Football

NFL Draft Profile: The Combine Snubs

We begin our in depth preview of Texas Tech players in the 2018 NFL Draft, starting with those NFL Combine Snubs.

First off, Happy Opening Day to all the Major League Baseball fans. It’s going to be a heck of a day and a hell of a weekend. But we’re not here to talk about baseball, despite how good the Red Raiders or Astros are, or the uncertainty behind those Rangers.

We’re here to discuss who will join the likes of Michael Crabtree (Ravens), Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs) and Danny Amendola (Dolphins) among others in the NFL. The Red Raiders currently have 14 players who are signed right now, with at least six virtual locks and with three or four that could join them on the 53 man roster.

There were nine Red Raiders from the previous season competing at their respective pro day last Friday. Throughout the next few weeks, we will look at each guy’s chances of being drafted or being picked up by an NFL day leading up to the first day of the 2018 NFL Draft. Here’s a schedule:

NFL Draft Preview
March 29th – The Combine Snubs April 5th – Nic Shimonek April 12th – Dylan Cantrell April 19th – Keke Coutee April 26 – 2018 NFL Draft Open Thread

The Red Raiders who are eligible for this year’s draft are Zach Barnes, Cameron Batson, Dylan Cantrell, Keke Coutee, Talor Nunez, Nic Shimonek, Justin Stockton, Mychealon Thomas and Derrick Willies.

For this piece, we’ll take a look at those players who were not invited to the 2018 NFL combine. They will have a less of a chance of being drafted, but don’t forget that Jakeem Grant didn’t get invited in 2016 and he got drafted in the sixth round.

We’re going to list their pro day numbers and how they would compare with those at their position at the combine. Let’s begin in alphabetical order, starting with Zach Barnes:

ZACH BARNES
Measurables 2017 Stats 40 Yard Dash Shuttle Vertical Bench (225 lbs)
6-3, 260 lbs 9 TCK, 3 QB Hits, 1.5 SCK, 1 FF 4.63 (3rd) 4.36 (2nd) 37.5″ (2nd) 26 Reps (T-15th)

Why He Might Be Drafted: Barnes is what we refer to as a combine warrior. I prime example of his is Dontari Poe, who was projected to be a third round pick till the big defensive tackle ran a 40 time under five. He was the 12th overall pick.

Barnes would’ve finished in the top five in the 40 yard dash, shuttle and vertical. Teams love to take a chance on big time athletes hoping they can coach them up.

Why He Might Not: As you can see from the stats above, Barnes wasn’t the most productive guy his senior year. 19 players finished with more tackles than him. That’s almost enough for a two deep. If he can’t fill up the stats in college, how will he do so in the pros?

Best/Worst Case Scenario: Some team takes a chance on him in the seventh round. / He doesn’t get a roster invite.

Possible Teams: Any team with defensive line problems. Just to bring in some depth and competition among players. Perhaps the Colts may be interested

CAMERON BATSON
Measurables 2017 Stats 40 Yard Dash Shuttle Vertical Bench (225 lbs)
5-8.25, 175 lbs 59 catches, 487 yards, 5 TDs 4.32 (1st) 3.96 (1st) 39″ (3rd) 14 reps

Why He Might Be Drafted: Much like Grant, Batson showed that he is one of the fastest players in the NFL Draft. Teams like speed, and it doesn’t hurt that Batson was also productive and steady in college as well.

Why He Might Not: His height may scare some scouts away. Although there are short receivers in the NFL, they typically like taller receivers. And even though he didn’t lose a ball on a kickoff or punt, he didn’t have stellar numbers. Receivers taken late often contribute on special teams.

Best/Worst Case Scenario: A team takes a chance on him in the fifth or sixth round / He doesn’t get a roster invite

Possible Teams: Teams that were looking for a slot receiver this year, like Baltimore and Oakland for example.

TALOR NUNEZ
Measurables 2017 Stats 40 Yard Dash Bench
6-2. 275 lbs 1 TCK (Injury) 5.06 30 reps (7th)

Why He Might Be Drafted: Nunez is strong with 30 reps in the bench press. Nunez also I’m sure got high recommendations from the coaching staff with his character and hard work ethic.

Why He Might Not: Unfortunately, Nunez’ injury ruined any hope of him being drafted likely. And even when he was healthy, he didn’t put up big numbers. He didn’t pop out in his pro day numbers beside his bench press.

Best/Worst Case Scenario: Late seventh round pick / He doesn’t get a roster invite.

Possible Teams: A team that need some defensive lineman help in camp.

JUSTIN STOCKTON
Measurables 2017 Stats 40 Yard Dash Bench 3-cone drill
5-10, 205 lbs 1K APY, 797 rushing, 235 receiving, 5 TDs 4.48 (4th) 19 reps (8th) 6.88 (3rd)

Why He Might Be Drafted: Versatility always makes your draft stock go up. Last year at Tech, Stockton averaged six yards per carry, caught 27 passes and even contributed on special teams.  Stockton was a four-start recruit according to some recruiting services out of high school and some recruits may see some untapped potential in him.

Why He Might Not: Stockton had problems finding the hole, which is worrisome if your a running back. Not only that, but his 40 yard dash time wasn’t as good as maybe expected, given who Stockton is supposed to be a speedster.

Best/Worst Case Scenario: Gets drafted in the late rounds, perhaps sixth round / He doesn’t get a roster invite.

Possible Teams: We’re probably looking at teams with power back who may need a speed back. Maybe a team like the Rams, Ravens or the Browns will be interested.

MYCHEALON THOMAS
Measurables 2017 Stats 40 Yard Dash Bench
6-2, 320 lbs 41 TCK, 1 SCK, 2 FR, 3 TFL, 1 INT 5.25 29 reps (9th)

Why He Might Be Drafted: Thomas was a force on the defensive line last season, and was one of the main reasons the defense was trending the right direction. Thomas is a big body with strength who can plug holes with his big body.

Why He Might Not: Thomas is not the most athletic defensive tackle, and sometimes slower or not as athletic linemen can scare teams away. Not only that, but it’s a little harder for JUCOs to get drafted.

Best/Worst Case Scenario: Mych gets taken in the seventh round / He doesn’t get a roster invite

Possible Teams: We’re looking at teams who historically take big interior defensive linemen, such as the Lions or Patriots.

DERRICK WILLIES
Measurables 2017 Stats 40 Yard Dash Shuttle Vertical Bench 3-cone
6-4, 210 lbs 18 catches, 304 yards, 3 TDs 4.57 4.02 (1st) 41″ (1st) 15 reps (13th) 6.84 (7th)

Why He Might Be Drafted: Much like Barnes, Willies is a combine warrior. Not only does he have amazing times, he also has a big body. Some team may take a chance some him just based on his potential at the position.

Why He Might Not: His production wasn’t what it needed to be last season. In didn’t make a huge impact in his two years at Tech. Also he constant moving from Iowa to a JUCO to Tech likely doesn’t help.

Best/Worst Case Scenario: Gets drafted in the sixth round / He doesn’t get a roster invite

Possible Teams: We’re looking at teams who tend to take risk on long athletic wide receivers. The Seahawks have done so in the past, as have the Cowboys.

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