IRVING, Texas -- Approximately 330 prospects are invited to the annual NFL Scouting Combine each year, but the NFL is full of players who didn't receive that opportunity and still found themselves selected on draft weekend. Although he didn't receive an invitation to Indianapolis last year, defensive tackle Ken Bishop showed enough that the Dallas Cowboys drafted him in the seventh round with the 251st selection.
A year ago, 32 of the 256 players selected in the 2014 NFL Draft were not invited to the NFL Combine, including Bishop, which is around the average number of snubs who are drafted each year.
Some years, a Combine snub will even crash the top-100 selections. The most recent example came in the 2012 NFL Draft when the New England Patriots drafted safety free safety Tavon Wilson 48th overall. While I don't expect a non-Combine prospect to be drafted that high this year, Day 3 of the 2015 NFL Draft should be well represented with players who watched the Combine on television along with fans.
With 32 non-Combine prospects drafted last season, here's my stab at 32 Combine snubs who will hear their name called in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Chris Bonner, Colorado State-Pueblo (6-6, 231, 5.12)
A developmental version of Mike Glennon, Bonner needs time before he's ready for NFL snaps, but he shows promise that several other passers in the 2015 quarterback class do not. He isn't quite NFL ready, but Bonner, who led the ThunderWolves to the school's first National Championship in 2014, is a developmental passer and possible late round draft pick.
Malcolm Agnew, Southern Illinois (5-9, 202, 4.61)
An Oregon State transfer, Agnew runs light with strong plant-and-go quickness to scamper away from defenders, but lacks much of a power element and has a frame that looks near maxed out. Although his injury history is a concerning trend, Agnew is a team-first type of player and looks to contribute any way he can, including improvement as a receiver and blocker.
Aaron Ripkowski, Oklahoma (6-1, 238, 4.70)
With only 13 offensive touches and one touchdown as a senior, Ripkowski isn't a dynamic ballcarrier on offense. But he does have to be accounted for with his blocking ability, both in pass protection and in the run game. Ripkowski has draftable talent for a team looking for a throwback option at fullback who will also play on special teams.
Jimmay Mundine, Kansas (6-1, 237, 4.66)
A prospect who looks more like a thick wide receiver than traditional fullback, Mundine relied on natural athleticism most of his career and little else, but the light bulb turned on for him prior to his senior season, improving his intensity and workout routine. While still unpolished in areas, he has the raw athleticism and versatile skill-set worth developing as a "move" tight end or H-back.
Jordan Taylor, Rice (6-4, 209, 4.52)
A high school quarterback, Taylor made the move to receiver shortly after arriving at Rice and developed into of the most productive offensive players in school history. Although his lack of NFL strength and technique stands out, Taylor is a 110-percenter who can stick as a No. 4/5 possession receiver with his height and ballskills in the mold of Kris Durham.
Deontay Greenberry, Houston (6-1, 211, 4.52)
The highest high school recruit in Houston history, Greenberry is an intriguing athlete at his size with the athletic ballskills to make incredible receptions, but consistency is the issue and makes his future tough to project. The mental aspect of the game isn't there yet, but his size/speed skill-set and potential are intriguing, similar to former Washington State star Marquess Wilson.
Jordan Leslie, BYU (6-2, 204, 4.44)
Leslie started his career at UTEP and led the team in receiving as a sophomore and junior, but with the new coaching staff transitioning to a run-first approach, he transferred to BYU in 2014 and finished second on the team in receiving. Described by his coaches as the "smartest and most competitive" player on the team, Leslie has quick hands and impressive height/speed combination that NFL teams seek.
Ricky Collins, Texas A&M-Commerce (6-0, 198, 4.53)
With academic issues and situations away from football, Collins had only one year of starting experience at the college level, but he made it count with 71 catches for 1,187 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2014. He has the base traits for the position to develop into a quality contributor if he stays on the straight and narrow, including talent to push for a starting job towards the end of year one, in the mold of Kendall Wright.
Shane Wynn, Indiana (5-6, 167, 4.34)
Not many survive at the NFL level with his size dimensions, but Wynn has the speed that could earn him a draft pick. He led the Hoosiers in receiving in 2014 (56 catches, 708 yards, 3 touchdowns), but his impact in the NFL will need to come on special teams, leaving Indiana with a 8.4 yards in his career on punt returns, including one touchdown.
