In just a few short weeks, the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine will take place in Indianapolis. On Thursday, the full list of 326 invitees was released and there are already some whispers about the snubs that didn’t get an invite.
Dane Brugler gave his list of snubs that we’ll preview in this column, but he also spoke on the “Draft Show” with Bryan Broaddus and David Helman about his critiques of the Combine. Paraphrasing them, Brugler and Broaddus spoke about how the main goal is to have every possible draftable prospect at the Combine. Yet, in the past five years, about 35 snubs per year get drafted while 110 invitees go undrafted. When asked why, Brugler didn’t mince words as he believes that too many draftniks are committed to their preseason grades. That’s certainly stubborn to stick to those grades because a lot changes over the course of a college football season.
The Combine itself is important but much like everything during draft season, it’s always overblown on how important it really is. Certain drills mean different things for prospects as the 40-yard dash is more important to a cornerback than it is to a center. In the past, guys who have blown up the Combine have had lackluster careers and vice versa. Prospects have also watched their draft stock take huge hits after the Combine only for them to go right back up at their Pro Days. The Combine has its merits and it’s become sort of a spectacle now for the NFL Network but it’s only a portion of the process. With that said, let’s look at the noteworthy prospects that weren’t invited this year and how they would fit the Dallas Cowboys.
DT Poona Ford, 6’0, 303 lbs, Texas (Brugler: 4th Round)
In our current BTB mock, we took Ford at the Cowboys’ first of three fourth round picks. As Brugler says, “there just aren’t 300 players better than Ford.” Sure, he’s barely six feet tall but Ford has what it takes to play in the NFL. He was named the BIG 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year and being from Austin, he’s a pet cat of mine. Ford had 30 tackles, eight for loss, 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble, a batted pass, and blocked a field goal. Ford will be pigeon-holed as a 4-3 run stuffer but isn’t that what the Cowboys need?
SS Trayvon Henderson, 6’0, 204 lbs, Hawaii (Brugler: 4th Round)
Henderson played well at the Senior Bowl where even Brugler stated he probably made some money and certainly sends you back to his tape. He’s got the length and is a reliable tackler even when asked to do so on an island. He’s very aggressive and plays angry with great leverage. He was asked to play all over including on special teams, Henderson has value but he’s going to have to prove it against bigger competition.
WR Daurice Fountain, 6’2, 210 lbs, Northern Iowa (Brugler: 5th Round)
Fountain was extremely productive for Northern Iowa where he just won the MVP of the East-West Shrine game with 101 all purpose yards. In a snooze fest, he stood out with 61 yards on three receptions and two returns for 40 yards. He’s a big-bodied guy with trustworthy hands and good athleticism. He’s one of those guys that would have been able to help himself a lot if he were getting a Combine invite. He’s got all the traits including decent long speed where his 40 is projected at 4.40. Dallas has guys that fit the big receiver role but Fountain is still an intriguing option that has a chance on any roster.
SS Tray Matthews, 6’0, 207 lbs, Auburn (Brugler: 6-7th Round)
His interview process is going to be extremely important for the guy that self-proclaims himself as the “CEO of the Auburn Defense”. He was kicked out of Georgia’s program and went to Auburn, he was caught double-dipping into his college stipends. He’s a quality tackler that showed he matured at Auburn but he’s limited in coverage. Matthews is likely a fit with a team needing a box safety because he’s simply outstanding in run support. Truth be told, there aren’t many better than him as a run defender and he’s ahead of his years in diagnosing offenses.
DE, Joe Ostman, 6’3. 255 lbs, Central Michigan (Brugler: 7th Round- UDFA)
Ostman is fun to watch but you worry if he could get anywhere close to his fantasy land production in college where he averaged 1.3 sacks per game this season. He also had 63 tackles and 18.5 tackles for loss for the Chippewas. Ostman stays in the weight room where he’s built out for the NFL even if he may be a little undersized. It worries you at times to watch him play so upright because that may be his downfall in the NFL. He’s got burst and a never-quit motor that is going to get him an opportunity. He may be better suited as an outside rusher in a 3-4 scheme but the Cowboys would be wise to snag him if he makes it to free agency, you can never have too many potential pass rushers.
FS Jeremy Reaves, 5’11, 190 lbs, South Alabama (Brugler: UDFA)
Reaves was incredible in the Sun Belt where he won conference First-Team honors for his 104 tackles, seven stuffs behind the line, three interceptions, three forced fumbles, an two recoveries in 2017. He’s an instinctual defender that gets his hands on the football, knocking eight passes away this past season. He’s got the coverage skills of a linebacker but will hunt you down as a runner where he has 20.5 career tackles for loss. Reaves lacks the desirable length for the NFL but he’s too much of a playmaker to ignore. He’s going to be one of the 35 guys that gets drafted despite his UDFA grade and 2018 Combine snub.