By: Barry Barnes, Founder
A football player’s journey to the NFL is extremely difficult, nearly impossible. Well, anything is possible and the hundreds of active players in league have proven the destination is reachable, especially if they are drafted or went to a major program. For the unknown and overlooked, chances are, the road to the NFL for countless players may end up in the ditch.
Fortunately, the NFL created roadside assistance in their Regional Combines, and 24 players have benefited from the system as they are continuing to travel on the road leading to a NFL career.
New Orleans Saints rookie quarterback Logan Kilgore is making waves now.
”Pretty well…Kilgore, for someone who’s come in as a rookie free agent, has done a good job with the limited reps he’s receiving,” said Saints head coach Sean Payton.
Kilgore used the vehicle of the NFL Regional Combine as he participated in the workouts in Atlanta. He was later invited to the NFL Super Regional Combine in Detroit, which was held in April. After the draft, the Saints scoop up the Middle Tennessee State product, and he has been in their camp since.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees is not concerned about losing his starting job. However, the backup role is being challenged as Kilgore is not backing down from veteran Luke McCown and Ryan Griffin. The rookie free agent is making a name for himself, especially in the quarterback competitions.
“Well, we’ve got a couple of competitions going. We have kind of like a quarterback challenge element that will involve other things than just stuff on the field, and then we’ve got the QB comps,” said Brees. “QB comps is just football-related after practice. I think Luke McCown has four victories, the young buck Logan Kilgore has four victories, Ryan Griffin and I both have three, and I don’t think there’s a coach that has one yet.”
To make it from participating in the workouts of the RC to perform well during try-outs and mini-camp is a huge accomplishment. Clearly, to earn a spot on a 90-man roster for training camp, after competing against nearly 4,000 athletes, is tremendous.
The NFL Regional Combine is a true testament of the league’s dedication to player development. Although the workouts are scheduled for a weekend during the months of February, March and April in selected cities, the NFL national instructors and scouts explain and set the participants up for success to expect the gut-wrenching phone call the following Thursday instructing them where to go from there.
For decades, the NFL has been on the hunt to put the unknown and overlooked players in the spotlight. After finding such diamonds in the rough, some became Hall of Famers. With the platform of the NFL Regional Combine, the hunted takes the stage.
Now, none of these NFL Regional Combine participants are expecting to receive a phone call from Canton right now, but following their workouts earlier in the year, these 24 received a call from roadside assistance stating they can continue on the path to the NFL.
Along with Kilgore, watch out for the other 23 players. Do not be surprise if more than half of them make an active roster.
Carolina Panthers – tackle David Foucault
Dallas Cowboys – cornerback Dashaun Phillips, defensive tackle Davon Coleman
Denver Broncos – defensive back Jordan Sullen
Detroit Lions – linebacker Justin Jackson
Green Bay Packers – quarterback Chase Rettig
Indianapolis Colts – tackle Ulrick John (drafted 7th-round, 232-overall), defensive end Nnamdi Obukwelu, fullback Cameron White
Kansas City Chiefs – linebacker Ben Johnson
Minnesota Vikings – defensive end Rakim Cox, wide receiver Donte Foster
New England Patriots – wide receiver Derrick Johnson, tight end Justin Jones
New Orleans Saints – Kilgore, defensive end Lawrence Virgil
Philadelphia Eagles – defensive end Alejandro Villanueva
Pittsburgh Steelers – tight end Eric Waters
St. Louis Rams – center Demetrius Rhaney (drafted 7th-round, 250-overall)
San Francisco 49ers – tight end Kevin Greene
Seattle Seahawks – linebacker Horace Miller, running back Demetrius Broncon
Tennessee Titans – tackle William Poehls
Washington Redskins – running back Akeem Davis
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