By: Barry Barnes, Founder
Many ventured through the doors of NFL training facilities during the NFL Regional Combine (RC) to give their all in front of national league scouts with hopes of getting on a team’s radar after being undetected for years. This draft, history was made.
Following a major overhaul of changes to the RC platform (by only accepting 2015 draft eligible athletes), two months of workouts, and a lot of prayer, three draft picks were produced, followed by 10 others who signed as undrafted free agents.
Prior to the 2015 Draft, the NFL RC never produced a selection higher than the sixth round. That changed when the Baltimore Ravens selected Tray Walker in the fourth round, 136th overall.
A 6-2, 180-pound defensive back from Texas Southern, Walker worked out in the Miami-held session, proving himself a raw talent with great hands and footwork. Being physical is no problem for the Florida native, but the Ravens will work with him on run support.
Offensive linemen continue to be the bread and butter for the RC to filter draftees, and the Indianapolis Colts followed their pattern set in 2014 when the Colts drafted John Ulrick in the seventh round (232nd-overall). For the 2015 NFL Draft, Indy picked tackle Denzell Good from Mars Hill with the 255th-overall pick, a selection shy of being Mr. Irrelevant.
Good’s intention is not to be irrelevant even if he was selected with the last pick. The 6-7, 320-pound tackle is athletic for his size, powerful – yet light on his feet. The Colts need a push in their running game and Good is the mauler they will need.
It’s safe to say the long drive from North Carolina with his parents for the Baltimore-held session was well worth the trip for the Good family.
The Washington Redskins constantly looks for offensive line depth, and in center Austin Reiter from South Florida, they got deeper as he was the third offensive lineman selected by the squad in the 2015 draft. The 6-3, 296-pound O-lineman is quick, gets his hands up high and athletic. Clearly, the Skins strengthen their interior support and Reiter will be a huge asset.
The NFL Regional Combine supplied the league with even more talent among the underrated free agents.
The Cincinnati Bengals dipped into the well of the platform as they signed tight end Matt Lengel and safety Floyd Raven. Lengel is tremendous target as he towers at 6-8, 268-pounds. Extremely athletic, Lengel could be a steal for the young Thundercats. Lengel joins tight end Kevin Greene as a member of the brotherhood via the RC.
Raven has great hands and speed. During the Combine, the Texas A&M product rarely dropped a pass.
The Ravens continued to stockpile talent from the NFL RC. Currently, cornerback Will Hill and defensive tackle Christo Bilukidi are on the roster from the platform, along with Walker who they drafted. Defensive tackle Lexington Smith could be along the line of great defensive players the Ravens signed from the draft.
Smith is quick off the ball and brings power. Not to mention, the 6-3, 300-pound lineman has good hands to follow.
The Dallas Cowboys signed offensive lineman Shane McDermott and wide receiver George Farmer. McDermott, who ventured through the Miami-held workouts, is quick and has the ability to pass protect and stream roll for blocks. The pride of South Florida could be a solid piece to an already outstanding core of interior linemen.
Farmer felt he should have been invited to the NFL National Scouting Combine. Instead on the same weekend of the Scouting Combine, Farmer was in Denver for the regional session. Simply put, Farmer has a chip of his shoulder.
Defensive tackle Davon Coleman, who joined the Cowboys last season after a successful 2014 NFL Regional Combine campaign, will accompany his new teammates.
The Green Bay Packers could use some linebacker help, and adding Tavarus Dantzler is a good signing. Dantzler is a physical linebacker with great balance and patience. Finishing his senior season at Bethune-Cookman with 80 tackles (8.5 for losses); Dantzler will bring great depth to the Packers’ defensive front unit.
Dantzler joins defensive back Chris Banjo as a member of the RC class.
The New York Giants added more to their secondary as they signed Justin Currie from Western Michigan. Currie has a nose for the ball and is good at bump-and-run coverage. With good speed, Currie has a great chance at making the team.
Let’s make it clear, the Miami Dolphins have a quiet steal in wide receiver DaMarr Aultman out of the University of Maine. Aultman, surprisingly, was not invited to the NFL Super Regional Combine, but his talent opened the door for him. Aultman is fundamentally sound in his catching ability and runs violently after the catch.
The New England Patriots signed wide receiver Chris Harper from California. Similar to Farmer, the NFL National Scouting Combine was his targeted destination, but he was detoured to Denver for the regional workouts.
Harper is a highly skilled receiver and he should be an immediate great fit with quarterback Tom Brady and his receiving crew.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers brought in wide receiver Donteea Dye from Heidelberg. Dye is a speedster with good hands. His route running ability should help him standout during camp with the giant-sleeping core of pass catchers.
Dye will not be alone as a member of the RC class. Defensive back Isaiah Frey will encourage him along the way.
Quarterback turned wide receiver Tyler Murphy joins a host of NFL RC standouts in Pittsburgh. The Steelers could use the versatile athlete from Boston College in the backfield as well. Murphy joins defensive backs Antwon Blake and Robert Golden, fullback Will Johnson, linebacker Alejandro Villanueva and wide receiver Charaun Goodwin.
Many players who journeyed through the NFL RC had countless workouts for clubs. The signing of undrafted free agents is not over, so expect to witness more athletes from the RC to ink deals shortly.
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