By: Barry Barnes, Founder
The necessity of building upon a franchise is essential for the productivity of the NFL. This continuous process is fueled by the annual NFL Draft and free agency, mainly the signing of undrafted free agents.
Since there is always uncertainty with new young players entering the league, the NFL needed to establish a plan C and D.
Through the NFL Regional Combine (RC), the Shield provided a platform for teams to scope out talent, that flew below the radar, to become the beacon for their watchtower. Spanning from the RC, the NFL Super Regional Combine is the filter which magnifies higher skilled players.
The NFL Regional Combine ushered in over 1,000 NFL hopefuls for the 2015 session. Earning an invite to the NFL Super Regional Combine in Arizona were 122 standouts.
Undoubtedly, some players were overlooked for the Super. Still, the system produced enough qualified individuals who are NFL-ready to help constitute a successful franchise.
As the 2015 NFL Draft draws near, clubs, for the most part, know who they want to select in the early rounds to become leaders for their organization. However, the players who earned the privilege to dress in a suit and walk across the stage to shake the hand of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, are not franchise necessarily builders.
Later round draftees and the undrafted free agents are the franchise builders. With the success of the SRC, more players are fashioned in the process to be the clay and bricks of the foundation to build a winning organization.
Entering the 2015 NFL Draft, the Shield purposely changed the template of the NFL Regional Combine, to not only sign players as undrafted free agents, but to be drafted.
On April 30 to May 1, enjoy and celebrate the players who get called out in Chicago because they earned it. After February 1st of 2016, cheer for those who established the franchise to win Super Bowl 50.
For the 2015 NFL season, here’s a peek at the “Franchise Builders” instituted by the NFL Regional Combine.
The NFL Regional Combine is a pipeline of success. But they need some offensive standouts to shine in order for its breakthrough in becoming a recognized mainstream for talent.
The defense side of the ball is well established. Since 2012, 68 of 125 players (54 percent), who entered the NFL by way of the RC for the playing season, were defensive athletes. For the 2014 season, the 71 members of the NFL Regional Combine were in the league. In terms of the active roster, 18 players who graced the field were making tackles, while only six were getting tackled.
Thus far, Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen is the RC’s brightest offensive representative as he scored two touchdowns last season.
Who can join Thielen to help boost a franchise on the offense side of the ball?
Here’s a few who are highly capable:
Luke Lundy, Ottawa University
Lundy is built like an old-fashioned running back with the combination of speed, strength and power. Nebraska native not only physically blessed, but he is highly skilled with great hands. The 6-0, 239-pound ball carrier ventured through the Denver-held workouts to get to the Super and trimmed his weigh to be more impressive for his job interview in Arizona.
For his size, Lundy can get low in his cuts and pop high explosively, and after years of doubt and prejudices, he has a lot to prove.
RB Bronson Hill, Eastern Michigan
RB Spencer Davis, Southeast Missouri
RB Robert Hollomon, Central Connecticut State
RB Brandon Hayes, Memphis
RB Ryan Herring, McKendree
RB Kirk Wilson, Shorter
RB Keith McBride, William & Mary
RB Anthony Cade, Lindenwood
RB Nick Griffin, Mississippi State
RB Brent Michaels, Cal Poly
RB Lyle McCombs, Rhode Island
McCombs is ridiculously talented. He is fundamentally sound and is graceful in his movement. The 5-8, 195-pound speedy back runs crisp routes and catches the ball like a wideout.
Despite leaving the Rhode Island’s program and receiving his degree a year earlier, the pride of New York finished second in carries (677) and fourth in rushing yards (2,681) in the institution’s history after leading the team in rushing for the past three seasons.
FB Lemond Buice, Florida A&M
FB Michael Wilson, Central State, OH
FB Justin Keith, Walsh University
FB Collin Keoshian, Illinois State
WR Joe Craig Jr., Memphis
WR Jeret Smith, McMurry University
WR Chad Toocheck, West Alabama
WR Donteea Dye, Heidelberg
WR Paul Browning, Colorado State-Pueblo
WR Reginald Bell, University of San Diego
Dating back to his workout in the Chicago-held NFL Regional Combine, Bell only improved on his NFL stock, which was already outstanding. Bell runs hard after the catch. In terms of catches, Bell rarely dropped a pass at both of his workouts.
The 6-0, 200-pound California native finished his career at SDU in the top ten of all the major wide receiver categories. Bell possesses great hands, speed, balance and discipline. In addition, Bell is solid in the return game.
WR George Farmer, USC
WR Chris Harper, California
WR Cole McDaniel, Wayne State, Neb.
WR Dante Burton, Kean
WR Shakim Phillips, Boston College
WR William Dukes, Florida Atlantic
WR Quinton Dunbar, Florida
WR Brandon Terry, Wake Forest
TE Matt Lengel, Eastern Kentucky
-TE Brock DeCicco, Indiana, Pa.
With pit stops at three schools, including Wisconsin, DeCicco is looking to make one more destination – the NFL. DeCicco is a well rounded tight end who have hands of a wide receiver and foot work of a running back. DeCicco shown during his Regional Combine workouts, and his college career with a symphony of head coaches (eight), that he is the complete package for the position.
Towering at 6-5, 247-pounds, DeCicco can be a huge target for any NFL club. With a basketball background, DeCicco should, at this point, would be impossible to be overlooked.
TE Earnest Pettway, Villanova
TE Christopher Malott, Southeastern Louisiana
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