During the seven years of the NFL Regional Combine platform, hundreds of athletes found themselves on a NFL roster at some capacity. Still, some highly capable talents were pass over due to lack of preparation and knowledge. Slots are limited in the NFL, but with emergence of the XFL, more opportunities are presented.
From evaluating many players, there were always ‘what if’ players. What if this player was able to catch, what if that player was a little bit faster.
What if, what if, what if.
Other than an invite opportunity, the two failed factors NFL hopefuls had was either bad timing of injury or lack of agent representation.
Injuries, that is self-explanatory, but lack of proper agent representation was the kiss of death for many players’ professional football opportunities.
If an agent is not certified by the NFL, league teams will not deal with the player and countless prospects are unaware of that application. With a prime estate of players for 32 NFL teams, tolerance for unknown athletes is minuscule.
And oftentimes, if the NFL is not interested in a player, it is difficult for a talent to get a quality league to take them seriously. With no – or a non-certified agent, it is nearly impossible to play on a NFL gridiron.
Time has passed for many pioneers who ventured through the RC, however, some highly skilled players are hungrier, motivated, and best of all, have the right resources to command league decision-makers’ attention.
“The NFL regional combine is a phenomenal experience I will never forget,” voiced defensive back Paul Dodson Jr, who currently plays for the Omaha Beef of the Champion Indoor Football (CIF). “I received a lot of attention from scouts after my drills and test. Even though I fell short in getting picked up in after the draft, I knew if I kept grinding I could break the surface.
“With the XFL coming back, it would be a dream opportunity resurfacing and hopefully this time I can grab it.”
The XFL is about to appear on the scene, especially after the suspension of the AAF.
It is unknown if the new spring league for 2020 will have a combine to filter out players. The XFL is expected to deliver a good product for football fans and its partners.
Here are some forgotten hopefuls who journeyed the platform of the NFL Regional Combine who were not ready then, but are absolutely prime for now.
E. J. FRAIN, DB, Simon Frasier, 6-2, 210-pounds. (Current with New York Streets of the National Arena League (NAL). Explosive, discipline tackler, playmaking ability, great hands, good speed, good vision, smart, strong.
PAUL DODSON JR., DB, Lincoln, 6-2, 210-pounds. Instinctive, quick, good hands and solid, tracks ball well, physical.
WENDALL WILLIAMS, WR, Cumberlands, 5-10, 180-pounds. Elite speed (4.19 – set at the 2016 Minnesota-held RC), decent hands, good leaping ability.
JAMAL MARSHALL, DB, North Texas, 6-3, 209-pounds. Elite speed, aggressive, good hands, move well in open, solid coverage skills, instinctive, agile, athletic.
KEVIN WHARRY, DB, Angelo State, 6-0, 195-pounds. Plays with control aggression, strong, good hands and speed, runs hard, intense, solid leaping ability.
FORREST JONES, DB, Texas A&M-Kingsville, 6-1, 190-pounds. Moves effortlessly, runs hard, has strong hands and great ball tracking skills, fundamentally sound.
JOE EVANS, RB, Coppin State, 5-11, 202-pounds. Explosive, great pad level, good stop-start-go speed, decent hands, physical, smart, solid after contact, blocks well.
KYRANDALL SMITH, LB, Saint Mary, 6-1, 223-pounds. Crazy fast, explosive, fluent, balance, solid pad level and ball skills, quick first step, agile.
NEHEMIAH WINSTON, TE, UC Davis, 6-5, 265-pounds. Willingness to sacrifice, powerful, agile, athletic, blocks well, pro-style offense experience.
MATRICK BELTON, WR, South Carolina, 6-3, 215-pounds. Solid awareness on the field, fundamentally sound in his catching ability, has soft hands, athletic, great length.
Feb. 25, 2017 – HOUSTON, TX – Wide receiver Matrick Belton hauling in a pass from the backfield at the Houston-held 2017 NFL Regional Combine. (Photo by: John Moore/Locker-Report.com).
JAKHARI GORE, RB, Marian, 5-10, 190-pounds. Fluent, agile, solid route runner from the backfield, quick, shifty, runs hard, great hands.
Feb. 25, 2017 – HOUSTON, TX – Running back Jakhari Gore catching a pass from the backfield at the Houston-held 2017 NFL Regional Combine. (Photo by: John Moore/Locker-Report.com)
KHARY BAILEY-SMITH, DB, UMASS, 6-2, 210-pounds. Strong, agile, physical, discipline, aggressive, strong hands, throwback talent.
JOHN SILAS, LB, Elon, 6-2, 240-pounds. Has wheels, runs hard, stays on his toes, balanced, decent hands, no nonsense approach, physical.
ABNER LOGAN, LB, Albany, NY, Quick, has explosion, fast, intense, smart, decent hands, good awareness, solid pad level, instinctive.
KEVIN SHEAD, WR, Carson-Newman, 6-0, 190-pounds. Elite speed, return specialist, decent hands, quick, good stop-start-and-go mobility.
JALEN HOLMES, RB, Bethany, 5-7, 190-pounds. Aggressively quick, strong, has great hands, solid route runner from the backfield, has balance and control.