Despite altering the talent showcase, the NFL Regional Combine platform still produced draft picks and a host of signed undrafted free agents.
Since 2013, 2.8 draftees were produced from the RC grand stage – three players in years 2013 through 2015, five in 2016, but none in 2017. This year’s selection process filtered four players out of the NFL Regional Combine Invitational, which was held in Tampa, Florida.
In terms of undrafted free agent signings, the number dipped. Dating back to 2015, the platform averaged 44.2 undrafted signees. As of April 30th, 15 pioneers inked a deal following the NFL Draft. That number should increase.
Clearly, the revamped invitational of the NFL Regional Combine has kept the success of the platform intact.
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All four of the pioneers were selected in the seventh round. Normally, seventh rounders, and especially undraftees, do not have much of a profile for football fans to get excited about because of unfamiliarity.
Considering fans do not know much about these pioneers, let’s take the time to get familiar with them and get excited now rather than later.
Quarterback Alex McGough from Florida International was the first player from the NFL Regional Combine Invitational to get drafted as the Seattle Seahawks selected him in the seventh round (220th-overall). Seahawks quarterback Russel Wilson will not have to look over his shoulder. It’s good to have a talent like McGough to step in when needed.
McGough is a 6-3, 219-pound signal caller stands tall in the pocket and is one of the best athletic quarterbacks in the 2018 class. McGough has a decent touch over the middle, will not force passes, but he isn’t gun shy either. Plus, he possesses good feet and vision.
Tackle Jordan Mailata is a 20-year old former Australian rugby player. At 6-8, 346-pounds, he is extremely athletic, agile and moves his feet well. He is one of the five UK players who is a part of the International Player Pathway program. Its agenda is to create opportunities for foreign-born players to establish NFL careers.
Implemented last year, the NFL and the UK are pleased with the results of the program. The Philadelphia Eagles picked Mailata, the first UK player from the RC platform to get drafted, as the 233rd-overall selection.
Defensive end Justin Lawler from SMU has a high motor and is extremely aggressive. He uses his hands well, has good balance and control and is very instinctive, with good reach and leverage. Lawler was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams as the 244th-overall selection. He will easily help provide the depth the Rams desire.
To no surprise, wide receiver Austin Proehl was drafted. The under the radar talent from North Carolina was second to the last pick of the draft at the 255th-overall selection.
With the ability to play in nearly any system, Proehl can be a Pro Bowler within two seasons. He has great hands, speed and is instinctive. Combined with his route running ability, intelligence and craftiness, questions about why Proehl was drafted so late will be asked for many years to come.
Fortunately, The Buffalo Bills saw the light.
Some special talents were signed among the undrafted pioneers.
Deatrick Nichols is highly instinctive and aggressive. The cornerback from South Florida is not afraid to make a mistake. Nichols has decent speed and hands and is light on his feet. He is very quick and tracks the ball well.
Full back Luke McNitt is very strong, powerful, aggressive and intelligent. McNitt has good hands and decent speed. He is also a solid blocker and special teams ace.
Defensive Mike Love joins Proehl. The South Florida star possesses solid closing speed, decent hands and excellent tackling ability. Love is physical, intense and loves to hit.
Defensive end Abdullah Anderson is highly intelligent with great leverage to get to the quarterback or ball carrier. He has an explosive first step, solid technique and strong hands.
Vyncint Smith is a superb route runner with great hands. The wide receiver from Limestone College cuts on a dime, concentrates on the flight of the ball and is very strong. Standing 6-1, 201-pounds, Smith will be an excellent target for quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Mason Gentry is nearly flawless in all his movements. With a quick first step and power, Gentry can lead a ball carrier into the open field. He is extremely physical, has great feet and hands, possesses solid instincts and has the ability to play on both sides of the line.
At 5-11 and 191-pounds, cornerback Mike Cirino has great speed and hands. Cirino’s ability to stop, start and go is on an elite level, and he should never lose track of any pass catcher. Very instinctive.
“Yea man, I’ve worked all my life for this opportunity and I’m blessed I got it,” stated Cirino humbly via conversation. “Can’t wait to get to Indy and give them everything I have.”
Offensive lineman Tony Adams was a four-year starter at North Carolina State and he can play anywhere on the offensive line. He is powerful, has decent speed, uses his hands well and is always balanced and in control.
Quarterback Peter Pujals legitimately has a chance of making the Vikings. The 6-1, 211-pound signal caller has a great touch and zip on the ball. Pujals can make every throw with tremendous accuracy, moving well in and out of the pocket to sustain good vision down the field.
NEW YORK GIANTS
Running back Jawill Davis is quick and can be explosive in the return game. Davis is solid physically as he can bounce off collisions to make a play. And, he has great instincts and good hands and feet.
NEW YORK JETS
Cornerback Reggie Hall stands 6-3 at 197-pounds. He could be a solid defensive back for years to come. A calculated talent with strong hands, he demonstrated solid game day speed at his trials when tracking the ball.
Anthony Mahoungou is a big receiver with sure hands. Mahoungou is a sure-handed receiver who adjusts to the ball well, and he can break a game open with his high stride running style.
Defensive end Joe Ostman has the ability to play as a linebacker as well. He is extremely athletic, powerful, agile and instinctive. Ostman can drop back into coverage to make a play on the ball. In addition to excellent leverage around the edge and with great hands, Ostman has superb balance and control.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
Wide receiver Steven Dunbar Jr. is a physical receiver who has the ability to blow by a defender, but would prefer to run him over. Dunbar has strong hands and is a disciplined route runner with breakaway speed. A complete playmaker.
Shay Fields is an elusive receiver who possesses solid speed and hands. The Colorado standout is a strong, disciplined route runner. Extremely athletic and has incredible leaping ability.