Tyrell Williams, Western Oregon (6-3, 204, 4.43)
If you don't keep tabs on Western Oregon prospects, that's understandable as the Wolves have produced only three draft picks in program history and none higher than the fifth round. But Williams has a chance to hear his name called late due to his tall, wiry frame and speed to take the top off a defense.
James O'Shaughnessy, Illinois State (6-4, 248, 4.68)
A three-year starter for the Redbirds, O'Shaughnessy is an athletic mover for the position with good length to pluck the ball away from his body. The low production numbers (67 catches in 49 career games) can be deceiving due to Illinois State's offense, but he also makes plays on special teams, something that will appeal to NFL coaches.
Kendall Lamm, Appalachian State (6-5, 302, 5.27)
A four-year starter, Lamm was a mainstay for Appalachian State's offense in recent years, averaging only one sack allowed each of the last three seasons. His traits don't scream NFL prospect, but he gets the job done with adequate lateral range and the balance to mirror rushers on the edges. Lamm should get better as his technique improves, making him a viable developmental option.
Doniel Gambrell, Notre Dame College (6-5, 305, 5.70)
It took a winding road, but Gambrell eventually ended up at Notre Dame College in 2011, which proved to be a perfect marriage because the program was only in year two of existence and "Tree" wanted to further his education and play football within proximity of his family. Gambrell is an ideal practice squad candidate, but he is a success story regardless of where his football career goes from here.
Shaq Mason, Georgia Tech (6-2, 304, 4.99)
It's easy to overlook Mason due to Georgia Tech's multiple option offense and a high volume of cut blocks, which leads to blockers diving and ending up on the ground by nature of scheme. But the Yellow Jackets' offense also features athletic linemen, allowing Mason to show his natural movement skills, displaying tight end-like athleticism and body control. He will be one of the highest drafted Combine snubs on draft weekend.
Antoine Everett, McNeese State (6-2, 328, 5.32)
A college left tackle who projects best inside at the next level, Everett put himself on the NFL radar the past two seasons as a dominant FCS-level blocker, earning All-American recognition as a senior. He is a balanced, athletic mover with the feet to recover and position himself, although he does need mechanical work with his hands and coil to better use his length.
Shaq Riddick, West Virginia (6-6, 244, 4.64)
After three seasons at FCS-level Gardner-Webb, Riddick transferred to West Virginia for his final season of eligibility and although he saw limited playing time over the first half of his senior season, Riddick settled in later in the year. Although he is a one-trick pony and doesn't enter the NFL with ideal polish, Riddick is an intriguing athlete with natural pass rush traits.
Ray Drew, Georgia (6-4, 265, 4.83)
Arriving at Georgia as one of the top recruits in the country, Drew wasn't able to live up to the hype, but he proved to be a valuable role player in the Bulldogs' multiple defensive fronts. Although they have different playing styles, he might follow a similar path as his former teammate DeAngelo Tyson (seventh round NFL role lineman) and be a better pro than collegiate player.
Deion Barnes, Penn State (6-4, 257, 4.95)
Barnes shows raw pass rush ability with his natural athleticism in pursuit, but he lacks the physical mentality to overwhelm at the point of attack and match power with power. Although his tweener traits make him a questionable scheme fit to be a regular contributor in the NFL, his best fit is likely as a rotational edge rusher, standing up in a 3-4 formation.
Andrew Hudson, Washington (6-2, 250, 4.86)
After a productive sophomore season at Washington, Hudson found himself in the coaches' doghouse and finished the 2013 season with only two tackles. He planned to transfer or leave early for the NFL Draft, but after the coaching change last off-season, Hudson changed his mind, connecting with head coach Chris Petersen and the new staff and finishing second on the team in sacks (12.5).
Xavier Williams, Northern Iowa (6-2, 325, 5.18)
A player who showed consistent improvement each season, Williams has developed into a NFL prospect through hard work and effort, getting every ounce of talent out of his skill-set. He lined up as mostly a one-technique and shaved nose tackle in college, but is scheme versatile who might project best as a three-technique in a 4-3 or five-technique in a 3-4.
Kaleb Eulls, Mississippi State (6-3, 305, 5.14)
A high school quarterback, Eulls has a stout lower body to anchor and plug run lanes, but has limited range and doesn't offer much as a pass rusher. He doesn't stand out on film and he lacks any traits that truly separate him, but Eulls has the physical and mental make-up to survive at the bottom of a roster as a late rounder.
