Here’s our wrap-up of the best performances from those NFL hopefuls who didn’t get invited to the February combine at Indianapolis. You can link to Part I from March here and Part II from early April here.
From what we could tell (with lots of help from Gil Brandt’s pro day blog on NFL.com), four non-invitees did the best nationwide in combine events, as you’ll see below. Lots of depth in this draft, athletically speaking.
First, a pair of brief updates on late top performances:
All Rhodes Lead To Safety: Former running back Kedrick Rhodes (5-11, 203) stood out at West Alabama’s pro day due to his power and quickness. Rhodes – who’s making the switch to safety – had a 39-inch vertical that would have topped all combine safeties, while his 22 bench press lifts would have come in third in that group. He also completed the 20-yard shuttle in 4.11 seconds and the 3-cone drill in 6.70 seconds. That 3-cone time would have been second-fastest among combine safeties, while the 20-yard shuttle would have placed third. Rhodes had 92 rushes for 632 yards (6.9 avg.) and six touchdowns. He also caught six passes for 74 yards (12.3 avg.) and one TD along with a 23.8-yard kick return average.
In Surgent: We can add Louisiana-Lafayette wide receiver Darryl Surgent (5-10, 190) to the ever-growing list of slot receivers available in May. We can also call him one of the quickest, as Surgent’s 6.43-second 3-cone drill would have qualified as the fastest time at the combine – and, as far as we can tell, the fastest in the nation. Surgent also jumped 11-foot-1 in the broad jump (tied for second at the combine), offsetting a pedestrian 4.56-second 40 time. The Ragin’ Cajun caught 31 passes for 400 yards (12.9 avg.) and five TDs in 2013 while returning 23 kicks for 611 yards (26.5 avg.) and one TD along with 15 punts for 157 yards and one score.
THE BEST OF THE UNINVITED, 2014 (aka Here’s Our Belated RSVP)
The top two combine performances at Indy appear in plain text while pro day standouts (aka snubs) are in italics and bulleted.
Dri Archer, Kent State WR: 4.26 seconds
Brandin Cooks, Oregon State WR: 4.33
Well, unlike last year’s fastest man (and current Patriot) Reggie Dunn, no combine snub bested the top Indy 40 time (nor the second-best, for that matter). Like the 5-9, 178-pound Dunn, the 5-8, 173-pound Archer could live in the Keebler tree, potentially giving him a difficult time finding a full-time role.
Bench Press (225 pounds)
•Sam Longo, Cincinnati OL: 47 reps
•Nikita Whitlock,Wake Forest DL: 43
Russell Bodine, North Carolina OL: 42
•Tyler Shatley, Clemson OL: 40
Five Combine Players Tied With: 36
Lots of strength going on outside the combine, with two snubs outperforming Bodine on the bench. Though upper-body prowess doesn’t always translate to success (many past combine standouts remain undecorated on NFL fields), it can help hide any occasional lapses in technique that can happen along the line.
•Nathan Slaughter, West Texas A&M WR: 44.5 inches
•Torrance Hunt, Georgia Southern RB: 43
Ryan Shazier, Ohio State LB: 42
•Donte Foster, Ohio WR: 42
Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Nebraska DB and Lache Seastrunk, Baylor RB: 41.5
Jean-Baptiste, a cornerback the size of a bouncer, has appeared on many Patriot mock drafts as a potential second-round pick. Would love to see him against Slaughter, a quick slot receiver whose 44.-5-inch leap ranked the best in five years (Ohio State’s Donald Washington, 45 inches in 2009).
•DaShaun Phillips, Tarleton State CB: 11 feet, 3 inches
Lache Seastrunk, Baylor RB: 11-2
Pierre Desir, Lindenwood DB: 11-1
•Torrance Hunt, Georgia Southern RB: 11-1
•Darryl Surgent, Louisiana-Lafayette WR: 11-1
Hats off to Phillips, though it’s hard to read about this event without thinking of Patriot linebacker Jamie Collins’ mark of 11-7 from last year. Impressive to think he could put his heels the four-yard line and in one vault score a touchdown. Fun-yet-fruitless to predict where this talent will help Hunt and Surgent land this summer.
•Darryl Surgent, Louisiana-Lafayette WR: 6.43 seconds
Daniel Sorensen, BYU DB: 6.47
Damian Copeland, Louisville WR: 6.53
For comparison to above, let’s keep in mind that Julian Edelman – he of the pinball-in-a-paint-shaker punt returns – ran a 6.62. Add Surgent to the burgeoning list of late-round/undrafted slot receivers and look forward to a couple of those players spending summer in Foxboro to give New England veterans a break.
Brandin Cooks, Oregon State WR: 3.81 seconds
Damian Copeland, Louisville WR: 3.90
Not sure if the 20-yard shuttle prep just got overlooked this year or if this class has all the quickness of a Gregorian mass. In any case, couldn’t find any snubs to match up with Cooks and Copeland. Better luck next year, we suppose.
Any notable performances we may have overlooked, please let us know in the comments section below.