By: Barry Barnes, Founder
NFL clubs deemed 22 out of the 780 NFL hopefuls who attended the NFL Regional Combine were worth the opportunity to extend their dreams. For the first time since the platform’s inception in 2012, no player was drafted. Was the talent pool thin in the 2017 RC trials or did NFL squads want to play it safe by relying on more traditional powers for the selection process?
Normally, during the late rounds of the NFL Draft, players from lesser known programs attract the attention of the nation, especially in the sixth and seventh installments.
Dating back to the 2015 NFL Draft, in the sixth and seventh rounds, 55 players from Division-I powers were selected, while 25 athletes from non-traditional programs were drafted. For 2016 selection process, allotting the same rounds, 53 players from traditional programs were chosen and 21 players from smaller programs had their name called.
For the 2017 event, 59 athletes from well-known powers were selected, while 15 standouts from non-traditional powers had the privilege to go down in NFL Draft history.
Many teams around the league will open their rookie mini-camp between Wednesday and Thursday. More NFL hopefuls will be invited by clubs to challenge for roster spots.
Scouting and evaluating NFL talents should never be a lost art as the process established the game as what it is today.
Drafting is a risky game, and competitive. According to the last three NFL Drafts, the competitiveness of discovering gems is fast becoming a lost art. Apparently, scouts want to be safe by selecting players based off an institution’s representation in the later rounds.
The RC is a proven discovery stage, and each year since 2013, at least three players were drafted. In 2016, five players were selected, the most ever. In terms of signing undrafted rookie free agents, at average of 36 pioneers from the RC inked deals each year of its existence.
To have a drop off after one year of making history is baffling for the RC stage, and for non-traditional football powers. With over 120 years of scouting and evaluating experience between the NFLRC National Directors, it is impossible for NFL team scouts to overlook the potential after surveying the talents in this year’s session.
It’s unexplainable, unfortunate and should be unacceptable.
Evaluating and drafting safe does not always equate to security.
Check out who has the potential to secure spots, while others await.
CB Marcus Sayles, West Georgia
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
OL Jason King, Purdue
DE Corey Vereen, Tennessee
S Jason Thompson, Utah
NEW YORK JETS
CB Xavier Coleman, Portland State
OL Dustin Stanton, Oregon
LB B. J. Bello, Illinois State
TE Emmanuel Byrd, Marshall
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
LB Nigel Harris, South Florida
C Dillon DeBoer, Florida Atlantic
DB Chris Lyles, Mississippi College
WR Keenan Cole, Kentucky Wesleyan
TE Robert Tonyan Jr., Indiana State
GREEN BAY PACKERS
WR Montay Crockett, Georgia Southern
RB Raysean Pringle, Southern Oregon
OL Thomas Evans, Richmond
CB Cameron Brown, UW-Oshkosh
CB Donatello Brown, Valdosta State
DB Ironhead Gallon, Georgia Southern
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
QB Nick Mullens, Southern Mississippi
S Khary Bailey-Smith, UMASS
LB Jameer Thurman, Indiana State