David Irving, Iowa State (6-7, 273, 4.84)
Irving was a rotational defensive lineman at Iowa State and started eight games his first three seasons, but was dismissed from the program (April 2014) after multiple arrests. He has a rudimentary understanding of hand use and leverage, but uses his length (87 3/4 wingspan) well at the line of scrimmage (eight passes defended, three blocked kicks) and surges off the snap like a sprinter with brute power.
Kristjan Sokoli, Buffalo (6-5, 290, 4.86)
A two-year starter, Sokoli immigrated to the United States from Albania with his family in 2000, took up football and earned a scholarship to Buffalo. A tireless, blue collar worker, he doesn't play with ideal functional strength, but he played out of position at nose guard in college and shows the movement skills and size dimensions that are worth developing.
Quayshawne Buckley (6-2, 302, 4.95)
A four-year starter, Buckley was a late bloomer and didn't play football until high school, focusing on basketball in his youth. Although the technical side of the game isn't quite there yet, Buckley is an athletic mover and thoughtful disruptor for his size, projecting as a NFL rotational three-technique with upside.
Deiontrez Mount, Louisville (6-5, 249, 4.66)
A size/athleticism prospect with versatility, Mount has clear physical skills, but he might be a player without a position at the next level. He's impressive on the hoof with a long, athletic build and foot quickness to move well along with natural length and strength to take on blocks, although he lacks the functional power to routinely disengage and sift through the trash. Mount projects best as a sub-package player.
Junior Sylvestre, Toledo (6-0, 233, 4.53)
After two seasons as a part-time linebacker, Sylvestre started every game the past two seasons at MIKE linebacker, finishing with 100+ tackles and First Team All-MAC honors as a junior and senior. His locator is constantly on the fritz, forcing him to wait on the play to unfold, but the speed and natural athleticism are intriguing for special teams.
Gabe Martin, Bowling Green (6-2, 234, 4.61)
Similar to Sylvestre, Martin is a productive linebacker from the MAC conference with average size dimensions, but excellent range and overall play speed. He does struggle to work through the crowd with limited power, but the nonstop motor and competitive streak run on overdrive, making him worth developing.
Randall Evans, Kansas State (6-0, 195, 4.44)
A three-year starter, Evans led the Wildcats' defense in 2014 with four interceptions and 14 passes defended, earning First Team All-Big 12 honors. He needs to tweak his pedal and transitional technique, but the speed, height and length are what NFL scouts and coaches covet at the position, including the competitive drive to succeed as a former walk-on.
Tray Walker, Texas Southern (6-2, 187, 4.54)
Although his speed is best categorized as average, Walker is tall with long arms and enjoys bump-and-run coverage to attack receivers and keep them uncomfortable on the outside. He is more of an athlete at this point in his development and doesn't have a grasp of proper fundamentals, but that's something NFL coaches think they can correct.
Darryl Roberts, Marshall (5-11, 187, 4.38)
While he needs a lot of work with his technique, awareness and functional strength, Roberts has enough of the base traits for the cornerback position that has grabbed the attention of NFL teams. And his outstanding workout at Marshall's pro day (4.38 40-yard dash, 39-inch vertical, 6.66 3-cone drill) will put him on some team's draft boards.
Erick Dargan, Oregon (5-11, 211, 4.72)
Although he didn't become a full-time starter until his senior season, Dargan took advantage of the opportunity, leading the Pac-12 in interceptions and the Ducks in total tackles. His limitations in coverage might keep him from starting in the NFL, but Dargan has the ballskills and field physicality/speed to be a core special teams member and developmental option.
Brian Blechen, Utah (6-2, 226, 4.77)
A four-year starter, Blechen started every game he played in and finished top-three on the team in tackles each season. He is tough as nails and plays like he's 20 pounds heavier as a tackler and ballhawk and was responsible for 16 career turnovers (nine interceptions, seven forced fumbles). Blechen is an ambitious free spirit on the football field, which is both a curse and blessing.
Cedric Thompson, Minnesota (6-0, 211, 4.46)
Thompson became a starter at safety as a sophomore and has been an underrated member of the Minnesota defense the past three seasons, recording 221 tackles, 10 passes defended and five interceptions over 32 starts. He has terrific athleticism to open his hips and run with backs and tight ends, covering a lot of ground vs. both the run and the pass.