After the dust settled from the hours and days of training on practice fields and workout facilities, the competitive grouping from the 2019 NFL Regional Combine Invitational managed to assist 12 talents in getting on a NFL club, with linebacker Cole Holcomb leading the way.
Holcomb was, surprisingly, the only player from the RCI to get drafted in the 2019 NFL Draft. The Washington Redskins selected Holcomb in the fifth-round (173rd-overall). And Redskins head coach Jay Gruden already envisions Holcomb playing an immediate role.
“He’s (Holcomb) very smart, yes. He can do whatever you want,” voiced Gruden when asked about Holcomb call plays for the defense.
Holcomb was not highly coveted coming out of North Carolina. Notwithstanding, following his RCI trial in Kansas City, Holcomb’s demonstration was nothing short of being labeled as “a machine.” Holcomb’s stellar session from the NFL Regional Combine platform carried over to his Pro Day at North Carolina.
Now, Holcomb’s skill set will carry onto the Skins as he will bring a Leighton Vander Esch/Sean Lee (Dallas Cowboys’ linebackers) style of play to the nation’s capital.
“Well when you’re looking at linebackers this day and age, you want to make sure they have the ability to cover in space and that’s what his gift is. He’s very good out in space,” said Gruden. “They (North Carolina) asked him to play a coverage out there where he’s got to take the number three receiver and take him to the flat, take him up the field but also play the B-gap and that’s not easy for a linebacker to do.
“Sometimes it will look like ‘Well, he’s not running.’ But this guy can cover out in space,” Gruden continued. “I think he’s got the physicality to him. I’ve seen him take on blocks and do some great things in that regard. He had 22 tackles against Army. I saw that game and watched a lot of him and I just wondered why he wasn’t as highly touted as a lot of these other guys because he has the speed.
“He ran a 4.48 I think at his Pro Day, like a 38-inch vertical. He tested out of the moon, so you say ‘Oh, he’s just a tester.’ No he had 100 tackles three years in a row. So, he’s 300 tackles at North Carolina. He’s had production, so I think it’s a great pick in that spot and I’m excited to get him in here.”
Last year, the platform helped produce four draftees and 15 players signed as undrafted free agents. Out of the 15 talents, 12 players finished out their course for the 2018 NFL campaign.
Holcomb was not the only quality player from this year’s RCI. With players featuring consistency in their speed, explosiveness, numbers and times, NFL clubs signed the better talents of the annual discovery stage this year.
Let’s witness who potentially can be on NFL rosters this fall (no surprises here).
Chris Johnson, S, 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.
Tyron Johnson, WR, Oklahoma State – 6-1, 193-pounds. Has great concentration on the flight, tracks the ball, solid hands, solid route runner, understands coverage, helps his quarterback by coming to the ball, will fly by defenders.
Kansas City Chiefs
T.J. Linta, QB, Wagner – 6-4, 230-pounds. – Patience, solid touch on passes, especially over the middle, Mobile enough to extend plays and only when necessary, tremendous deep ball accuracy, reads defenses, does not stare down receivers.
Bruno Reagan, C, Vanderbilt – 6-3, 315-pounds. Quick, good lateral movement, good hands and feet, tough, leader.
Jalin Burrell, CB, New Mexico – 6-0, 195-pounds. Strong, smart, fundamental sound, solid technique, good hands, explodes on impact, plays hard, physical.
Tim Ward, DE, Old Dominion – 6-5, 210-pounds. Very fluent in movement, in complete attack mode, agile, tremendous power, take no plays off.
Nik Needham, CB, UTEP – 6-0, 190-pounds. Smart, elite speed and hands, savvy, fundamentally sound, has great feet and anticipation.
Anree Saint-Amour, DL, Georgia Tech – 6-3, 245-pounds. Ridiculously athletic, explosive, reckless, strong, explodes on impact, fires off the snap. One step – gone.
New York Giants
Dominick Bragalone, RB, Lehigh – 5-11, 228-pounds – Great receiver out the backfield, catches the deep ball well, excellent in receiving from the screen, deceptively quick and fast, strong finisher, solid vision and in the open field.
New York Jets
Fred Jones, DL, Florida State – 6-2, 304-pounds. Agile, good first step, solid pad level, physical, intense.
Kyle Phillips, DL, Tennessee – 6-4, 263-pounds. Athletic, good instinct, hands and feet, great leverage, balance, good speed, finisher.
Alexander Myres, DB, Houston – 5-11, 192-pounds. Aggressive, decent speed, good technique, solid special teamer.
WATCH LIST NOTABLES
Xavier Turner, RB, Tarleton State – 5-10, 230-pounds – Has breakaway speed between the tackles, solid pound for pound, great speed for size, good vision, good stop-start-and-go speed, decent hands, powerful runner when need.
Cardell Rawlings, DE, Wingate – 6-1, 240-pounds – Solid, quick first step, patience, discipline, good hands.
Devon Johnson, OL, Ferris State – 6-7, 315-pounds – loves to impose his will on the inside and quick to get out to the perimeter to pave the way.
J.T. Hassell, LB, Florida Tech – 6-0, 200-pounds. – Explosive, quick, good hands and feet, athletic, savvy, leader.
Devontae Jackson, RB, West Georgia – 5-7, 176-pounds – Versatile, good speed and hands, explosive, gritty, great feet.
Ashton Dulin, WR, Malone – 6-2, 210-pounds – Multi-everything, return specialist threat, smart, good feet, great hands, good one-step-cut talent.
Iosua Opeta, OL, Weber State – 6-3, 305-pounds – Athletic, agile. Former defensive tackle
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Kahzin Daniels, DE, Charleston, West Virginia – 6-4, 225-pounds. – Plays bigger than his weight, agile, intense, quick, solid speed, good hand usage, smart, athletic.
Craig Reynolds, RB, Kutztown – 5-10, 215-pounds – Solid receiver out the backfield, versatile threat, strong, shifty, great vision, awareness and hands, balance, excellent stop-start-and-go ability, great in the open field.