivotment, Tim Barnes of Mizzou and TCU's Jake Kirkpatrick, failed to get the Combine nod.
Josh Buchanan of JBS couting has a terrific list of small-school guys who weren't invited. Check it out; its a good supplement to the other lists.
How about you? Have a pet cat who didn't make the cut? Tell Doc rabble all about it...