KANSAS CITY, MO – The NFL Regional Combine Invitational (RCI) enters in its second session with much higher expectations.
The NFL Regional Combine was revamped last year to collect a more competitive grouping of talents. Instead of a calculated amount of competitive athletes, the Invitational focuses on top 100 draft-eligible college players who were not invited to Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine.
This platform, ultimately, featured a host of solid defensive standouts over the years in its originally format like Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Jatavis Brown, Indianapolis Colts cornerback Kenny Moore II and Chicago Bears defensive tackle Roy Robertson-Harris to name a few.
Brown is the defensive quarterback for the Chargers as the mic-linebacker, which houses Pro Bowler defensive ends Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa and safeties Adrian Phillips and Derwin James. He led the team in tackles in 2016 (79) as a rookie and finished with a career-high in stops last season with 97.
Moore II is quickly becoming one of the best corners in the league as a play-making, hitting machine. He started 15 games and amassed 77 tackles and led the Colts in interceptions with three.
Robertson-Harris did not dominate in the stats book, however, he made an impact in the interior of the Bears’ defensive front and nearly ended Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ season in Week One after a devastating sack.
The RCI highlighted some solid defensive standouts a year ago.
Defensively, 10 players from the Invitational landed opportunities in the NFL, but six made it through the 2018 season. Buffalo Bills defensive end Mike Love spent most of the season on the practice squad, but when he was promoted to the active roster in Week 14, he finished strong with five tackles.
Defensive tackle Justin Lawler was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the seventh round (244th-overall). The 6-4, 265-pound lineman was impressive in Tampa for his workout, which transferred over to the regular season in route to Super Bowl LIII.
Defensive tackle Abdullah Anderson (Bears), defensive end Pat Afriyie (Chargers), cornerback Deatrick Nichols (Arizona Cardinals) and linebacker Joe Ostman (Philadelphia Eagles) have shown promise in the opportunities they earned.
The 2019 NFL Regional Combine Invitational should be no different as the potential candidates look to take their skill set to the next level, and in essence, raise the bar for the RCI.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers hosted the annual event last year from their training facility, the AdventHealth Training Center. This year, the Kansas City Chiefs have opened their training facility doors at the University of Kansas Health System Training Complex for the next set of NFL hopefuls on March 9.
Check out who got next, and can probably make Kansas City their new home.
DB Alexander Myres (Houston) – 5-11, 192-pounds. Aggressive, decent speed, good technique, solid special teamer. Finished with 55 tackles and an interception.
DB Chris Johnson (North Alabama) – 6-3, 200-pounds. Huge, solid instincts, plays the ball extremely well (in flight and on impact), playmaker, confident, excellent in zone defenses, good speed. Amassed 38 tackles, four passes defensed and two interceptions.
DB Jalin Burrell (New Mexico) – 6-0, 195-pounds. Strong, smart, fundamental sound, solid technique, good hands, explodes on impact, plays hard, physical. Finished with 54 tackles, an interception, a fumble recovery, a touchdown and five passes defended to cap his collegiate career.
DB Marvin Tillman (Western Carolina) – 6-1, 195-pounds. Lengthy, has solid instinct, plays the field well, active towards the ball, physical, good anticipation, decent hands, fiery. Amassed 94 tackles, including two interceptions and three passes defensed to close out a brilliant career.
DB Mazzi Wilkins (South Florida) – 6-0, 195-pounds. Explosive, discipline, break on the ball well, solid closing speed, instinctive, strong, confident, balance, always on the attack. Finished with 48 tackles.
DB Nikolas Needham (UTEP) – 6-0, 190-pounds. Smart, good speed and hands, savvy, fundamentally sound. Finished with 62 tackles, an interception and nine passes defensed.
DB Robert Rolle (Villanova) – 6-0, 190-pounds. Outstanding in zone coverage, great instinct, good hands, great lateral movement, aggressive (especially towards the ball), receiver type skills when he has the ball, good vision, high IQ. Finished with 53 tackles, two passes defensed.
DB Tawain Gordon (Ohio Dominion) -6-1, 190-pounds. Physical, good in man-to-man, decent hands, read quarterback well, good closing speed. Finished with 70 tackles, an interception and two forced fumbles.
LB Cole Holcomb (North Carolina) – 6-1, 235-pounds. Fiery, emotional, strong, great instincts, leader, intense, discipline hitter, solid technique. Compiled 105 tackles, including eight stops for losses, a sack, four forced fumbles. Led the Tar Heels in tackles for three consecutive seasons.
LB Connor Strachan (Boston College) – 6-0, 230-pounds. Strong, tough, wrap up well, balance, has control, good footwork, great technique, good run stopper, intense. Finished with 91 tackles, eight stops for losses.
LB Landis O. Durham (Texas A&M) – 6-3, 255-pounds. Athletic, good feet, decent hands, good closing speed, aggressive. Finished with 50 tackles, including 7.5 sacks.
DE/LB Anree Saint-Armour (Georgia Tech) – 6-3, 245-pounds. A weener, ridiculously athletic, explosive, reckless, strong, explodes on impact, fires off the snap. One step – gone. Finished with 47 tackles, 12 stops for losses, four sacks, three forced fumbles, two interceptions.
DT Brandon Vocco (Clarion) – 6-1, 300-pounds. High motor, has good leverage, solid hand usage, sound, discipline, tremendous upper body strength. Finished with 40 tackles, including two sacks.
DT Chris Nelson (Texas) – 6-1, 297-pounds. Quick, solid run stopper, good leverage, unselfish, balance, has control, shifty. Racked up 39 tackles for his senior year.
DT Dare Odeyingbo (Vanderbilt) – 6-2, 282-pounds. Quick off the snap, aggressive, finisher, tough, smart, fill gaps, can take on double teams. Tallied 28 tackles and an interception.
DT Frederick Jones (Florida State) – 6-2, 304-pounds. Agile, good first step, solid pad level, physical, intense. In 46 games career games, including 10 starts, Jones registered 67 tackles, including eight stops for losses, 2.5 sacks, and three pass defensed.
DE Kyle Phillips (Tennessee) – 6-4, 263-pounds. Athletic, good instinct, hands and feet, great leverage, balance, good speed, finisher. Recorded 56 tackles, including eight stops for losses, five sacks, five passes defensed and an interception.
DE Tim Ward (Old Dominion) – 6-5, 255-pounds. Finished with 41 tackles, including nine stops for losses, and 3.5 sacks.